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6 Powerful Ways To Target Specific Audiences On Facebook

Creating Facebook adverts can seem like a bit of a hit and hope process if you are unfamiliar with the advertising options that Facebook provides.  However with a little understanding of these options you will quickly realise the incredible potential Facebook has for helping you reach a specific audience.

This post will cover specifically the options for advert targeting with examples of how they could be applied in real life situations.  If you need an overview of the steps for creating a Facebook ad, visit our post on "Back To Basics: Creating Facebook Adverts"


Start With An Audience In Mind

Key to creating an effective targeted campaign is having a clear of why you want to reach the audience (i.e. a campaign objective) and a good understanding of who you are attempting to reach (i.e. a buyer persona).  


Defining Your Audience

Once you understand who you are attempting to reach you can begin to use Facebook's targeting options to define your ideal audience.

Selecting the characteristics of your audience is a powerful way of refining who on Facebook is shown your advert.  The more refined your audience is the better your relevance score and lower your cost per click will be.

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When selecting characteristics of your target audience your Definition scale will increase or decrease depending on whether you are including or excluding specific demographics.

These targeting options can be used in combination to create hypertargeted campaigns designed to reach niche audiences.


8 Ways To Target Specific Target Audiences

1. Custom Audiences

Custom audiences are a way of creating a target segment from an existing customer database, people who have visited your website or have interacted with your app.

Customer List:

Using an existing customer database you can connect with people via their Facebook feed  This method could be used for a campaign to engage people already familiar with your brand.   A useful application of this tactic would be to deliver an advert to a custom audience to test it's response based on shares and likes without the potential of email unsubscribes.  

Website Traffic:

Using a Custom Audience Pixel you can create a custom audience based on people who have visited pages on your website.  This custom audience can then be remarketed to via their Facebook feed with tailored adverts based on their browsing on your website.  

A useful application of this tactic would be to create custom audiences for traffic to specific pages on your website, like product pages, to then deliver a relevant ad to the customer's News Feed.  

App Activity:

Custom audiences can be created from people who have taken a specific action within your business's app, for instance target any person who has accessed your app or reached a certain level within a game.

The advantage of these custom audiences is that it is an opportunity to market to the customer when they have expressed an interest in your offer and therefore the ad is delivered to them in a way that is more likely to be well received.

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2. Lookalike Audiences

Similar to custom audiences, lookalike audiences can be created to target audiences that share interests with your existing followers.  This is a useful tactic for brands looking to expand their audience to new potential customers.  

Using your page as a reference point, Facebook will produce an audience that matches your current page audience.  Note that you can increase the potential audience size but doing so decreases the similarity to your existing audience.


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3. People With Related Interests

Using the Interests section of the ad creator can provide a highly targeted audience based on a current event.  For instance typing in 'Rugby World Cup 2015' will include people who have expressed interest in it.  This tactic could be used as a way of leveraging off a major event to reach a tailored audience.

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4. Location

For localised events or sales, limiting your audience to a highly targeted local audience will help ensure you reach the most relevant people and your ad spend is most cost effective.  

Last year Facebook created Local Awareness Ads designed to help businesses to attract more customers within a precise location.  While they have not yet been rolled out to New Zealand yet, keep an eye out for this powerful ad option.

5. Life Events

Using Facebook's user data to target an audience based on specific life events can provide options for creating a tailored ad campaign.   For instance an advert for wedding venues could be created to target 'Newly Engaged' people within a particular city.

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6. Other Demographics

As mentioned all of these options can be used in various combinations to increase or decrease the potential audience depending on how focused you are wanting to be.  

Facebook has included a variety of demographics including; relationship, work and education to help define your audience.  Key to taking advantage of this is making sure you have a clear objective for the campaign and a good understanding of who you are attempting to reach.