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Facebook Ad Targeting: Get Your Ads in Front of the Right Audience

It’s happened to everyone – you’re scrolling through Facebook, and all of a sudden, an ad pops up for something that you were just looking at earlier in the day. Witchcraft, right? Not exactly – you’ve just become a part of a targeted Facebook ad. 

Facebook ad targeting is the practice of displaying your ads to specific audience segments in your social media marketing efforts. 

Why You Should Be Using Facebook Ad Targeting 

Is Facebook ad targeting really beneficial to your company? The answer is yes, actually. Using targeted Facebook ads can have a lot of benefits for your business by making your social media marketing efforts impactful and efficient. 

Practice Inbound Tactics

First of all, Facebook ad targeting follows the impactful and effective pathway of inbound marketing tactics by allowing you to deliver relevant content to the right people at the right time.

Think of it as an outbound marketing campaign with an inbound twist. You’re simply placing content in front of an interested audience, subtly beckoning them to click on your ad. 

Cut Costs




Digital advertising can get expensive. And if not done efficiently, it can quickly drain your pockets with very little return on interest. But targeted Facebook ads are cheaper than traditional advertising, and they generate a greater ROI.

Bring in New Traffic

Targeted ads on Facebook can drive high value, relevant traffic to your website, which can boost brand awareness for your company. 

Additionally, reaching a Facebook target audience is more likely to generate quality leads by bringing in traffic who find your products or services relevant and are interested in making a purchase. And in addition to new leads, you know what all that traffic will do for you website? Boost its SEO! 

Track Analytics

One of the great things about running targeted ad campaigns on Facebook is that you can track and analyze data based on the success of the campaign.

Keep tabs on impressions and active engagement, as well as the demographics of your reach. Analyzing this data will allow you to develop more effective campaigns for the future. 

Explore New Markets

Finally, thanks to the relatively cheap sticker price for Facebook advertising, trying out this marketing avenue allows you to explore new audience markets with very little financial risk.

If your campaign misses the mark, you learned that you need to adjust how you approach new audiences. That small loss gives you valuable insights for future campaigns. 

What Makes a Good Facebook Ad? 

There are a number of key elements necessary for creating a strong Facebook ad. In order to produce a truly impactful and efficient ad, you should make sure to incorporate all of these factors in your ad planning and creation process. 

A Clear, Relevant Offer

Your ad should be as clear as possible, so visitors know exactly what they’re getting when they click on it. With that in mind, make sure that the offer matches up with what the ad is promising. 

For example, an ad about yoga classes should not link back to a webpage about diet fads – while the two topics are both related to health, they’re not directly relevant to each other. Your audience clicked on your ad because they were interested in taking a yoga class – not cutting out carbs. 

Strong Copy

This plays into the previous point because strong copy is necessary for being clear in your messaging. But to develop this point further – your messaging should include enticing, action-oriented words to draw your visitors in and prompt them to click on your ad. 




A strong CTA can make all the difference when it comes to whether or not users click on your ad. 


In order to stand out from the crowd of ads on Facebook, you’ll need to tap into your creative side to design a campaign that really pops.

You should use engaging visual elements and on-theme brand styles to attract the attention of your audience. Otherwise, your ad is quickly scrolled past and ignored. 

Audience Targeting

In order for your ad to be effective, you need to know the specific audience you’re looking to target and what you’re hoping to achieve overall. You can market to either small, specific groups of people or a wide-set range. 

There are various criteria that you can use to define a target audience, and establishing these elements will help you grasp a better understanding of who you’re hoping to reach with your campaign. 

Facebook Targeting Ad Options 

There are several criteria you can establish to define your Facebook target audience for your ad campaign. These include elements like:


Understanding the age range that you’re marketing to is a pretty important first step when planning out your ad campaign. If you’re looking to market to middle aged adults, having your ad appear for teenagers likely won’t bring you your desired results. 


Is your ad going to be targeted toward women, men, or all genders? This plays a significant role in visual elements and messaging of your campaign. 


Location is another big factor to consider. Does your target audience reside in a specific location? You can go as wide as simply selecting the ‘worldwide’ setting, or you can narrow it down by country, state, city, province, or zip code. 


You can include or exclude specific groups of people from your targeted audience based on whether or not they’re already connected to your Facebook page or group. 

Detailed Targeting

Detailed targeting allows you to include or exclude people based on specific details, such as core demographics, their selected interests, or behavior trends. This particular element allows you to reach a more relevant target audience. 

For example, the camera equipment company Nikon would likely choose to select people who have indicated “photography” as one of their interests on their profile. 

You can mix and match all of these elements to create a highly specific, narrowly targeted audience for your advertisement to be placed in front of. This will allow you to get the greatest ROI out of your ad because it will be exclusively presented to people who find relevant value in it. 

The Impacts of Targeting Specifically vs. Targeting Broadly

When it comes to your Facebook ad campaign, you can choose whether you want to cast a wide net to reach a lot of people, or whether you want to focus on a small, specific niche. 

Both options are viable pathways for your targeted Facebook ad campaigns, and they come with a different set of benefits. Just make sure you do your research when determining which choice is the better fit for what you’re hoping to achieve. 

Targeting Specifically




When you choose to target specifically, you establish a strict set of parameters by which your audience will be found. With this option, you have a smaller potential reach, but your ad will be highly relevant to the people who see it. 

This avenue is more costly because you’re targeting valuable, higher potential prospects. 

Targeting Broadly

When you choose to target broadly, you rely on Facebook’s auto-placement delivery system to find the best people to show your ad to. The parameters by which your audience is chosen are much looser, so you reach a wider group of people. 

If you’re not sure who exactly you want to target, or you want to reach a few different groups of people with your ad, this might be the best option for your campaign. 

Types of Facebook Target Audiences 

There are three primary kinds of Facebook audiences by which you can define the reach of your campaign – Saved, Custom, and Lookalike audiences. It’s important to look into each to determine the best pathway for achieving your goals. 

Saved Audience

You define a saved audience by choosing people’s behaviors, interests, location, age, gender, income, device use, income, and more. Creating a saved audience using these elements allows you to target a very specific group of people to place your ad in front of. 

Saved audiences allow you to reach new groups of people who may have never had any previous interactions with your brand before. 

Custom Audience

Custom audiences allow you to retarget people who have already engaged with your brand and may have even made a purchase. There are a few different ways for you to create a custom audience, based upon factors like customer files, website traffic, and app activity.

Customer Files

When you create a custom audience based on customer files, you’re building this group using existing customer information, such as email addresses, phone number, and other related data. 

You can choose up to 15 identifiers for this particular option, and it allows you to target existing customers to re-engage them with your brand and foster loyalty. 

Website Traffic

Creating a custom audience based on website traffic allows you to target people who have visited your website but may not have necessarily made a purchase. It’s a good approach to giving people a nudge to make that next step, as they’ve already shown interested in your brand by visiting your site. 

There are a number of different ways to define this audience. Target options include: 

  • People who have visited your site.
  • People who have visited specific webpages on your site.
  • People who have visited some pages, but not others.
  • People who have not visited your site for a specific amount of time.
  • A custom combination of these options.

App Activity

If your company has an iOS or Android app, then you can set up a custom audience to target people who have engaged with it on their mobile devices.

You can define parameters by those who have taken specific actions in your app, such as making an in-app purchase. You can also establish specific timeframes for these actions, such as “within the last 30 days.”


You’re also able to create custom audiences based upon whether or not people have engaged with your Facebook content. 

You can target users based on whether they have:

  • Visited your Facebook page.
  • Engaged with your Facebook page posts or ads.
  • Clicked on call-to-action buttons.
  • Sent a message to your page.
  • Saved your page or posts.

Lookalike Audience

Lookalike audiences allow you to target people who are similar to that of your existing customer base. Targeting this group of people can be highly beneficial, as there’s a good possibility that they will convert into active customers as well.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Targeted Facebook Audience For Your Ad

Now that you know the benefits of creating targeted Facebook ads for your marketing strategy, let’s run through a step by step example of how to set one up!

The First Steps

1. Navigate to Ad Manager.

It's important to know that there are two different places in which you can create a Facebook ad audience – through your Facebook business page and through Facebook ads manager. In order to create one of the three primary types of audiences, you'll need to do this through the Facebook ads manager tool. 


2. Navigate to 'Audience.'

In the top left corner, click on the menu icon next to "Facebook Ads" and select the "Audiences" option in the "Assets" column. 


This will direct you to the audience page, where you'll be presented with the three kinds you can create. 


3. Choose an Audience Type

Now that you're on the audience page, you'll need to choose which type is the best fit for your ad campaign. Let's run you through how the set up works for each kind. 

Custom Audience

If you choose to create a custom audience, this options box will pop up. 


As discussed above, you can create a custom audience based on a number of different elements, whether it be website traffic, app activity, or an existing customer list. 

Lookalike Audience

If you choose to create a Lookalike audience, a window with very different options pops up. 


Here, you can use an existing source of create a new source from which to base your lookalike audience off of. 

You can also determine your audience's location, and define how closely you want the lookalike audience to resemble your existing audience. 

Saved Audience

Finally, if you choose to create a saved audience, you'll be presented with a box that includes all the options by which you can define your targeted group, including age range, geographic location, gender, and language. It also includes the options for detailed targeting, such as interests, behaviors, and further demographics. 



On the right hand side, you'll notice the potential reach that Facebook has calculated for your campaign, based on the audience parameters you set. 

Target Your Ads to Reach Your Goals

Tons of companies utilize Facebook advertising for their marketing campaign, but far too often, they don't achieve the results they were hoping for.

And the primary reason for this? They're not utilizing the targeted audience tool for Facebook ads, so their campaigns aren't ending up in front of the right people. 

If you're going to use Facebook ads as a part of your social media marketing strategy (and we recommend you do), make sure you use targeted Facebook audiences to drive engagement with your ads and hit your business goals. 


Claire Cortese

Claire Cortese

I am a content creator here at Bluleadz. In my free time, I enjoy hugging dogs, watching reruns of The Office, and getting sunburnt at the beach.