Ad Targeting … Successful Facebook Advertising

In the old days of advertising, the name of the game was reach and frequency. Brands preferred mass media vehicles like television and radio because they were the easiest means to reach large audiences and build brand awareness. But the world has drastically changed with the internet. Now the focus is all about Facebook ad targeting to get to your specific audiences.

Check out our thoughts on creative marketing.


Target customers with Facebook ads
Target customers with Facebook ads.

Increased media fragmentation and new tools for reaching people, like targeting, have evened the playing field between businesses large and small. Even the smallest mom-and-pop-shop has opportunities to get in front of their target audience and drive awareness at a faster clip than some of the largest brands.

Related post: Social Media Platforms … The Magic Every Content Marketer Needs


Segmentation is a key tenet of effective marketing. How can you achieve your goals if you aren’t reaching the right consumers? 


Do you want to connect with local customers on Facebook?

Have you considered targeting them with Facebook ads?

Facebook ads offer a quick, easy, cost-effective way to reach consumers in your local area.

You can get more out of your Facebook business page by targeting posts tailored to the different types of people in your audience. Say your business sells deodorant. You have a women’s product line and men’s product line, but it’s easiest to have one unified social media presence. If you’re running a special on a new product for the women’s line, you can avoid oversaturating your male followers with messaging by posting targeted Facebook statuses. All you have to do is write a post in the standard field and then click on the location symbol. You will then see the option to “Add Targeting.” Click this text, and a dropdown will offer different characteristics by which to target.

In this case, I’d choose “Gender” and then “Women” to share information about my special female deodorant offer.

This basic, easy step is often overlooked because as brands we want to broadcast our messaging to as many people as possible. That’s great sometimes when the message is more universally applicable, but this little trick is handy to have in your back pocket, so you don’t risk annoying the living daylights out of your followers.


In this article, you’ll discover how to get your business in front of local customers using Facebook ads.


Ad targeting … select ad type

You can target any Facebook ad to a local audience, including four designed specifically for local marketers; you just need to pinpoint your desired geographic area for the audience in your targeting options. To get started, go to your Facebook Ads Manager and click on Create Ad.

From here, you’ll need to select the objective of your ad. The objective determines the type of ad you’re going to run. What you choose depends on your goals, and of course, what you’re promoting.

target advertising examples
Target advertising examples.

Facebook has added a couple of ads designed specifically for businesses looking to target users in their area: Reach People Near Your Business and Raise Attendance at Your Event. In particular, choose the Reach People Near Your Business ad type if you want to specify the area you want to target, with a handy little map function.

This option only enables you to target your ad according to location, age, and gender.

Facebook users within your specified target area, age range, and gender will see your ad, regardless of other evidence to signal if a user is a viable potential customer for your business. This ad type targets users based not on the location listed in their profile, but on their current physical location. This means people are visiting your city will also be able to see your ad.


Ads target group members … employ location targeting

How you select the location, you want to target depends on the Facebook ad type you’re using. If you’ve chosen Reach People Near Your Business, use the handy map function mentioned above. Since Facebook already knows the location of your business, it automatically finds your location and highlights the area around it.

If you want to change the location, drag the circle around the map or enter an address in the box below it. You can also adjust the radius you wish to target using the Radius drop-down menu in the bottom-right corner of the map.


The map tool lets you adjust the area you target in three different ways.

From here, you can target one or multiple locations. Your targeting can be as broad as a country or as specific as a postal address. You also have the option to adjust the radius to target. Use the drop-down menu that appears next to each of your target locations to make your changes.


All Facebook ads allow you to adjust your location targeting according to the radius.

Note that unlike the Reach People Near Your Business ad type, other ad types allow you to exclude locations. You can be as broad or specific as you like. To do this, click the button that says Include and select the Exclude option.

Then enter the location you want to avoid targeting.



Target advertising Facebook
Target advertising Facebook.

Facebook ad targeting … iterate location targeting

Having the ability to target ads directly to consumers according to their precise location is an invaluable tool for marketers. But it’s not quite enough.

If you want to maximize the return on your investment, you need to look beyond location targeting. As mentioned above, if you’re choosing to reach people near your business, the only targeting options you have, aside from location, are age and gender.

More to review: Instagram Stats … Lots to Learn From Current Data


This should be enough to separate a retired couple from newlyweds, and it will help prevent, say, men’s suit shop from displaying an ad to local ladies. Unfortunately, that’s as far as it goes.

Reach People Near Your Business is an excellent feature for businesses with a broad target market, especially those that operate in industries that rely on a lot of passing trade (think bars or restaurants). However, it’s far less effective if you operate in very niche industries, or offer a product or service that doesn’t benefit from tourists in any way. Think home improvement firms and membership-only fitness centers, for instance.

If you want to be more precise with whom you target your ads to, you’ll want to choose one of the other Facebook ad types, the most versatile of which is Boost Your Posts. This is because anything within reason can be incorporated into a post: news, an offer, or event details.

Regardless of the ad type you choose, begin by selecting the location, age range, and gender you want to target. Then drill down into the demographics you want to target, such as education, income, political beliefs, interests, hobbies, and behaviors.

If you’re not sure where to begin, click Browse. You can then explore the different demographics, interests, and behaviors that are available to you.

If you want to select an entire category or subsections of a category, click the check boxes to their right.

You can select multiple options here. However, the default setting is to INCLUDE People Who Match at Least ONE of the Following. This means you’ll target anyone who matches any one of your targeting options, and each targeting option you select will expand your audience.

If you want to target people who match multiple criteria, click Narrow Audience. This brings up a new box that looks like this:

Each time you add criteria this way, you’re choosing to target users who fit all of those variables. For instance, the ad below will be shown only to college grads who also have an interest in nutrition.

To narrow your audience further, click Narrow Further and add more criteria. Expanding on the example above, the ad will now be shown only to Chrome-using college grads with interest in nutrition.

Related post: 11 Updates to Starbuck’s Creativity and Innovation


Facebook interest targeting list … exclude who you choose

You can also exclude specific groups of people that you don’t want to target. To do this, select Exclude People and choose the demographic, interest, or behavior that you want to prevent seeing your ad.


The bottom line


If you’re a local business, it makes sense to limit the visibility of your ads to people within a reasonable distance of your location. This applies whether you’re boosting a post, promoting your page, or trying to send people to your website.

There’s a possible exception to this rule: content promotion. If you’re using Facebook ads to get your content in front of people, audience interests will be the focus of your targeting (unless of course your content is location-specific).

So, to get the most out of your ad campaign targeting, be selective in which audiences you want to connect with. Start every new campaign with the basics: location, gender, language, and device targeting.

Then select one targeting category to focus on: interest, follower, behavior, or keyword. Don’t make your aim too narrow or too broad; your goal is to reach as many people as possible to a specific demographic.

Once you’ve had a chance to play around with Facebook ads, you’ll see that they can be an incredibly powerful tool for all marketers, local or otherwise.


Need some help in capturing more customers from your marketing strategies? Creative ideas to help the differentiation with potential customers?


Call today for a FREE consultation or a FREE quote. Learn about some options to scope your job.

Call Mike at 607-725-8240.


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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+Twitter, and LinkedIn.  


Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change.  We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.


More reading on social media lessons from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library:

6 KLM Airlines Marketing Examples for Winning Campaigns

Visual Marketing … 15 Remarkable Content Examples

Starbucks Marketing … 9 Ways They Employ Social Media Innovation



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Ad Targeting … Successful Facebook Advertising