Facebook Ads: Understanding Audience Targeting

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen ads come out of nowhere while you’re scrolling through your newsfeed. (They’re always tempting me with a picture of the unnecessarily expensive shoes I managed to talk myself out of buying a few days ago…) But what are they? How do they end up on your screen? And how can you use them for your brand?


What are Facebook Ads?

Facebook ads are advertisements that run on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger, as well as an audience network of digital platforms and apps. They are able to run on any budget, giving your brand the ability to choose specific goals and audiences while measuring the impact.


Who Can You Target?

Not all advertisements a business creates are going to be relevant to everyone in their network. On a broad scale, a 13-year-old avid video-gamer is probably not going to want to see the same ads that a 35-year-old suburban mom is. By targeting different segments of your audience, you can assure that their messages are relevant to those receiving them. There are three different kinds of audiences that can be segmented and targeted through Facebook, and each of these audiences fills a specific niche for a particular ad to target and be customized for— Core Audiences, Custom Audiences, and Lookalike Audiences.


1. Core Audiences

These audiences look at demographics, location, interests and connections when targeting different groups of people. Locations can be as broad as a global audience, or brought down to a 1-mile radius of a specific place. Individuals activities, likes, posts, comments and other behaviors are determined through device usage, and activity between individuals and a business’ page, posts, and events can help to determine audiences as well.


2. Custom Audiences

Custom audiences combine a business’ own data with data that Facebook has collected. Through people’s Facebook engagement, it can determine how people are engaging with a business’ page, posts and ads. A concern that can often come up is the privacy of individuals with these data collections; however, Data Hashing is used to protect the original data and user privacy, so no one can identify a specific individual within a custom audience. These custom audiences are then used to align data sources with a particular objective, helping to send different messages to different audiences. It’s all about sending the right stuff to the right people!


3. Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audiences are essentially a group of doppelgängers of the best customers a business has, identifying key traits of an initial audience and mimicking them, optimizing for either similarity or reach. Initially, you’ll start with a group of high-value purchasers, or highly engaged customers. Then, Facebook’s AI goes to work to identify similar characteristics. Lookalike audiences help to target wherever an ad will work the most effectively.


Ready to put these strategies to work for your brand? Contact Us for a free social media evaluation.