In promoting our businesses, we sometimes tend to focus on the message we are delivering more than the audience we are speaking to. But for advertising to work well, you have to put that message in front of the right audience.
You may have a great offer or promotion and your ad is done well but if you are showing your ads to the wrong people, then it won’t be as effective as it should be. By ‘wrong people’ we refer to people who are less likely to take action on your offer or to take notice of your message.
That is what makes Facebook a great advertising platform. It allows you to show your ads to a specific group of people depending on information you, as the advertiser, will dictate.
Facebook, having over a billion active users, is able to gather multiple data from each of its users and that allows you as an advertiser to find your customers by targeting specific data.
Facebook allows us to find your customers through multiple data points. In this article, we’ll discuss 5 main ways you can use this to find your customers on Facebook so that you can show your offers and ads to your target market.
The easiest and most common way to target your audience is through basic demographics.
This refers to information such as gender, age, current location, residence address and language.
It may seem simple but for businesses with specific demographics, this is the first step you should take.
A lot of businesses offer products and services applicable for specific genders and ages only. By selecting their intended audience, these businesses can avoid having to pay for ads to be shown to people who will not likely take action on your ad.
Another good way to use this targeting is if you a local business who serves a particular small area like a city or even just within your barangay. You wouldn’t want to advertise to the whole Philippines if you’re just limited to a specific space.
Facebook allows you to target just a particular area. It can go as small targeting specific cities and the area around it.
But what if you are targeting a smaller area? In this case, you can select ‘Drop Pin’ at the lower right corner of the map and select your area on the map. Once the pin is dropped, you can set a radius to set your targeting. A circle will be drawn on the map with your selected area at the center and your selected radius. You are now able to reach anyone located in that area.
For example, let’s say you had a restaurant in Eastwood. An hour or 2 before lunch and dinner, you can promote your restaurant in that area so that people in Eastwood can see your ad and maybe consider dining at your restaurant.
Facebook also collects advanced demographics which you can target and we’ll list come down here.
You can target based on a person’s education. We’re not just talking about targeting based on what level of education they completed whether it’s high school, university, master’s degree, etc. Facebook also allows you to target people based on what they studied, where they went to school and the years they studied in college!
I had a client who was offering a free training for artists. One of the targetings we tried was to target users whose fields of study were in the arts. This audience got us good results in terms of sign ups and eventual purchases later down the line.
You can also target using relationship statuses such as single, married, in a relationship and the like. In line with this, you can also target parents by the age their children are. You can target all parents, expecting parents, parents of toddlers, parents of teenagers, etc. In addition, if you are targeting specific people who are interested in other people of the same gender, you can specifically target them too.
Targeting by relationship status helped us a lot in our campaign for a couple’s counseling business. We specifically targeted married people since that is the group the business was serving.
You can also target based on a person’s life events. When I got engaged, one of the first things I did, like anyone would, was to update my Facebook relationship status. Since then, I got ads about photographers, caterers, wedding venues on my news feed.
If your business is specific to a certain event in a person’s life then this targeting option is great. You can target engaged couples, newlyweds, people with upcoming anniversaries or birthdays, etc.
People can also be atargeted by their work environment. You can target them by their employer, the industry they work in or, one of my favorites, their job titles.
With the same client who was targeting artists, we had another ad set targeting people who have art-related job titles such as artists, sculptors, painters and the like. It also worked as effectively as the fields of study ad set did.
There are other more advanced targeting available on Facebook such as ethnicity, generation and political leanings but these are currently only available to the United States. If you are serving customers in this part of the world, you can try using these.
Interest targeting is one of the most exciting parts of creating a Facebook ad campaign for me. There are so many possible interests to target out there. Don’t limit yourself to what’s available under the ‘Browse’ option.
To use this targeting method, just simply ask yourself: “What are my customers interested in?”
The easiest way to gather interests is to find interests which are directly related to your business. If you are a restaurant, then you can start with targeting people who like food and drinks. Selling makeup? Then you can target people interested in cosmetics.
If you are just starting, you don’t have to overthink this part. Just think what category your business falls under. If it makes sense for your customers to be interested in that, then target that category
You can also target what I like to call complementary interests. These are interests who are not directly related to your business but makes sense for your target market to be interested in. Let’s take the restaurant example again. Let’s say your restaurant is a vegetarian restaurant. Then it might make sense that people who will be interested in your vegetarian website are also interested in animal support groups such as PETA. It’s not a direct relationship but it makes sense at least to test that interest.
Go wild, there are multiple interests to target. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when finding interests to target:
- What do they read/watch/listen to?
- Who do they follow?
- What groups do they belong to?
- What events do they attend?
Once you gather answers to these questions, put them all on the ad set you are creating and see if those targeting points are available.
In line with the previous item, you can also find your target market by targeting people interested in your competitors. This is much more useful for people for businesses whose customers may be swayed from deviating from their preferred brand.
For example, it will be easier for a nail salon and spa to target its competitors because the people they are targeting can just easily switch from one spa to another. But it might be more difficult for a business selling appliances like refrigerators and washing machines to advertise to people who are loyal fans of their competitors. It’s not impossible but probably more difficult.
There are very strategic ways to use this targeting. I remember once when a certain fast food chain ran out of chicken in its branches all over the Philippines and users started a hashtag to express their dismay. Then, another competitor took the hashtag and used it to generate interest for their product instead.
Through Their Friends
One other targeting feature I love in Facebook is that advertisers can find their target market by targeting them through their friends.
Below the detailed targeting tab, you’ll find something called “Connections”. This is where you are able to target people based on how they are connected with your page. You can target your business’s fans, those who have not liked your page, and friends of people who like your page.
Have you ever seen an ad where at the top it says “(Your Friend) & 2 Others like this”?
It adds on to whatever targeting you’ll be using with the help of social proof. It will be like someone is referring your product to other people.
Think of it this way: I have a friend who I know is a big foodie. I trust his recommendations on where to eat. If I see an ad about a restaurant (I just finished lunch when I started writing this, hence all the food analogies) and I see that that friend of mine likes this restaurant, chances are, I’ll try dining there. That’s the power of social proof.
Remember that you are not just limited to whatever I shared with you here in this article. Go log on to your ad account and test out the other targeting points.
In addition, you can use the targeting we mentioned here all together! You can target 20-30 year old males who are married, works as salespeople, who studied in UP (Yay!) and likes dogs.
This is why it’s vital for you to get to know who your audience is. This way, you can find them on Facebook through its detailed targeting options.
I hope this helps. Please feel free to ask me any question. Leave them here in the comments section or however you prefer to reach me.