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Target Practice: Learning to Identify Your Facebook Ad Audience

We all have a target on our back. A quick scan of my recent emails made me realize mine says “early sixties, single, homeowner, devout Mac and iphone user.” I had offers for walk-in tubs, safety flashlights, night driving glasses, heating pads and key organizers.

I also had news about medicare advisors, burial insurance, massage therapists and senior dating services. Cures for everything from low T to tinnitus appeared in the form of hemp oil and biblical herbs plus foods that reverse dementia. I qualify for 20% off a fisheye lens that clips to an iphone. (Don’t all seniors take wide-angle photos because they can’t figure out panoramic mode?)

Ninety percent of the targeted “old people” emails went into the Trash unopened. That’s because, even though I’m a card-carrying baby boomer, I’m also healthy, in a relationship and haven’t decided on a theme for my funeral. That’s why using email to target by age or some other demographic alone can be a shot in the dark.

On the other hand, if these senior-seeking companies had looked at my Facebook page, they would have seen I “like” to spend money on travel, biographies, cats, cooking, sewing, home remodeling and Hollywood gossip.

There’s no disputing, Facebook advertising allows you to target existing customers with greater precision than email. The sheer volume of personal data collected and frequency of usage makes the reach remarkable. Once you sync your list with customers’ Facebook profiles, you’ll have the ability to create smaller, more desirable audiences. You’ll be able to market not only to people who already have a relationship with your business, but also to those who have interacted on Facebook or other platforms.

Of course, to use the Facebook custom audience feature, you’ll have to have a Facebook Ad creation that meets your goal. (See our previous article regarding Facebook ad goals). Your audience will be determined by your goal and the message of your ad. If your goal is to raise brand awareness, you’ll want to target people who have never visited your site. If you target the people who have “liked” your page, you may want to make a special offer.

The Custom Audience feature lets you tap into the wealth of information about existing customers and contacts who are also on Facebook. By targeting people on Facebook who you’re already connected to, you can nurture relationships and nudge sales.

You can use your own customer file and search by 15 identifiers, including phone number, email, date of birth, zip code, etc. to match to Facebook users. Then create an audience from the matches. It’s easy to do. Just sync your own electronic file or copy and paste the data. If you are using a third party to obtain names, you can import email addresses directly from list brokers like Mail Chimp.

Create a Custom Audience For Your Facebook Ad

Once you have your goal supported by an appropriate marketing message, you are ready to designate the audience.

Customer File

The first thing you will probably want to do is run your own customer file through the database to find their Facebook pages. Then you can create an audience from these matches. This greatly expands the understanding of those you’re currently doing business with.

Website Traffic

By using the Facebook Pixel on each of your website pages, you’ll have the ability to see who visited your website or took specific actions. Then you can create a custom audience of these curious visitors.

App Activity

When someone launches your app or game and engages in some way, you can create a custom audience to address this specific group of users.

Offline Interaction

Anyone who comes into your store, inquiries by phone or makes contact through other offline channels can be a future loyal customer. Collect the names, addresses, email, etc. and create a custom audience.


Capturing the names of people who engage with your content on Facebook or Instagram gives you the opportunity to create a custom audience for social media marketing purposes.

Lookalike Audiences

Another Facebook marketing feature is the lookalike audience, which lets you use the attributes of your customer profiles to find new prospects similar to them on Facebook.

Audience Insights

This feature gives you overall aspects of your customers, such as hobbies, religion, politics and purchasing patterns so you can use these attributes and behaviors to find new audiences. Here’s how that information provides opportunities to target smaller segments.

Who Are They?

Study profile specifics including age and gender breakdowns, education levels, job titles, relationship statuses and more.

What Do They Like?

Learn about your target’s interests and hobbies and the types of products they might be interested in.

How Do They Live?

Consider the family size, parental status, number of children and home location to anticipate the household needs.

How Well Do They Like Us?

Listen to your current customers and prospects to understand how well they “like” you, so you can seal the deal.

Do They Visit Your Website?

Observe visitor traffic to your website for strong potential customers.

Do They Use Your App?

Identify who is already engaging with your mobile app to offer deals and discounts directed at them.

To use a sporting metaphor, in marketing as in archery, you have to aim before you can hit. Targeting the right market, however specialized, can make all the difference in the response you receive. If you would like some help aiming and hitting your Facebook advertising target, give us a call.