Master Your Facebook Ad Targeting

Facebook Ad targeting got you like, “whaaaat?”  

You’re not alone, friend.  Finding the right people to shower your content with can be harder than it sounds.

That's why I'm going to help you break the code. 

Whether you don’t know where to start or you haven’t found exactly the right targeting yet, I’m going to show you how to find the best ones specific to your business.

getting started with targeting

If you’ve ever poked around inside Facebook Ad targeting, you’ve probably noticed a bunch of different categories you can choose from.

Here’s a list and description straight from Facebook:

facebook ad detailed targeting jackie ellis marketing

In addition, you can target audiences which you create yourself:

  • Custom Audiences - examples: website traffic, email lists, purchasers

  • Lookalike Audiences - match qualities/characteristics of your custom audiences

(Custom + Lookalike Audiences are a whole other beast that I'll be covering in a future blog post)


Detailed Targeting

Detailed Targeting is the most basic of all the targeting types.

It's basically Demographics, Interests + Behaviors grouped together.  This is what detailed targeting looks like when you're creating an ad: 

Screen Shot 2018-01-07 at 3.12.24 PM.png

PRO TIP: When you click "Browse," the main categories pop up.  You can click on the options to further break down the categories.  This is called "broad targeting" and you should avoid using it when possible.  Instead, use the search box to search exactly the term you’re looking for.  


Let’s take a closer look at 3 of the targeting categories:

Demographics, Interest + Behaviors

When you target people based on any of these 3 categories, most likely you are gonna get a “cold” audience, or people that don't know squat about you (like my fit pro joke there - squat...get it?).

And that might be ok...sometimes.  For example, if you’re trying to create more brand awareness, targeting people who don’t know you (cold targets) is a smart.  And if you’re trying to build audiences or grow your list, you might have luck with these cold audiences...if you have good targeting. do you get good targeting?

Well, you gotta know your clients well.  Know what they like. What they're into.  Know their behaviors on Facebook (don't worry, I'll get to that).  

This is more than just defining your avatar.  (If you already pulled out your avatar's traits, stop right there...)

Your avatar might not be that useful on Facebook.  It depends on how you describe them.


Take a look at this example:

Let’s say you’re a cycle studio. And you want to attract Moms after they drop their kids at school. So you start listing things you know about the moms who come to your studio:

  • Average age 32

  • Has kids (duh)

  • Wears Lululemon

  • Drinks lots of coffee :)

  • Drives a minivan or SUV

  • Shops at Whole Foods

But guess what. If you used those characteristics as targets on Facebook, you’d get a whole slew of people who didn’t match your avatar at all.  Why? Well, let’s think about this.

Moms = all moms, probably of all ages, whether interested in working out or not

Lululemon = most women wear athleisure these days for day-to-day wear, not just for working out.

Coffee (or Starbucks) = just about anyone

Drives a minivan or SUV = might be too broad, would probably include a lot of moms, but again no guarantee that they have an interest in working out

Shops at Whole Foods = will probably include women who are already into healthy living,* but not necessarily working out

*One thing to consider when choosing your targets: are you trying to attract people who are already active and fit or people who are looking to change to a healthier lifestyle? That makes a big difference in the targets that you choose.


So do you see how each target could be too broad for your targeting? Nany different people would fall into each category, not just your avatar.  TONS of people like Whole Foods or drive minivans and SUVs.  Not just Moms who cycle.  Follow me?


On Facebook, there’s a better way to find your perfect targeting.

Ok, it's the part you've been waiting for.  How to fine-tune your targeting so that it's perfect for YOUR business.

Guess what -  it all has to do with what your clients LIKE ON FACEBOOK.

Think about your favorite client or customer.  The one that perfectly embodies what you do.  They fit in perfectly and they always buy what you have to sell.  Yes, that person.


How to research your clients' "Likes:"

  1. Go to Facebook and search your client's name.

  2. Go to their profile and click on the tab "About.”

  3. Scroll down and you'll find several categories breaking down the things they LIKE on Facebook.

  4. Poke around and make a note of some relevant pages that they like.

  • Now choose another client or customer and do the same.

  • Repeat this 5-10 times if you can.

  • And notice if there are any overlapping interests. What “likes” do these ideal clients have in common?

  • Make a list.

Now you have your own list of targets to to test for your ads.

If you're a local business, don't forget that you'll want to add in your geographic location and specify men, women or both to further narrow down your audience.

Now get out there are take some action!

To more clicks, clients + IMPACT,



Got questions or need help? Leave a comment below.

Jackie EllisComment