Ad Targeting Options in Facebook Ads

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Ad Targeting Options in Facebook Ads
27 March 2024
Facebook Ads as an advertising system allows us to deliver ads to different audiences using this platform. Skillfully using the tools it offers, we are able to precisely target our ads to the right audience, in the right place and at the right time. Thanks to Facebook's target groups and several other activities described in the article below, we can efficiently achieve marketing success without spending more than our budget. We are separated from our fulfilled goal, only and until, by the proper definition of our target audience.
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What are Target Groups on Facebook?

A Facebook target group is nothing more than a collection of specific Meta users that our advertising can reach. Facebook creates them by taking into account such indicators as the location of specific people, their age, gender, education or interests. Adding a target group already at the time of creating a campaign can significantly increase its effectiveness at the initial stage of operation. This will help Facebook learn more quickly which users to target with our ads.

Facebook Ads distinguishes three types of audience groups, they are:

  • saved audience, 
  • custom audiences,
  • lookalike audiences.

Saved audience group – is a group that we create ourselves, choosing the characteristics of the users to whom we want to target our ads. Here we can choose a specific location, gender, age, languages, as well as interests and activities undertaken in the network of potential customers. Once the target group is saved, all of its data, with the exception of location, is retained for future use. It will be necessary to select the location each time.

Custom audience group – it mainly allows you to select users who have shown interest in your company. This is quite an advantage, as these audiences are already familiar with the brand and can more easily make purchasing decisions related to it. For example, these could be:

  • users who have already purchased specific (or similar) products on the site before,
  • users who have already clicked on a form before, but did not submit it,
  • users who have visited our site,
  • users who follow our company’s Facebook page (observe it or react to content posted on it),
  • users who have watched our videos on Facebook or Instagram,
  • users who have interacted with our products before,
  • users who, for example, use our mobile app (if we have one),
  • users who have interacted with our account on Instagram,
  • users who opened the instant material.

However, it is important to make sure that our group of custom audiences is large enough for its use to make sense (if such a group is too small, Facebook will display a message informing us of this).

Lookalike audience group – it works in a way similar to a group of custom audiences. This is because it uses existing groups of custom audiences, treating them as its source group. It allows us to reach people who may be interested in using our services or buying our products. Facebook recognizes them as such because they have similar characteristics (interests, demographics, online behavior) to users who have already interacted with our company. When creating such a group, there is an option to choose how many percentages it should be similar to its source group. Larger values provide a wider audience, while smaller values guarantee greater similarity to previous customers.

How to Create Target Groups on Facebook?

To begin with, we need to think about a few things that will help us properly target our ads – first of all:

  • what is the purpose of our advertising and where it will direct its audience,
  • what reaction is expected from the recipient (buying a particular product, fulfilling a form…),
  • what are the unique features of the product or service we are advertising.

When creating an audience group, we must pay attention to whether it is too wide or too narrow (Facebook provides us with an indicator showing this on an ongoing basis).

Creating a saved audience group – we can create our own audience group, carefully selected under the representatives of our target group.

Business settings > All tools (button) > Audiences > Create audience (drop-down menu > Saved audience).

Audiences in Meta Ads Business Settings

Saved Audiences in Meta Ads

source: Meta Ads Panel

In this group, we can specify the targeting of ads based on the location of the audience, their age, gender, languages and detailed targeting such as, for example, interest in specific topics (for example, dogs and dog food).

Saved Audiences Settings

Saved Audiences Settings

source: Meta Ads Panel

Creating a group of custom audiences – there are several sources on the basis of which you can create a group of custom audiences (these include: instant experience, activity on the Facebook page, activity on Instagram, video views…). The following example shows how to create such a group based on activity on a contact form.

Business Settings > All tools (button) > Audiences > Create audience (drop-down menu > Custom audience).

Audiences in Meta Ads Business Settings

Custom Audiences in Meta Ads

source: Meta Ads Panel

Then select the Lead form option.

Custom Audiences Settings

source: Meta Ads Panel

In the panel, we select the type of activity related to the form we want to use. In the retention field, we enter the number of days (when, for example, we want to reach people who have submitted the aforementioned form in the last 60 days, we enter 60). Finally, we give the group a name and a short description so that it will be easier to recognize. We click create audience.

Custom Audiences Settings

source: Meta Ads Panel

Creating a group of lookalike audiences – at first, we make sure that we are the administrator of the pixel or page on the basis of which we will create a new audience group. When creating a group of lookalike audiences based on a group of custom audiences, we must be an administrator on the ad account.

Business Settings > All tools (button) > Audiences > Create audience (drop-down menu > Lookalike audience).

Audiences in Meta Ads Business Settings

Lookalike Audiences in Meta Ads

source: Meta Ads Panel

We choose the source (it can be a group of custom audiences, such as people who bought a product on the site) > We choose the locations where we want to collect the group > Using the slider, we set the percentage similarity of the new group to the source group (and thus its size – if our base group is small, it is recommended to increase the % similarity) > We click Create audience group.

Lookalike Audiences Settings

source: Meta Ads Panel

The forming of such a group usually takes from 6 to 24 hours. After that, the list of audiences is refreshed every 3-7 days or so. It is recommended to wait one day for the list to fill up before adding it to the campaign.

How to Target Ads to the Right Audience?

The key to achieving satisfactory results in campaigns is to choose the right target group, i.e. the audience of our advertisement. We are talking about the so-called ICP, meaning ideal customer persona.

The first step to creating an ideal audience may be to analyze data on existing customers (people who have bought our product or used our services). Analysis of such data helps not only to target ads, but also to optimize them later. For example, we can run ads on days when they are most popular (e.g., air them during the week and turn them off on weekends). Facebook also gives you the ability to select audiences by their location; even a breakdown by specific city districts is available. This is a big plus when, for example, we want to target ads to people near our stationary store. You should also choose the main goal of your Facebook activities – whether it is to increase traffic to your site, increase brand awareness or attract new customers. A key factor is also to choose the right budget for the campaign – it can’t be too small (because the ads won’t show their potential) or too large (so as not to unnecessarily spend money that won’t translate into profits for the company).

How to Improve Ad Targeting Performance Further?

  • Using the right amount of data

You should avoid creating audience groups if you do not have enough data. In the beginning, it is advisable to focus on gathering more information about potential customers – otherwise our advertising efforts based on audience groups may not yield satisfactory results.

  • Exclusion of specific audience groups

Excluding specific audience groups can work well for businesses selling more expensive products that people don’t buy very often. A company selling televisions can exclude from its audience a group of people who, from the level of advertising, have made a purchase in the last 90 days, for example. This will make it possible not to burn budgets by displaying ads to people who probably won’t use the proposed offer anytime soon anyway.

  • Targeting on specific devices

Facebook also has an option to display ads only on specific devices. We can choose in a campaign to display only on computers or on mobiles. This is especially helpful if, for example, we are advertising an application available only in the Play Store. Then we can display our ads only on mobiles with the Android operating system.

  • Very precise location

Precisely specifying the exact location where our ads will be displayed will especially work if we want to get people in the area to visit our store or restaurant, for example. The location can be determined by dropping a pin on the map, typing in a postal code or even giving an exact address. For each fixed location, you can set a radius within which the ad can be displayed.

Locations in Meta Ads

source: Meta Ads Panel

  • Targeting on video viewers

This option allows us to display ads to people who have already been exposed to our video ads in the past and have watched them, for example, 80% of the time. Reaching such people increases the chances that, as they are already familiar with the brand, they will more easily decide to purchase our products/use our services.

  • Wi-Fi enabled targeting

Targeting only users who are currently using Wi-Fi can also help increase the effectiveness of ads. This option is particularly useful if we display video or high-resolution graphic ads. Users using mobile data may be reluctant to click on them, fearing data consumption.

  • Targeting for life events

Thanks to information shared by users themselves, Facebook provides the opportunity to target ads to people in different life situations. This can be used to advertise wedding dresses/suits to users who have just gotten engaged, or to promote graduate studies to people who have already completed their bachelor’s, engineering or master’s degrees.

Summary

Facebook Ads provides us with many ad targeting options. They are a very useful tool in the daily work of marketers. Proper targeting is a chance to increase the click-through rate and lower the cost of conversion at the same time. However, it is important to remember that choosing a seemingly perfect target group does not necessarily guarantee us success. Despite the large amount of data, we can never 100% predict the actions of web users that our ads will reach.

We should also not forget that advertising on social media requires constant attention and adaptation to change. Once set up, campaigns will not work effectively forever. You need to regularly check them and optimize them if the situation demands it.

Sources:

https://www.kontentino.com/blog/facebook-ads-target-audiences/

https://www.facebook.com/business/help/633474486707199

Author
Author
Weronika Strzeżyk

Junior SEM Specialist

Author
Karolina Pyznar Delante
Author
Karolina Pyznar

SEM Specialist

A Management and Economics graduate. She started her adventure at Delante with an SEM internship in December 2021. She currently holds the position of SEM Specialist. Her special interest from the professional angle is Internet marketing, and she is no stranger to Google market changes. Privately, she enjoys traveling, sport, especially gym.

Author
Author
Weronika Strzeżyk

Junior SEM Specialist

Author
Karolina Pyznar Delante
Author
Karolina Pyznar

SEM Specialist

A Management and Economics graduate. She started her adventure at Delante with an SEM internship in December 2021. She currently holds the position of SEM Specialist. Her special interest from the professional angle is Internet marketing, and she is no stranger to Google market changes. Privately, she enjoys traveling, sport, especially gym.

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