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A Complete Guide To Facebook Ad Targeting Options

A Complete Guide To Facebook Ad Targeting Options

Facebook, with more than 1.71 billion monthly active users, provides such a huge audience for marketing that some companies may as well find its entire target group on the platform. As millennials spend most of their leisure time online and especially on Facebook, a company operating in any industry today cannot afford to ignore the benefits of advertising on Facebook. Additionally, Facebook Ad Targeting Costs are lower than Google Adwords Cost or cost of advertising on other social networks like Twitter and Linkedin.

Once you decide that running paid campaigns on Facebook is a good proposition, the next thing that might come to your mind is whether Facebook gives you the ability to reach out to the precise target audience as you’ve defined. And Facebook has not let down on this front! You can target any combination of demographic and behavioural characteristics of the target audience (e.g. you can target people who are between the age group 25-34, live in Delhi, use Wifi while accessing Facebook on an Android device and like Domino’s Pizza), or you can retarget your website visitors on Facebook or you can specifically target a list of email addresses etc.

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Before you delve deeper into all the available targeting options, you need to first select your marketing objective from a range of options provided by Facebook Ad Platform –


Defining your Facebook Marketing objective

Let’s now look at all Facebook Ad Targeting options in detail. These options are available in Ad Set section of a Campaign in your Ads Manager account:

 Facebook Targeting Options related to Location, Age, Gender and Language

Facebook Targeting Options related to Location, Age, Gender and Language

  1. Location

You can select a country, a state or a city/town to target your audience and only people from these locations will be able to see your Ads. Facebook also gives you an option to select particular pin codes to target which becomes really handy if you’re a local business. So, a local business could meet its target audience on Facebook with highly quantifiable results instead of traditionally relying on newspaper pamphlets and cable ads.

You can target these locations on the basis of several alternatives – i) People who are currently in this location, ii) People who are traveling to this location, iii) People who live in this location, and iv) People who were recently in this location. For e.g., A mega cultural event organizer in Dubai can target all those people who are going to travel to this location.

By default, all the locations you mention are included but there’s also an option to exclude specific locations. Also, you can either choose just the city area or include an area around the city too in terms of maximum distance from city center allowed. So, a local business based out of a city may also want to target the suburban areas and the outskirts from where people commute to the city frequently.

  1. Age

You can target any age group between 13-65+, but it has to be a continuous range for a single ad. So, if you want to target two different age groups, say 21-30 and 41-50, you’ll have to create two separate Ads. This feature can be improved by Facebook by enabling such an option for a single Ad.

This targeting option becomes really relevant for an industry with consumers/customers from a particular age group. For instance, a company selling baby products (where baby are the consumers and parents are the customers) may want to target females in the age group 25-35 as they are the decision makers for such products. And obviously, ROI would be huge if you’re charged only when your defined target audience is shown the Ads.

  1. Gender

You can also choose between genders while defining the target audience on Facebook. It especially becomes indispensable when your company sells products only for a particular gender, e.g., Men Fashion.

  1. Language

If your landing page for your Facebook Ads has content in a single language (English in most cases), it makes sense to just show the Ads to those who speak English. In such a case, even though you may see engagement from non-English speakers too, but macro-conversions would be negligible.

Keeping this scenario in mind, Facebook provides an option to choose among major languages (even between English-US and English-UK).

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  1. Detailed Targeting (Demographics, Interests and Behaviour)


    Detailed Facebook Targeting Options covering, Demogaphics, Interests and Behaviour


This option is what makes Facebook Marketing so powerful. Some of the examples of what you can do with this feature:

  • Demographics – You can target on the basis of educational qualification (e.g. MBAs), profession (e.g. Interior Designers), Ethnicity (e.g. Asian Americans), Generation (e.g. Millennials), Parents (e.g. Parents with teenagers between age group 13-18) etc.
  • Interests – You can insert a keyword and target people who’ve expressed an interest in or like a page related to that keyword. For example, if you’re a new Pizza company, you may target people who’ve liked Domino’s Pizza’s facebook page.
  • Behaviour – This option helps you reach people based on purchase behaviours or intents, device usage etc. For example, you can specifically target new smartphone and tablet owners. A telecom company may choose this option to acquire new customers through attractive offers. Similarly, a travel based company can specifically target people who’ve returned from their trips 1 week ago.

Your potential reach will change according to the detailed targeting options you choose.

  1. Placement – Automatic vs Choose Yours


    A range of Placement Options provided in Facebook Advertising


In Automatic Placement, your ads will be optimized and shown via best performing placements. However, if you want to have more control over placements or know from previously run campaigns that a particular placement is best suited (e.g. Mobile News Feed), you can choose your own placements.

There are 5 placement options: a) Mobile News Feed, b) Desktop News Feed, c) Desktop Right Side, d) Instagram, e) Audience Network.

All placement option allow different text length limits for Ads, so you should keep in mind that your Ad content is optimized for these placement options separately. The most popular placements amongst these are Mobile News Feed and Desktop News Feed, because these become native to a user’s organic news feed.

Instagram Ads are also designed and run through Facebook Ads Manager itself, and they are becoming more popular by the day as the engagement rate is pretty high for Instagram as compared to Facebook. One downside is that on Instagram ads, apart from a Call to Action, you cannot put any other links. So, while benefits with regard to engagement rate in terms of likes are there, the same cannot be said for click through rates (if your goal is to take the audience to your website landing page).

Desktop right side ads are mostly ignored by the users as they keep on navigating down their News Feed, but impressions of these ads are counted nevertheless. But they aren’t very useful from the point of view of engagement. Due to its relatively lower cost, these become relevant when the goal of a company is brand awareness measured by impressions/reach.

  1. Delivery Type – Standard vs Accelerated

You can choose whether you want your Ads to be shown with equal division of budget throughout the day or let Facebook accelerate the Ads whenever your target audience surfs Facebook during the day.

  1. Custom Audience


Custom Audience for Facebook Ad Targeting

This is the most advanced targeting feature allowed by Facebook Ads Manager.

The major options available under it are:

  • Targeting website visitors enabled through Facebook Pixel which captures all website visitors to allow you to target them on Facebook. You may select your visitors for the last 30 days or last 90 days depending on the level of daily website traffic you’re getting. You can also targeting users who’ve visited a specific page of your website. For example, you may want to target visitors of your landing page who bounced off and did not convert as leads. in every case, the audience size must atleast be 100.
  • Upload a list and target these users. Facebook allows various options including email list, phone number list, list of names, list of cities, list of years of birth etc. The email list option is being used extensively by companies who have a large subscriber list. Whether you are an ecommerce company or a content website, email list plays an important role as it is a collection of your loyal user base which needs constant nurturing. Maybe your email campaigns are not performing well, or you prefer multi-channel targeting of this loyal user list or you want to create a Facebook Ad for new product offerings or something of value to existing subscribers, in all cases running Facebook Ad campaigns will be useful.
  • Target users who have engaged with your App. These people have engaged with your App in the past which means your App has some potential benefits for them. Retargeting them again on Facebook with a good value proposition can result in conversions at a much lower cost as compared to targeting a new audience.
  • Target people who’ve engaged with your Facebook posts. This may include those users who’ve watched your video feeds or those users who’ve opened or completed your lead form ads. This one has been introduced as a new ad feature which shows Facebook is constantly striving to improve the options for Advertisers further.
  1. Lookalike Audience

If you define an audience source, e.g. your email list, Facebook will create a lookalike audience set for you. Although the audience details related to lookalike audience are not shown, but this facebook advertising targeting option can be tried out if the results for custom audience are starting to deteriorate due to high frequency of ads shown to the same audience.

Know about top 10 ways organizations use facebook as a marketing tool.

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