Facebook Audiences and Targeting

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Digital Ads

Simply put, there are over 1 billion active users on Facebook everyday. Not knowing who your audience is and how to target them is likely going to be a waste of your advertising dollars. When you’re in the beginning phases of advertising on Facebook, step one is determining who your audience is.


Photos by Pauline Boldt.

Knowing Your Audience, And Why It’s Important

Your target audience is the group of people you’re trying to reach with your marketing message, they are the ones most likely to take action as a result of seeing your ad. Being your most valuable customers, they’re often linked by common characteristics. These characteristics can be placed into three broad categories: demographics such as age, gender, income, education, and location; interests; or behaviours.

As a starting point, look at your current customer base. These people, along with those similar to them, will likely make up your primary target audience. It’s quite possible you might have secondary target audiences, especially if you sell multiple products or services or if your products and services appeal differently to different people. If that’s the case, fear not! You just have to adjust your marketing efforts accordingly.

Core Audiences

When you create an ad set in Ads Manager, the default audience is called the Core Audience. This audience usually looks something along the lines of men and women ages 18-65+ who live in either the city or country your business is located in. While sticking to this default audience often results in high visibility of your ads, it often does not lead to high conversions.

Mastering your targeting strategy will help you narrow down this broad audience and get you in front of a very specific (and very motivated) group of people.

To customize your own Core Audience to reflect the group of people you’re trying to reach, target specific people using location, demographics, behaviours, and interests. If you’re not sure where to start, check out your Audience Insights on your Facebook Page to explore the demographics, interests, and hobbies of the people connected to your page.

Lookalike Audiences

You can also start with lookalike audiences. Lookalike audiences on Facebook take the information you have from custom audiences and reach new people who are similar. Another way to create lookalike audiences is building them with conversion pixels, you can find these from your paid search ads.  If you want to further define the reach of your lookalike audience you can adjust the size and targeting options to ensure you’re still reaching your target buyers.

Determining your target audience is essential for digital marketing success on Facebook. Once you grasp your target Facebook audience, the process of advertising on the platform becomes seamless. It’s easier to develop messaging and images to advertise your brand when you know who it is you’re speaking to, and for.