Which group of people should you target with your Meta ads? Targeting could be the difference between your ads succeeding and failing.
Of course, you can overthink this, too. You can spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect This is the group of people who can potentially see your ads. You help influence this by adjusting age, gender, location, detailed targeting (interests and behaviors), custom audiences, and more. More when, in reality, it may have been best to go as broad as possible.
You have a whole bunch of options available to you. Consider this your home base for all things targeting. Let’s walk through every possible lever you can pull to impact the people you Reach measures the number of Accounts Center Accounts (formerly users) that saw your ads at least once. You can have one account reached with multiple impressions. More with your ads…
Before we dig into the details of targeting, it’s important to note that you may not need anything that follows below. Due to advancements in machine learning and The Performance Goal is chosen within the ad set and determines optimization and delivery. How you optimize impacts who sees your ad. Meta will show your ad to people most likely to perform your desired action. More, many advertisers are opting to go completely broad with targeting.
What this means is that they don’t do anything to limit the size of their audience. Select a location and nothing else. No custom audiences, no detailed targeting, nothing.
As the strategy goes, your ad copy and creative becomes your targeting. The algorithm will learn from who acts on your ad and show it to more people like that.
Know that this is an option. It may not be the best solution for every situation, but it is something to experiment with.
Custom Audiences (General)
This is the first area you can use to refine your targeting. If you have created a custom or Lookalike audiences allow advertisers to reach people who are similar to an audience of people already close to you. Lookalike audiences are based on custom Audiences, which tend to include your current customers or people who have engaged with your business. More, you can enter it here. We’ll discuss in a moment what these are.
You can also choose to exclude a custom or lookalike audience from targeting. This is especially useful if you are promoting a product that cannot be purchased twice.
Custom Audience Types
Custom Audiences are groups of people who are connected to you in some way — they’ve engaged with you, bought from you, are on you email list, or visited something you own.
You can create a custom audience from the Audience section. Here are examples…
A website custom audience matches people who visit your website with people on Facebook. You can then create ads to show to that audience. More allow you to segment your website visitors for targeting. You can build these audiences because you utilize the Meta pixel or conversions API on your website. Here are some examples.
All website visitors…
People who visited specific web pages…
Visitors by time spent…
And from your events (like a purchase)…
You can upload your customer list of names, email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses and have Meta match up those people with users for targeting.
Create an audience of people based on their engagement with your app…
Segment people based on their engagement with your product catalog…
Segment people based on the depth of engagement and specific Facebook video watched…
Isolate those people who have engaged with your Instagram account, assuming it’s been connected to your Every organization should have their own Business Manager to organize their assets (pages, ad accounts, pixels, and more), and then provide appropriate access to those assets to partners. More.
Isolate those who have opened, opened but didn’t submit, or opened and submitted your lead form.
Create an audience of people who engaged with your Facebook event…
9. Instant Experience Audience
Focus on those who opened or clicked on a link within your Instant Experience…
Isolate those who engaged with your Facebook page in some way…
11. Shopping Custom Audience
Segment those who engaged with your Facebook or Instagram Shop…
12. On-Facebook Listings Custom Audience
Create an audience of people who interacted with the on-Facebook listings from your Marketplace catalog…
13. AR Experience Custom Audience
Create an audience of people who opened your AR experience on Facebook or Instagram…
When turned on, Meta has the ability to expand targeting beyond your selected custom audience. The location, age, gender, and exclusions that you input will continue to be used as hard constraints. More
This is one of the Advantage audience expansion products. When Advantage Custom Audience is turned on, Meta can choose to expand your targeting to reach people outside of your custom audience if it will lead to better results.
When on, Meta will continue to honor your exclusions, locations, age, and gender selections.
When you create a Lookalike Audience, Meta will look for people who are similar to those who are already connected to you in some way.
The source audience will be a custom audience. The Lookalike Audience will be created by country and using anywhere from the top 1 to 10% of those in that country who are similar to this group.
Lookalike Audiences are often used when your custom audience is small and ineffective because there aren’t enough people to target.
When turned on, Meta can expand your audience if it believes you can get better results by doing so. That expansion will be achieved by increasing the percentage of your lookalike audience, using the original custom audience for training. More
Advantage Lookalike is also one of the Advantage audience expansion products.
When turned on, Meta will expand your audience beyond the selected lookalike percentage if it will lead to better results. In some cases, Advantage Lookalike is on and cannot be turned off.
You can select a location or multiple locations to filter your targeting. Only people living in or recently in that location, while also satisfying the other targeting requirements, will be considered.
You can include locations by country, state/region, city, postal code, address, DMA, or congressional district.
If you browse, you can select countries and regions manually or choose to go worldwide.
You can also exclude locations.
The default, depending on your location, may be people 18 years and older. In some cases, you may be able to target people down to 13 years old. In others, the minimum age may be higher than 18. This will depend upon the laws and restrictions based on location and promotion.
By default, you will target all genders. You can choose to limit your targeting to men or women only, though that may be restricted if you are promoting a special ad category.
Detailed targeting allows you to reach people by demographics, interests, and behaviors. Most of this information is provided within user profiles or collected based on activities within the Meta family of apps.
Meta has removed many interests and behaviors from targeting during recent years, largely due to privacy laws and restrictions.
You can also exclude people based on this information.
When turned on, Meta can expand your audience to reach people beyond the Detailed Targeting (interests and behaviors) that you selected, but only if that expansion is expected to lead to better results. Location, age, gender, and exclusions are hard constraints, and the expanded audience will continue to follow those rules. More
Advantage Detailed Targeting is another of the Advantage expansion tools that are available.
When turned on, Meta can expand your audience to reach people beyond the detailed targeting that you selected if it will improve ad performance. Your exclusions, locations, age, and gender will continue to be respected.
As is the case with Advantage Lookalike, there are cases when Advantage Detailed Targeting is automatically on and cannot be turned off.
This is set to All Languages by default, but you can specify specific languages if you choose. In most cases, Meta recommends that you keep this blank.
As I mentioned at the top, many advertisers have opted to go completely broad recently and forgo all other targeting considerations. You should at least experiment with that.
Others go with a mixture of Lookalike Audiences and Detailed Targeting for their cold targeting. While some swear by it, I’ve mostly abandoned this approach when prospecting.
I haven’t completely eliminated warm targeting from my mix, though. I will still use custom audiences for targeting in specific cases, especially for exclusions. In some cases, I’ll use custom audiences and turn Advantage Custom Audience on to give Meta the ability to go broader if necessary.
But again, not everyone believes in this approach. Some will tell you that remarketing is dead and is completely unnecessary. That if you go broad, the algorithm will naturally start with those who would be in your remarketing audience.
Find what works for you!
How do you approach targeting?
Let me know in the comments below!