How to Master Facebook Ad Targeting in 2020

Using Facebook

Consider this: more than one BILLION people log onto Facebook each day. If your Facebook ad targeting is done right, just think of the reach you could get! 

Naturally, not all of these people are your ideal customer. You need to work your way through the weeds to target relevant users and maximize your ad spend. 

But when you’re new to Facebook advertising, the targeting options can be overwhelming.

It can be especially frustrating when it seems like best practices for Facebook ad targeting change each year. 

Well, keep reading because, by the end of this article, we’ll help you nail down your Facebook ad targeting strategy by covering these bases:

  • Cold vs. warm traffic
  • Audience targeting options for each group
  • Testing and monitoring your ads

How to Master Facebook Ad Targeting in 2020

Cold vs. warm traffic and campaign goals

If we ask you what your primary goal from your Facebook ad campaign is, you might say, “to get sales, DUH!” But you need to get a lot more specific. 

Is your goal to retarget visitors who have interacted with your content in the past? Or are you hoping to boost brand awareness and target new users? 

Ideally, you’ll create different Facebook ads depending on each of your goals. 

Consider this example: 

You own a suitcase company, and you’re setting up Facebook ads with two goals in mind.

First, you want to reach new users who might be in need of a suitcase. They’ve never visited your page or maybe they’ve never even heard of your brand.  

Second, you want to recapture the attention of people who have visited your website, maybe even making it as far as the checkout page.

You wouldn’t use the same ad to target both of those groups, right?

Here’s where cold versus warm traffic comes in. 

Cold traffic

Facebook Ads

That first group of people we mentioned–those who have never interacted with your page or maybe even heard of your brand–are known as cold traffic. 

When you’re working on Facebook ad targeting for this group, you’ll need to keep their inexperience with your brand in mind.

Your copy needs to clearly communicate what your brand/product/service is all about. 

These ads could include:

  • A demo of your product
  • An introductory video
  • A brief overview of your company
  • A list of benefits from your product/service

Rather than focusing hard on getting sales from these ads, keep your focus on educating the user. These are the ads that spark interest in your offering and boost brand awareness.

They’ll also play a critical role in the next step of your sales funnel.

Warm traffic AKA retargeted traffic

Once your cold traffic has interacted with your ads or visited your website, they become what’s known as warm traffic or retargeted traffic. Also known as potential customers!

Rather than focusing on creating brand awareness, your ad performance goal with warm traffic is getting them further down your sales funnel.

Maybe this means having them sign up for your newsletter, buying your product, joining your group. But whatever it is, your ad copy will be focused on this result rather than introducing them to your business. 

Here are a few examples of ads meant to target warm traffic: 

  • Discount codes
  • Last chance offers
  • Highlighting a specific product or service
  • Share a testimonial

Now that you know the difference between warm and cold traffic, let’s talk about targeting options for each group. 

Facebook ad targeting cold traffic

Your Facebook ad targeting cold traffic can be a little broader than it is for warm traffic. At this point, your goal is to target your ideal customer. 

But to do this, you first need to DEFINE your ideal customer. Depending on your product or offering, this could be a very broad group of people. 

Start by determining important demographics about this customer.

Things like:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Marital status
  • Interests
  • Gender
  • Language

We’ll use an easy example to understand what your ideal customer might be. So, let’s say you sell crossword puzzles with extra-large font size.

Now let’s say you’ve determined your target audience is retired women who speak English. 

When you create an audience to target, you’ll take all of that into account.

This means you’ll specifically target women over 65 who speak English. From there, you can get even more specific. Perhaps you’ll target those who are interested in crossword puzzles, books, and Sudoku. 

Your ad for this audience might include a picture of your best-selling crossword puzzle book and general information about your company. 

Facebook ad targeting warm traffic

Okay–you’ve launched your ad campaign for cold traffic and thousands of people have seen your ad for your crossword company. Even better, hundreds have clicked on it. 

Now, they’re considered warm traffic, and it’s time to target them specifically.

Rather than focusing on your ideal customer and their demographics, your Facebook ad targeting strategy changes here.

Instead of designing an audience based on age, language, gender, and other demographics, these are some of the ad targeting options you might choose:

  • Users who visited specific pages on your site
  • The most frequent visitors to your site
  • Users who viewed your videos on Facebook
  • People who engaged with your posts/ads
  • People who engaged with your CTAs, including joining groups or signing up for your newsletter

Bonus: Lookalike audiences

We can’t talk about Facebook audiences without discussing lookalike audiences

With lookalike audiences, you provide Facebook with a core sample of your ideal audience, and they use their algorithm to expand this audience by adding similar users. 

You can get really similar and choose 1% similarity for a really targeted, although smaller audience. For a wider base, you can opt for up to 10% similarity. 

Want to create a lookalike audience? Here’s how.

Prepare a list of people you wish to use for the lookalike, this can include: 

  • Existing customers
  • Facebook followers
  • Upload a CSV file of existing or potential customers
  • Newsletter signups
  • Frequent website visitors
  • App activity
  • Frequent Facebook video viewers

Next, you’ll navigate to the Hamburger menu in the top right corner of your ads manager. Go to Assets > Audiences. Now click the Create a Lookalike Audience button. Here’s where you’ll select your source (this is the list you’ve prepared of who you want to use for your lookalike). Select your target location(s) and audience size, and voila! You’ve just created a lookalike audience. 

Tracking and monitoring your Facebook ads


Once you’ve nailed down the audience for your Facebook ad targeting, your work isn’t done. To ensure a successful ad campaign, you need to perform regular check-ins to make sure they’re working for you. 

This is where Facebook pixels come in. 

What are Facebook pixels?

Facebook pixels are codes you insert into your website that help you track activity from Facebook: conversions, clicks, ads, etc. 

Not sure how to create a Facebook pixel? We cover it in detail right here.

Now if you find out your Facebook ads aren’t performing well, don’t panic. There are lots of reasons this could be happening, and most of them are easy fixes. Take a look at this post to find out why your Facebook ads aren’t getting any reach and what to do about it. 

A/B testing

Another effective tracking option is A/B testing. This means you’ll create two ads with the same goal in mind. Then, you’ll compare them with one another to see which performs better. Ultimately, the more successful ad will help determine your strategy moving forward and where you’ll spend your money.

If you’re new to A/B testing, don’t miss out on this valuable tool. We talk more about how to use it in this post.

Do you need help with Facebook ads?

From coming up with a Facebook ad targeting strategy, creating an audience, launching ad campaigns, and monitoring ad performance, Facebook ads can be completely overwhelming. 

When you outsource these tasks to professionals, you can take back valuable time in your day to focus on doing what you do best. Not to mention, you can make sure your Facebook ad spend isn’t going to waste! We are here to help with Facebook ads!

If that sounds like exactly what you’ve been waiting to hear, take a look at our Facebook advertising services here.

Or if you’d like to schedule a free consultation with Blue Water Marketing, we’d love to talk! Contact us here.


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