Excuse us while we state the painfully obvious: there are a lot people on Facebook.

How many? Approximately 2.9+ billion active users worldwide.

Wouldnt it be nice to get your business/product in front of them? Let us talk you through the different types of audiences on Facebook and Instagram you can utilize to specifically benefit your business. These ad platforms allow you to reach a wide variety of audiences for your individual campaigns.

When it comes to boosting posts or running ads, it might be tempting to create your ads, set your campaign live with only location targeting and—BOOM—call it a day. I know where my customers are, so lets target their area codes, right?

Right! Well, sometimes. The short answer: it depends. Facebook has a wide range of audience tools that you can build your strategy around.

Lets say youre running a business that sells shoes. You might reach a lot of people solely using location targeting, but why advertise to those who are not in the market for new shoes?

Thats wasted effort and, at the end of the day, wasted money.

Lets take a closer look at Facebooks target audience options, how they work and which one your business should use:

Eduardo Meraz is a digital marketing manager at The James Agency.

Core Audiences

You define these audiences based on age, interests, geography, demographics, behaviors and connections. You can make this as broad or well-defined as you like. Take a close look at who your current customers as well as the customers you want to reach and set this audience accordingly.

When setting up a core audience, take a close look at your current customers as well as the customers you want to reach. Depending on your goals, finding a unique balance between current and aspirational customers is imperative to your advertising success.

Heres an example of a core audience. In this scenario, lets pretend youre running a campaign for the grand opening of a new restaurant. Your core audience for this eatery could look something like this:

• Location: 20-mile radius from the restaurant. This will only target those inside this set radius. You can increase or decrease the radius if needed.

• Age: 21-65+. If your ad creative shows images of alcohol, you will need to adjust your age limits for those 21 and older.

• Interests: Dinner, Eating, Food & Wine, Foodies, Local Food, Lunch, Bars, Cuisine and Restaurants. Facebook has a ton of these interests tags you can use to narrow down your audience.

• Demographics: Singles, Married Couples, Away from hometown, Recently moved. These audience categories can help narrow your audience even further.

Custom Audiences

Want to reach people who visited your website recently? Have a list of client emails youd like to hit up? With custom audiences, you can connect with people who have already shown interest in your business. With these unique audiences defined, youll be able to:

• Retarget previous customers and keep them coming back for more

• Target visitors who visited your site, but didnt convert

• Target visitors who abandoned items in their shopping cart

A custom audience strategy will keep your brand top of mind and relevant in your audiences feeds.

Consider this: the average conversion rate for Facebook ads across all industries is 9.21%, but studies show that people are 70% more likely to convert when they are retargeted. Using custom retargeting audiences alone will improve your conversion rate significantly by putting your brand back in front of people who need a little nudge or friendly reminder.

Lookalike Audiences

Lets say you already have a solid foundation of your customer audience, but you still want to grow your business. How do you expand that base into something larger?

Lookalike audiences are exactly what it sounds like: an audience that looks like one you already have. This strategy will target those similar to the specifications of your existing customers. Facebook leverages information from provided lists and engagement trends to target new people interested in your business.

The most common lookalike audience starts with a custom audience segment like users who:

• Visited your website

• Followed your Instagram account

• Viewed an instant experience ad

• RSVPd to an event

• Submitted a form using one of your ads

Before 2020, advertisers had the freedom to target their ads however they pleased—but human beings are human beings. Over time, certain advertisers started taking advantage of audience targeting tools and excluded individuals based on federally protected classes like race, gender, sex and religion.

Facebook introduced the Special Ad Category to help enforce their policies against discriminatory practices on the platform. Now, any advertiser running campaigns focused on credit, employment, housing, and politics/social issues is restricted to limited options on whom they can exclude from their ads. This broad-stroke change affects core, custom and lookalike audiences. Age and gender are fixed and cannot be adjusted in these content umbrellas and you cannot target audiences using zip codes.

So those are the Facebook audiences! Not too scary, right? We hope youll take this new knowledge, dive into the wide world of Facebook advertising and rethink how you can better leverage the social media marketplace. Whether youre reaching your current customers more often or exposing your brand to some new faces, we hope you enjoy the journey experimenting with these audience tools.

If youre still a little nervous about getting started (or you already have too much on your plate), give TJA a call. Wed love to help set you up for success.


Eduardo Meraz is a digital marketing manager at The James Agency. As a member of the TJA media team, Eduardos responsibilities include planning, buying and executing plans across both digital and traditional media channels. Eduardo graduated with a B.A. in Advertising from the Art Institute of Phoenix. Although he started as a graphic designer for a title agency, his career eventually evolved into paid media. Eduardo has crafted campaigns for various residential communities around the Valley and continues to hone his graphic design skills whenever possible. When he isnt working, he enjoys watching a good/bad horror movie, playing video games, going to concerts, cooking and hanging out with his dog, Toulouse.