How to Target Facebook Ads to Specific Users: 10 Tricks That Work

Expanding your company’s online presence and investing in digital marketing can be very challenging yet extremely rewarding if done correctly. That being said, Facebook is still a great place to spend your advertising dollars to attract new customers or expand your reach, provided you target your ads effectively.

Effective targeting of your Facebook ads to specific users can greatly increase your ROI.

I’ve compiled a list of the 10 things that would just do that when targeting specific users.

Make your goal clear

Before anything else you should first think about what you want to accomplish with your Facebook advertisements. The goal of your advertisement should be based on how your business is currently doing. This could either be to generate interest, marketing to a certain group, or a balance of the two.

Generating interest is what’s recommended if your business is just starting out. You do this by widening the parameters on who can see your ads. This is a vital step in collecting data that can be used as a basis for future advertising or business decisions.

Generating interest can also be used as an opportunity to let people learn about what your product or business is about. Think of this as your introduction to online audiences. If this is your goal then you should set up your advertising strategy with this in mind.

Marketing to a certain group is used when your business or product is especially useful to a certain market. This requires a group of specific parameters for your ads and can either be simple or complicated, depending on your product or service. An example of a simple parameter set up would be excluding tropical countries from your winter product advertisements.

Understand Facebook

Your number one priority when advertising is getting your audience’s attention. In order to reach your audience, you need to understand how Facebook’s algorithm works and what your audience is doing on Facebook.

Facebook is a social media site. The truth is most users don’t look to Facebook for something to buy unless it’s a local business, an online store, or a selling group. This may sound disheartening at first but it’s actually an opportunity if you optimize your ads correctly and let it play to your strengths. An example of this is a company having a “Tag your friends” or “Like and Share” promotion campaign that gives them a lot of organic growth. The top reason that people buy a product is because of recommendations from others.

Another feature of Facebook is how much content is being posted by individuals, personalities, and companies. No other website offers such a centralized way to access this much content because the design of the website was made to make users look through the content. The versatility of content, from photos to videos, ensures that nothing goes stale and there’s always room for fresh ideas.

How does knowing all of this stuff help you in targeting specific Facebook users? It helps to understand how your customers navigate around the platform and what they do on the platform, because you can make your advertisements complimentary to your audience’s Facebook feed.

Familiarize yourself with Facebook traffic

There are two types of users you need to be concerned with that use Facebook. The people that know about your products or services and the people that don’t know about your products or services.

The people that know about your products or services are the ones that will most likely buy it. Advertisements targeted at this group tend to be more engaging. The content targeted at this audience should be more in-depth because you can expect this group to be more knowledgeable in your niche. You’ll have to be more specific in describing your products or services and make sure to reinforce its value.

The group that doesn’t know about your product either don’t care or is about to discover something that could benefit them and that they could use in the future. Advertisements targeted at this group are more of an introduction to your products or services and your content should be direct towards “Why they should buy your product or use your service”. This is usually when buzzwords like faster, stronger, better and etc. are used to generate interest.

Figure out what type of advertising fits your product or service

Think of Internet Advertising as a combination of TV, newspaper, and radio. You have the visual aspect of TV, the depth of a newspaper article, and the dynamic of radio. The best advertisements are the ones that give your product a personality. The audience should know what your product looks like, what your product is about, and what your product conveys.

An example of a type of advertising would be “Free trial of X when you get X” or “For every X we will be donating X to charity”.

Think of this as the branding and image side of advertising. What kind of impression would you want your audience to have? Is your product luxurious, exclusive, and classy or simple, familiar, and homely?

The image that you envision for your product should relate to the purpose of the product. Chances are the people that will be buying your product are already looking for that item. The point of advertising is to get them to buy your product. Knowing this, you should consider what your customer would like to see, while maintaining the image you envision for your product at the same time.

An example of this would be comparing how a Ford Car is advertised compared to a Cadillac. Ford shows itself as adventurous and outdoor while Cadillac presents itself as elegant and urban. They know who their product is for and they play on that strength by communicating to their customers that their brand is in line with what the customer values.

Check out our complete guide to finding and establishing your brand personality, brand voice, brand positioning, etc, and creating a brand identity here.

Know your audience

Your audience is a certain group of people within a search parameter that has an interest related to your product or service. The purpose of your advertisement is to use this interest to generate attention and a need for your product or service. In order to know your audience better, you should always ask all the questions you could possibly come up with and try to answer these questions with the current data you have.

  1. Who. What kind of people are interested in your product? What’s their gender, age, political beliefs, heritage, etc? Get to know who is buying your products by knowing their personalities.
  2. Where. Where are they from? What kind of culture does that place have?
  3. What. What exactly do they look for in a product? What aspect of your product differentiates it from the competition. Understand what value your product gives to customers that makes it different.
  4. How. How do people use your product? Do you need to be an expert or is it something that everyone can use?
  5. When. Is there a certain time of the year that your product is in demand? How long does your product last? How often will people be needing and using your product?

All of these questions may seem obvious but what will put you ahead of your competition is using the data you gather from these questions in an innovative way. A good exercise would be to try to trace the origins by repeatedly asking questions and coming up with your own answers.

Check out our guide on writing your brand positioning statement here.

Use the metrics

The information that Facebook provides you with about your audience is important. You can see how many people see your ads and how many people interact with your ads. This is probably the most important hard number you will be focusing on. Determine how much you are paying per click and how much you are paying Facebook to basically give you a customer. You need to ensure that your advertisements are making you money before you do anything else.

Another important metric to watch for is how many impressions you are getting from your ads. This is not based on how well your advertisement is designed but rather your choice of parameters. The key to using this metric is to play around and find an audience that has a high ratio of impressions and interactions.

The metrics that you will be collecting through your advertisements should be used to help decide what to do next with either your product, your website, your choice of audience, or your advertisements.

An example of this would be seeing that you have a high number of impressions and clicks on Facebook and yet your product is not selling.

Mobile and you

The majority of Facebook’s users are accessing the platform from their mobile devices. You should keep this in mind when creating your advertisement and also take into consideration what your website looks like when it’s accessed from a mobile device.

The average mobile device has a display of 5.5 inches. Keep this in mind when designing your advertisement and your website. A good number of advertisements don’t consider this and what ends up happening is that the advertisements get scaled-down and certain design elements that are important end up going unnoticed by the audience.

When a user opens a link on Facebook it does not redirect them to the phone’s default browser instead the Facebook app opens another tab within the application. The webpage that you are advertising should be easy to navigate.

Improve and Adapt

Okay so let’s say you’ve done everything that this article has stated so far. What do you do now? Here are few things to consider that will help optimize how you operate within Facebook.

  1. Know when the stop. Some ads will not perform and never will perform. It’s better to cut your losses rather than prolonging the situation in the hopes of improvements.
  2. Know how well your ads should do. Set a certain standard or expectation of how well your advertisement should be performing.  You can set this expectation based on previous numbers and how well your previous advertisements did.
  3. If it works well then make it grow. If you see an advertisement performing exceptionally well then it wouldn’t hurt to spend more resources to allow it to attract even more customers.
  4. Find out what went wrong. Always stay up to date with what’s happening. If your advertisements suddenly take a dip. Look at the metrics and see what aspects aren’t doing too well. It could also be external factors such as “new science” or competition so always be on your toes.


Simple marketing tactics can really go a long way. The shortest and sweetest way to explain the concept of marketing psychology is that people always want to be sure they are getting the best possible deal. This is where promos such as discounts, coupons, freebies, and giveaways come in. The idea is that you are giving your audience an opportunity to save money or gain something, and to them it will feel like an accomplishment even if it goes to the point of them buying something they don’t need. People tend to justify their actions and make themselves believe that they are getting the advantage. This is why Shopaholism exists and knowing this you can apply it to your marketing strategy to get more engagement from your audience.

Making it all work together

Here’s an example of applying everything I’ve discussed so far:

I am selling a high-quality shovel.  I know that people will be using my shovel for their gardening needs. Based on the data I’ve gathered, the majority of people who do gardening are mothers. I generate the most number of clicks so far from Japan. One of the most popular plants is the azalea. Mothers in Japan tend to hold the household income so I would either put my shovel on a “sale” or lower the price to make them feel like they are getting a bargain. My advertisement would have Japanese art elements, with azalea plants in the background, and showcase my shovel as a complement to these things. I know that it snows in Japan and Christmas is viewed differently compared to western countries. If it were wintertime I would opt for a different advertisement design that goes in hand with what Japanese Christmas is like.”

A big part of the Facebook advertising game is coming up with your own strategy and figuring out what works and what does not. It’s not like baking where there is one recipe that will make you money. Instead, you have to understand each ingredient and come up with your own recipe that clicks with your audience.


Facebook advertising can be very effective for your brand and yield great ROI if done correctly and effectively. Knowing exactly who your target audience is based on the intent of your ads can help you target them more precisely and return much better results.

I hope these 10 tricks helps you on your way to much more affective Facebook ads.

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