Who you target on Facebook is one of the major factors that will determine whether or not your campaigns will be successful - but because there are so many targeting options at your disposal, it can be easy to overlook some of the more effective tools, or even remain totally unaware of their existence.
Facebook's ad tools are always changing, always evolving, and as they do, the various options available become more complex. And while sticking with what works can be effective, you may also be missing out on significant opportunity in alternate approaches, some of which can be highly beneficial, but are less well known, or less highlighted within Facebook's system.
Here are five of my favorite, more advanced options which can help improve your return on ad spend.
1. Retarget Website Visitors
The people that have already visited your website are much warmer prospects than anyone found via a cold audience targeting option - if someone has taken the time to visit your website, they've demonstrated a clear interest in what you have to offer.
It’s much easier to convince these people to take your desired action, whether that’s to make a purchase, consume content, become a lead, etc. This is consistently reflected in the metrics - Facebook ad campaigns that target warm audiences consistently have higher ad relevance scores and lower conversion costs.
To retarget website visitors via Facebook, you need to have the Facebook Pixel installed on your website ( you can check out this article for instructions on how to do that).
You then need to create a Website Custom Audience - you do that in the Audiences tab in Ads Manager. Navigate there and click the 'Create' button and then select 'Custom Audience'.
That will bring up a window that looks like this:
Select 'Website Traffic' from the list above and you’ll see this:
There are many different types of website custom audience that you can create, but to start with, you can use the default settings of 'All website visitors' and '30 days'.
You then simply give your audience a name and select 'Create Audience'.
To target this new website custom audience, you can enter it as a targeting option at the ad set level here:
2. Narrow Target Audiences
Not all Facebook advertisers are aware of this, but when you enter multiple targeting options, you actually broaden your target audience.
For example, here I’m targeting people that are expats OR are interested in cars:
If I wanted to narrow my audience to people that are expats AND are interested in cars, I would select the Narrow Audience button and enter one of the criteria in the second box like this:
This might seem like a small difference, but it really changes the make-up of your target audience.
Narrowing audiences like this is a great way to make your targeting more specific, and remove people who are less likely to convert.
3. Target Previous Customers with New Offers
If you offer multiple products or services, or are about to launch a new offer, the best people to advertise it to are probably previous customers.
Targeting existing and previous customers is one of the best targeting techniques for improving ROAS - where possible, I will always look to include this targeting option in my campaigns.
To target previous customers, head back into the 'Audiences' tab in Ads Manager, select 'Create' and then 'Custom Audiences'. That will bring up this window:
Select 'Customer File' from the menu above and you’ll see this:
If your customers details are stored in MailChimp, you can simply select the 2nd option and follow the integration instructions.
Otherwise, click the first option and you’ll see this page:
Here you can either upload a customer file, or copy and paste the data.
Once your website custom audience has been created, you can target it by adding it here:
4. Lookalike Audiences
Lookalike audiences are often the most effective cold audience targeting option. and they're fantastic for scaling Facebook ad campaigns.
Lookalike audiences consist of people that have similar traits and behaviors to another group of people - for example, you can create a lookalike audience based on your previous customers and the people included in it will have very similar interests.
Lookalike audiences based on existing or previous customers can be incredibly effective.
To create one, head back into the 'Audiences' tab in Ads Manager.
Then check the box next to your custom audience, select 'Actions' and 'Create Lookalike':
Doing so will bring up a window that looks like this:
All you need to do on this page is select the countries that you would like to target and decide on an audience size.
You then select 'Create Audience', and within 30 minutes or so your lookalike set will be good to go.
5. Target Facebook Page Likes
This targeting option is very often overlooked - but it shouldn’t be.
Organic reach on Facebook is more or less a thing of the past - these days, only a very small percentage of your Facebook Page fans will see your posts, unless you pay to promote them.
With that said, this targeting option regularly delivers better results than cold audiences.
These people have already interacted with your business on Facebook, and are quite likely to do so again.
Targeting Facebook Page Likes is very straightforward. At the ad set level of your campaign there’s a 'Connections' section:
Simply select 'People who like your Page' from the list above.
Where possible, it’s great to get an edge on the competition by going beyond the standard Facebook targeting options. Targeting warm audiences, such as website visitors, previous customers and Page Likers, almost always generates a much better ROAS than cold audiences.
And if you don’t have those digital assets to play with, you can still significantly improve things by narrowing your audiences and using lookalikes.