Facebook Ads Audience Targeting: 10 Tips for Your E-Commerce Brand

July 5, 2022
by Alyssa von Bornhoft

Did you know that 60.42% of the world’s active internet users access Facebook every month? In fact, Facebook currently has 2.93 billion monthly active users and 65.9% of those monthly users will log in daily on mobile devices or desktop. That’s almost 2 billion daily active users on average! With such an immense database full of potential consumers just waiting to see, and ultimately click on, your e-commerce brand’s Facebook ads, marketing has never been more efficient. Paired with tools designed to help your company get the most out of your efforts, the enormity of potential outreach allows you to define, compile, and market to your desired – or targeted – audience.

Target Audiences and Why You Need Them

Your e-commerce brand’s target audience refers to the specific group of people you want to reach with your ads. These users are most likely to be interested in your products or services. Your target audience is important to your business because it gives your marketing strategies direction, creates consistency across your messaging and allows you to create a brand voice that really speaks to your consumer base. It’s important to understand that not everyone will like the products you offer or want to be a customer. And, that’s okay! One of the basic principles of marketing is, as 20-time bestselling author and former dot com business executive, Seth Godin, puts it: everyone is not your customer. The goal is to identify consumers who will actually find value in doing business with you. That will ultimately drive traffic to, and building brand awareness of, your e-commerce brand.

Audience targeting allows you to reach consumers based on what they’re searching for, their habits, and whether or not they have already interacted with your business. Luckily, Facebook Ads allows e-commerce businesses to do just that. You can select the locations, demographics and interests of your targeted users so they can receive ads most relevant to them. Below, we’ll explore how your e-commerce brand can reach the right audience using the Facebook platform’s targeting tools, along with tips to keep in mind when targeting your audiences.

1. Identify Your Unicorn Content

Start by developing your e-commerce brand’s identity. The first step in creating your brand voice is defining your brand identity. This is how your business portrays its image to the public and how your customers connect with your brand. Brand identity is crucial in creating your brand voice. 45% of your brand’s image comes from what you say, and how you say it. Creating a brand identity that is genuine and unique is an easy way to give you a leg up on your competition.

To find your unicorn content, you want to take a look at all of your content – blog posts, ads, videos and anything else you’ve posted – to determine which have received the most amount of clicks. Once you’ve determined your unicorn content using tools like Google Analytics, you can then use that top-performing content as ideas for your Facebook ad campaigns. This ensures that your content will have higher engagement, click through rates, and ultimately, conversion rates.

2. Audience Size

With such a vast amount of Facebook users, you may be wondering, wouldn’t it just be easier to target everyone and market your services to as many people as you can, then wait for those who are interested to come around? Not quite. While it may seem more appealing to cast a wide net and wait for the sharks to bite, so to speak, it’s actually counterproductive as it produces higher consumer acquisition costs, lower conversion rates and less profitability of your company. Every e-commerce business is different. In turn, so is its audience. There is no clear-cut answer for how big your targeted audience size should be when you run a Facebook ad. But, there are a few things to consider in terms of the size of your targeted audience:

  • Your Budget – A smaller budget means you’ll reach a smaller target audience.
  • Narrowed Audience – Target audiences are more likely to achieve lower funnel goals for your e-commerce brand when they contain users who have already had some form of interaction with your brand.
  • LocationOne study showed that about 5% target locally, 25% target ads regionally and 20% target internationally. The majority (49%) of businesses targeting a combination of all 3.

The minimum audience size for Facebook ads is 100 people, but Facebook recommends setting it higher than that. The more people you have in your audience, the more people Facebook can find who look like them (you’ll see why this is important in a moment). In fact, Facebook recommends a minimum audience size of 1,000 people. You can check your estimated daily results for the estimated number of people your campaign will actually end up reaching. This is all based on your budget and performance.

3. Use Facebook Audience Insights to See What’s Working

Facebook Audience Insights is a useful tool that allows you to better understand your Facebook audience. Not only does it provide information on those connected to your page, but it also provides insight on who your Facebook competition is and who their followers are. The abundance of information found within Facebook Audience Insights lets you find out what’s working for both you and your competitors. Now you can tailor your approach and create more impactful content – resulting in targeting potential new consumers.

4. Use Facebook Custom Audience for Retargeting

In marketing, the Rule of Seven says that your audience needs to see an ad at least seven times before they take action. With the Facebook Custom Audiences, you can retarget audiences who have already shown interest in your e-commerce brand by visiting your website and browsed through your pages or looked at specific products or services. You can also add exclusions to your custom audience to omit users who have recently made a purchase from your business. You can save those audiences for your remarketing efforts. Keep in mind, the iOS-14 Update has reduced the ability for brands to understand who has visited their websites (unless they’ve purchased, of course). This diminishes the value of retargeting audiences as a result. And, while you’re still able to track Android users around the internet, that will come to an end when Google deprecates cookies next year.

Explore the Take a look at How to Advertise on Facebook Post iOS 14 Update: A Guide for E-Commerce Brands for advice on how to navigate the evolving digital privacy landscape.

5. Create Lookalike Audiences

Now that you have Customer Audiences in place, you can go one step further to create a Lookalike Audience. Creating a Facebook Lookalike Audience allows you to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your e-commerce brand. Facebook pulls information about your custom audiences to find, and show your ads to, users who share similar characteristics and qualities to your existing consumers.  

You can also tailor how closely you want your lookalike audience to match your custom audience. Smaller percentages matching more closely to your Custom Audience and larger percentages creating a looser and wider reach.

6. Explore Recent Purchasing Behaviors

Behavioral targeting is a marketing strategy that allows you to gather data on users’ online browsing and purchasing behaviors. Use the information wisely and strengthen your campaigns. Facebook allows you to target audiences by Purchasing Behavior. You can choose among a long list of subcategories including Clothing, Pet Products, Purchase Habits, Store Types, etc. You can then choose to narrow your search even further within these categories. This allows you to create specific ads relevant to your targeted audience based on their exact interests, needs, and purchasing habits.

7. Use Detailed Targeting for Even More Precision

The sky’s the limit with Facebook’s search capabilities. Facebook’s Detailed Targeting option allows you add an additional layer of users’ interests and behaviors. You can go even further to include information about what ads they click on, what kind of mobile device they use, and even the speed of their network connection!

8. Combine Audiences

Combining custom audiences in Facebook Ads allows your e-commerce brand to reach consumers more efficiently and to see results sooner. Every time an ad is shown, Facebook’s ads delivery system goes through a learning phase. The system learns more about how to effectively display the ads to the best users and in which placements. By combining audiences together, less time is spent in this learning phase, optimizing your ads’ performance. 

9. Check Facebook Ads Relevance Diagnostics/metrics for opportunities to improve targeting

Personalization in marketing is incredibly important. Over three quarters of consumers state that personalization is a key factor in prompting consideration of a brand. Marketers understand this and over 71% believe that they excel in this area, but only 34% of consumers agree.

This is a problem because relevance is a major factor in the success of your Facebook ads (all ads, really!). Facebook ad targeting is intended to deliver your ad to the audience that’s most likely to perform the desired action. Not only are users more inclined to do business with your e-commerce brand if content is relevant to them, ads that are more relevant will cost your brand less and achieve better results.

If your ads aren’t performing as well as you’d hoped, Facebook offers a useful tool, called Ad Relevance Diagnostics. This tool is divided into 3 key areas: quality, engagement rate, and conversion rate and designed to help you pinpoint any areas of improvement that may be affecting your performance. 

10. Track Performance 

Once your Facebook ads are up and running, it’s a good idea to monitor their performance. You can make sure you’re getting the most out of your marketing strategies, efforts and expenses. Using the Facebook Ads dashboard, you can see which of your ads are most popular among users and which have the highest ROI. You can generate data that will show you things like ad frequency to see how often people are seeing your ads (too high is too much!), click through rate to see how many clicks your ads are receiving, amount spent by campaign to see which campaigns are the most cost-efficient – and much more!

Targeting the right audience is the key to success for your Facebook ads. Don’t forget, your e-commerce brand is not for everyone. The goal is to direct your efforts into reaching the people who will gain the most value from your e-commerce brand. Facebook’s extensive audience targeting options, and our help, are the not-so-secret weapon your e-commerce brand needs to enhance your marketing strategy and optimize your Facebook Ads’ performance.

About the author: Alyssa has spent the majority of her career specializing in the Accounting sector of Affiliate Marketing. With a persistent urge to learn new things, Alyssa returned to McGill University in Montreal, Canada in her 30s to study Public Relations and Communications Management where she discovered a passion for writing – and she hasn’t looked back!

Her interests include adventuring in the great outdoors, cooking up a storm, and not sitting still. She aspires to take a million pictures of her Siberian Husky/Saint Bernard mix, Jax, and is probably getting pretty close.

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