The hardest part of creating a profitable Facebook ad campaign in any industry is nailing down the audience targeting. There are thousands of targeting options that tend to overwhelm local small business owners who are just getting started with Facebook advertising.
To help ease the headache of weeding through all the options when creating ads, we have rounded up the top 5 most powerful targeting options relevant to small businesses. By using these targeting options you position yourself to get more engagement with your ad, have lowered ad costs as well as increase lead conversions because your ads will be more relevant to the audience you target.
WHY TARGETING CATEGORIES MATTER
The biggest mistake you can make when building your ad audience is misunderstanding how relevant certain categories of targeting are to your business. This means that just because a person shows an interest in a Mercedes, does not mean they are qualified (or likely) to purchase one. Similarly, even if a user is interested or qualified to purchase a Mercedes, they may only be likely to purchase from a dealer within 50 miles of their home.
For example, if you own a car lot in Modesto, California, you are wasting money by ONLY targeting users in the entire U.S. who are merely interested in car makers like Ford or Chevy. The trick to targeting the highest converting audience for your ads lies in having a detailed “ideal customer profile”, so that you know where those customers are located and which behaviors they are likely to engage in. (i.e. buying a car)
AD TARGET #1: INTELLIGENT LOCATION TARGETING
Location targeting may seem like a no-brainer but there is actually a way to target your local audience more intelligently, than just using a zip code or city radius. Location targeting largely depends on the nature of the business and products you sell.
Professional service based businesses such as lawyers, dentists, chiropractors and optometrists in small towns and rural areas, often have clients or patients who are willing to drive a little further for an appointment than some other businesses. Seeking out these services often depends on things such as insurance limitations, cash-cost of services and customer loyalty.
With this in mind you have the liberty of targeting leads outside your immediate area. I recommend setting your location as follows to maximize the reach of your potential audience:
- Your city +50 mile radius
- Add 4 large cities that are within your 50 mile radius (one north, south, east and west) and extend them to 50 miles as well.
What this does is creates a “bullseye” target, intended to catch nearby communities, friends and family members of people in your immediate area as well as people who commute to your city. If you live in a more populated area such as New York City, your radius would be MUCH smaller.
The bullseye targeting also works well for businesses who travel and work on location such as contractors, landscaping companies, photographers, locksmiths, etc. Simply adjust the mile radius to fit your coverage area.
Businesses such as car dealerships, stores, boutiques, and restaurants (especially those who have multiple locations/branches) should utilize business location targeting. This targeting allows customers to find you easier.
The is ideal because it allows you to run ads tailored to each business location. For example, you would be able to create intelligent ads that show customers offers available to them at nearby stores. You can then gather data and learn about customers from each location with these localized ads. Learn how to add them to your business manager HERE.
AD TARGET #2: INDUSTRY SPECIFIC EDUCATION DETAILS
Businesses such as marketing firms, media management companies and ad agencies who provide services to other businesses often have a more difficult task narrowing their audience enough to find their ideal clients. For example, if you manage Facebook ads for health professionals such as doctors, dentists and chiropractors, you need to find a way to seek out those individuals who are willing (or likely) to purchase your services.
Facebook allows you to target by your audience by fields of study, professional degree, schools, and other education based qualifiers.
Targeting by your preferred industry’s “interest” or “job title” is not specific enough and will end up in higher ad cost. By targeting professionals by the school they attended or the program they studied, you narrow your audience to those who are most qualified to purchase your services.
AD TARGET #3: RELEVANT PURCHASING BEHAVIORS
The most difficult targeting method to grasp is also the most powerful of them all. Your target audience’s purchase and financial behaviors are direct indicator of their likelihood to purchase from you. Facebook allows some very creative points of targeting for businesses in nearly all industries by gathering user data from partners such as experience.
For example, if you own a car dealership, you can actually target by the likelihood to purchase cars in a certain price bracket. You can even target by likelihood to purchase certain vehicle makes and models.
If you own a store or boutique, or sell physical products you can also target your ads by how likely they are to purchase from you based on factors like:
- Seasonal and events – those users who are more likely to shop in certain seasons, or make purchases based on events. Holidays, sports teams and events are all in this category.
- Food and drink – You can target by specific groceries such as frozen foods, fast foods, grocery brands and the user’s usual spending habits in this category.
- Spending methods and lines of credit – You can segment your audience by whether or not they normally make purchases with cash, credit or debit cards, as well as by the number of lines of credit they have.
This is a game changer for almost any business but especially for local businesses. The goal is to know exactly who your ideal customer is, so that Facebook will show the ad to those who are most likely to buy from you. When you target this tightly behind a great offer or promotion, your ad costs go way down because your relevancy and engagement go way up.
AD TARGET #4: BEHAVIOR INDICATING LIFE EVENTS
For businesses such as real estate agencies, mortgage, and insurance companies you are doing yourself a disservice by not targeting by life events. Facebook allows you to target users by various life events, household composition and parental status that are likely to impact their purchases. Some of these include:
- Likely to move or purchase a home
- Recently moved or live away from family
- Home ownership / Home type / Renters
- New job
- New Parent
- New Teen drivers
- Friends of… (recently engaged / moved / upcoming birthday / anniversary, etc.)
Want access to a printable Ad Targeting Check list……… we created one just for you.
These are only a few of the targeting options that are available with Facebook ads, but you can see the power of finding your ideal customer by intelligently targeting their life events with just the few I listed above.
AD TARGET #5: RELEVANT DIGITAL ACTIVITIES
The last power targeting method is using relevant digital activities. A lot of small businesses fail to see the how this category can impact their ad costs. Some of these activities include:
- Operating system used
- Canvas gaming
- Console gamers
- Event creators
- FB payments
- Facebook page admins
These targeting options are ideal for businesses that sell technology products such as computers tablets and phones, as well as those that sell comic books and gaming gear, rent DVD, or hosts for events such as comic-con or technology based networking.
If you run an ad agency or media company who serves businesses, and combine power targets #2 and #3 above in your ad and then narrow the audience to “must also match” FB payments (All) and Facebook page admins, you can effectively target those business owners who already have an appreciation for growing their business using social media as well as have an awareness of Facebook ads, they just may not be doing it in a way that profits them.
THE WRAP UP
Running ad campaigns on Facebook can become a nightmare really quickly if you do not have a thorough understanding of your ideal customer, and create an ad that attracts and targets them appropriately. To do this, create a buyer persona by asking yourself 4 Magic Questions:
- WHERE is your ideal customer?
- WHERE does your ideal customer want to be?
- WHY do they want to be there?
- HOW does your product of offer help them get there in a unique way?
By creating a buyer persona you will understand exactly what offers will attract your ideal customer. You can then use power targeting methods to tell Facebook exactly where to find your ideal customer with your ads.