3 Essential Facebook Ad Targeting Strategies You Should Be Using

KLIK Staff

May 11, 2021

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How to Leverage Detailed Targeting, Custom Audiences and Ad Placements to Improve Campaign Performance

It’s no surprise that Facebook is a ridiculously powerful advertising platform. With an advertising audience of 2.14 billion people, your reach opportunities are endless. But, if you want to increase conversions and lower your cost of acquisition, you’re going to need to tighten up your ad targeting. Before we share some effective targeting strategies, let’s go over the importance of reaching high-intent users.

“If you can successfully target audiences in the “sweet spot,” your potential customers are more likely to move through funnel, decreasing your costs and ultimately allowing you to spend your advertising dollars more efficiently.”

How does reaching high-intent users impact my business?

We said it before and we’ll say it again: thousands of ad targeting options on Facebook allow for endless reach opportunities. Why is it important that we try to create relatively specific audiences in our campaigns? And how do we do so without overly limiting ourselves?

The answer lies within a Goldilocks zone: targeting not so broadly that we reach users with no interest or intent in our product, and also not so specifically that we’re missing users who are relevant, aware or have some connection to our business. If you can successfully target audiences in this “sweet spot,” your potential customers are more likely to move through funnel, decreasing costs and ultimately allowing you to spend your advertising dollars more efficiently.

Below are a few ad targeting strategies that your business needs to implement to help best reach high-intent users.

Get creative with Detailed Targeting

The Facebook Ad Manager offers Detailed Targeting as one of many ways to help you define your audience by including or excluding demographics, interests and behaviors. After selecting your location, age, gender and language audience preferences, you can then choose your detailed targeting preferences. By using this targeting option, you can refine the group of people your ads are shown to and make that group attributes more relevant to your product or service.

Exclude the targeted & uninterested users

The limitations of the detailed targeting options are minimal, but at first glance, that may not seem to be the case. That’s why it’s important to step back and ask yourself, “Who are my customers? What other products might many of them like? What other interests do many of them have? Who are my competitors? And are switching costs low enough so that I should target them or so high that I should exclude them?”

After you’ve answered these questions, look at your audiences and see how you can help them better lie within that Goldilocks zone. For example, if you own a yoga studio and want to target a group of people to get their first class free, the most straightforward detailed targeting option you could choose is users interested in “yoga” that live in your area. Such a broad audience is prone to high costs — or at the very least a low conversion rate. What is one way we could use detailed targeting options to increase our chances of targeting high-intent users? One option is to exclude employers at competing studios – users who may be more loyal to another studio and less likely to convert than a typical nearby user interested in “yoga.”

Look at Detailed Targeting options from every lens

Advertisers who learn to use Detailed Targeting options to their advantage will see better conversion rates and lower acquisition costs. In order to find the perfect sweet spot audiences, you need to think outside the box. Consider again who your customers are. What is a Detailed Targeting option not directly related to your business that your customers may share? Continuing with the yoga studio business model, maybe you’ve noticed that many of your yoga students attend a nearby high-school or university. Why not test whether students attending those schools have higher intent?

In a new ad set, target a few local high-schools and universities with the “School” targeting type. This will target users who list their school as X school. If you find that that audience is too specific or small, try adding the local high-school or university as an “Interest” targeting type. This will target users who have expressed an interest in or like pages related to X school. Of course, you may think that this audience is not relevant enough to your business. Use the Narrow Audience button to help target those students who may also be interested in “yoga,” or “health and wellness,” or “sportswear” to better target higher-intent users. The opportunities here are nearly limitless.

This approach to using detailed targeting — one that acknowledges the multi-dimensionality of customers and fully utilizes the options offered by the Facebook platform — is essential to well-rounded, all-encompassing and successful advertising campaigns.

Make the most of your business’ customer information with Custom Audiences

Curious how to really make your media presence grow? Use your customer data to target users on Facebook who already know your business. You can use sources like customer lists, website or app traffic, or engagement on Facebook to create Custom Audiences and remarket to users to build awareness around your product and business.

Keep in mind what source your custom audience is built from. If you use a customer list, write ad copy and use image assets that speak to users who have already paid for your product and might be interested in knowing more about your business values or additional products. Similarly, if you make an engagement custom audience, keep in mind that this audience may have spent time viewing your videos or opening your lead form. Use creative assets that speak specifically to them. The more personal you can make your ads, the more likely a user is to resonate with it and convert.

How can you increase conversions and lower cost of acquisition with Custom Audiences? Use the tips listed above for Detailed Targeting to further specify these audiences and make sure you’re not only targeting a user who is aware of your business, but also one who is likely to convert. If your yoga studio and accessories business has a merchandise sale, create a custom audience of website traffic and add the “Engaged Shoppers” behavior that targets users who have clicked on the Call-to-Action button “Shop Now” in the past week.

Recognize the power in Ad Placements

While it might be tempting to click the “Automatic Placements (Recommended)” button on the Facebook Ad Manager platform, choosing your specific placements can have a big impact on the successful performance of your ad set. Rather than let the platform automatically place your ads for you, take control and run trial and error tests with each type of placements in alignment with your goals.

Testing Ad Placements will provide you with a plethora of insights, like focusing on new types of image assets for a placement that is converting successfully (like Instagram Stories ads) or being able to cut costs by eliminating certain placements that don’t convert. You might also notice that certain placements serve specific purposes. For example, Instagram Story polls can increase engagement. Define your business and advertising goals and use manual Ad Placements to help you achieve them.

“Choosing your specific placements can have a big impact on the successful performance of your ad set. Rather than let the platform automatically place your ads for you, take control and run your own tests.”

Because it’s possible that your ads get placed outside of the Facebook network, manually placing ads allows you to control where on the platform your ads will show up, a crucial step in ensuring your business’ brand safety. Additionally, ad specifications are not universal across placements, so choosing where certain ads show up prevents any of your assets from getting cut off.

According to Facebook, businesses that advertise on mobile apps, as well as those that optimize, target, and report on web conversion events will be affected by the Apple iOS 14 changes. You can read more about the effects the update will have on your business here.

In sum, to maximize the impact of your advertising budget on Facebook, combine Detailed Targeting, Custom Audiences and Ad Placement strategies together to create the most effective impact for your campaigns.

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