Facebook Audience Targeting: Getting it Right

Unlike paid search advertising, social media advertising gives us the luxury of choosing the exact types of people that we show our ads to. However, the weakness of social media advertising is it relies on triggering conversions by impulse; you’re going to have to convince people to drag themselves away from Facebook or Twitter and onto your site. Paid search advertising, on the other hand, allows us to swoop in potential customers at the precise moment they are researching your product or service. This article is going to focus specifically on Facebook advertising and how to establish your perfect target audience.

Hitting the Goldilocks Zone

Not too hot, not too cold. Just right.

You choose your audience targeting in your ad set settings. You want the needle to be in the green zone as your demographic will be small enough to be relevant and big enough for a campaign to be worthwhile. The red zone indicates that your demographic is too small for your ads to run, the yellow zone means that your ads will likely be shown to people uninterested in your product or service.

Custom Audiences

This option allows you to target a predefined audience based on contact details, previous site visitors (remarketing) or people who have engaged with your app in a specific way.


Target by country, region, city or post/zip code.


Set an age bracket.




It’s best to choose languages consistent with your ad copy. Make sure to choose the correct dialect(s) if choosing English.

More Demographics

Yes, ‘It’s complicated’ is an option.

The More Demographics menu allows us to drill down deep into the personal lives of our target audience. Running an affairs dating site like Ashley Madison? Go for separated people. Your online course needs visibility? Get people at an exact stage in their education or career. Got student digs to let? Target students living away from home in shared accommodation. You can target parents with children within a certain age bracket (scary). You can target by political stance (scarier, though US-only) to launch your campaign for world-domination. Live Events is a broad category for people going through significant, positive life events.

We’re not really sure why there’s an option to target by generation when the age targeting options are more than adequate for that. If you can tell us why you think it’s there, we’d be more than grateful.


Write anything you can think of here. Stacking multiple interests broadens the audience criteria rather than narrowing it down, as some might think. This list pertains to your audience’s page likes, so favourite bands, TV shows, movies and ancient Greek philosophers can all go in here.


Many bizarre and niche things reside here. Go and take a look for yourself.


Kind of similar to Custom Audiences; allows you to define a target audience by their relationships between Facebook pages, apps and events.

Budget and Schedule

Your budget needs to be adequate in order for your ads to run. Some advertisers experience difficulties in getting their Facebook ads to run, despite seeing no errors. A quick method that usually resolves this is to switch from Daily Budget to Lifetime Budget. Simply set the start and end dates for your ad and the delivery will be similar to having a daily budget.

We recommend Clicks to Website in the Optimise For menu for most campaigns.

Again, if you’re having trouble getting your ads to run then the issue could be in the Pricing option. Choosing ‘Set the amount that a click to your website is worth to you’ and entering a bid above the minimum should get it going.

Choose the Standard delivery type if in doubt. Accelerated is for when you really need to burn off your budget or get some fast conversions in a short period.

Make sure you preview your ad in each of these formats. You can disable any placements that you don’t like the sound or look of, but our recommendation is that you let your ad run in all of them for the initial period and then disable the ones that produce the poorest results. Common sense also applies here; you don’t want to drive mobile clicks to a site with terrible mobile optimisation. Likewise, you don’t want desktop traffic visiting a landing page about your mobile app.

Tweaking stuff when it’s up and running

Once you’ve got a good amount of data, you can draw confident conclusions about which devices and placements your ads are succeeding on. Cost per Result is a good KPI for this but make sure you don’t choke off your main traffic streams. If, for instance, you’re spending a lot on iPhone users and getting a high Cost per Result, by all means turn it off.

Don’t forget you can also view performance by Mobile News Feed, Audience Network, Desktop News Feed and Desktop Right Column.

If you would like to talk to any of the staff at DSA Global about how we can help you, please visit us at DSA Global