5 Facebook Ad Targeting Strategies for Conversions


Facebook ads can be powerful tools that can drive conversions. But this typically applies only if the ads are shown to that audience segment that’s more likely to respond to your messaging. 

That’s why Facebook ad targeting is important. 

With Facebook ad targeting, you can reach people who are already interested in your specific product or who have already visited your website, among others. They’re the most likely to convert into paying customers, who, ultimately, ensure your business’ growth.

So, how do you leverage targeting ads on Facebook and get the most out of your advertising campaigns? Here are some proven strategies:

1. Use Facebook Audience Insights to target your competitors’ fans

Facebook Audience Insights is a powerful feature that allows you to measure your Facebook page’s performance metrics (e.g., reach, impressions, or page visits). But that’s not all it can do. It can also help you research and target your competitors and their organic fans with your Facebook ads.

Why would you do that? They’re the obvious choice as your target audience. They’re interested in your competitors’ products so they should be interested in yours, too.

You can access Facebook Audience Insights through the Facebook Ads Manager. You have to make sure, though, that you have a Facebook business page.

Now follow the steps to target your competitors’ fans with your Facebook advertising:

Step 1: Open the Insights dashboard in the Meta Business Suite of your Facebook account. Then, choose Potential Audience.

Step 2: Click on the Filter button on the top right corner of the dashboard. To target the organic audience of your competitors, look for your competitors in the Interests box. 

Let's say you’re a food business and your competitors are Annie's Homegrown and Whole Food Market. Type their names in Interests to see which customer segments may be interested in your competitors.


Here, you found out those who are interested in these two competitors are mainly female aged 25+. Most of them come from New York, Houston, and Chicago.

Step 3: After collecting all the demographic data of your competitors' fans, go back to the Filter section. Adjust basic options (e.g., location, age ranges, or interests) to create a Facebook audience based on your collected data. 

Also, at this point, consider your buyer profiles. For example, your buyer persona cares about organic and healthy food or diet. So include these options in the Interests box as well.

Take a look at the picture below.

Audience metrics

Step 5: Name your customer group and Click Create Audience. 

Create audience

Once you’ve set these core audiences as your target market, your Facebook ads will appear before them specifically. Make sure your ads also meet their needs. You can engage the services of a reputable Facebook ads agency to create visually stunning content that resonates with them.

2. Focus on people who already engaged with your social media pages 

You can choose to show your Facebook ads to active users who already interacted with your Facebook or even Instagram profile. You’d have to specify to Meta how long you want it to go back when collecting engagement data.

So, if you specify “30 days,” for instance, a person who helped you gain Instagram likes 27 days ago will be included as a member of your engagement custom audience.  If, however, they engaged with your Facebook page 31 days ago, they won’t be included in your audience list.

Don’t worry. Meta automatically refreshes your engagement custom audience based on the period you specified. You don’t have to edit or create a new engagement custom audience every time.

All that said, how can you create this type of audience in the first place?

Step 1: Open your “Audiences page”. Then, click Create Audience > Custom Audience.

Step 2: Click Facebook Page or Instagram Account (if you choose this second option, make sure your Instagram account is linked to your Facebook account).

Step 3: If you chose Facebook, set a Page Section. You can have up to five page sections per audience. If you chose Instagram account, choose the type of Instagram engagement a person must perform to be added as a member of your Facebook ad target audience. See below:

Engaged with pro account

Step 4: Give your new audience a name or a description.

Step 5: Click on Create Audience. 

You can now set your new Instagram or Facebook custom audiences as the target social media users for your Facebook ad. Do this in the Audience section of Ad Set Creation.

3. Get ultra-precise with detailed targeting

Imagine your business wants to advertise a year-end sale on Facebook for office women aged 30-55. But how can you attract this perfect audience as part of your social advertising? The answer is through Facebook's Detailed Targeting.

With this feature, you can combine proper targeting options on the advertising platform to refine your audience for Facebook campaigns. The result is that you make the most out of your advertising budget.

To leverage effective targeting ads on Facebook this way, follow these steps:

Step 1: Go to your ad set.

Step 2: Choose your audience preferences by age, gender, location, and language.

Step 3: Include or exclude more specific details about your ideal target audience in the default text box. Just enter one word, say, “movies,” and Meta will give you suggestions. Or, you can choose to click on the Browse button. You can add up to 100 options here.

Note, though, that when you add criteria this way, you can expect your ad to cater to people who meet at least one of those criteria. Assume you include people in your ideal target market who are:

  • Foodies
  • Business travelers
  • Moms

Your targeting ads on Facebook will appear before foodies or business travelers or moms. 

Step 4: Let’s say that’s the wrong audience for you and you want your ad to appear before foodies and frequent travelers and moms instead. After specifying “foodies” in the previous step, click on Narrow Audience. Then write “business travelers.” Then click on Narrow Further and write “moms.”

Save your new settings.  

Complement use of this detailed targeting feature with a well-designed landing page that has the perfect message. When customers click through your ads, they expect to see the same content they saw on your ad. So, if the customers find your landing page unattractive or irrelevant, they can bounce off your website. That means you can kiss that increase in conversions on your site goodbye.

4. Target a lookalike audience

A “lookalike audience” is a group of members who share similar traits with your current audience or buyers. Because of this, these people may also be ideal customers. When you display the right Facebook ads on their feeds, the chances of them clicking through are high.

Facebook’s Lookalike Audience is a helpful tool if you have a few Facebook followers or a small email list of core customers. 

To create a lookalike audience for your targeting ads on Facebook, follow these steps:

Step 1: Go to your Audiences.

Step 2: Select the Create Audience dropdown. Then pick Lookalike Audience.

Create audience

Step 3: Choose your source or original audience. This can be fans of your page, for example. Make sure you choose a source that’s more likely to respond to your ad message. For instance, choose page fans who have engaged a lot with your social media content. 

Step 4: Specify the country your lookalike audience should come from. 

Step 5: Pick your ideal audience size on a 1-10% scale. It’s a smart advertising tactic to shun a huge market here and opt for a smaller one instead. A smaller target audience shares more similar characteristics with your source audience.

Step 6: Click on Create Audience.

You can build many lookalike audiences with different levels of similarity to your source audience.

For example, you may want to build two lookalike audiences for the "Happy Woman" campaign shown below. The first accounts for 1% of your source audience, and the other makes up 2%.

Create a lookalike audience

Once you’re done filling out the fields, it may take six to 24 hours for the lookalike audience to be created. However, your lookalike audience will be updated automatically every three to seven days provided you’re still actively targeting them with your ads.

5. Retarget website visitors

Retargeting is one of the best inbound marketing strategies. It helps business owners connect with potential customers who already interacted with their brands, including those who visited their websites.

You can retarget website visitors using the Facebook pixel (“Meta pixel"). It’s a piece of code brands like you can install in your website’s backend that can track and analyze user behavior. You can use data collected from a pixel to create specific Facebook ad audience segments for future campaigns.

Once your Meta pixel is active, create a custom audience from your site.

Step 1: Go to your Audiences.

Step 2: Click on the Create Audience dropdown and choose Custom Audience.

Step 3: Pick Website Traffic.

Step 4: Set a rule section, or the characteristics that define your target audience. You can have up to five rule sections per audience. You can add even more inclusive or exclusive rule sections afterward.

Step 6: Give your audience a name and click Create Audience.

You can now choose this type of audience to target while creating your ad on Facebook. When you do, depending on your settings, if a potential customer performs an action on your site but makes no purchase, the pixel will report this action to your Events Manager, triggering your targeting ad on Facebook. You can also set your ad campaign to target people who visited your site within the period you specify.

In closing

Facebook is a powerful marketing tool. It provides an opportunity for businesses to reach their ideal market through its wide range of functions. In the advertising sphere, marketers can target their ideal audience almost at a granular level, increasing their chances for conversions.

You learned some of these Facebook ad targeting strategies in this article. Use Facebook Audience Insights to target your direct competitors’ fans. Target a lookalike audience or people who already interacted with your Facebook or Instagram profile. Or get precise with detailed targeting. Retargeting people who visited your site is effective as well.

But remember, whichever Facebook ad targeting strategy you use, you still have to make sure it aligns with your business goals and buyer persona, too. Then you can be assured your campaign for your potential markets will yield the best results.

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