Understanding The Types Of Audiences Available For Facebook Ads

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    Are you looking into how you can ensure you have chosen the right audience to be the target of your Facebook Ads?

    Making sure that you capture the attention of your ideal prospects is vital for the future success of your use of social media marketing – by following the steps outlined in this guide, you can work towards effectively connecting with your ideal prospects.


    Top Tips

    • The details that we have outlined in this blog can help you lay the groundwork for creating ads, however you should make any decisions/learnings based on historical data and experiences as a higher priority – i.e. because you’ve managed your ads on a regular basis and will have gained key insight from that.
    • The steps that we have outlined here is a resource that you are more likely to benefit from when you’ve just created a brand new ad account or are looking to expand a current account you’re working on.



    1. By the end of this blog, you will have a clear understanding into the 3 main audiences that you are able to target using Facebook Ads.
    2. You will be guided through the stages needed to effectively set up the audience types outlined – showing as and when they are best needed.


    Understanding Key Audiences

    In this section we are going to outline 3 key audience types that you should keep in mind when you are setting up ad campaigns.

    1. Core – These are people that you are intending to target – they are classed as cold traffic as they are unaware of your business – who you are, what you can provide, and how you can be of benefit to them.
    2. Custom – In this scenario, you would be aiming your ads at people who are already aware of your business and what you are able to provide.
      • Examples of the type of prospects who fall into this category would be – those who have visited the website of your business or interacted with your business via Facebook.
    3. Lookalike – Think of these people as those who match your ideal audience – they share similar traits to members of your current audience. They aren’t likely to have a direct awareness of your business, but have shown interest in your field.


    Some Rules For Identifying Your Audience

    If you’re ever unsure about some exacts when it comes to your Facebook Ads targeting, then don’t get too specific with it – feel free to keep the targeting a bit broader (this is especially true if you’ve already been using Facebook Ads previously and are a user of Facebook Pixel which has received prior campaign data).

    • Scenario – Think of it this way, if you’re thinking that your main target audience are users between the age of 25 to 34, but don’t have any data to back up your reasoning, then we’d advise against niching your targeting into this age range only.

    But it is key to keep in mind that going too far in the opposite way – i.e. making targeting not specific enough isn’t going to be the best move.

    • Scenario – If you have a really niche product which is focused on a specific demographic virtually universally, then feel free to add in some specifics suit their needs – i.e. a women’s shoes, the likelihood is that the majority of your target audience will be women – if that’s the case, then feel free to narrow the data down to women.

    It’s best to make sure that you don’t combine a variety of audiences, interests and habits in a single ad set – this is because your ads won’t be effectively optimised and will make it difficult for you to be able to see which prospective audiences are proving to be the strongest (i.e. interacting the most with your ads) and which others require improvement.


    The following sections are going to be split into 3 key sections – we’ve done it this way so you can clearly see how you can work on building the base of these audiences – they are ordered as follows so feel free to scroll through all of the sections or find the ones which are suited to your area of interest:

    • Audience Type #1 – Core
    • Audience Type #2 – Custom
    • Audience Type #3 – Lookalike


    Audience Type #1 – Core – How To Pinpoint?

    Here are some ways that you can identify prospects that fall into this category:

    Prospect Personas – Creating an ideal prospective client who have interests/habits which are related to your business, this will allow you to see demographics that you should be targeting through your ads.

    If you take a look at your Ads Manager display, you’ll need to look under “Detailed Targeting” – if you are able to input some ideas into the available field – specifically those that would be fitting of your ideal ‘prospect persona’ then you can begin to build out the basis of your audience.

    While you’re doing this, make sure to keep in mind the “Size” of your audience – try to make sure it isn’t too broad or niched down too much – for example 500 people is likely to be too narrowed down.


    Similar Web – A chrome extension that we’d advise that you use is “Similar Web” – this is a great tool for showing key metrics of websites.

    Here we’ve outlined the steps you’d need to go through to successfully use “Similar Web” – you can input the URL of your website that you’re intending to analyse – this will give you key insight into the traffic you get to your site.

    You will then be provided with a report which gives additional information relating to the prospects that visit your site – depending on the volume of traffic inflow you will get some in-depth data into interests and habits – this will be key for helping you to create more specific audiences for your ad campaigns.


    Industry Data & Reports – Find out what’s happening in the niche as a whole and who the vast majority of the overall audience is.

    In the event that you have access to any industry published data or research into the market that you’ve conducted then this will be ideal for you to be able to pinpoint some specific demographics, interests or habits.


    Audience Type #2 – Custom – How To Pinpoint?

    The type of ad that you are intending to run will have an impact on the type of custom audience that you are looking at building out.

    For example, if you’re looking into a custom audience, then you are going to want to try to aim at people who are most likely to complete your conversion goal.

    By this we mean, you may want to target people who have browsed your products, but haven’t gone through to the checkout to actually make a purchase – so they have expressed interest previously, they just haven’t crossed the finish line to complete a purchase.

    Important – to successfully pinpoint where people have browsed, purchased or watched a video (etc) you will need to make sure that you have tracking in place for that specific type of conversion this is key for helping you create ads focused on these individuals and the actions they’ve completed.

    Some examples of custom audience members include:

    • Website visitors
      • Based on engagement – i.e. duration of sessions/pages viewed
      • Views – The visits to the webpages on your site – i.e. product pages, checkout or form sign-ups.
      • Leads – whether they be hot or cold traffic (in different phases on the funnel process) or visiting specific pages.
      • Inputs Into Basket – targeting based on specific product groups or value of what’s on offer.
      • Purchases
    • Lists Of Clients
      • Any current leads that you have in your system – you can base this off of any interaction that you’ve had with those current clients (i.e. those already gained through ads or are in the email sequence).
    • Levels Of Interaction
      • You are able to target people on the ways that they have already engaged with your business – below we have outlined some examples of interaction that you are able to target them on:
        • Interacted with your business’s social media (specifically Facebook & Instagram) – whether it be liking/commenting/direct messaging
        • Clicking on any video content (on Instagram or Facebook) or any forms available on your site
        • Completed a desired action based on events that you’ve inputted (only applies to Facebook Events).


    Audience Type #3 – Lookalike – How To Pinpoint?

    When you’re first starting out, you will benefit from creating lookalike audiences that will be the most valuable to your business and then continue to build out others once you have the highest priority ones sorted.

    So you could base it on the following – in order or priority:

    • Highest value clients
    • clients (Overall)
    • Adding to basket
    • Highest value leads
    • Leads (Overall)
    • Page views – by those you determine the highest value

    To help you build out your lookalike audience further, we have this blog you can follow – this will guide you through the required steps to successfully creating this type of audience.


    Layers – A Key To Effective Targeting

    To start off you are going to need to make sure that you have inputted the relevant demographics you have previously identified as well as a location you’re intending to target.

    • Input all of the data that you feel is necessary – i.e. if there isn’t a specific gender that you’re intending to target, then feel free to set this to “All” – whatever is suitable for the product/service available.
    • To make sure that your ad doesn’t appear to an audience who have already gone through and completed a desired action, then you’re going to have to exclude those specifics from your targeting – to do this, you’ll just need to input the name of the audience into the “Exclude” section.


    Identifying Audience Crossover

    This section relates to if there is any crossover between the audiences that you have set up – so that you are able to see this, we have outlined the steps that you’d need to go through.

    1. Make sure you’ve selected the hamburger menu on your Ads Manager (the 3 horizontal lines menu that reveals a planned out range of options – to do this you’ll need to be using the older version of the interface so please swap it).
    2. Please look to the “Assets” column and then make sure to click “Audiences”
    3. Make sure to go through and click on all the relevant options for the audiences you’re intending to analyse and then select the “…” to reveal the dropdown menu where you’ll need to select the option “Show Audience Overlap”
    4. You will be presented with a report which will give you an overview of any overlap across the audiences that you have chosen – to do this successfully, the audience will need to be of more than 10,000 prospects.


    What to do if the overlap percentage is high?

    If you do notice this, then you might find it best to combine the audiences with major overlap into a single audience, or go back through the audiences that you have already work on and effectively narrow and niche them to reduce the chance of overlap.

    To decide whether these changes are needed, you really need to look at the numbers available to you – for example, is your audience for the options you’ve selected large and is the overlap percentage relatively minor – then action may not be needed.


    Thanks for reading! You have now successfully gained an understanding of the different types of audiences that are available via Facebook Ads targeting and some of the ways that you are able to start building out these audiences to help you successfully run ads.

    We hope you found this blog useful – if you did, then make sure to check us out on social media, so you can keep updated with our latest news and events!

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