Understanding Facebook Targeting Options

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Facebook provides some of the most powerful targeting options that you can use to better target your audience so you can create more effective Facebook ads. Your ad is more likely to perform better if it’s displayed to the people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service. You can use these target options to answer specific and highly relevant questions such as:

  1. How many Facebook users near my business’s location are married, own a pet and are between the ages of 35 and 49?
  2. How many fans of my competitor’s Facebook Page live within 25 miles of my business?
  3. Which of my fans are also fans of my competitor’s Facebook Page?

The estimated audience size indicates the total number of people your ad has the opportunity of reaching if your bid price and budget are high enough.

The following list describes several target segment criteria you can use to create more granular ads for your audience on Facebook:

Location by Country and City

Facebook allows you to target broad or more specific geographic locations.  You can research a target audience based on where they live. You are allowed to select the location of people who can view your ads by country, state, town, city or postcode. This type of targeting is mostly valuable for most local brick-and-mortar businesses.

If most of your customers are within 10 miles or less to your store, then you’ll want to target the smallest geographic area possible within a 10-mile radius of your business.

When you target your ads to more specific groups of people, you’ll be able to customize your ad so it’s more personalized and appealing to the audience you are trying to reach. This reduces the number of wasted impressions, slashes your ad cost, and gets your ads in front of people who are more likely to visit your store and buy your products.

Even if you sell internationally, you should still use location targeting, because people do respond to a localized ad that lists the name of their city or town, especially when the ad features a local landmark.

For example, an ad with an image of a happy couple superimposed against the London Eye would do better in London than using a random image. Its all about appealing to local interests.

Age and Gender

What type of audience are you targeting? Are you looking for a particular age or gender? When a person first signs up on Facebook, he or she is required to enter her date of birth. This allows you to target people within a particular age range or are a specific age.

Note that if you are selling the same product or service to different segments or groups of people, you will need to market that product in a different way to those different groups of people.

For example, if you want to sell a vacuum cleaner to female consumers, you will need to create different ads for females aged 20-30 and those who are aged 31-40. This is because different features and benefits will appeal to those different age groups and the language you will use in each ad will need to be tailored to each segment of individuals.

It is also a great strategy to use, because it allows you to discover which age group best connects with your products and services. You can also target your audience according to gender. This is a great way to find out whether your ads convert better with with men or women, or whether they are evenly split.

Educational Level

You can target people based on what schools or colleges they went to, or on their level of education. For example, you can target people with a 1st Class or 2nd Class Upper degree, or an advanced diploma.

You can also get more specific and target “South Bank University engineering students who are graduating in 2016.” Select the four options in More Demographics, Education: You’ll see you can target specific schools, fields of study, education level, and undergrad years.


You can research a target audience based on what language they speak. Note that if you don’t make a language selection, the Ad tool automatically defaults to the official language of the country that the user is located in.

Relationship Status

This selection allows you to market to people within a selected target audience based on their relationship status.


Likes and Interests targeting allows advertisers to reach people based on the activities and interests they list in their Facebook profiles. This includes pages they have liked and mentions of favorite movie stars, books, movies, or TV shows, as well as political views, employers, and job titles.

This is where you can actually choose which Facebook pages you want to target. You can target the Facebook pages that have fans that would be aligned with your business as well. For example, if you are marketing a mobile phone package from Orange, you can choose to target customers of other phone networks.

You can target interests with keywords that match users’ interests based on what the user entered in their profile. Keywords that are suggested with a hashtag (#) before them, include closely related topics of interest.

Keywords that are suggested without a hashtag before them target only that specific topic of interest. For example, #squash might also target other ball sports such as lawn tennis, badminton and possibly table tennis. But squash will target only squash. If the keyword you enter isn’t identified in enough profiles, then it is not big enough to target.

You can use Graph Search to help you find out which Facebook pages you should target in interests. You can go into Graph Search, and find the ads that are resonating with your fans. That search will also help you figure out which Facebook pages you want to target with your ad.

So, not only can you target your own Facebook page, you can also target other Facebook pages that have fans that would be genuinely interested in what you’re promoting. When you find those pages, type the exact name of those pages into the interest section here. If it pops up, you click on it, and now your ad will be shown
to the fans of that Facebook page.


Behaviors are activities that people do on, or off of Facebook. These can be everything from ordering a magazine subscription, to spending an above average amount online. Behaviors are constructed from someone’s activity on Facebook, along with their offline activity.

And that offline activity data is provided by a variety of Facebook partners that will give you some powerful insights into your target audience so you know how best to create the most effective ads.

Following are the categories of behaviors that can be targeted:

  • Automotive (DLX Auto Powered by Polk)
  • Charitable Donations
  • Digital Activities
  • Financial
  • Mobile Device User
  • Purchase Behavior
  • Residential Profiles
  • Travel

Now, we’re still in the Add Create tool, but this time I’ve scrolled down just below Interests. Where we now have the option to add behaviors. You’ll enter behaviors just like interests. You can type to search or click to browse.

Sociographic Targeting

Facebook allows you to advertise to users based on whether they are already connected to your Facebook page, personal profile, group or event. This means you can choose to only advertise to people who are already connected to you in some way.

This increases the likelihood of a successful campaign since the people you are advertising to are already familiar with who your brand, and already engaged with your page. Those types of users are more likely to click on your ad.

You are provided the option of targeting people who are connected to your friends, as well as friends of people connected  to your fan page. The way this works is that if a connection endorses your ad, friends of that connection will see the ad with a personal recommendation that says “Tijay Odeseye like this

This ties in with the concept of social proof which postulates that a user is far more likely to purchase a product or subscribe to a service if other users (particularly those that they know) have actually used and endorsed the product or service.

You can target Facebook fans, event and group members, and app users in any of the following ways:

  • Anyone: This allows you to target anyone on Facebook regardless of their connection to a Page, Event, Group or app.
  • Only people connected to your Page: This targets people who are fans of your page. Use this option to notify your existing fans of something new. It will be very inexpensive to get this message in front of them. If you have 10,000 fans of your Facebook page, you can likely get your ad displayed 10 times to each of your existing customers for less than $100.
  • Only people who are not connected to your Page: This targets only people who are not fans of your Page. Use this option to reach people who are not already your fans. If you are just trying to add a fan or find a new lead, there is no need to advertise to people who already like you. When searching for new leads, use this option to exclude your fans.
  • Friends of fans of your Page, group, event or app. You can use this option to target people who are connected to your fans in some way, which is powerful because friends of friends are more likely to become fans themselves. This strategy is perfect for a local store. When you target “friend of the fans” of your page, prospects who see the ad also see the names of their friends who have liked the ad. Like all Facebook ads, when you specifically target friends, you can filter them further on location, psychographics, and demographics. Anyone who sees this new ad will have, by the very nature of the ad type, at least one friend who likes your business. If multiple friends like your business, they see multiple names. This gives you instant social credibility. Note that these are relatively expensive clicks.
  • Advanced connection targeting: This allows you to select a group, app, event or Page for which you are admin.

A Comprehensive Guide to Facebook Insights

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