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Don't Make This Facebook Ad Targeting Mistake!

Sure, Facebook ads can really help a business, but ads are a complex and ever-changing beast of a marketing tactic. Missteps are common for entrepreneurs and first time ad managers but when you need to see a return on your investment, you’ll feel the hurt if you don’t put in some serious work before launching. That’s why it’s so important to follow Facebook ad best practices (or, ahem, hire a seasoned digital marketer... hi! 👋 ) to avoid wasting money when you’re trying paid social for the first time.

The Facebook ad mistake we see businesses making a lot is a simple one...

Biggest ad targeting mistake = not knowing your audience

This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be shocked at how many business owners jump into Facebook ads without really understanding their audience first. It’s not enough to target every adult on Facebook for your organic baby clothing line. You’ll think wow, my audience is so large, I’ll sell so much clothing! Hate to be the bearer of bad news but you’ll waste a lot of time and money if you don’t niché it down (as we like to say). For this example, do you think our Facebook ad would have a better click through rate and conversion rate if we were to target females over the age of 20 with babies that have interests of sustainability and organic products? Probably yes.

As Seth Godin said, “Not everyone is your customer” and we agree with him 100%.

The best performing Facebook ads are specific and targeted. So if your objective is to increase conversions (whatever action that might be such as sales, newsletter sign ups, contact us), that means you need to understand your audience to see the results. You might be wondering how to refine your Facebook ad targeting. You’re in luck! We’ve listed four of our favorite things to do before diving into Facebook ads below.

3 steps to building better Facebook ads

If you’re not sure how to do audience research, use these steps to create better, more audience-focused Facebook ads that get results.

Ad Targeting Step #1 - Identify pain points

We put this step first because it is arguably the most important. People buy things to solve problems, or “pain points,” whether they know there is a problem or not. If you want to sell more of your products or services you need to understand what you offer your potential customers. Then when you understand how you can solve their pain point - market it, market it, market it!

Common pain points include:

  • Lack of expertise

  • Lack of time

  • Lack of money

  • Lack of internal resources

  • Lack of access to platforms / software they need

Make sure you understand the problem you solve; otherwise, your Facebook ads won’t provide a benefit to or resonate with your target market.

Ad Targeting Step #2 - Define demographics

Demographics are a huge deal not only for fine-tuning your Facebook ads targeting, but are a necessity for writing ads that convert.

The audience demographics to define first include:

  • Gender

  • Age

  • Location

  • Do they have children?

  • Occupation - industry and title

  • Hobbies, interests, and clubs

Have you written your buyer personas yet? If so, that’s a great place to start when defining the perfect demographics! Facebook ads offer all the ad targeting that your heart desires, so if there’s a specific segment that matters to your brand or product, be sure to add it to your audience demographics list. (Fun fact - Facebook even has an ad segment for Beyoncé’s BeyHive 🐝 if you’re so inclined.)

Ad Targeting Step #3 - Determine content preferences

How does your audience consume content? This is important because you want to use the same content format in your Facebook ads to best reach them.

For example, if your Gen Z audience tends to prefer short-form video like those posted on social media platforms like TikTok or Instagram Reels; that means you should use short-form video in your ads to connect with this audience.

When analyzing your audience’s preferences, look for:

  • Format: Do they prefer videos, a static image, carousel of images, or something else?

  • Topics: Does your audience respond more to educational content or maybe something more entertaining?

  • Tone: Is your target market drawn to content that is serious or informal instead?

  • Caption preferences: Some people hardly ever read the caption but others check out the caption first before looking at images. Facebook visitors tend to be more interested in a caption then, say, Instagram visitors where it’s very visual focused. See how your audience feels about captions and prioritize your efforts accordingly.

NOW build that beautiful Facebook ad

Now that you’ve defined your perfect customer and your ad targeting is out of the way, let’s build Facebook ads that will resonate with them! But before you jump into it, we highly (highly) recommend you check out what your competitors are doing. Go over to Facebook Ad Library to search for what active ads your competitors have going for inspiration.

Time to build your ads, which will include:

  • A standard naming convention for your campaign, ad set(s), and ad(s): Think something like “Brand Name_Campaign Number_Objective_Variable Testing”

  • The campaign run time: start and end dates

  • Your campaign objective: Website traffic, reach, lead generation, increase Facebook followers, etc.

  • A total budget: The most you would like to spend on this campaign

  • Audience demographics: Refer back to Step 2

  • Copy: The ad headline, caption, and description

  • The call to action or CTA : What action do you want people to take? Maybe shop now or learn more? What website landing page do you want to link to?

  • Visuals: An image, images, or video that will draw people in to learn more about your product or service

But remember, you’re still getting to know your audience. You should run three ads at a time, per ad set, to see what resonates with them the most. For the next phase you should plan to launch A/B tests to test very specific variables within the ads, like image vs. video, headline copy, or the call to action.

Monitor your campaigns daily so you can tweak or pause the underperforming ads. Here are a couple insider tips:

  1. It takes time to perfect Facebook ads and for Facebook to even be able to tap into their algorithm so it’s best not to expect tons of sales day one.

  2. Try to give it a second before making changes to your ads, since that basically starts them all over again.

  3. We often see the cost being significantly higher shortly after launched then it evens out days later.

After some time, you’ll write better, more ROI-positive Facebook ad campaigns now that you have a greater understanding of your audience.

The bottom line

It’s tempting to dive into Facebook ads thinking, “I’ll just target everyone!” But your business isn’t for everyone. That’s why it’s important to do proper audience research before creating a Facebook ad campaign. Learn the demographics, pain points, and content preferences to build better ads that get results.

Still need some help with audience research, buyer personas, and ad targeting? Hit us up to jump start your Facebook ads today!


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