social media how toDo you use Facebook ads to their full potential?

Interested in reaching highly specific groups of people?

Facebook ad targeting offers businesses many ways to serve the right ad to the right user at the right time.

In this article I’ll share six ways to target Facebook users with your ads, many you’ve likely not considered.

six ways to target facebook ads

Discover six unique ways to target Facebook ads.

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#1: Serve Ads to Everyone Who Has Visited Your Website Except Customers

There are two ways to show your ad to people who have visited your sales page but haven’t purchased yet.

Target Visitors Who Haven’t Completed the Checkout Process

One way is to use website retargeting and target all the people who have visited your sales website but haven’t reached the thank-you page of your checkout process.

To do this, you need to set up website retargeting well in advance of when you need it. Once you install the pixel to your website, the audience starts building from that moment on.

Start by going to the Audiences section in your Facebook Ads Manager.

audiences in ads manager

Use the Audiences section to either upload a list of customers or set up website retargeting.

If you want to see the process for setting up website retargeting, watch this video:

Hot Tip – How to Use Website Retargeting in Facebook Ad Campaigns Would you like to show your Facebook ads to people who have already visited your website? You can do this by creating a website custom audience. It’s a powerful technique to show your ads to people who are already familiar with you. Watch the video to see exactly how to set this up. You can also learn more about Facebook custom audiences in this article: – Andrea

Posted by Social Media Examiner on Tuesday, March 24, 2015

This video is on our page here:

Once you’ve installed the website retargeting pixel to your website, you can start forming the custom audiences. Select the Website Traffic option to set up custom audiences from your website.

audiences in ads manager

Set up custom audiences from your website.

You can include all of the traffic from particular pages on your website and exclude other traffic. Select the exact audience you want and click Create Audience.

create a new audience

You can include traffic from certain web pages and exclude other traffic.

Now the audience starts building, and you can target those visitors in a Facebook ad that matches that criterion.

Upload a Custom Audience of Customers Who Have Made Purchases and Exclude That Group

The other method is to use website retargeting and then upload a custom audience of customers who have already purchased from you and exclude that group in the targeting.

To upload a customer list, go to the Audience section of the Facebook Ads Manager. Select Customer List to upload an email list of your customers.

upload a customer list

Upload an email list of the people who have already purchased your product.

exclude customer list

You can exclude customer lists so you don’t advertise to them.

#2: Reach People Similar to People Who Have Converted on an Ad

You can create lookalike audiences from email lists you’ve uploaded and website visitors, but you can also create a lookalike audience of people who have already converted on your ads.

Go to the Audiences section of the Facebook Ads Manager and select Lookalike Audience from the Create Audience drop-down menu. Then select the conversion pixel as the source.

create lookalike audience with conversion pixel

Use the conversion pixel as the source for the Lookalike Audience.

Now Facebook will put together a list of 2 million or more people who are similar to people who have already converted on your specific desired action. You can use that custom audience in your targeting area and add keywords to refine the audience further.

#3: Target People Who Are College-Educated, Own Homes, Earn $100K or More and Are in a Certain Zip Code

Facebook works with third-party partners such as Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon to tap into more targeting options with Facebook users. With this information, you can target by education level, income level, home ownership, life events, buying habits and more.

Facebook doesn’t technically “know” this information about each user, and users haven’t shared it with Facebook specifically. That data has been matched anonymously, so all you know is the size of the audience.

precise targeting features

You can do precise targeting with behaviors and more demographics.

Make sure that you don’t target an audience that is too specific. Because many Facebook users don’t login every day, targeting too narrow a group may not yield the results you’re looking for. You can access the Behaviors and More Demographics areas from either the Ads Manager or Power Editor.

#4: Show Ads to People on a Mobile Phone Within 10 Miles of Your Location

There are a couple of ways to target people who are nearby. The first way is to use a local awareness ad, which is available in the Facebook Ads Manager. You can specifically target people who are in your area and on their phones, whether they live in your area or are just passing through.

objective options

Create a local awareness ad in the Facebook Ads Manager.

location map

You can enter an address or Facebook will use the one on your page.

call to action location ad

A local awareness ad has the call to action Get Directions.

The other way to target people on their phones near your location is to enter the address of your location and make sure you have the mobile news feed enabled (which is the default setting). You can get even more specific in Power Editor by targeting only the people who are traveling through your area.

targeting by location

You can target everyone near your location or only people traveling near your location.

Save Target Groups

Want to save some time with your Facebook ads? Once you have a perfect target audience, make sure you save it so you can easily load it back into a new ad exactly as you had it before.

You can create a target group from scratch in the Audiences section of the Facebook Ads Manager area. Or if you had an ad that did well and you want to duplicate that audience, you can do that from Power Editor.

saving create audience

From the Ads Manager, you can create a saved target group from scratch.

In Power Editor, navigate to the ad set that contained the demographic you want to save and click the Save Audience button. The target group has the same name as your ad set, but you can edit the name either in Power Editor or in the Ads Manager after you upload your changes.

saving target audience in power editor

Save a target group from an ad in Power Editor.

Now you can either create an ad from that audience in the Facebook Ads Manager or specify that group in your targeting in Power Editor.

edit a saved target audience in power editor

Access your saved target group from Power Editor within the Targeting area.

#5: Focus on People in Your Target Demographic and Online at Certain Times

Is your audience online only at night? Or at certain hours? You can specify which hours of the day your ads run (no matter which time zone) when you select Lifetime Budget in the Ad Set area. This is available either in Power Editor or in the Ads Manager.

schedule ad times

Select Lifetime Budget to access the ad scheduling options.

#6: Display Ads to People Who Haven’t Seen Your Ad That Day

Another thing you may be concerned about is how often your ideal customer is seeing your ad. You don’t want to bother people too much. And maybe you don’t want to spend money to show your ad again to people who didn’t click the first time that day.

You can restrict how many times a Facebook user will see your ad with the Daily Unique Reach bidding method. Select this method from either the Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor. Make sure people only see your ad once per day by selecting the Daily Unique Reach option.

limit ad views

Make sure people only see your ad once per day.

Keep in mind that this is a CPM bidding method, so you’re charged just to show your ad to people; they may or may not click on it. Also, Facebook focuses only on getting your ad in front of people who haven’t seen it before.

Those people may not tend to click on ads. However, by selecting a different Optimize For method, such as clicks or conversions, you’re still paying with the CPM method, but Facebook optimizes the ad to show it to people who are more likely to click or convert with an ad.


One important point to remember with all of these tips is to do your own testing. You may find that your audience responds well to a new method, whereas another business finds the opposite to be true. The important thing is to do your split testing to make sure you’re always getting cheaper clicks. And with all of these new targeting methods to try, split testing is much more fun.

What do you think? Have you used any of the targeting methods described in this article? How did it work for you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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  • Great stuff! Really breaks through the usual clutter of recommendations – things here are very useful indeed. While consulting with an e-commerce store, one of the key things I enforced them to do was to target people who reached the payment page but didn’t end up making a payment, essentially what you’ve outlined in #1 Andrea. That’s a very relevant audience group, and we managed to get a number of conversions with a very limited ad-spend with that audience. Very useful suggestions all around, working in Asia Pacific it’s unfortunate that we don’t have access to very specific demographic data that the U.S has.

  • Kristina Hughes

    This is one of the most comprehensive guide for the Facebook users especially the those who runs the Facebook ads. I just hope enough people implement what you have elaborated on there to see positive returns on their social media campaigns..

  • Awesome – glad to hear it has also worked well for you! Thanks for your perspective!

  • Thanks Kristina!

  • Katarina Smelikova

    Thanks guys for this additional info re re-marketing. Today, I added the pixel conversion targeting code to my website and still would like to know more about what else could be done. So, this article is adding some “value information”.

  • Glad to help!

  • Vijay M Narayanan

    We have used remarketing and its working good for us.

  • nice post and I’m gonna implement these advance strategy in-line with my company Facebook Marketing.

  • Hotel Guy

    Always great informative articles! Thank you!!

  • andrewandpete

    Great Post Andrea! You have given us some real inspiration there 🙂

  • Morgana Kumar

    I really want to use fb ads for adsense coversion, but it seems I’ve wasted a lot of money. Can anybody help?

  • Great!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ElenaJDisanto

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  • wow!! great

  • Ginger Johnson

    This is great info on running Facebook ads! I’m super excited to implement what I have learned!

  • budakhan

    I’ve had an issue with being able to only use lookalike audiences once. It’s very strange. I exported my customers from my site and created a lookalike audience from that. The lookalike audience has a potential reach of 2 million. I served that ad. But then when I want to use the same lookalike audience for a different ad, FB is telling me that it’s only going to be seen by 20 people. I’ve noticed this happens whenever I use a lookalike audience. It never happens to a new audience. Anyone every come across this?

  • I’ve never seen that – are you sure you don’t have any other limiting constrictions there? Things like Connections or Interests added?

    The other thing to watch is each Lookalike Audience is created for a particular country. If you are choosing a different country than the one it was created for you aren’t going to see any reach either.
    Hope that helps!

  • Bharati

    Can you target people who are part of a public Facebook group?

  • Is it possible to create a look a like audience based on members of a particular group? I offer free educational webinars to people with children with special needs. Quite often the people that attend my webinars are women and most of them belong to 1 or more facebook groups that provide information of use to them and their child. Can I create a way to show my ads to this segment of the facebook population?