Advertising Business Facebook

Five Different Ways to Target Audiences Through Facebook Advertising

Over the last few years, Facebook advertising has proved itself to be a powerful platform for businesses of all sizes to generate leads, grow its audience and increase sales.

When businesses use Facebook advertising properly, the results can be a game-changer.

In early days, the platform was relatively simple. There were fewer advertising options, fewer advertisers and the low competition levels meant that generating great results was cheap and easy. These days, there are literally hundreds of different ways to run a single ad campaign. With increased competition and increased costs as a result, it is also more difficult to get a good result without a little technical know-how.

How to Get Facebook Advertising Results in 2015

To run a successful Facebook ad campaign in 2015, you need to be aware of:

  • The short- and long-term goals you want to achieve.
  • What ad-type or objective best fits your goals. Essentially, this is all about the kind of action you want your audience to take. Some of the ad objectives you can choose from include boosting your posts, promoting your page, sending people to your website, getting website conversions, app installs/engagement, offers, event attendance, and more.
  • The kinds of images and copy that will appeal to your audience.
  • Who your audience are and how you will target them.

Once you have an understanding of these factors and start implementing them, you will be ideally positioned to run Facebook ads that work well and generate a good return on investment.

Facebook Audience Targeting

In this article, we are going to be talking specifically about five different options currently available for targeting your audience on Facebook. Some of these options are relatively new to the platform or have been around for awhile but are underutilized by most advertisers.

Often, it is worth testing an ad campaign on several different audiences to try and improve your return on investment. A lower cost per action (sign up, like, click, sale) means that you will get more bang for your advertising buck.

Here are our five different audience targeting methods for Facebook advertising…

1. Website Custom Audiences

Quite simply, website custom audiences allow you to target users with Facebook advertising who have been to your website previously. This is extremely powerful, because you gain access to a highly relevant audience. This could allow you to do a “follow up” campaign that targets people who may have visited your site, but clicked away before they took any action.

To start collecting this kind of audience, you will first need to install a tracking pixel on your site (Facebook will provide you with one). This will tag any website visitors with a tracking cookie so that Facebook will know that they’ve visited you and they can receive your advertising.

2. E-mail List Custom Audiences

If you already have an e-mail database, chances are that some of those e-mails have been used to create Facebook accounts. You can upload a spreadsheet with your e-mails and use this to generate an e-mail list custom audience in Facebook’s advertising manager. Once you have done that, Facebook will try to match these e-mails with accounts. Each matched e-mail will add an audience member to your list that you can target with Facebook ads.

This is a great opportunity to reinvigorate an older database, increase the number of touch-points, or perhaps convert some members of your fan-base into Facebook-likers.

3. Lookalike Audiences

If you’ve spent a lot of time building up a relevant audience on your existing Facebook page through amazing content, this audience type will be very useful for you. In Facebook’s advertising manager, you can generate a “lookalike audience” for your page. Quite simply, this means that Facebook will find other users on Facebook with similar demographic qualities, likes and activities to your existing fan-base.

This can be a very cost-effective way to advertise, with an instantly available, highly relevant audience at your fingertips.

4. Employment Targeting

If your business targets people in a specific industry (especially if you’re B2B), Facebook advertising can work really well for you. It is actually possible to target people by their job title, employer and industry. Of course, this is limited by the accuracy of the information people provide Facebook with (not everyone is comfortable putting their employment details on their Facebook profile), but for the most part, it can work really well.

Although occupation targeting has been around for quite some time, many businesses that should be using it, aren’t! If this feature is relevant to your business, you should be testing it.

5. Behavioral Targeting

You may be interested in targeting your audience based on things they are doing or have done recently. Facebook collects a lot of information about its users (like it or not), which can be annoying as a user, but fantastic as an advertiser.

You can target users based on their digital activities (games they play, event creation, online spending, etc.), what device they are using, places they have recently travelled to (thanks to checking in on Facebook), and events in their life (things like getting engaged, married, new job, babies, etc).

Many businesses will find that different types of events could trigger a need for their products or services, making this type of audience targeting highly relevant for certain promotions.

The array of advertising and audience targeting options available on Facebook is incredible – and growing all the time. This list includes just a few of your options. If you’re keen to do some further reading, Jon Loomer provides even more information about Facebook ad targeting on his blog and is an excellent information source in this area. Aaron Zakowski also has some creative approaches to audience targeting on his blog about Facebook Custom Audiences.

At the end of the day, keeping up-to-date on your different advertising options is essential when you are using a platform that changes constantly. This will ensure that your ads are the best-targeted, generate the most return, and help to grow your business further. If you haven’t already, start testing out some of the above audience types with your next ad campaign and watch your results improve.

Over to you now…

Have you run Facebook advertising in the past? If so, in your experience, what types of audience targeting worked best for you?

About the author


Simon Dell

Simon Dell is a former agency owner and managing director, and is now a freelance consultant under his own brand His goal is to help develop and implement strategic digital and creative marketing plans for clients delivering measurable results and fantastic ROI. He also writes for Fairfax Media, MYOB's business portal and frequently speaks at events and conferences around Australia.


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  • Yes, Facebook is the next big giant in the online advertising field. Most marketers are utilizing and milking this platform. Thanks for sharing some cool strategies. I just tried the email list custom audiences.