4 Types of Facebook Ads Targeting

We all know one thing about Facebook Ads; it’s that it gives us about a million options for “how to target people”.

On the other hand, having so many options can be unnerving. But it provides endless possibilities for optimisation. This article will help you, how to make the most of interest & behaviour targeting.

List of 4 Types of Facebook Ads Targeting:

  1. Detailed Targeting
  2. Positive Targeting
  3. Narrow Targeting
  4. Expanded Targeting

Detailed Targeting:

Interest and behaviour targeting methods are what Facebook refers to as detailed targeting.

With Detailed Targeting, you can refine your audience in the following ways:

Include specific demographics, interests or behaviours in your audience: Use the default text box to enter at least one word or term to find suggestions, or select “Browse” to search options.

Detailed Targeting - Types of Facebook Ads Targeting

Positive Targeting:

Positive targeting refers to targeting people who have a particular interest or behaviour. If we add ‘dog walking’ to the first box in the screenshot above, we’ll be positively targeting dog walkers.

The best way to build your positive targeting is to put one or two ideas into the box to start with. If you then click suggestions, Facebook will offer a range of additional targeting options which have high overlap (share a lot of users) with the targeting you’ve put in.

For example, if we start by positively targeting ‘Running”,¬†we can see a lot of highly relevant targeting options by clicking suggestions: Positive Targeting - Types of Facebook Ads Targeting

You can add any of these suggestions to your targeting. If we think that any of the suggestions are more relevant to our brand than our initial positive targeting, we can replace that original targeting with the suggestion. You can keep iterating on this process of looking at suggestions until you find the most relevant audiences.

Note that if you choose to add multiple audiences, your ad set will show ads to users that are in any of the audiences you’ve selected.

Narrow Targeting:

If we want to make our targeting more precise, we can click the button that says Narrow audience. A second targeting box will appear, and this will allow us to define audiences that users must also be in, in order to see our ads:

For example, let’s say that we want to target people who run “10 kilometres”. We could approximate this by putting 10 kilometres into the second box:

Narrow Targeting - Types of Facebook Ads Targeting

Our ad set will now only show to people interested in both “Running” and “10 kilometres”, which is a close approximation for people who run 10 kilometres.

You can keep clicking the Narrow audience button in order to refine your targeting further. While it can be fun to target your ad sets more and more finely, we wouldn’t recommend doing so if it takes your target audience size below around 50,000 people. Any lower than this and Facebook will struggle to optimise who it shows your ads to.

Negative targeting:

So far we’ve explained about “Who to target”. There are always going to be some audiences that we don’t want to target, and some audience you might think aren’t going to engage with your brand, and it’s essential to make sure that you aren’t wasting money on them.

We can do this in Ads Manager by using what’s called “negative targeting“. To negatively target an audience, click Exclude people next to your targeting options. The following box will appear:

Negative Targeting - Types of Facebook Ads Targeting You can add audiences in here to ensure that they don’t see your ads.

Expanded Targeting:

You may have noticed an option hovering by the detailed targeting boxes which say:

Expand detailed targeting criteria when it may improve performance at a lower cost per result.

Expanded Targeting - Types of Facebook Ads Targeting What ticking this box will effectively do, is to open up your ad set’s targeting to anyone within your selected location, ages, and genders. It will mostly ignore any detailed targeting you’ve put into your ad set.

I’ve seen some cases where this has worked well for large-scale advertisers, but this is only because they’re putting in enough spend for Facebook to work out who they should show ads to quickly.

For smaller budget advertisers, under INR. 5 lac per month, I’d highly advise against using this option. Facebook won’t be able to optimise your ad delivery quick enough, and you’re better off trusting your instincts about who to target.

Apart from this, you can use a few other advanced targeting options like Interests, Behaviours, Job Titles and Fields of Study.

So which one works well? In case if you ask me to rank audience types by decreasing accuracy, I’d rate them in this below order:

Job titles РEmployers РField of Study РBehaviours РInterests 

I hope this post helps you to understand the 4 types of Facebook Ads targeting in detail.

If you’re not convinced that interest targeting can be unreliable, take a look at “What Facebook ‘knows’ about your interests” and decide for yourself!

Read More: 2 Quick Ways to Improve Facebook Ads Performance.

Digital Marketer with 8 years of experience in leading fintech start-ups. Responsible for new customer acquisition, lead nurturing, branding & content marketing.

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About Me

Digital Marketer with 8 years of experience in leading fintech start-ups. Responsible for new customer acquisition, lead nurturing, branding & content marketing.

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