• Serena Trinh

How to Target Audience on Facebook Ads

When advertising on social media, you are taking advantage of approaching billions of users. Although social media is a plentiful source of audience, not every user on social media is your target customer. Depending on your marketing goals and budgets, you can filter who you want to show your ads to.


Facebook provides advertisers exceptionally targeting features to let them use the marketing money effectively. With Ads Manager, you can target audiences with numerous targeting parameters.


Facebook is powerful because they only show ads to people who are most likely to find your ads relevant. To achieve that, you should identify your audience correctly. To define your audience on Facebook Ads campaign, there are 3 ways you can do within Facebook Ad manager: Core Audience, Custom Audience, and Lookalike Audience.


Core Audience


Core Audience is a set of rules you define to tell Facebook the characteristics of your potential audience. This is the easiest and useful targeting feature to broaden your audience.


Core Audience allows you to reach people based on five main criterias:


1. Location


You can reach people in specific suburbs, cities or countries who are locals, travellers, or new residences.

Choosing the right type of residence is practical in Facebook Ads. For example, if you are running a souvenir shop in Melbourne, you might want to show your ads to people who are travellers in Melbourne.


Within location, you have the option of excluding showing your ads to the people living in a specific location. For example, if you want to target people living in Australia, except for Melbourne; you can target Australia location and exclude Melbourne.


2. Demographic


Audiences can be filtered by age, gender, and languages. These are just the three basics. In addition, you get it more detailed by defining education, relationship, parents, ect.


3. Interests


People with different interests and hobbies react differently to your ads. Thus, you should gather people who have their interests related to your products or services. For example, you don’t want to target people who like games to show your ad about facial skincares. This doesn’t mean people like games don’t use skincare, but the better option here is to target people having interest in beauty.

Remember to add more than one interest to make your reach broader.


4. Behaviour


Behaviour is important in certain cases. This gives you more options to define the audience. One powerful category is device usage. If you are running an ad to promote your mobile app, you might want to target mobile users only.

5. Connections


Another targeting option is people who are connected to your Facebook Page or event. Targeting people who already know you give you higher chance to get the deals.

In some cases, you might want to exclude people who like your page because you want to find new customers.

In general, core audience works best when you don’t have a database about your potential customer and you want to expand your reach. This type of targeting requires you to have a comprehensive look at the characteristics of your potential audience.


It sounds easy but it’s not. If you target too widely, you are wasting your money on irrelevant people. If you target too specific, you are missing the opportunities to reach more people.


The recommendation here is that you should understand your wanted audience first. It won’t hurt to test on different audience pools, but you should keep your eyes on the test to get the insights.

In addition, core audience can be saved to your Facebook Business Manager for future use. There is a summary of your saved audience and the potential reach, you can modify your audience by editing them within Facebook Business Manager > Audience.


Custom Audience


Custom Audience is used to reach people who already know your business. This is the most high-value targeting feature which allows you to retarget people who previously visited and interacted within your website or app. Therefore, this increases the conversion rates and decreases the marketing expense.

As a custom audience targets the people who already know you. You need the data of these visitors. There are two sources of audience you can use in creating custom audiences: your source and Facebook source.


1. Use Facebook Sources


Facebook Page: people who followed or interacted with your page. You can define different types of interaction and the number of days.

Events: people who interact with your event on Facebook. Similar to Facebook Page, you can define the types of interaction on events and number of days.

Instagram business profile: people who visited or interacted with your business profile or ads on Instagram.

Video: people who watched at least one video on your Facebook or Instagram.

Lead form: people who opened or completed your form in your lead generation ads on Facebook or Instagram.

Instant experience: people who opened your instant experience on Facebook or Instagram.


2. Use Your Sources


Website: people who visited or interacted on your website. For example, you want to show your ads to visitors who abandoned their shopping cart to remind them to finish their purchase.

To get the information from the website, you will need to install Facebook Pixel on your website. The information collected by Facebook Pixel is hashed securely on your browser and never be shared with other parties unless you give them access. Facebook uses this information to match people who visit your website with people on Facebook, then show your ads to these people.


Facebook Pixel collects user interactions by predefined events. These events are added during Facebook Pixel installation and help you create the custom audience. For example, you want to target people who click to product pages, then the event “page visited” will collect information about those visitors.


App Activity: Similar to the website, you need to register your app and set up app events to let the app track user interactions. To create a custom audience, you can target people who took specific actions (events) in your app and select the timeframe for these events.


Customer list: custom audience can be created based on your existing customer files. You can upload the information you have about your audience to Facebook, CRM for instance. This information is hashed into anonymised code before it is reaching Facebook.


Customer list includes many identifiers, but there are some main identifiers you must provide and additional identifiers to add more value.


Offline Activity: people who interacted with your business in-store, over the phone or other offline channels. You will need to create an offline event set and upload your offline event data. Facebook will match the event set to offline data.


Lookalike Audience


Lookalike Audience is an effective way to reach more people who are likely to respond to your ads.


Lookalike audience is created by matching Facebook users with the characteristics you want to target. When you provide Facebook the characteristics of your seed audience, Facebook will scan their billions of users and find the best match for you. For example, you want to show your ads to the audience who have common interests and traits with your website visitors who view your product pages, you can create a lookalike audience.

Lookalike audience requires a source audience. The source audience can be your custom audience or source from your Facebook page.


Having a source audience, you can choose locations and audience size. The higher the audience size is, the higher number of potential audiences you could reach.


Targeting audiences in Facebook Ads isn’t easy and it's impossible to target correctly at the first try. In fact, you can test several audience pools to find out which audience pools convert more effectively. After having the right targeted audience, you can start investing more money on social media marketing efforts.


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