When developing any type of marketing campaign, you must first consider the audience that you want to see your campaign. This is also true when creating Facebook ads. Thankfully, Facebook provides advertisers with a variety of targeting options to ensure that your ads are reaching the right people at the right time.
Facebook is able to use its knowledge of users on their platform and their ‘likes’ to develop an understanding of the typical audience your ads will reach. On Facebook, targeting is done at the ad set level, and there are three types of targeting options to choose from – Core Audiences, Custom Audiences, and Lookalike Audiences.
Facebook Core Audiences allows advertisers to choose the right recipients for their ads in very simple steps. Whether you want your ad to be shown to people based on their age, location, hobbies, or something else, using Facebook’s core audiences can help connect your nonprofit to people who are likely to be interested in helping your mission. Core audiences can also be as broad or as well defined as you would like based on the following:
- Location – reach people located the cities, communities and countries where you can accept support
- This is the same as Google location targeting, but with options to target people where they are in the moment, whether they live in that particular location, are new arrivals, or just visiting.
- Demographics – select your audience based on age, gender, education, relationship status, job title and more
- This includes all publicly shared information about education, political views, family/relationship status, life events, career, etc.
- This information is primarily found in the ‘About’ section of an individual’s profile.
- Interests – choose the interests and hobbies of the people you want to reach
- This includes interests, activities, Pages and posts they like, posts and comments they make, and closely related topics
- Behavior – select people based on their prior purchase behaviors, device usage and other activities
- Connections – reach people who are connected to your Facebook page or event, or exclude them to discover new audiences
Facebook’s Custom Audiences allow you to build ad campaigns based on customer data you already have on hand, making it easy to reconnect with the people who have already shown interest in your organization. This type of targeting allows you to foster your existing relationships and encourage additional support by reaching out to your existing connections on and off Facebook. Facebook allows you to use the following information to create Custom Audiences:
- Contact Lists
- You can use data from your CRM system or customer contact lists (phone numbers or email addresses) to connect with your donors and contacts on Facebook. Facebook will find accounts that match the data you provide, but they do not share the exact profiles that match.
- Site Visitors
- If you have the Facebook Pixel installed on your website, you can create an audience of people who have visited your site. You can even use this data to show people ads for things they have already shown interest in on your website.
- App Users
- If your nonprofit has an app, you can install the Facebook SDK to create an audience of individuals that use your app, so you can inspire them to return or donate again.
Facebook Lookalike Audiences allows your nonprofit to connect with people on Facebook who are similar to your existing supporters. By using the insights gained from other Facebook advertising initiatives, you can use Lookalike Audiences to reach people similar to those who you have already engaged with. Specifically, Facebook’s ‘Audience Insights’ tool will allow you to learn more about who your ads are reaching. Facebook uses Audience Insights to aggregate attributes about your supporters, such as interests and behaviors, which can then be used to find new audiences who would also be interested in supporting you.
When using Lookalike Audiences, keep in mind that the source (or seed) audience you select will tell Facebook what qualities you’d like it to match. The audience size you choose will determine how closely the Lookalike audience matches the source audience. The audience size is expressed on a scale of 1-10, which represents the percentage of a population of a particular region that you are asking Facebook’s system to match with your source audience. If you want a to closely match a source audience, you will want a smaller audience within a range between 1 and 5. If you want to increase your potential reach, but sacrifice some specific similarities between your Lookalike Audience and source audience, you should aim for a larger audience within a range between 6 and 10.