Closing in on Your Customer: Targeted Ads on Facebook

June 06 / Chair 10 Marketing Team / filed under Social Media

The internet is now entering the age of H2H marketing – human to human, that is. The idea that personal interaction is really the crux of digital marketing shouldn’t be all that surprising; Facebook has some 1.65 billion monthly active users that represent people from all kinds of geographic locations, economic backgrounds, and industries and their personal interests, hobbies, and personal goals are just as diverse. It’s clear you can reach anyone you want to reach on Facebook, but… how?


Welcome to targeted ads. Here’s how you can use them:


How to Build a Facebook Audience – The Basics

The first thing you’ll do after choosing an objective for your ad campaign (getting more website clicks, boosting a Facebook post, etc.) is define your audience. Why bother defining your audience? The smart play in marketing is to spend your energy (and hard-earned dough) reaching out to the people for whom your product or service is most relevant. A targeted ad is a brilliant way to do that.

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The first option on this page is to build a Custom Audience. This can be an incredibly useful tool, but it’s a tool best left to those who have “leveled up.”  In other words, we’ll save Custom Audiences for a future blog. For now, let’s look at the other six fields:



As internet and smartphone use grow, our potential customer base broadens as well. Sometimes though, you just need your ad to hit close to home. Facebook allows you to pick a location based on country, state/region, city, postal code, specific address, DMA (designated marketing area, typically used for radio and TV markets), or congressional district. You can further restrict your location targeting using the following four categories:

  • Everyone in this location
  • People who live in this location
  • People recently in this location
  • People traveling in this location



There’s no use marketing your wine import company to the under-21 crowd, and there probably won’t be too many middle-aged Facebook users interested in subscribing to your boy band newsletter. Are there exceptions? Sure. Are those exceptions worth using up your marketing dollars? Nope.



Much like age, advertising based on gender can be a great tactic if your market research reveals that the target demographic for your product or service is made up of a majority of women or a majority of men.



Music and visual art often transcend language. A book or podcast produced in English probably doesn’t. It’s always important to think about what you’re promoting and whether language will be key to getting your message across.


Detailed Targeting

This is where the fun begins. Up until now, you’ve being narrowing your audience based on the broadest of criteria (and let’s face it, some equally broad generalizations), but now your educated guesses are about to be rather dramatically overshadowed by information provided by the actual Facebook user.


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You can both add and exclude people based off of demographics, interests, and/or behaviors. This is incredibly powerful, because unlike paying for a boosted post just to get your content in front of people who already follow or like your brand, you can use targeted ads to do the internet equivalent of cold calling. This is your moment to really let that market research go to work.


You can identify people according to:

  • The school they attended
  • Their level of education
  • What they like to eat or drink
  • Their hobbies
  • What sports they like
  • Their favorite television programs
  • How much money they make
  • Their ethnicity
  • Their generation (Millennials, Baby Boomers, etc.)
  • Who they’re friends with
  • Whether they have children – and if they do, how old they are
  • Their political affiliation
  • Who they work for
  • What industry they work in
  • Major life events, such as a recent move, a new job, a recent divorce or impending marriage, or even someone who just qualified as a teacher.


These targets are practically unlimited, and they’re incredibly specific.



Finally, you can refine your ad by connection type, so you can pinpoint people who interact with your Facebook page, app, or recent event.


This is just the tip of the targeting iceberg, but the view from up here is pretty inspiring, isn’t it? There is a new Facebook profile created every 5 seconds – that’s more than 17,000 potential new customers signing up every day – and now you know how to reach every single one of them!