11 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Ads With Better Targeting
When was the last time that you searched for someone on Facebook and were shocked to discover that they didn’t have an account?
It’s probably been a while.
We’ve all had that happen, but it’s pretty rare. Nearly everyone is on Facebook nowadays.
With so many people in one place, Facebook presents a huge opportunity for businesses to reach out and connect with potential customers.
But unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy as it once was. You and I both know that the reach of organic content is decreasing.
Facebook changed their algorithm in January in a major way.
They made it so that people would see more personal content in their news feeds and less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and the media.
This is where Facebook Ads come in.
Paying for ads is becoming increasingly important if you want to reach your target audience.
But spending money doesn’t guarantee success. You could spend good money on Facebook Ads and still struggle to get results.
But if you’re going to invest in Facebook Ads, you want to make sure that you know what you’re doing. And a great place to start is your targeting.
That’s what I’ll talk about in this post.
I’m going to show you 21 ways to improve the performance of your Facebook Ads by simply fixing your targeting.
First, let’s talk about why targeting is so important and how it can dramatically affect the results of your ad campaign.
Targeting can make or break a campaign
Targeting the right people with the right message is the key to a successful ad campaign.
Customers at each stage of the funnel are looking for something different.
If you target someone in the “know” stage with a sales call to action, you will fail.
If you target someone in the “trust” stage with an informational message, you’ll still probably fail.
Targeting is not simply figuring out the general demographics of your audience.
If you get any of a wide variety of traits wrong, you won’t yield the results you want, no matter how amazing your ad looks.
If you send the perfect message to the wrong audience, they won’t click it.
Not only that, but Facebook’s Relevance Score has shown that the better you are at targeting the right ad message to the right audience, the lower your cost per click will be.
AdEspresso decided to test this measure.
They targeted two different audiences and ran the exact same ad to both of them.
The results were dramatic.
The one with better targeting had a lower cost per click and gained four times more clicks!
So here’s the takeaway for you:
Proper targeting will not only make your ads more successful, but it will also lower your overall cost of running them. This improves your ROI and boosts your bottom line.
Now, I’ll show you 21 ways to improve your targeting so you immediately see better results from your Facebook Ads.
1. Start with a combination of basic demographics
When you’re setting up an ad, the first thing Facebook will ask you to do is select the location, age, and gender of your target market.
Selecting only these three targeting options is a huge mistake. It will make your audience far too large.
That doesn’t mean that you should ignore them, though. Don’t be so focused on the advanced options that you skip past the basics.
Make sure you narrow down all three basic fields for every ad you create. This should be your first step for audience targeting.
Even if everyone from the ages of 18 to 65 could use your product, you shouldn’t try to speak to everyone with the same ad.
Every time you make your ad too broad, you set yourself up for failure.
2. Target your audience’s interests
Trying to target your ideal customer just based on demographics like age and gender isn’t going to cut it.
That’s why you need to be very specific with your targeting.
If your target audience is too large, your click-through-rate will be low, and your ads will fail.
The best way to narrow down your audience is by defining the interests of your ideal customer.
Make sure you narrow your focus as much as possible.
One of the best ways to do this is with the “but no one else would” trick
Type any possible interest into the search box and it will populate suggestions for you. This gives you a description of the interest and how many people on Facebook currently share it.
But selecting a single interest will still result in far too broad of a target group.
Over 850,000 people are interested in me alone. That may be flattering, but it isn’t useful as a target market. You need to either select multiple intersecting interests or combine this targeting with at least one of the other methods. Make sure your ad message suits the interests of the audience you’re trying to target.
3. Find people already looking to buy your product
Whether you find it creepy or not, Facebook can generally tell if you’ve been online searching to buy something.
If you sell a high-end product, this is an excellent way to target customers.
73% of consumers research a product online before purchasing.
The purchase consideration window is not very large though. For most products, you have a week or less from the time a customer starts shopping until they buy.
Even for products worth more than $500, 54% make their decision in less than a week.
By the time two weeks have passed, 75% of people have made their purchase.
Facebook can identify your ideal customers who are already in the looking-to-buy stage and instantly target your ad to them.
This means even if they haven’t heard of you yet and have only been researching on competitor sites, you have a chance to steal them away before they make up their mind.
Since most consumers make up their mind based on price, a targeted Facebook Ad offering a discount could be enough to persuade them to purchase from you over the competition.
4. Target people by their income level
Do you have a high-end product that is typically only bought by people making over $100,000 a year?
Is your ideal customer a broke college student?
If your service or product is targeted to people of a specific income level, then your ads should be targeted the same way.
Facebook allows you to target consumers through 30 different financial behaviors. This helps make sure that the people seeing your ad are the ones who will be able and willing to buy it.
Under the Demographics section, you can target by Income, Net Worth or even Liquid Assets.
How does Facebook know my income?
Well, it doesn’t. Not exactly.
They use a host of third-party data, combined with general demographic, household, and other information they have to come up with an approximation.
It won’t be perfect for every person, but it doesn’t have to be.
Targeting by income will still be massively more effective than trying to target everyone.
Imagine you’re selling engagement rings.
What’s more successful?
Creating one ad showing a mid-range ring and trying to connect with everyone looking to buy a ring?
Or targeting low-income men with your most affordable rings and targeting the most affluent guys with your largest, priciest diamonds?
With the first technique, you’re likely going to lose both audiences, even though they’re both in the market to buy an engagement ring.
5. Focus on where your audience works
Does your product or service appeal to people in a particular industry or occupation?
In the demographics section, you can narrow down your audience by work categories.
Aleja Seabron, Social Media Manager, agrees that proper planning, including knowing what your target audience does for a living is “by far the best thing you can do to ensure you are spending your ad dollars wisely.”
First, browse by demographics, and then select work.
Now you can search for a specific employer or job title or you can search by industry.
You’ll notice that the amount of people in each industry pops up on the side.
Most of these are way too large to be effective on their own.
There are almost 10 million business and finance professionals on Facebook.
That’s way too broad to be a good target market. Combine it with other options to improve your audience, or narrow it down by choosing specific job titles within the industry.
You can also target by office type. If you’re trying to reach startups or small business owners, this option can be very useful.
Here’s an example of an ad targeted to construction professionals:
6. Target home ownership
Facebook allows you to target people based on whether they own or rent their home.
Not only that, but you can narrow it down to whether they are a first-time home buyer or not.
You can find this under the demographics section. You can even choose home type. Why does this matter? This is obviously a great way to target ideal customers if you’re a realtor.
But what about the rest of us?
Well, knowing if someone is renting or owning can be useful for companies selling insurance, large appliances, home-care services, and a wide range of other things.
First-time home buyers are also likely to be shopping for everything that needs to go in that new home, from kitchenware to a living room set.
7. Group your audience by their level of education
Knowing the education level of your target market helps you customize everything from tone to the language of a campaign.
It’s also important if your product is suited for people with a certain level of education.
If you’re a school offering Master’s Degree programs, you want to target people who already have a Bachelor’s. Education is under the Demographics section. You can also narrow down by field of study, specific school attended, or undergrad years.
68% of all Facebook users have a college education.
If your ideal consumer has a secondary education, Facebook has a lot of potential for reaching them.
Just make sure you target your ads so you’re not wasting money showing them to the other 32% of the population who aren’t your ideal customers.
8. Target people with children
Under Demographics, you can choose to target people based on their parental status and the age of their child or children. These options are useful whether you’re selling kids’ products or services specifically for parents. This is also great for products and services that are meant to be time-savers or stress-relievers.
Parents are known to have larger budgets for many household items such as groceries.
Research shows that they also take their children’s interests into account when making the family or household purchases. This means, knowing what demographic their child fits into and targeting to the kid’s interests can improve ad results.
9. Search out people who love to travel
Facebook Ads gives you the ability to select your audience based on their travel behaviors.
You can select from any of the following options:
All frequent travelers
Frequent International Travelers
Returned from trip 1 week ago
Returned from trip 2 weeks ago
Used travel app (1 month)
Used travel app (2 weeks)
Of course, travel providers are the obvious choice for this. However, these can be useful in other industries too.
For example, consider the following:
People who are frequent travelers may be either well-off or in a job that requires travel
Business travelers are an ideal market if you have a B2B business
Commuters may be more interested in products that help pass the commute time, such as e-books and mobile apps
People who are currently traveling near you are the perfect audience if your product or service is directed at tourists
10. Focus on a good cause
Are you a non-profit organization?
Maybe you’re partnered with one or your business supports one.
If you have any affiliation with a charity, focusing on people who support it can be a smart advertising tactic. 60% of people are very conscious of the brands and businesses they buy from. Target people who are interested in the same causes that you support. You can find people who donate to or support charitable causes under the Behaviors section.
11. Target mobile phones
Under Behaviors, you can choose to target people based on which device they use to log into Facebook.
If your product or service is related to cell phones or tablets, particularly if it’s only supported on either Android or Apple, then this is a good way to narrow your audience.
People are very loyal to their phone brands and operating systems.
Over 90% of Android users are unlikely to switch to an iOS system.
This means if you’re selling an Android-related product, you should immediately exclude iOS users from your targeting.