4 Ways To Target With Facebook Ads

4 Ways To Target With Facebook Ads


Facebook is not just a social media platform, Facebook is an ocean of data with extraordinary marketing capabilities. That wealth of data includes in-depth knowledge on each and everyone of us.

Every time we post, 'Like' a page, upload a photo or comment on a post, Facebook is compiling information and constructing a consumer profile of you and I. 

'Like' a Harry Rosen page and don't be surprised to see other suit shops competing for space on your timeline. Add in your job title as a Financial professional on Facebook and financial companies will entice you with recruitment offers. Post about your newborn and a stroller will (you guessed it!) stroll it's way onto your timeline. 


They say that Google know's what people want, but Facebook knows who people are. If you're looking for hyper-targeting to address a specific demographic, Facebook is the most powerful engine to use.

Here are 4 ways you can leverage this platform's capabilities to its full extent:

1. Interest Targeting 

If you own a makeup company, it doesn't take a genius to recognize that you want to target women who have liked the Sephora Facebook page. Nevertheless, it's always a smart move to thoroughly study your audience. Create customer personas of the demographic you'd like to capture. Put yourself in their shoes and consider their online habits. Having a comprehensive picture of your target demographic allows you to be well advised when to advertising to them. 

Not surprisingly, the Facebook targeting functionalities are extremely expansive. Facebook's detailed targeting allows you to filter by industry, entertainment, family, fitness, food, technology and many more categories! On the Facebook Ads Manager, hit browse for a list of interests or press suggestions for recommended interests. 

A great tool to use to diagnose your audience is the Audience Insight Tool provided by Facebook. This tool gives you extensive insights into your demographic's consumer behaviours and habits. Learn about their Facebook posting habits, their relationship status, their Liked pages and more. Fully identifying your target demographic is half the battle of converting your audience. 

Once you've established a few groupings of your target demographics, the campaign becomes a testing game. Even with an exhaustive understanding into your audience, you truly don't know how your potential customer base will react to your ads until you implement a trial and error phase. If you're demographic involved women in their 20's - 40's, one strategy is to break up your campaign into targeting two ad sets from 20 - 30's and 30's - 40's. If you're customer base is within Western Canada, break up your campaign into different provinces. This concept is called split testing, otherwise referred to as AB testing.  Monitor which demographic is yielding the best performance and allocate a larger budget to that grouping. This allows you to recalibrate your campaign and optimize for the best performance.

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 10.39.58 PM.png

2. Lookalike Audiences 

When targeting a demographic, it's only natural that eventually the same people will see your ad again. Target a location of people, and your ad will likely double up on those same individuals after some time. No wonder Facebook marketers see their ad plateau. This concept is called Audience Exhaustion. One way to combat Audience Exhaustion is to use Lookalike Audiences to reinvigorate your ads.

Lookalike Audiences identifies the profiles of the people that converted to leads and replicates that for a different campaign. If you have a following on your Facebook page, Facebook can duplicate the profiles of that following and target others that are similar. If you have installed a pixel into your website, Facebook can distinguish what profile of people are likely to interact with your ad. A Lookalike Audience will pinpoint the demographic of people most likely to engage with your ad based off history.  This is a great way to revitalize your ad once again. 

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 10.39.46 PM.png

3. Remarketing  

Imagine browsing on a clothing website where you've added a few items to a cart, maybe you get cold feet before you process the payment. Does this scenario sound pretty common? It's also common to see a Facebook ad pop up on your feed with the exact products you were contemplating purchasing now advertised to you at a discounted rate of 30% Off the exact red sweater you were looking for! It's not luck of the draw. This follow-up marketing strategy wins people over at the consideration stage of the sales funnel. Use this tactic to your own advantage by incorporating a Facebook pixel (an html code) into your website (speak to your web designer).

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 10.39.28 PM.png

4. Custom Audiences 

Do you have a product or service where your clients make re-occurring purchases? Custom Audiences is a powerful tool for you to recapture your existing client base. Facebook gives you the functionality to upload your existing customer list. Pull up an email list or extract an excel file out of your current CRM. Then, create a marketing message to target your previous customer base. It’s easier to sell to a familiar client base rather than a new one. By re-advertising to your current client base, in essence, it increases the lifetime value of your clients, increases the order frequency, and improves customer loyalty. 

On the flip side of the coin, you can also upload a client list to exclude during your campaign. In some circumstances, it wouldn’t make sense to retarget your customers. If you run a cooking class you wouldn’t want to advertise to your current cohort of students. By excluding your custom audience in this situation, it ensures that there is no wasted money on your campaign.

One piece of warning, when utilizing the previous 3 targeting options (Lookalike Audiences, Remarketing and Custom Audiences), be careful not to go too far down the rabbit hole of strictly targeting high potential but narrow audiences. Although the three targeting options have a lot of merit, a campaign manager that focuses solely on a previously converting audience may miss out the opportunity to generate business from a new audience.

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 12.37.32 AM.png

It has been said that with all the knowledge Facebook has compiled on each one of us, Facebook has become the Big Brother of today. Whether Facebook is coined as the Orwellian platform is debatable, but what is a sure thing, is the expansive marketing capabilities with Facebook. Capture your audience at the right moments with the right message with these targeting strategies.

3F20A848-C4BD-4BDB-98D6-4E01393A3D53 (1).JPG

About the Author

Joel Xu | Founder at Canvas Creative Digital and Model Millennials

Joel is the Founder of Canvas Creative Digital, a digital marketing business helping nonprofit organizations acquire new donors and the founder of Model Millennials, a Millennial lifestyle blog and podcast. Prior to these projects, he was the Head Sales Coach for British Columbia at Yellow Pages in charge of developing growth plans for two departments and dozens of sales reps.