10 of the Best Facebook Ad Targeting Tips to Beat Your Competition

Want to leverage the full potential of Facebook ad targeting?

Facebook offers you hundreds of targeting options to help you generate a higher return on your advertising spend (ROAS). Optimizing your ad campaigns the right way can help you reach the right people with the right messages.

In this post, I’ll share some of the best Facebook ad targeting tips that can help you plan and execute your paid campaigns better.

But before I do so, let’s take a look at why Facebook is worth your advertising dollars.

  • Facebook has over 38 billion monthly active and 1.56 daily active users.
  • 78% of consumers in the U.S. say that they discover products on Facebook.
  • Millions of businesses are advertising on this platform.
  • Setting up a Facebook ad campaign is easy and it can yield excellent results for your business.
  • Facebook ad campaigns are very customizable. You can choose from a wide range of ad formats and targeting options.
  • With the hundreds of targeting options that Facebook provides and the kind of influence this platform has on consumer behavior, it can help you reach and engage your ideal audience.

Do you need more reasons to understand why advertising on Facebook is worth your marketing budget? I guess not.

But it is absolutely critical that you target your Facebook ads only to those who are likely to be interested in your products or services. Not targeting the right audience for your ads is a waste of your advertising dollars.

Let’s take a look at the best Facebook ad targeting tips to beat your competition.

#1. Extract Audience Data Using Google Analytics

Getting to know who your customers are is crucial to the success of any Facebook ad campaign.

You can leverage Google Analytics to extract valuable audience data and determine what types of traffic you are attracting to your website. You can get access to a complete breakdown of your audience demographics, interests, geographic locations, devices, and more.

You will find this information in the Audience reports on the left tab.


This information can be extremely useful when you start your Facebook ad targeting.

However, to be able to understand who your high-value customers are, you’ll need to enable demographics reporting on your site. Once you are aware of who your customers are, you can easily narrow down your ad audience to serve your ads to specific groups.

The demographics report in Google Analytics allows you to identify the ages and genders of your high-value customers.

You can also leverage the interests reports to narrow down your target audience based on Affinity Categories, In-Market Segments, and Other Categories.

If you want to promote your business locally, keep an eye on the geolocation report. It can help you discover where your high-value customers are located.

When you target your ads to an audience selected on the basis of real-time data from Google Analytics, they’re more likely to bring in positive results.

#2. Leverage Facebook Audience Insights

The more customer insights you have, the better you’ll be equipped for effective Facebook ad targeting. That’s what Facebook Audience Insights can help you with.

You can target three groups of people on Facebook.

  • Facebook fans: People who liked your Page
  • Other Facebook users: Select users based on the demographics and interests data of your ideal customers that you’ve gathered from Google Analytics. Serve your ads to potential buyers only.
  • Custom audiences: You can specifically target your existing customer base or email subscribers on Facebook.

Analyze your Facebook Audience Insights to get a more detailed overview of your audience such as their ethnic affinity, education level, life events, and more.

You can find it via your Ads Manager under the “tools” drop-down section:


The tool can help you learn more about the people you’re connected with and everyone else on Facebook.

Click “Everyone on Facebook” and then use the left sidebar to input age, sex, location, or interests based on your understanding of your target audience. Don’t forget to use all of the other Facebook ad targeting options under the “advanced” drop-down.

Audience Insights can help you learn more about a specific audience based on demographics, purchase behavior, geolocations, lifestyle, and more.


Say you want to raise awareness about your men’s clothing brand.

You can use Audience Insights to discover users who might be interested in your clothing line, live near the areas your stores are located, and analyze their past purchase behavior.

Get access to real-time, aggregate audience insights such as:

  • Demographics: Age, gender, education level, lifestyle, job role, relationship status, household
  • Page likes: The top Pages people like in categories related to your niche (like men’s apparel or clothing)
  • Location: Where do people in your target audience live?
  • Language: Which languages do they speak?
  • Facebook usage: How frequently do they log in to Facebook? Which devices do they use?
  • Purchase activity: Previous purchase behavior and purchase methods (like in-store or online)

#3. Target Your Customers First Using Custom Audiences

Users are more likely to click on an ad that is relevant to them. The higher the relevance, the greater the chances of conversion.

That’s why you should focus your Facebook ad targeting effort on your existing customers first. But how?

You can leverage Facebook Custom Audiences to target your existing customers, email subscribers, and existing Facebook fans.

To create Custom Audiences for Facebook ad targeting, you can use sources such as:

  • List of your existing customers
  • Facebook users who engage with your brand
  • Website visitors
  • App users

You can easily upload your email list or other personal details of your customers to serve your ads to people who already recognize your business.


Serving your ads to Custom Audiences can help you:

  • Re-engage and retain your existing customers.
  • Increase repeat purchases.
  • Promote seasonal offers to a specific group of customers who engaged with such offers previously.
  • Show off your new product or promote a product launch to your existing customers.

Hootsuite promotes video ads with case studies to introduce their brand to new prospects. They then target the people who watched the video with a free trial offer.

Such specific Facebook ad targeting not only helps them spread a brand awareness message but also drive conversions through their two-step sales funnel.


With Custom Audiences, you can increase conversions and sales at a very competitive price. It is always a wise decision to start with the audience you know your message will resonate with the best.

#4. Set Up the Facebook Pixel

On average, it takes your website visitors about 3 to 4 visits to actually think about buying from you. That’s why it is important to remarket to your potential customers on Facebook to convince them to revisit your site and make a purchase.

All you need is to add a remarketing pixel on your website to target your recent website visitors on Facebook.

The Facebook Pixel is a unique snippet of code that you add to the backend of your website. This code helps you track user behavior on your website. You can get insights about what actions visitors take when they arrive on your website through your Facebook ad.

Once you have the insights, you can segment those visitors based on their behaviors and retarget them using specifically-tailored content for each group.

When we talk about tracking web activity, it includes tracking more than just page views. You can retarget users who viewed more photos of a product, who recently viewed your pricing page, or who added an item to their cart but abandoned it.

Such Custom Pixel Events can help you identify people who are ready for conversion. And you can then retarget them with custom content to compel them to take your desired actions.

The best Facebook ad targeting tip to boost clicks and drive conversions is to offer special discounts to interested users. You can remind them of their recent activity and encourage them to make a purchase using a custom ad.

To create a Pixel for your site, navigate to Ads Manager > All Tools > Pixels.


Facebook Pixel data can help you create a range of Custom Audiences for your Facebook ad targeting. You can show ads to specific groups of people who visited your pricing page or clicked on a specific button.

#5. Target Your Facebook Fans

If you have established a loyal fan base, you should consider serving custom ads to your fan base on Facebook.

Your fans on Facebook have already liked your page. This suggests that they are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

Along with your existing customers or subscribers, your Facebook fans are also one of the most qualified audience groups to target.

Remember, if you haven’t built a loyal fan base yet, this Facebook ad targeting tip is not for you.

#6. Schedule Your Ads Around Your Audience

Targeting the right ads to the right people isn’t enough. You should also find the optimal times to show your ads to your audience.

Analyze your website traffic and audience insights to figure out when your ideal audience is most active on Facebook. You should also test your ads to find out if there are certain days or times when your ads are more effective.

#7. Target Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Once you have created and targeted high-value Custom Audiences, you can use Lookalike Audiences for your Facebook ad targeting.

Lookalike Audiences are basically the users who are similar to the people you targeted in your Custom Audience ad campaigns.

For example, if you have a list of 500+ customer emails, you can use this customer list as a source for identifying your Lookalike audience. Some good sources of Lookalike audiences include:

  • Previous customers
  • Newsletter subscribers
  • Facebook followers
  • Frequent website visitors
  • High-value customers (repeat buyers)

Facebook’s algorithms help you find people who are similar to the people on your list. All you need is to navigate to the Audiences page.

Select Create Audience > Lookalike Audience


Then, choose which Saved or Custom Audience you want to use as a source for your new Lookalike audience. You can adjust the settings for location and size and create your audience.

#8. Set Exclusions

Facebook ad targeting options enable you to specify who you want to target. At the same time, you can also exclude a certain audience segment from being targeted.

In this case, your ad will not reach the people you want to exclude.

For instance, if you want to target new audiences, you can exclude people who already liked your Page or people who recently purchased from your site.

This can help you save your advertising budget by not showing your ads to people you are not targeting at the moment. The money you save can be used to target more people who are likely to resonate with your ad copy.

#9. Leverage Broad Facebook Ad Targeting

Broad targeting, when coupled with specific messaging, can help you identify a highly-targeted audience. Showing a specific message to a wider audience can help you filter and find people who resonate with your message.

For instance, if you have a flower shop, you are more likely to target wedding decorators or people who have just got engaged. But you’re likely to miss people who might not have updated their relationship status.

Sometimes, focusing on overly specific Facebook ad targeting can make you overlook an audience. To avoid this, it is a good practice to start with broad targeting and then use your ad performance data to build a narrow audience.

Another benefit of using this Facebook ad targeting tip is that your ad reaches a large number of people. It helps you increase brand awareness and identify potential customers from broader audiences.

You can later use the data of people who are most interested to create Custom Audiences and then create Lookalike Audiences.

#10. Remarket or Boost Ads That Perform Well

Want to achieve higher ROI from your Facebook ad campaigns?

You can leverage UTMs to track and collect detailed campaign data to analyze how each of your ads is performing. When you have access to this data, you can easily optimize your campaigns to drive better results. Double down what’s working and cut what’s failing.

UTMs or Urchin Tracking Modules are unique URLs that can help you track specific sources of traffic. To create UTM codes for your campaigns, you can use the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder or use the UTM.io UTM Builder.


While we have our own motives to promote this chrome extension, it offers some advantages over the Google URL Builder. UTM.io allows you to build UTM links faster and easier using preset templates. It is also really easy to shorten your URL, saving the time you spent on using Bit.ly.

You can leverage UTM.io alongside Google Analytics to track conversions. It is important to analyze which Facebook ads are sending you the most visitors and which ads are helping you drive the most revenue. This will help you determine where you should spend your money and effort.

The key to successful Facebook ad targeting is to identify your highest-performing ads and spend your advertising dollars on them.

WPBeginner used Facebook’s boost post feature with remarketing to achieve a 332% increase in Facebook traffic to WPBeginner.


With the right targeting options, your best-performing ads can help you drive more engagement, website traffic, and conversions.

Another thing to note while remarketing is to target only those users who spent the most time on your website. This is the audience segment that is more likely to help you achieve the best ROI from your ads.


Facebook advertising offers highly-focused targeting options to help you increase the ROI of your campaigns significantly.

However, if you don’t use it correctly, you might end up wasting thousands of dollars. That’s why you need to segment your audiences to effectively target and retarget your Facebook ads.

Remember that advertising is about getting customers, not clicks. You shouldn’t waste your effort and money on poorly targeted ads that drive no conversions.

The best practice is to choose your audience wisely and keep testing different Facebook ad targeting options to find your sweet spot.

Do you know any other Facebook ad targeting tips you would like us to include? Please feel free to share them with us in the comments below.

Dan McGaw

Dan McGaw is an award-winning entrepreneur and speaker. He is the founder and CEO of McGaw.io, a marketing technology and analytics agency, and the creator of UTM.io, a campaign management and data governance tool. Named one of the godfathers of the marketing technology stack and one of original growth hackers, Dan has decades of experience in digital marketing, technology, and analytics. (His team won’t let him take this out even though he says it makes him sound old.)

2 thoughts on “10 of the Best Facebook Ad Targeting Tips to Beat Your Competition

  1. You haven’t been able to use custom audiences in audience insights for at least a year or two already.

    Please don’t share old rubbish if you claiming to be helpful, clearly, you don’t use these tools often.

    Stop it! I will report you if this happens again and will not hesitate to show people that you are sharing false information.

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