One of the most desirable features of Facebook advertising is the seemingly endless limits of their targeting functions. You can zero in on a type of person and deliver a ton of different ads and offers to them. Millions of different ad targeting combinations are available to every advertiser.

Crafting a targeting strategy on Facebook can make or break a great campaign. Creativity and originality only gets you so far. The secret sauce is an audience of specific and motivated customers on a network where Americans spend an average of 40 minutes of their day. We are going to shine a light on a few super powerful Facebook ad targeting strategies.

1. Recent Purchases
Facebook Ad targetingIn the days of it’s infancy Facebook was criticized by advertising analysts as a fun place to connect with family and friends, however a network with little commercial intent or potential for consumer insight. That changed early in 2013 when Facebook forged partnerships with data brokers including Epsilon, Acxiom, and Datalogix. These companies record trillions of data transactions each year. Acxiom has stated that their database alone contains information about 500 million active consumers worldwide, with an average of 1,500 data points per person. Because of this, Facebook knows a whole lot more than before! Whether you spent more time crushing candy or flinging angry birds. Are you about to have a kid? Perhaps you are taking medication for anxiety? Do you enjoy reading the owners manuals of obsolete taxidermy equipment? Facebook probably knows your dirty little secret. This gives advertisers the power to reach out beyond their own databases and tap into insights from loyalty programs of all kinds and matched to individuals. Facebook advertisers use this data to target audience segments by thousands of different purchasing behaviors.

A few of the purchasing behaviors include Buyer Profiles, Clothing, Food & Drink, Health & Beauty and a lot more. Within each broad subcategory, you can drill down into types of behavior; for example, choosing Buyer Profiles will then let you target DIYers, Foodies, Musicians etc.

Facebook shows you how many user profiles you can target in each subcategory, based on their aggregated, multi-sourced offline transaction-based data (or in simpler terms, the number of Facebook users in that category they’ve matched to offline purchasing data).

The possibilities are limitless. Get in there and explore!

2. Life Events
Certain types of businesses or campaigns rely on selling to people experiencing specific life events. Funeral homes, for example, obviously want to connect with people who are planning a funeral, terminally ill, or lost/losing a loved one. Moving companies want to know if you’ve just purchased a new home or apartment. Wedding photographers target people who recently got engaged.

Between already knowing our purchase history and posting these events on our timeline for our family and friends, Facebook has pretty much every conceivable life event targeting option.

The Life Events parameter is unique in that you can choose to target people at specific intervals of time after the change. For example, a jewelry company would obviously be interested in getting in front of people celebrating their one-year anniversary, so they could target audience members who were newlyweds one year ago. The date ranges possible are 3 months, 6 months and one year.

3. Facebook Custom Audiences
Facebook Custom Audiences are an excellent way to connect with your existing customer base on Facebook and serve them with appropriate content or offers. This can work the opposite way as well, you can increase the efficacy of your campaigns and avoid wasted clicks by excluding your existing customer list. For example if you have a campaign that gives 50% off your price for new customers it may be in your best interest (and budget) to avoid showing your offer to existing customers.

You can create Custom Audiences by uploading your customer list in CSV or TXT format, to Facebook. It may also be advantageous to segment them by page or specific action they took on your site or app. For example if you sell shirts and shoes and you have lists of abandoned cart users you can send those users with shirts in their cart ads for shirts and the same goes for the customers looking at your shoe offerings.

The number of different demographics points you can target and combine is staggering. Net worth, living arrangements, marital status, parental status, interests, location – it’s all in there, and more.

4. Lookalike Audiences
So now that you are experimenting with Custom Audiences, you are ready to scale up your advertising campaigns. The next logical step is to create a Lookalike Audience, this is where you can ask Facebook to go find more people similar to your custom audience. This is a lot easier than trying to find specific interests to target and hoping that it works out.

If you have an audience that likes race cars, don’t you want to find other customers that are just as excited about these vehicles? This is an excellent opportunity for a brand awareness campaign so they recognize your name and logo before you hit them with the hard sell of a new product offering.

If you don’t have a list big enough or a large enough Facebook following, you can still create a Lookalike Audience using a tracking pixel to mirror your traffic into a Website Custom Audience. Once you have some traffic flowing into your Website Custom Audience you can make the audience larger (more broad) or smaller (more specific and similar to your original audience).

5. Get Super Creative by Layering Targeting Options
The really cool part about Facebook Advertising is the ability to layer targeting methods on top of each other to form one huge specific audience. In practice, you can use different combinations of behaviors, demographics, and geolocation data to reduce your audience to as little as one person. Far more useful, is the ability to match ad creative and offers to smaller audiences created using combinations of data.

Happy targeting!


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