Four Guidelines to Follow for a Well-Targeted Facebook Ad

Earlier this month, I talked about creating a compelling Facebook ad image for GIFTE’s blog (click here to check it out). But the marketing creative is only one part of the ad puzzle – if you don’t know how to target your ad correctly, then your ideal prospects will never see it! In this article, I break down the four main parts of Facebook ad targeting and give you guidelines for success in each.

Location and Demographics:

Defining demographics is the first step in the targeting process. Want to take families on dream Disney vacations? Try targeting women age 26 and up. Looking to connect lonely baby boomers through unforgettable travel experiences? Target single men and women age 50 and up. You can target by location, too, which would come in handy when, say, you’re advertising a travel-related event in your area.


This is when you put your sleuth’s hat on. If you’re looking to add more baby boomers to your email list who might want to take a river cruise through wine country, what do you think they’d be interested in? Wine, of course – but what else? Use Vanessa McGovern’s “common audience” tip: when flipping through magazines that target your ideal audience, say, Wine Spectator, look at the ads. Whoever advertises in that magazine shares a common audience with said magazine. So if you find ads for Montecristo Cigars and the Audi A3, then you can assume people who like fine wine also like fine cigars and high-end cars. Use this knowledge when targeting your Facebook ad. You can browse Facebook’s listed interests by category, or you can search interests. When you search “Audi A3,” everyone who has liked Facebook Pages related to the Audi A3 will come up.

Audience Reach:

Audience reach refers to how many people Facebook will serve up your ad to. For the most impact, Facebook recommends that your ad have an audience reach of at least 10,000. But if your audience reach is getting way too large (getting close to or surpassing the half million mark) that means it’s probably not targeted enough. See if you can narrow down interests or demographics to hone in on your ideal prospects.

Custom and Lookalike Audiences:

These are the ninja tricks of Facebook targeting. With FB Custom Audiences, you can upload your email list to Facebook and target an ad only to them. If you suspect that a large portion of your email list isn’t opening your emails, try a targeted FB ad to reach them in a different way. If you’ve got an email list chock full of your ideal prospects, try implementing a FB Lookalike Audience. Facebook will analyze your list and create an audience of folks who contain similar interests and attributes. You can also create a Lookalike Audience based on your Facebook Page Fans. Facebook has step-by-step directions on how to utilize the Lookalike Audience function; check it out here. Keep in mind, though, that your email list might shrink by quite a bit when you upload it to Facebook, since not everyone on your list will use FB, or they’ve signed up with a different email address.

Your assignment:

Next time you work on a FB ad, don’t gloss over the targeting section – getting your targeting right is crucial to your FB ad’s success. It might take a bit of practice, but if you implement the targeting tips and guidelines above, you’ll soon reap the benefits of a well-targeted ad.

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