There are millions of active users, who use Facebook at least once a day. From this large number of users, you need to choose the right people to target your ads. And targeting to right people plays an important role in Facebook ads. The performance of your ad largely depends on, whom you choose as the target audience.
In this blog post, I have tried to explain in detail about Facebook Audience Targeting to help you choose the right audience for your next ad on Facebook.
Let me consider Facebook users, and your customers, as two separate groups. Since there are more than 2 billion Facebook users, there is a high chance that many of your customers (or your client’s potential customers) might be using Facebook. Being a Facebook advertiser, or a business person, you need to find out, what number of your potential customers are using Facebook. Once you find this, you can advertise on Facebook, targeting these people, who can be your paying customer.
Finding your Potential Customers
So, how will you find & target your potential customer? Firstly, you need to understand the behavior of your customer, & you should also study the user persona. Facebook keeps track of its user’s activity, in the form of data, and categories them based on it.
For example, Facebook knows the pages you have liked, places you have visited based on your check-ins, your age, your native & current place, your education, your profession, & so on. This information of you is just the data to Facebook, based on which you receive relevant updates on your news feed.
A Facebook user’s news feed is customized based on his/her activity on its platform. So, Facebook users react to your ad & take action, only if they find it relevant & useful to them.
As shown above, this is what you need to find out: your potential customer who uses Facebook. After finding the target audience, whom you think can be your paying customer or your client’s paying customer, you can start placing ads on Facebook, which are shown to your selected target audience.
Understanding the Product/Service you are promoting
Let me explain this with an example.
You are helping a film producer who wants to promote his upcoming movie, & your goal is to get more bookings for the film. As a first step, you need to understand the product or service that you are promoting on Facebook. Here, the product is a movie. So, first, you need to find out the genre of the movie, its language, who are the main artists in the film, and the specialty of the movie, if any.
Let’s consider it is a thriller movie, & movie language is Hindi. Anushka Sharma is playing an important/lead role. And the movie is based on a true story. So, your target audience should have shown interest in thriller movies, Bollywood films, Anushka Sharma, & movies that are based on true stories. This makes up your target audience on Facebook, to whom you can show your ads. Refer below pic:
Broad & Precise Targeting
You can build your target group, based on many combinations. You can tell Facebook to target your ads to its users who have shown interest in thriller movies, or Bollywood films, or Anushka Sharma, or who have shown interest in movies based on real stories.
In this case, Facebook shows your ad to its users, whoever matches to at least one of these conditions. This is normally called as broad targeting. The second combination can be to show your ads to Facebook users who match all of those conditions, which is called as precise targeting.
You can also promote the movie to Facebook users who match to at least two of your conditions as shown in the below picture. If in case, the movie is being publicized as a thriller film, you can then make your ads to be shown to users who have shown interest in thriller films and also shown interest in Bollywood films, or Anushka Sharma, or true story based films. This way you can reach to a particular segment of Facebook users who you think is most likely to take action.
Creating audience group inside Ads Manager
The below screenshot, which is taken inside the ads manager’s account shows you how to choose the target audience. As a first step, you need to select a country or a particular place where need to show ads. In the next step, you need to select the age group. Since movies are watched by people of all age group you can have a wide range. (Zoom in to see clear picture)
In detailed targeting, you need to select the interest of your potential customers. Here I have selected ‘thriller movie’. You can observe the description that is given by Facebook, which says, “People who have expressed an interest, or like pages related to thriller films”. This is how Facebook categorizes the interest expressed by its users. The total number of people to whom your ads can be shown with this condition is around 14 million. In other words, it can be expressed as there are an approximate 14 million Facebook users in India in the age group of 18 to 60 who have expressed their interest in thriller movies.
If in case, you are promoting a product or service, which is related to college students, then you can select the age group from 18 to 25, or maybe 28, based on what product or service you are promoting. You can also choose the gender of your audience if it is applicable in your case. You can select only women as your target group when promoting products like Jewellery, women’s beauty & grooming products, or sarees. You are also free to select the language of your audience if it is applicable & if you feel it is right.
If I select Bollywood movies as an interest of Facebook users by keeping place & age group the same, then the potential reach is 97 million.
And there are around 26 million Facebook users in India, in the age group 18 to 60 who have shown interest in actress Anushka Sharma.
Narrowing Down the Target Audience: From Broad to Precise Targeting
Let me show you the audience size by choosing all the four interests.
If you refer to the below image, I have listed all the four interests. When you need to show your ads to people who match to at least any one of these interests, then the number of potential ‘reach’ just increased to 100 million. This is referred to as broad targeting which I mentioned earlier.
Now, I have combined two interests of Facebook users.
Here, you are asking Facebook to show your ads to people who match any of the two interests that are selected. The possible combinations are:
- Users who have shown interest in Bollywood films and actress Anushka Sharma (or)
- Users who have expressed their interest in thriller films and actress Anushka Sharma (or)
- Users who like thriller films and movies based on true stories and the last possibility is
- Users who have shown interest in Bollywood films and real stories.
With any of these conditions, the maximum number of users who can see the ad is around 23 million (please refer to the above screenshot).
Now, let me show you the next possible combination in Facebook audience targeting.
When you say you need to show your ad to people who have expressed their interest in three interests, the potential reach is reduced to 5.3 million users as seen in below screenshot.
We need to observe that by combining the user’s interest, the target group size is being reduced. And also, the probability of taking action on the ad shown is getting increased since these Facebook users have shown interest in all the three interest categories.
As a final step in narrowing the Facebook users and finding the right audience, you keep the condition that Facebook users should have expressed their interest in Bollywood films, actress Anushka Sharma, thriller films and movies based on true stories. Now, the potential reach is reduced to just 70,000. So, there are really high chances that Facebook users who see this ad, click on it & book the ticket, which is the goal of your ad.
Below representation gives you a quick recap. You have reduced the group of Facebook users from 100 million to just 70 thousand in these four steps.
Based on the goal of your promotion you need to decide the target group.
In this example, you wanted people to take action, which is booking a movie ticket. If the goal of your promotion is just to make the user visit your website, then it’s good to target a large group of users. Say, for example, a website has published an exclusive interview article with this movie team, and you need to get more readers for this article. In this case, you can target users who have shown interest in any two of these categories (thriller films/Bollywood + true story/Anushka Sharma).
The content of the advertisement should always create a desire in the viewer of your ad, your ad should also say why he or she should not miss the opportunity. This normally triggers them to take action.
Points to remember in Facebook audience targeting:
- Based on the goal of your advertisement, you need to decide the type of targeting. Whether to go for precise targeting or broad targeting.
- Choose whether to target men, women, or both of them, based on the product or service being promoted.
- Choose the right place to target your ads. If you want to promote a product that is mostly used by IT industry people, then it is good to select places like Bengaluru, Gurugram, Noida, and Hyderabad, rather than choosing any other cities.
- Select more suitable age group based on your product or service: Target age group varies for students, for people who just started earning, and who are married. Select the age group based on your product/service.
- Understand the product/service that you are promoting on Facebook. More you understand about the product/service, easier it is to find the target users on Facebook. Let’s say you need to promote shoes on Facebook. First, you need to understand whether it is formal shoes, sports shoes, or casual shoes. Let’s consider you find them as sports shoes. Then you need to know which sports shoe is it. Again, let us consider it is a running shoe. Get deeper and try to understand, whether it is for long distance running, jogging, to use inside a gym, or for running on the road. If you find the shoe is for running on roads, then you can show ads to Facebook users, who are interested in ‘marathon’. Try to get as many details as possible about the product or service, for which you are doing promotion. By doing so, you can precisely target Facebook users based on their interest. In this case, if you don’t know the exact application of the shoes you are promoting, you might end up showing the ad to a wrong set of Facebook users, which results in low performance of the ad.
I hope you have understood the concept of Facebook audience targeting i.e choosing the right audience for a Facebook advertisement. If you have any queries related to this topic, kindly ask them in the comments below.
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I’m a Facebook marketing consultant based out in Bengaluru. I help businesses to generate leads & sales using Facebook advertisement.