As we’ve been hearing in the news, Facebook allows advertisers to target prospects in some fairly “interesting” ways.

But Facebook targeting isn’t just for politicians and Russian troll farms, it’s great for businesses, too.

Here are 7 different ways you could use it …

#1: Your own customers and subscribers

Facebook lets you upload customer email lists. Or, if you have a newsletter, you can upload your newsletter subscriber list.

(Technically, you can upload any list of email addresses – but that’s another issue.)

You can build customer loyalty; tell them about more products and services. But, even if you don’t have more products to sell them, you could be an affiliate and promote other people’s products.

Example: Let’s say you sell small business accounting software. That means your customers are (mainly) small business owners.

What else would interested them? How about web design? Or SEO courses? Or IT services?

#2: Your website Visitors

You can use Facebook retargeting to create lists of people who have visited different pages on your website.

If you’re in ecommerce, you can Dynamic Product Ads – where the ads contain products the person looked at when they were on your website.

The highest ROI way to do that is to only target people who added to cart, but didn’t buy. If you show them an ad for the same product, you’ll typically get a ROI of 10:1 or better.

But you should still consider DPAs to people who just looked at products – but didn’t add to cart – because that’ll usually be profitable, too.

#3: Your customers’ friends

Here’s how a client of mine uses this:

He sells custom-designed kitchens. After he fits the kitchen, he takes a bunch of photos, posts them on his company’s Facebook page, and tags the customer.

That way, the post will show up on the customer’s feed and their friends’ feeds. Plus the customer will usually share the post themselves.

So all their friends get to see their new kitchen – they also get to see my client’s work. This is great for generating referrals.

#4: Take advantage of the gurus

I’m in the internet marketing business. I could target people interested in Perry Marshall, or Frank Kern, or any of the other marketing gurus.

If I was selling an SEO course, I might target people who were interested in Moz. (Popular SEO software.)

Or, if I was a decorator, I might target people interested in property gurus like Sarah Beeny.

Who are the experts your prospects look up to?

#5: Lookalike Audiences

This is where things start getting fancy.

Facebook has this thing called “lookalike audiences.”

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say you’ve uploaded your customer email list to Facebook. You can ask Facebook to create an audience of people who they believe are similar to your customers.

You get to choose how big that audience is. You can ask them to give you the 1% of the population that most looks like your customers. Or you could go up as high as 10% of the population.

When I use lookalike audiences, I combine them with interests.

So, let’s say I was advertising expensive bicycles, here’s what I’d do:

 #1: Load my customer list into Facebook.

#2: Create a 1% lookalike audience based on my customers

#3: Then narrow that lookalike audience by only including those interested in cycling, cyclists, bike races etc.

That way, I know that whoever sees my ad doesn’t just look like my customers, they’re also interested in cycling.

#5: Local Business Marketing

One of the best ways to promote a local business is to hold events.

If I owned a bar in Edinburgh that had karaoke nights, I could target people in Edinburgh that were interested in karaoke. My ad could take them to a page with a list of upcoming events.

I’d put a retargeting pixel on that page. Then run ads to them about future karaoke events.

Or, I could have niche events. So, for my “Elvis Karaoke” evening, I could target Elvis fans in the area (16,000 people!). The ad might be a picture of Elvis and the copy,

“Can you sing like the King?”

Think you can sing like Elvis, uh-huh-huh? Come along to our Elvis Karaoke night on the 23rd May. Fancy dress optional, baby.

See you there!

(Can’t sing? Come and watch.)

Or, if I had an Italian restaurant, I might have a special night where we served little-known Italian dishes. I could advertise that to the 9,200 people in Edinburgh who are into Italian cuisine.

The possibilities are limitless.

#6: Promoting posts to journalists

Would PR be useful for your business? If so, why not target journalists?

In this case, you want to try to narrow your audience as much as possible.

I’d recommend avoiding anyone under 23. If they’re interested in journalism, they may well be students. I’d also exclude anyone who Facebook classifies as a “student.”

Then I’d narrow the audience further by interest. If I was promoting accounting software, I’d restrict my ads to journalists interested in technology, small business, or finance.

(Or you could try a customer lookalike audience + “journalism” as an interest.)

In this case, I wouldn’t be using “ads” in the normal sense. Instead, I’d write Facebook posts that were newsworthy and promote those to the journalists.

#7: Lateral thinking

My favourite example of this was by Marty Weintraub, who ran pizza delivery ads in evenings to people interested in smoking pot.

The trick here is to think about your prospects and what characteristics suggest someone might be interested in your product.

For example, in the investment newsletter industry, it’s known that prospects tend to be 50+, male, have some money, and conservative. The first three are easy enough to target, what about the 3rd?

Obviously, Republican party members. But also small business owners, self-employed, fans of particular authors (Ayn Rand, for example)…

If you have a business page with a lot of likes, one place you start is by analysing your followers with:

Or, if you don’t have a page – or enough likes – you could try using a popular page in your market. Sometimes it’ll give you information. Sometimes it won’t.

For example, looking at QuickBooks audience, one of their favourite pages is Screwfix. Another is “Tradesmen Banter.”

This suggests a lot of QuickBooks users are tradesmen.

So, if you were a competitor, you might advertise to self-employed tradesmen.

The biggest frustration with Facebook targeting

One problem you’re going to have is that you’ll create wonderfully targeted audiences … but the audience is too small, and Facebook won’t let you run ads.

This happens a lot more here than in America – because we only have 1/5 the population.

There are two solutions. Neither one is perfect.

Facebook’s suggestion is that you widen your targeting. Makes them more money. Not good for you.

The second is to pad your audience with irrelevant people so you’re just over the minimum.

These people are very unlikely to click on your ad. So if you’re bidding cost/click, they won’t cost you money. But it will harm your clickrate, so you might have to bid higher to keep your ads running.

As I said, it’s not perfect. But sometimes it’s the best option.

Anyway, I hope this article gets you started with Facebook targeting. And, of course, if you want someone to do it for you, drop me a line.

All the best,


Categories: facebook