The beauty of the internet lies in its ability to help your store reach anyone in the world.
But that can also be a curse.
Because while you might want to sell to everyone, not everyone is the right customer for you. Everything from your social profile summaries to the way you talk about your products is working to exclude those who aren’t right for your brand.
This is where Facebook ads come in. With over two billion people on the platform, your target audience is bound to be there.
And with 93% of marketers using Facebook advertising regularly, your competitors are there too.
However, it’s too easy to throw money into one Facebook ad or boosting a Facebook post, not see results, and call it a day.
Successful targeting might be one of the main reasons this happens. With the level of detail Facebook targeting offers, there’s no excuse for the wrong people to be seeing your ads.
If you want to see success with Facebook advertising, get ready because we’re tackling all the ways you can target your ideal online shoppers.
How detailed should you go?
As you work through these steps, you’ll notice there is an indicator of the estimated size of the audience you selected and the estimated daily results.
This is Facebook’s educated guess on how well your ad will perform based on your targeting, but also your budget, past campaign data, your objective, and more.
Now, there is no one-size-fits-all solution here. Most importantly, your audience should never be too broad or too narrow, so aim to keep the indicator in the green area, as close to the middle as you can:
Even more importantly, keep an eye on your estimated daily results.
What you see here will be driven by the objective you selected earlier. So if you selected traffic as your objective, you’ll see this…
…while a video views objective might look more like this:
Until you run your campaign, it’s not truly possible to know how this campaign will actually impact factors like traffic, signups, or sales.
It will also depend on the quality of your ad copy and visuals, but it’s important to have this information as a ballpark to define your budget and schedule.
Step 1: Audience Insights
Facebook’s Audience Insights is a tool that gives you a bunch of data on your target demographic that you can use in your ad targeting.
Hop over to facebook.com/ads/audience-insights while logged into the account to which you have connected your Facebook Page.
When prompted to choose an audience to start, go with ‘Everyone on Facebook’.
You’re then looking at a blank slate, typically set as the United States by default without any other filters and specifics.
Here’s how Audience Insights work: on the left-hand side, you select locations, age, gender, interests, connections, and advanced filtering such as relationship status and life events. As you do that, the graphs on the right-hand side will start changing.
The graphs on the right will show you the key elements of the filtered audience you selected, such as their education, breakdown by cities (if you selected a country, for example), the pages and topics they like, and how active they are on Facebook.
In other words: you will learn about your online store’s ideal audience and best ways to target them.
The best way to illustrate this is an example.
Let’s say your store sells bow ties, veils, jewelry, and other details for the bride and the groom. This means your audience includes both men and women but more importantly features some specific traits:
- The majority of your audience is probably older than 23 and under 35
- They are all engaged
- They might be into jewelry
If you serve a specific location, you can also enter that as your filter.
In this example, I entered the United Kingdom as the location and set ‘Engaged (6 months)’ as my relationship status filter.
Here are some insights I can get from this:
- There are 40,000 to 45,000 people that belong to this audience
- Most of them are college educated
- Their highest-interest categories are bridal and baby shops, fashion, beauty, and home decor
- The pages they like align with the top categories
This is extremely valuable information. Not only do you now have the idea of the demographic makeup of your target audience at a certain location, but you also know which topics, pages, and even cities you can target to make the most out of your ads.
You can click ‘Save’ at the top of this page and save this audience for later, or simply take notes on the main insights you found by entering your filters.
Step 2: Location
When you reach the Audience section in your ad setup, you’ll see the following under Audience:
Location targeting will matter to you depending on your online store setup:
- You might only be delivering to a limited number of countries (for example, only the US and Canada)
- You might have a lower shipping cost to certain countries so you want to sell more into them
- There might be a country you’re shipping to, but haven’t advertised in it yet
So even though your online store enjoys the luxury of selling without a physical place, location is obviously still an important factor in advertising it.
Your selection options include:
- Countries, sorted by continents
- Regions, including free trade areas like NAFTA and Commonwealth, as well as app store regions, emerging markets, and countries that use euro as their common currency
- Saved locations, which lets you add a previously saved location or create a new one by listing locations in bulk
Finally, there are three more refinements you can do with your location targeting.
The first one is choosing between people who live in selected locations, who were recently there, or who are traveling to the location—or you can simply select ‘Everyone in this location’ to include all of these groups.
The second refinement is selecting to include only cities of the area you selected, or exclude cities altogether.
The final narrowing you can do is selecting to either include or exclude anything you select. This might be useful if you chose a large region or country, but there are parts of it that you don’t deliver to and want to make sure your ads aren’t shown there.
Step 3: Inclusion versus exclusion
Just like with including or excluding a location, you can do the same with any detailed targeting element going forward.
Here’s how it works and what it looks like.
By default, when you’re entering your targeting details, your audience includes people who match at least one of the details you entered.
For example: You enter ‘Shopping and fashion’ as an interest, and you enter ‘Luxury’ right away.
This now means that your audience is made up of both the group that likes shopping and fashion and those that like luxury. They don’t have to like both in order to be part of your audience—just any of the two. Basically, there’s not necessarily an overlap between these audiences.
This is quite broad—many people like either of those things!
However, if you click ‘Exclude people’ below this field, you will get an option to remove a group of people from the one you already entered.
This means that if the first field says ‘Shopping and fashion’, and the Exclude field says ‘Luxury’, this means you’re targeting people interested in shopping and fashion who are not interested in luxury.
This would be a great example of targeting shoppers looking for affordable fashion.
Lastly, you can narrow your audience. When you use this feature, in order to be targeted, a person must fall into both of the targeting details you entered.
In this case, a person has to be into shopping and fashion, as well as luxury, to be targeted. They won’t be targeted if they only fall into only one of these categories.
This would be a great way to target shoppers who are into high-end fashion.
Keep these options in mind as you go through the targeting opportunities we’ll go through. This will help you get specific, make your ads relevant, and easily sell your products.
Step 4: Demographics
Now it’s time to define your audience by their demographics, such as age and gender, relationship status, education, job title, workplace, and more.
The first part of demographics targeting happens right below the location selection, where you can choose the age range and gender.
The defaults you’ll first see are broad, so make sure to set this at the true age of your audience. If you sell college supplies, there’s no point in targeting 55-year-olds, just like 18-year-olds probably won’t be your core target audience if you have a wedding shop.
You can also set the target languages, which might be useful if one of your target locations is a multilingual country and there’s a risk of not everyone speaking the language you advertise in.
The second part of demographics targeting is a lot more in-depth and quite fun.
Here’s what you’ll see when you open Demographics in the Detailed Targeting section:
This is where you can start to layer your targeting based on the more specific traits of your audience.
It’s time to go all in on the people you want to reach and ultimately sell your products to.
Some of these features may not be important to you at all. For example, your products may have nothing to do with how educated your audience is or with their political orientation.
On another hand, by using the Audience Insights as we mentioned above, as well as by talking to your customers and regularly surveying them, you might uncover insights that aren’t obvious.
As you combine all your insights, you might learn that the majority of people who buy from you frequently, make large purchases, and have been your customers for a long time:
- Are parents of teenagers, or
- Have an anniversary coming up within 2 months, or
- Work in sales, or
- Have a master’s degree
…and so on.
To target by demographics, mix the features of your audience you know to be true (for example, you sell baby products and your audience always includes new parents) and those you learned by digging into insights and talking with them (such as their jobs or education).
Step 5: Interests
Targeting by interests lets you target by what your audience is into, such as hobbies, entertainment, food, and more.
Here’s what you’ll see in this category:
This is quite straightforward because you’re adding audience features that you know to be true. If we take the earlier example of a soon-to-be-married couple that is on the lookout for wedding outfit accessories.
If that’s what you’re selling, your targeting selection here might include: wedding, men’s clothing, women’s clothing, jewelry, luxury goods, online shopping. These are all likely traits of your target audience.
However, let’s take the Audience Insights approach again and include the things we learned in that process. If you look at the graphs we got earlier, we can also add home decor, furniture, and baby goods as the interests to target here.
This doesn’t mean you necessarily sell baby goods, but because you know that this is one of your audience’s top interests, you can tap into that and show up in front of the most relevant people for your online store.
Step 6: Behaviors
Finally, you can find and target your audience based on the way they purchase, go online, use their devices, and more.
This section helps your ads be hyper-relevant, drive engagement, and bring you a positive return on your Facebook advertising investment.
Here’s some of what you’ll see in this section:
Keep in mind that some of the behavioral data is only available for US audiences.
Here are some of the most widely applicable and interesting behavioral targeting options:
- Travel: commuters, frequent international travelers, returned from travels recently (great for any location-specific or travel-based online shop)
- Purchase behavior: engaged shoppers (great for ads with Shop Now call-to-action)
- Mobile device use time: based on the number of months a person uses their phone, great for online stores with phone accessories
- Digital activities: Facebook page admins, small business owners (great for those targeting business owners in specific industries)
As you can see, you can do a lot with this as long as you know who it is you’re selling to.
With cleverly crafted targeting for direct shopping ads, you can get your audience to buy directly from that ad by using a jumper checkout without ever leaving Facebook.
It’s simple—your perfect buyer shows intent, you let them shop easily, without hiccups, frictions, complicated checkouts, and with a unique experience.
What’s stopping you from winning sales with Facebook targeting?
You now have what it takes.
All that’s left is to get started. Head over to your Ads Manager and remember to:
- Go with the objective that makes sense for the goal you want to achieve
- Allocate some time to comb through Audience Insights and talk to your existing customers
- Be specific about the locations and demographics you’re selling and shipping to
- Put the learnings about your audience into use with interest and behavior targeting
Finally, make your ads easy to interact with and to purchase from with jumper. It’s free and easy to get started—you can literally make your first sale from your Facebook ads today.
I can’t wait to see your success!