Facebook Advertising Targeting

Targeting is absolutely the most skillful part of Facebook advertising. You can test your images and copy until you have an optimized advertisement. You cannot magically come up with the creative targeting that is truly the secret sauce of a successful Facebook campaign.

I’m not really sure what you expected to get when you opened his book. It’s fairly likely that you expected to get a blueprint of how to advertise on Facebook. I simply could have delivered that model, but I would have been shortchanging you.

Advertising, in general, is a battle of wits, direct competition, and psychology. None of those elements are unique to advertising on Facebook. Because I really want you to advertise successfully on Facebook, we needed to discuss our approach to advertising in general.

One of the main general business lessons we need to discuss is who your customer really should be and compare it to whom your customer currently is. I’ve never worked with an owner who had the level of detail of an “ideal customer” that he or she needed in order to leverage fully Facebook’s targeting campaign; so, no, you aren’t the one exception. Complete this exercise with me and thank me later for improving your business beyond Facebook advertising.

Finding Your Ideal Audience on Facebook

“The customer is always right” and “anyone who gives me business is my customer” are two phrases that freak me out when I hear them. The year is 2014 and you perceive your time to be more valuable than it has even been in your life. A customer who takes up too much of your time is not a good customer for you. A customer who causes problems left and right is not a good customer for you.

The reason why you might accept this person as your customer is because you do not have enough of your ideal customers. If I could fill your store/website with a [virtual] line out the door of your ideal customers, I’m sure you would stop accepting those crappy ones because you would no longer need them.

Well, let’s do that!

Take out a pen and paper. That’s right. Take out a pen and paper. If you don’t have a pen and paper with you right now, close this book and perform this exercise when you have a pen and paper. The ideal audience exercise is probably the most important exercise you will perform in the existence of your business – take it seriously.

Beyond writing this amazing book, I offer custom Facebook advertising services. You can’t come up with mesmerizing images or mind-numbingly awesome copy that is as effective as I can. You cannot split test as efficiently as me. Further, you might just not be passionate about Facebook advertising as I am and instead want to focus on other aspects of your business. Or, you might just want to know with complete certainty that your business is running elite Facebook advertising campaigns, printing you lots of money.

I have an ideal customer. Some of you will want to work with me, and frankly, I will not want to work with some of you – I say no to people all the time.

You also have an ideal customer. If you could wave a wand and create the perfect customer, how would that person look? If you would hand pick the age, interests, financial situation, passion – metaphorically mold your customer EXACTLY the way you want him or her – what would that person be? I will perform this exercise with you to give you a better idea of your considerations and how specific you should get with your ideal audience:

Greg’s Ideal Facebook Advertising Client

Age 28+/Trusts My FB Knowledge. I need mature clients. In my experience, younger people tend to think they know everything about everything. Age is a filter I use to avoid having to deal with people who want both to hire me and teach me how to do my job. I am very skilled at what I do. I can explain literally every single decision that I make and why I make those decisions (see rational thought process below). My ideal client does not question me every single step of the way.

Hands off Approach. I prefer situations where I can get down to work, create advertising campaigns, and print money for my clients. I prefer not to be on the phone constantly or answering emails every 12 hours about updates on campaigns that take longer than 12 hours to provide insight.

Listens to my non-Facebook suggestions and actually can implement them. Most clients think they are hiring me exclusively to provide Facebook advertising campaigns. However, after a user clicks a FB ad, he/she is taken to a landing page that needs to convert in order to make money! Luckily, I am also an expert at landing page optimization, so I have lots of valuable insight to provide when a user is on a client’s site. If the client cannot update the page, or make the necessary changes, or add in pixel tracking to their pages, that is not an ideal situation for me.

Has a profitable business/is not strapped for cash. I prefer not to work with individuals who *need* a Facebook campaign instantly to become profitable or their business will shut down. Luckily, Facebook campaigns are the fastest path to a profitable advertising campaign compared to everything else (social media, offline marketing, etc.) because of the scale Facebook provides; however, that scale also means we often will want to pour money into a profitable campaign as quickly as possible. You need money in order to be able to do that.

U.S.-based. As of this writing, Facebook has not unlocked certain powerful advertising filters for anyone outside the United States. My ideal client is in the United States because I can make a bigger impact. If there are 10 elements to a Facebook campaign, I can be better than my client’s competitors at 10 things. If there are 20 elements to a Facebook campaign, I have the opportunity to offer an even larger competitive advantage.

Does not care about fancy reports. I care about a few metrics: how much it costs to get users on a client’s site, how frequently those users convert into customers, and what our ROI is. I don’t [directly] care about likes, or comments, or fan-page views. I want to spend my time making the best possible advertisements for clients and creating the largest ROI for them; I don’t want to spend time presenting vanity metrics.

Thinks logically/rationally. Lots of people are afraid to do things because they are afraid. They think emotionally as opposed to logically and rationally. My ideal client thinks logically and rationally, which matches my thought process. When both parties have an identical thought process (it doesn’t have to be an identical approach), the workflow is more smoothly.

That’s my ideal client. You absolutely should note that this list is very specific and likely makes me come across as VERY picky. Remember, though, this is my IDEAL client. Do I have clients who do not meet all the criteria on this list? Of course! However, the reason why we MUST create this ideal audience is because we will be targeting them on Facebook. I know it sounds crazy, but there are 1.2 billion active users on Facebook – your ideal customer exists on Facebook and we are going to find them!

Let’s Go Target Your Customer on Facebook!

The best way to determine which Facebook parameters to use is for us to go hand in hand through all of them. That’s right – we literally are going to walk through every filtering option for Facebook targeting. You’re quite welcome!

Head into power editor and return to one of the sample advertisements we created for the sample campaign. In the provided area to edit the AD SETS, hit the “edit audience” button.

Right now, we have used the “additional interests” of cleaning. Hover your mouse to the right of that box and hit the x that pops up to remove that filter.

We now have a clean slate (kind of – we are still filtered for “married.” but we’ll fix that).

Click the More Demographics button and you’ll see a few options arise:

facebook advertising targeting

We are going to work through each of these categories first. Hover over Relationship and you’ll see two options pop up: “Interested In” and “Relationship Status.” Click Interested In and you’ll see the following addition to your audience:

facebook advertising targeting

If you are looking for a specific gender preference, here is where you would make your selection (i.e., you want to write an ad that encourages buying flowers for “the woman in your life”). One note: if you are indifferent as to what gender in which your target audience is interested, do not select “unspecified.” If you choose unspecified, you only will include people who have not indicated in which gender they are interested, whereas you just want all people regardless of gender.

Now go back to More Demographics, Relationship, and Relationship Status. You can choose the relationship status of your audience here (click “browse” if your menu is not expanded). You’ll notice we’ve already selected “married,” so you can remove that filter if it is unnecessary. You can choose more than one option.

Go select the four options in More Demographics, Education. You’ll see you can target specific schools, fields of study, education level, and undergrad years. As a hint, you may want to target only college graduates, or if you are targeting college students, you can choose “In School.” If you wanted only to target individuals who attended Ivy League schools, you would manually select the eight schools here.

By now, you should start to get a little excited about the possibilities that these other categories provide. Keep in mind that we are creating our first profile for our IDEAL CUSTOMER. If you see other categories that you think you might be interested in exploring down the road, create a document with a list of them and where they are located.

Keep going and expand all the options from within “Work.” We’ll now see some new box types that do not feature a browse button (employers and job titles). While employers will be fairly easy to include manually, Job Titles will be more puzzling.

If you are targeting a specific type of person, you’ll have to learn the job titles that person might have. Facebook offers Job Titles like “firefighter” and “goalkeeper,” but a CEO is listed under “Chief Executive Officer,” “CEO & Founder,” and “President/CEO.” If you are unsure of the various titles your ideal audience has, you’ll want to perform a Google search!

Think about the motivation for someone to post information about his/her careers (or even in general). There has to be a certain level of pride, or the desire to share information, in order for someone to let the world know. Further, different ways of describing a position indicate traits about the individual. I own businesses but my Job Title on Facebook is not “My own boss” or “Owning my own businesses” or “Living the dream.” Those three examples are more likely to be tied to someone who is new to the entrepreneurial world and proud of the journey along which they are traveling. Therefore, if I wanted to target business owners of more than a few years, I would not include those job titles.

Make sure you keep your eye on the “Potential Audience” number to the right of your filters. If you pick a filter that absolutely kills your audience down to something like fewer than 1,000 people, consider removing it. You can always add something back if you need further segmentation within your audience.

You are officially familiar with all the types of boxes you’ll encounter. Go through EVERY category within the More Demographics option in order to familiarize yourself with your filtering options.

Understand that the more sought-after your target audience, the more expensive your advertisement will be. For example, it is easy to want to target individuals who earn more than $125k a year or who are worth more than $2 million because they likely can afford your product. However, because those options are the highest income/net worth category options on Facebook, selecting these options instantly will put you in direct competition with luxury brands and services that are willing to pay lots of money to have these high value potential customers see their advertisements.

We will often try to come up with creative ways of targeting these groups of people without using identical filters. I’ll give you an example as we go through the following part: Interests.

Interests give us a new box once more: this time, a Suggestions element is grayed out:

facebook advertising targeting

If you absolutely know there is something specific in which your target audience is interested (for example, if I am Rolex, my audience might be interested in “luxury watches” and various types of “Rolex” watches) you can type it directly into the box. If you are unsure or simply want to find more interests, you’ll want to hit the browse button and go through every category once again. Seriously, please take the time right now to go through every category within interests.

Facebook is smart and provides suggestions based on of what interests you’ve already selected. Let’s pretend you are coming out with a forensic science game and you want to target people who watch CSI on television. Type CSI into the box and select “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” You’ll now notice that additional suggestions automatically have emerged (or click the suggestions button if they have not):

facebook advertising targeting

Sweet. From this list, I would select CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, and maybe NCIS (TV Series). I wouldn’t select the other shows because they aren’t closely enough related. Select those three and take a look at the Potential Audience:

facebook advertising targeting

You’ll notice that Facebook has listed the interests we’ve chosen as an OR (our ad will be served to anyone who likes CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, OR NCIS (TV Series). This “or” is the reason you need to make sure your targeting is hyper-focused. For example, if I wanted to target people who like the Sherlock Holmes movies, they might not also like CSI/NCIS, but they would still be served with an ad. Those people would not convert, and we would waste money.

The following major targeting element is “Behaviors.” Go through EVERY category within behaviors and make sure to stick to your ideal audience. You likely will discover new elements of your ideal audience that you didn’t write out before – add them to your list.

You can hover your mouse over any category that you have selected or are considering choosing and Facebook will provide a summary of what makes up that category as well as how many people on Facebook fit that category:

facebook advertising targeting

We use Behaviors and Interests to come up with creative targeting. For example, I once ran an advertisement campaign that targeted wedding photographers. There is no “wedding photographer” Job Title from which to choose. I couldn’t select photography as an interest because that would be too broad and general. And, as always, I want to try to filter for an audience that is prepared to spend money.

I looked up the latest and greatest cameras online. There were maybe 5-7 made by Nikon and Canon that were quite expensive. I added those cameras under interests, which effectively filtered by audience for “people who are either passionate about high-end cameras or who likely own them.” In other words, people who have likely spent lots of money on an expensive camera. I then targeted “Small Business Owners” under Behaviors. Through this combination, I had found photographers who own their own photography business and care enough about the quality of their shots to spend money on cameras (a small portion of this group definitely would be business owners who randomly/as a hobby are into photography, but the overwhelming majority is exactly what I am seeking). I then used the copy in the ad to target wedding photographers specifically.

That last paragraph is an example of the power of combining everything you’ve learned thus far in this book. It’s about whom your audience is and knowing as much as possible about it. It’s about understanding the tools of the Facebook advertising platform, as well as the importance and theory behind the messaging of your advertisements. You cannot lose if you apply everything you are learning.

But I digress…

Check out your potential audience once more. I generally keep campaigns targeted to under 100,000-200,000 people (although I’ve run campaigns to fewer than 1,000 people and more than 2 million people, so the rule of thumb is that there is no rule of thumb).

If you are just starting, I would suggest segmenting your audience to around 10,000 people, because the higher level of filtration will allow your ROI to be greater. Just keep in mind that it will take longer for you to reach your campaign goals because the potential audience is a metric for 30 days of advertising.

Congratulations, you have now located your audience on Facebook from scratch!

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