How to Find Your Best Facebook Audiences

5368326607_5a7015fa02_oWhether a seasoned marketing pro or new to the game, one of the most important things you can do to improve paid marketing performance on Facebook is test audiences. Testing allows you to to find the best targeting to produce scalable, efficient results. But knowing what to test—and how to get started—is the tricky part.

First, a note on Facebook’s ad structure. A campaign establishes the high-level goal that you’re trying to achieve.  You can target different audiences, also called “ad sets,” within a campaign. For example, if my goal is to get iPhone app installs in the US, I might name my campaign “iPhone – US – App Installs”. Within that campaign, I can define different audiences, or ad sets.

Now, the important question: how do you find the Facebook audience(s) that will produce the best results? The simple answer: test anything and everything, within reason. You may be surprised by which audiences perform well. Here are a few ideas for developing your test audiences:

Leverage your existing your users/customers

In my experience, the most efficient Facebook audiences are based on my current customers. These audiences, called “Lookalikes” can be created in a few ways:

  1. If you have your users’ email addresses, you can upload those directly to Facebook as a Custom Audience.
  2. If you have a Facebook pixel on your website, can create a list of web visitors.
  3. If you have the Facebook SDK in your mobile app, you can create a list of app users.

Lookalike audiences are created in the Facebook Ads Manager. Select “Lookalike Audience” and choose your source and audience size. Audience size ranges from 1% to 10% of the total population of potential matches, with 1% being those who most closely match your source.

Target demos, interests and behaviors that your target audience shares 

This seems like a no-brainer, but you should define your target audience and brainstorm the qualities they might share. How old are they? Where do they live? What do they like to do? What other brands/products are they interested in? Once you’ve done this, you have many options to find those individuals:

  1. Demographics
    This section provides a treasure trove of detailed targeting options: everything from education, racial affinity, generation, relationship status and much more. While it’s easy to create a hyper-targeted audience, be sure your audience size is not too small. 
  2. Interests
    Interest targeting lets you define your ideal audience by their interests, hobbies and Pages they like on Facebook. Facebook identifies these interests from information users added to their Timeline, keywords associated with the Pages they like or apps they use, and ads they’ve clicked on.
  3. Behaviors
    Behaviors are activities that people do on or off Facebook, constructed from both someone’s activity on Facebook and offline activity provided by Facebook’s data partners.
  4. Partner and Facebook categories:
    Facebook has created categories of 1st party data, grouping together people who have a similar affinity. Partner Categories include data from data partners. More here.
  5. Connections
    This allows you to target (or exclude) your Facebook fans. You can also target friends of Facebook fans. Additionally, you can target people that have attended your Facebook events.

Read more about Facebook audiences here.

Lastly, a few tips to boost performance:

  • Delivery will be limited unless your audience is large enough. Each ad set should have an audience size of 1MM-5MM people.  This doesn’t apply to Custom Audiences, because they are highly qualified, but does apply to Lookalikes.
  • Allocate a larger budget to a smaller number of ad sets to optimize more effectively, rather than splitting your budget into many ad sets.
  • Avoid setting up multiple audiences that overlap more than 20%. You can see which audiences are overlapping within a single campaign by using our Audience Overlap Tool.
  • Avoid editing your ad multiple times in a short period. Every time you make a change, the algorithm will need to relearn how to deliver effectively to your audience.

As you get more sophisticated and find what works, you should iterate and layer new targeting to find even more efficient pockets.

Have any additional tips or tricks to share? Respond below in the comments!

Further Reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

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