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Not Everyone’s Your Customer: How to Target Your Ad Campaigns to Achieve Stronger Returns

What separates the pros from everyone else when it comes to Facebook marketing? The ability to identify your target audience. Here’s how to do it.

Too often advertisers make the mistake of being too general with their audience targeting.

The problem is that this wastes your precious advertising dollars because the ads are shown to people who’ll never buy your product. Targeting can make all the difference to ads that deliver return on ad spend and ads that just burn your marketing budget.

A little history on audience targeting first. The Cambridge Analytica Scandal with Facebook and it’s misuse of personal data has resulted in scrutiny over data best practices. Prior to this, the power of dynamic audience targeting on Facebook was in the hands of advertisers who could be incredibly specific about who they were speaking out to in their ad beyond their own CRM databases. Advertisers could control targeting on a deep level reaching other peoples audiences without difficulty. Historically, the data was gathered from information users supplied like birthdays, interests, jobs and location. Advertisers supply data and the data points captured with users engagement on posts and pages and of course third party commercial (data) suppliers.

Today, third party data has been eliminated for audience targeting on Facebook to protect privacy. In addition, this year Facebook introduced CBO, (Campaign Budget Optimisation). CBO effectively manages the ad budget using AI to show the best ad, match the right product with the right audience and creative and show it to the right audience while avoiding audience overlap. These changes are significant for advertisers. Facebook pretty much has thousands of data points on users all over the internet thanks to it’s pixel tracking technology. Is this only new to Facebook? No. Google has employed optimisation methods for at least 10 years and we’d assume it’s safe to say most people are now familiar with cookies. Google is also on the leading edge of machine learning. So fundamentally these large social platforms are huge data sources with complex data profiles based on users interactions, whereby they now predict future behaviour and probably know more about each of us than probably we know about ourselves, whether we like it or not! 

So what does this all mean? Essentially machine learning and AI are changing audience targeting, determining who and why our ads are shown in a fundamental way. It works in basic terms by measuring the reaction, responses and engagement by people the ad is shown to to determine if the ad is relevant for the suggested audience. This is good and bad. When it works the results are great however on the downside, if the ad is not well received, it impacts delivery often in the first 48 hours thanks to signals received from the tracking pixel. Essentially the ad stops working. No amount of money you throw at it will help, it’s simply time to get more creative or do a better job at understanding how to match content with the right audience. 

Targeting is the key to a better ROI but it’s not singular. The creative and the product matched to the audience are also key. And don’t take our word for it. This example shows just how effective targeting can be:

Jesus Film Project (JFP) wanted to grow a database of new subscribers. With a new landing page, they were able to generate leads at 24 cents per lead. 

What’s more, these leads were a very close match to JFP’s target market. They were young (77% under 35 yrs old), 88% were from the US, and they were engaging with the content, as demonstrated by open rates over 50% and click through rates over 25%. 

All this came about because of intelligent targeting – the more specific you can get with your targeting, the lower your cost per lead becomes. 

Now we do know the Jesus Film was a huge project and it’d be hard to compare to considering they mapped 35 years of sub brand culture and mapped 9 audience personas. And let’s face it, religion gets attention. So don’t expect any marketing agency to be able to promise 24c leads with today’s ad costs rising. Nevertheless, it serves to show the effort they went to to understand the target audience served them well.

Despite the obvious benefits and abundant case study success stories, Social Media Examiner says that 62% of small businesses believe that Facebook ads don’t work for them.

Poor targeting is a big culprit. However to target well, you must know your avatar. Your ideal customer in other words. 

With the right targeting means you generate a better ROI for your campaigns. Without it, you’re just throwing money away on ads that don’t produce results.

Remember, not everyone can be your customer. 

With these tips, you’ll be able to work out who your audience is so that you can create much better, targeted campaigns.

Tip #1 – Start With Your Existing Customers/Fans

Use the information that your existing customers provide to target new customers.

You can see key demographical data, such as:

  • Where your customers live
  • Age ranges
  • Gender
  • Common interests

This is all the information that you can use to create a targeted campaign. Facebook offers a tool called Lookalike Audiences that allows you to target ads based on similar audiences to the data that you already have in your CRM.

Leverage it to get your ads in front of people who fit your customer profile but aren’t yet in your system.

Tip #2 – Understand the Differences Between Hot, Cold, and Warm

Not every lead you target falls under the same umbrella.

Some of your ads may target people who’ve engaged heavily with your brand already. Others may target people who haven’t even heard of you yet.

These are two completely different audiences and you need to treat them as such. Sending an ad that pushes for a sale to someone who doesn’t know your brand will result in rejection, for example.

That’s why it’s crucial to know the differences between hot, cold, and warm leads:


These guys already know your brand and may have bought from you already. These are the people that you’ll target with sales offers because they’re already at the bottom of your funnel.


This audience hasn’t even heard of you before. That means they’re going to need a little warming up before you can make any offers to them. Ads that target this audience need to focus on engagement and education.


You’ve already had a few conversations with these leads but they’re not ready to buy yet. At this point, you’re targeting this audience with information about your product’s benefits. You may also share some case studies and testimonials.

You need to target each of these lead types with a different campaign. Hitting them all with the same information at once results in leads falling out of your funnel.

Tip #3 – Leverage Google Analytics’ Conversion Reports

Google Analytics’ Conversion Reports highlight where your traffic comes from and allows you to pick out trends.

Click on Conversions, followed by Multi-Channel Funnels. Then click the Top Conversion Paths and select the Source Path option.

Finally, choose Landing Page URL Path as your Secondary Dimension.

You’ll get a report that shows where your website’s audience comes from and what path they take through your site. You can also alter the date range to get data from the last few months.

What you’re seeing here is a rundown of your target audience’s interests. You’ll see the websites that they visit before they come to yours. Plus, you’ll see the content that they check out once they’re on your website.

Compile this information into lists of related brands, interests, and groups. You can then use it to create saved audiences that you’ll use in your ad campaigns.

You’ve gone beyond targeting the basic interests you may have picked up from your CRM here. You’ve created more intensive targeting based on specific actions that visitors to your site take.

Targeting For Improved ROI

The key takeaway here is that throwing an ad out to everybody isn’t an effective way to market your business on Facebook or anywhere for that matter. Not everyone wants to hear from you or has potential to be your customer.

There are some great aspects you can dive into on platforms like Facebook that allow you to get super granula. You can tap into recent buying behavior, use your own customer buying data, get smart about life events such as birthdays and holidays. Creating custom audiences to exclude is also smart. Why sell to someone who just bought from you unless it makes perfect sense in a cross sell or upsell sense. Leverage the lookalike functionality, that means data of your own customers or page engages to create similar new audiences. You can get specific by location and age. The list goes on.

Truly understanding who your brand is reaching out to is going to be vital to lowering your ad spend as ad inventory gets more scarce. Know your avatar! You need to know where they hang out, what they are most likely to enjoy and where you can find them. More brands are using social media and messaging apps and hundreds of thousands come on board each month. So know the niche your ads belong in and your CTR and conversions will be reflected. 

Appropriate targeting leads to stronger returns on your campaigns, so invest the time on the front end.

And at Beyond Points we don’t just build the strategy, we consider ourselves experts at audience targeting. Over time we build a clearer picture, optimizing results and ensuring brands are delivering the right message at the right time to the right person. Need help? You’re welcome to schedule a strategy session with our team today.