Facebook Ad Targeting is awesome. It is also complex. There is so much you can test and can see in Facebook. You can target based on interests, page likes, behaviors, characteristics, similarities, etc. The list seems endless.  As you begin figuring out your Facebook strategy, here are a few tips and pointers to keep in mind about targeting.

Make it Simple

To start, figure out the over-arching goal of your Facebook campaign. Is it for awareness? Is it for leads or conversions? Is it for site visits? It is absolutely pivotal to know why you are setting up a Facebook campaign because that will help you to know how to target your audiences.

Let’s walk through an example. I am a lead gen client that ultimately wants people to fill out a contact form because they are interested in enrolling. I want to focus on the users that I know are interested in my business. I know this based on historical data from previous enrollments. This is my core audience, or people I know that are likely to convert.

To make my Facebook strategy simple, I plan to set up a campaign targeting my core audience. I will target my users based on their demographics, gender, behaviors, and age because I have this data from previous years. For the sake of this example, let’s say my core audience consists of high school graduates looking for a technical education to be able to go into the workforce quickly. What are the characteristics of this core audience? Male and female, most likely aged between 17 and 25, have a high school diploma, prefer mobile devices to desktops, and let’s say they live in large cities within the Midwest because that is where my business is located. I am going to use these characteristics of my core audience to set up a campaign, ad sets, ads with language and images that appeal to this well-laid out audience.

Within my campaign, I would create two separate ad sets. One targeting males and one targeting females. Within each ad set, I would set up at least 2 ads testing images and language to discover what performs best. I plan to run the test of ad language first for a month; this ad would have different language but the same image. After 30 days, I’d take the best performing ad language and then test the image and repeat the process.

Within my core audience campaign, I may test two different ad types: a landing page ad where a user leaves Facebook to fill out a form and a lead form ad type where a user fills out the information form within the Facebook interface. Both ad types have success and would be worth testing.

Make it Actionable

After you’ve decided on your purpose for a campaign, set up and clearly define the actions you will take after finding the learnings of your simple campaign targeting your core audience, move to lookalike audiences. Lookalike audiences take what you’ve learned from advertising to your core audience on Facebook and finds people similar to your known users.

From our lead gen example, I’m going to say that I learned my audience is mostly men age 24 that love cars; they read Car and Driver magazine, have visited autoweek.com to stay up to date on all things racing, and have gone to the Indy 500. I am going to make a separate campaign from my core audience campaign that gives me customers based off of this information, or people that have could have anything in common with this typical user of mine. From this demographic, I will write my ad copy and use images that may resonate with this user looking to become an auto mechanic or working with cars in some capacity.

Make it Impactful

Use the data! Use what you are seeing within your campaigns to make your next strategic steps. Don’t run a test of targeting and then not take action from it. Part of making ad targeting simple is laying out a plan and a reason for each campaign. For each dollar you are putting into your campaigns need to have a name and a purpose.

To make your Facebook campaign impactful, you need to have a reason for what you are doing. Saying your purpose is just brand awareness or just conversions is great, but the more detail you can give your client about why you are doing what you are doing is best. They will build trust with you and know that their Facebook advertising efforts will be meaningful.

Make it Experimental

So, you’ve mastered your core audiences and even your lookalike audiences. Now, you want to expand and reach new audiences. Create a custom audience using what you’ve learned from your core audience and your lookalike audience.  This custom audience is finding your loyal users, your site visitors to pull them in and take action.

I want to bring people back to take the plunge and enroll in my auto mechanic courses. I am going to create a custom audience that uses everything I have learned from my lookalike audience and core audience to target all behaviors of users as well as target people that have interacted with my ad or landing page but didn’t convert.

If you can keep these few things in mind as you create your Facebook strategy, it will help you manage all the possibilities that Facebook has to offer. It will also help you go to your client with actionable insights and reasoning behind every move you make within Facebook advertising.