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Target Audiences: Hitting The Bullseye With Facebook Ads

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What if I told you that you could reach your target audience with surgical precision and eliminate wasteful spending?

Following social media trends, costs continue to be on the rise.

In fact, so much of the fundamental success we have, as an eCommerce agency, is due to our ability to target exactly who we want to.

Even in the post-iOS, cookie-less era.

It really boils down to…

You guessed it!

Knowing who your audience is.

We’re talking deeper than you think.

  • What’s their favorite TV show?
  • What’s their favorite book?
  • Where do they spend their time?
  • Where do they spend their money?
  • Who do they listen to?
  • What keeps them up at night?

These are the basics you need to know in order to start understanding your audiences.

And now…

It’s time to buckle up and grab a snack because I’m about to spill the beans on the secret sauce.

And trust me

It’s finger-licking good.

The Secret Sauce to Facebook Ad Optimization

Facebook combines reach and precision in order to help you eliminate wasteful spending.

There are many advantages to working with Facebook to share your message with your target audience, including:

  • Unparalleled reach and engagement, which allows you to reach real people instead of proxies.
  • One of the largest sets of consumer data on the Internet.
  • Since Facebook’s targeting isn’t based solely on cookies, you can connect you with a person as they use different devices — from desktop to phone to tablet.

Unparalleled Reach and Engagement

target audiences

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about why Facebook is the holy grail of advertising platforms for DTC brands.

Facebook combines reach and engagement like peanut butter and jelly.

Giving you the power to target real people instead of lifeless proxies.

Did you know that Facebook and Instagram account for 22% of all time spent on mobile?

This accounts for 1 in 5 mobile minutes — that’s more time spent than the next 10 mobile platforms combined.

That’s more time than the next 10 mobile platforms combined!

For eCommerce marketing brands, this is what’s led to insane market growth over the last 10 years.

With Facebook, it’s not just about reach it’s also about engagement.

Your target market is practically living on these platforms, and all you need to do is knock on their virtual door.

How to Target Audiences with Facebook Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide
Mastering target audiences on Facebook ads can be a game-changer for your digital marketing strategy.

Follow this step-by-step guide to effectively target your desired audience on Facebook.
Step 1: Set up your Facebook Ads Manager account

If you haven’t already, sign up for a Facebook Ads Manager account. This is where you’ll manage and create your ad campaigns.

Step 2: Choose your objective and campaign

In Ads Manager, click “Create” to start a new campaign. Choose a campaign objective that aligns with your marketing goals, such as increasing brand awareness or driving website traffic.

Step 3: Define your target audience

In the “Ad Set” section of your campaign, you’ll have the opportunity to define your target audience. You can target audiences based on various parameters:

  • Location: Target users in specific cities, states, or zip codes.
  • Demographics: Target by age, gender, education level, relationship status, etc.
  • Interests: Target users based on their interests, Page likes, or app usage.
  • Behaviors: Target users based on their digital activities, past purchases, or travel habits.
  • Connections: Target people who have liked your Page or their friends.
Step 4: Set your budget and schedule

Determine the budget you want to allocate to your campaign and choose a daily or lifetime budget. Also, set a start and end date for your campaign.

Step 5: Create your ad

Design your ad by selecting a format, such as a single image, video, or carousel. Write compelling ad copy and include a clear call-to-action (CTA). Make sure your ad is visually appealing and relevant to your target audience.

Step 6: Review and launch your campaign

Before launching your campaign, review your targeting settings, budget, and ad creative. Once you’re satisfied, click “Submit” to launch your campaign.

Step 7: Monitor and optimize your ads

Keep an eye on your campaign’s performance in Ads Manager. Analyze key metrics like click-through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC), and conversion rate. Make necessary adjustments to improve your ads’ performance and achieve better results.

You may need to test different targeting parameters, ad creatives, or budgets to find the winning combination.


The Art of Cross Device Targeting

Precision targeting on Facebook is like playing darts with a laser-guided system.

You can zero in on the most granular details, but beware of going too precise.

You want to strike the perfect balance between a broad and narrow audience to avoid limiting your campaign’s impact.

Say you had a product or business that was perfect for anyone in at least one of the following categories:

  • Students in Austin, TX
  • People in a relationship with at least two children
  • People who have at least two credit cards

Being too precise with your targeting can limit the impact of your campaign.

Try widening your location and/or age targeting.

Compile a large enough starting user set to avoid a smaller cumulative total than you want.

What would a strategy with precision and scale look like?

Remember, when developing a targeting strategy, you want to reach a precise audience and do it at scale.

The result is what happens when the precision in the previous example is combined with the scale of the initial males 18+ criteria.

Facebook is unique in that it gives you the best of both worlds by offering you reach on an unprecedented scale, with precision at the most micro levels.

Why else is Facebook unique?

In the online environment, not all audiences are created equal.

Reaching your targets can be difficult since most digital channels reach browsers and not real people.

Which leads to wasted impressions on people outside your core customer base.

This gets more complicated when reaching consumers across devices because many channels can’t match behavior on desktop with behavior on mobile.

On Facebook, people are identifiable on both desktop and mobile devices.

This enables you to reach people wherever they are.

This addressability plays a beneficial role, as only a few digital publishers have a relationship with consumers that offers a persistent connection to their audience.

On Facebook, who you are and what you represent is on your profile, and that’s incredibly powerful…

Especially when people’s authentic selves are represented across devices.


Now, you might be wondering how to achieve the perfect blend of scale and precision.

The secret lies in combining specific targeting criteria with broader parameters.

By doing this, you can leverage Facebook’s unparalleled scale while still maintaining a laser focus on your audience.

Facebook Audiences: Types of Target Audiences

One of the reasons Facebook stands out in the crowded world of digital advertising is its ability to reach people across devices.

Traditional digital channels often struggle to match user behavior on desktop and mobile, leading to wasted impressions and missed opportunities.

However, Facebook’s cross-device targeting allows you to reach your core audience wherever they may be.

But that’s not all.

3 Kinds of Target Audiences

Facebook has a treasure trove of user data at its fingertips, enabling you to create three distinct audience types:

These powerful targeting tools draw from Facebook’s vast reservoir of first-party and third-party data.

This will help you build a standard audiences for your eCommerce sales funnel.

Core Audiences are pulled from data related to demographics: geographic demographics, lifestyle/life stage demographics, purchase-based demographics, etc.

This data is pulled from the information you share in your profile and the behaviors you exhibit on our platform.

Because Facebook is where people go to share information about themselves, we have a ton of native information about people that can be used for targeting.

Facebook Audiences – The Heart of Your Campaign

Target Audiences are the foundation of your Facebook ad campaigns.

And they’re built using demographic, geographic, and behavioral data.

By harnessing the power of this information, you can target audiences with uncanny accuracy.

Ensuring your ads reach the right people at the right time.

Now, let’s dive deeper into how you can use Core Audiences to fine-tune your targeting and achieve maximum impact.

target market

Target MARKET by Location

Whether you’re selling artisanal cupcakes in Brooklyn or eco-friendly surfboards in California, you need to target the right locations.

Start by selecting the cities, states, and zip codes that are relevant to your business or product.


You can target up to 25 countries and even exclude specific areas if needed.

Target Audience: Location
Say, for example, you had a product that you wanted to market in the United States (330+ million people).

Target by Demographics

Next up, select the demographic parameters that are most relevant to your product or service.

You can target audiences by age range, gender, education level, relationship status, and even life events.

Want to target people celebrating their birthdays?

Target Audience: Age
Now, let’s say you wanted to target people between the ages of 18–64 (1+ billion people).

Target by Interests

Let’s get personal.

You can target users based on their interests, which include their Facebook Page likes, keywords, and even the apps they use.

Browse through Facebook’s extensive list of categories, sub-categories, and attributes to find the perfect match for your ad.

Target Audience: Interests
And you also want to target people who are interested in the Norwegian Olympic curling team’s pants.

Target by Behaviors

Why stop at interests when you can also target people based on their digital activities, devices used, past or intended purchases, and travel habits?

By connecting through online and offline activity, you can tap into valuable third-party data and create an even more comprehensive Core Audience.

Target Audience: Behaviors
Add to it, your audience naturally exhibits a high aptitude for ‘Shopping‘, or as they’re called: “Engaged Shoppers“.

Target by Connections

Last but not least, you can target people who are already connected with you on Facebook, such as those who have liked your Page or their friends.

By nurturing these existing connections, you can build brand loyalty and turn your followers into customers.

Target Audience: Connections
With Facebook Audiences, you’re able to also connect with those who have previously connected with or follow your posts / pages.

Types of Target Options

Let’s start identifying targets. Here are the key components of your Core Audience.

Reach people in cities, countries, and communities where you want to do business.

Show your ads to people who are near your business

  • Up to 25 countries
  • Drill down by states, cities, and ZIP codes
  • Options to exclude are also available

Select the target demographic of those who will find your ad relevant.

  • Age range, from 13 to XXX
  • Target by women, men, or “all”
  • Birthday targeting
  • Education targeting
ad optimization

Options to select audience segments related to categories such as relationships, education, finances, and life events

This can include interests from timelines, as well as Page Likes, keywords or apps.

Choose from an easy-to-navigate list of categories, sub-categories, and millions of additional attributes to get suggestions at your disposal

Target based on digital activities, devices used, past or intended purchases, and travel.

Connect through online and offline activity
Tap into data from trusted third-party partners.

Reach people who are already connected with you on Facebook (i.e. have already liked your Page).

Connect with friends of connections.

Test, Optimize, and Scale

Now that you’ve unlocked the secrets to targeting your core audience with Facebook ads, it’s time to put these strategies to the test.

Experiment with different social media content like:

  • Ad structures
  • Images
  • Copy
  • Audience segments
  • Competitor connections

To see which combinations yield the best results.

cross device targeting

Keep a close eye on your campaigns and be prepared to make adjustments as needed.

Identify the ads that resonate with your audience and scale them up, while eliminating those that fall flat.

See which audiences respond well to your ads, and scale the ones that work.

Shred the ones that don’t.

By continuously refining your approach, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Facebook advertising maestro.

Create a Core Audience

By following these steps, you’ll be able to go directly to Facebook and begin to target relevant areas.

  1. Go to the Audience section of your Facebook Page.
  2. The Location section will help you get your ad to the people who live in the areas relevant to your business or product.
  3. Enter the cities, states, and zip code that you would like to target.
  4. In the Interests section, you can reach people based on the information they share on Facebook.
  5. In the Behaviors section, you can reach people based on other interests. For example, how they shop, what type of device they use, etc.
  6. You may notice that some ad targeting options in the More Demographics, Behaviors and More Categories sections are labeled Partner Categories. Here is where you can target people based on things they do off of Facebook, like purchasing a new truck.
  7. In the Connection section, you’ll be able to target people who already like your page, their friends, or people who aren’t connected to your business.

Putting It All Together – Creating Your Core Audience

Once you’ve identified your target parameters, it’s time to create your Core Audience.

Head to the Audience section of your Facebook Page and start customizing your ad targeting based on the strategies we’ve discussed.

Remember, you can also use Partner Categories to target people based on their offline behavior, like purchasing a new truck.

Partner Categories

Another aspect of Core Audiences is called Partner Categories, which are powered by offline data from trusted third parties.

There are targetable audiences that are “on the shelf” and available to all marketers in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, and Brazil.

These syndicated segments cover hundreds of topics, verticals, and products.

The quality is maintained by machine-learning algorithms to understand how topics are related and are validated through CTR measurement and user surveys.

ad optimization

Facebook’s latest update made partner categories obsolete

Well, not in the way you think.

Yes, they did remove the option of using 3rd party platforms for audience data.

BUT, they really just moved it in-house.

facebook audiences

The reason was because they were paying a hefty 15% of spend to these platforms.

Thus why ‘User Privacy‘ has meant so much to them…

As in, they made a big fuss in order to not have to pay the 15% and move everything to their own internal servers.

These are still options you’re able to use, just have to get creative about their use.

Effective Ads Await

There you have it – a comprehensive guide to targeting core audiences with Facebook ads that are as hilarious as they are effective.

Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to conquer the world of digital marketing and create ad campaigns that will leave your competitors green with envy.

So go forth, embrace your inner advertising guru, and let your content promotions ensue!

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Sam sprague
Sam Sprague

Founder @ Sprague Media.
I'm the one who comes up with all this snarky & cynical Marketing nonsense ;)
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