5 Tips for Better Facebook Targeting

Advertising only works when you’re putting out content in front of the right audience. Marketing professionals face the challenge of finding and connecting with potential customers, and this process starts with identifying who those people might be.

Facebook’s ad platform has a number of useful features that give marketers the ability to create relevant audiences. Not only does this mean more efficient spending, but it also helps save time as the algorithm does most of the heavy lifting.

In this post, I’ll outline 5 of the best targeting practices you can use with your next Facebook advertising campaign.


1.      Retarget

What’s better serving an ad to someone who’s in your target market? Serving an ad to someone who’s in your target market and has already interacted with your brand online.

Facebook retargeting gives you the ability to serve your ad to people who have visited your brand’s app or website. This means you have the opportunity to reinforce your message to someone who has presumably been exposed to your company previously. Not to mention, you can craft ads to follow along with the consumer journey.

For example, you can target users who have added something to their cart in your online store but abandoned the purchase before checking out. With this in mind, you can create an ad with messaging that encourages the user to take the final step. This personalized approach to marketing has been proven to be effective time and time again.

No matter what you’re selling, a potential customer who has already interacted with your business in some capacity is valuable. Take advantage of the opportunity by installing a Facebook pixel and utilizing the platform’s retargeting options.


2.      Go after the competition

If you’re selling car parts, it would be helpful to have a list of users who are interested in cars, and who have taken the time to follow other car part pages on Facebook. With custom audiences using audience insights, this is much easier to do than you’d think.

To create an audience that targets your competitor’s fan base, you can select an option to view the Page Likes of your target audience (built by age, gender, and interests). Once you have this information, you can use it to create a custom audience of your own.

In the example of a car parts business, you might try targeting users who follow the major auto part retailers in your area. While some might stay loyal to the company they’re familiar with, if you’re able to capture even a small percentage of a huge audience, you’ll see a nice return on your investment.


3.      Use Lookalike audiences

You have your customer base, but how do you use that data to capture new customers who might also be interested in your products or services? The answer is Lookalike Audiences.

Through a complex set of criteria, Facebook is able to take your existing customer information and build an audience of people who have similar habits. This means that you’re essentially showing your ad to people who fit the profile of your typical customer in ways that you might not have previously known.

This is extremely beneficial because it allows Facebook’s ad platform to work through the details of a user’s web browsing history, Facebook habits, and more, to create an audience.

The process of setting up a Lookalike Audience is fairly straightforward and is done through the ‘Audiences’ section in Facebook Ads Manager. In addition to selecting this option, you can refine the audience by targeting specific regions as well as determining the overall audience size.


4.      Use layered targeting

Layered targeting is simply targeting a sub-set of a specific interest or behavior that you’ve chosen to use as your targeting criteria. On Facebook’s ad platform, you’ll see this option called “Narrow Further.”

This option is extremely important to use if you have a more targeted product or service that wouldn’t appeal to everyone, even those who would fall into your interest categories.

One example of when you would use layered targeting is if you were advertising for a pediatric dentist. To start, you would want to target parents, as they are the ones who will be scheduling the appointments. However, parents who have older children, say 16 and up, might not be interested in your services even though they fall under the umbrella of “parent.”

Facebook gives you the ability to narrow your audience by selecting parents that have children of specific ages. This is important because if your dental practice only sees patients up to 14 years old, you can put your marketing dollars behind an ad campaign that only reaches parents with children under 14.

This is just one example, but layered targeting can be useful for nearly any type of business. Keep in mind that it’s best to use layered targeting on ads that are calling for a specific action.

When it comes to brand awareness ads or general website traffic ads, it might be better to err on the side of an overly-broad audience in order to capture new customers. With that being said, the more the ad is focused on getting a customer to convert, the more narrowly targeted your audience should be.


5.      Use the right creative for the audience

If you truly want to drive engagement, you have to relate to your audience. If you’re targeting hundreds of thousands of people, it might be challenging to design creative that works for everyone.

One solution to this is to create specific ads for specific audiences. For example, if you’re running a hair salon that caters to both men and women, it’s important that you don’t leave anyone feeling left out. By creating two audiences, one male and one female, you can create a much more personalized ad experience.

You don’t need to be creating 10 different versions of every ad in order to be hyper-focused, but breaking things down into large groups, and personalizing accordingly, could result in much higher engagement.



If your Facebook ads aren’t getting the results you want, one of the first things to refine should be your target audience. By using these tips, you give yourself the best opportunity to run successful campaigns while using your advertising budget in the most efficient way possible.