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  • Writer's pictureLizel Opperman

How to get Facebook audience development right the first time



Facebook has roughly 2.7 billion Facebook users as of the second quarter of 2020. Obviously, all of these users will not fall into your target market, so it is crucial to spend time learning about your target audience to target only those interested in your product. Start by placing yourself in your consumers’ shoes. Let’s be honest nobody goes on a social platform looking to purchase any product; indeed, nobody intentionally goes onto Facebook searching for a brand. Think about a massive brand like Nike; for example, when last did you find yourself looking for their Facebook page? With that being said, consumers don’t go onto Facebook looking for you; you have to reach out and go to them.


How do we find the right target audience? Start by asking yourself a few questions;

- Who is your customer?

- What do they do for a living?

- Where do they live?

- What are they interested in?

- What is their age?

- What is their gender?

- What does their journey look like on an online platform?

- Do you have offline information that can potentially predict their spending habits?


The more details you know about your audience, the more accurate you can identify and target them online. After you have identified your audience, the next step is to plan the creative you will use to lure this customer out of Facebook and into your world. Lastly, you have to measure your campaign results to determine where to make significant changes and learn what has worked and how to apply those learnings moving forward. Within Facebook there is three audience types; saved audiences, custom audiences and lookalike audiences.


In this blog post we are going to discuss the following topics:

1. Where to create audiences’ in business manager

2. How to create a Facebook custom audience

3. How to create a Facebook lookalike audience

4. How to create a Facebook saved audience

5. Conclusion


1. When you start to create these audiences, you go straight to your Facebook business manager.












It is recommended to always start with custom audiences, as this tends to be where the gems are. There are multiple ways that you can create custom audiences.

The first example is to leverage data from your Facebook page. You can do the same using your Instagram account. If you have run any paid video ads, you can build audiences from view time. The other options include a customer list if you have any data from an email list or shopper data. The last recommended one is building audiences off activity happening on your website.


2. To create a Facebook custom audience, follow these steps:

1. Create a Facebook Custom Audience

2. Select the option “Customer File.”

3. Select between the option to add a customer file or import your contact

4. Import your customer data to create a new Custom Audience

5. Select the identifiers


Your customer files can include 15 different identifiers, which include;


- Phone number

- Mobile advertiser ID

- Email

- Upload a customer file

- Give the customer audience a name


If you are going to create an audience based on your website activity, you can only do this with the Facebook pixel in place. The Facebook pixel is a piece of code that you generate in your business manager. If you have not generated it yet, you can navigate to data sources and then to pixels; then activate your pixel. You can implement this immediately, or you can email a developer to implement this for you.



After selecting the website option as your source of data, Facebook will ask you what type of website audience you are trying to build, and there are a few options to choose from such as:


- Customer File

- Website Traffic

- App activity

- Offline Activity

- Engagement


For eCommerce, the essential things are adding to cart, specific content search for a particular product, or added payment information and purchase behavior. For example, you should build out these segments on specific dates like those added to cart in the last 7 days, 14 days, 30 days, 50 days, and 60 days. You will use this information for different things; as an example, if you wanted to do a campaign where people have added to cart, you need to use these date intervals, for instance, 7 days and exclude anyone who has purchased in that time frame. In essence, don’t just build one audience as these data are gold to your eCommerce success, build multiple audiences.


Once you have built your audience, Facebook will give you the option to create a lookalike audience. In this example, you have uploaded customers from your database. Facebook has matched a certain percentage of those customers and create you an audience. You will then get the opportunity to build a lookalike audience.


3. Facebook Lookalike Audience

This audience is the closest to your current audience segment matched by Facebook. You can build a Lookalike audience from a 1 – 10% range where 1% is your most similar and 10% your least similar. Facebook will determine each user’s behavior online and match them in a range between 1 – 10% of your current audiences’ behavior. If you have a niche target audience, it’s best to build a 1- 2% lookalike audience so that you can find new customers that are the most similar to your consumers’ needs. If your product has a broad appeal, you can look to build audiences up to 10%.

4. Saved Audience

Saved audiences are the third option available to you in Facebook. You will be able to choose from a vast selection of options such as age, gender, and geography when you decide to build this audience. You will also have the option to choose from a very detailed section, and this is where it gets interesting. During this step, you should focus on placing yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about who you are targeting. Always remember that less is more.

The first thing you can do is click on the browse button to explore the options and get a feeling of what options are available to you.



For example, let’s say that you are a fitness instructor. When you click on Fitness and wellness, you can target people according to your specific industry, for example, bodybuilding, meditation, physical exercise, etc. So you can redefine who your target audience is by spending time thinking about their interests, behaviors, etc.



Interestingly, 99% of Facebook advertisers target the same interests because they are not aware that there are many more to choose from.


Saved Audience Tips

Facebook does give you an idea of the categories you can target. However, it is highly recommended just typing random things into the search bar in the interest section, and you will be amazed at what is available and how deep the targeting goes. You can get an idea of how to think about your audience when you create them in the example below:

In this example, we will be using a maternity clothing brand. You will start by typing in the most apparent keyword into the interest search bar, maternity clothing. You can go a little bit further with your specifications to make your reach more specific by adding the term pregnancy to the mix.



You will see that the size of the particular audience you are targeting for maternity clothing



is roughly 12,055,690 and for pregnancy 340,426,200, but let’s say that this maternity clothing brand is an online-only retailer, so the most obvious interest to add will be online shopping and you will see that your new audience reach will be 1,584,554,190.



We most often see that advertisers add the same collection of interests when targeting similar brands. What you need to keep in mind when it comes to interests, is that your consumer only has to match one of these categories, and by adding all three in there, you put yourself in a situation where you are looking for a needle in a haystack. When we look at the above example by adding maternity clothing, pregnancy, and online shopping into our interest, Facebook locates a reach of roughly 6,900,00 people.



The biggest mistake you can make as an advertiser is thinking a broader audience is better. The exact opposite is true. You need to bring your audience down to a more specific reach, especially if your budget is small. As a result, it is highly likely that this audience will never convert for you. The better option is to start broad and narrow your audience, so we will rearrange our terms by starting with people who like to shop online. The targeted audience must also match pregnancy and then narrow it even further by adding maternity. These changes will bring our previous reach to a new potential reach of 29,000. Although this is a much smaller audience, they will be more likely to convert.



Another option is to think about your competitors or other merchants in your area selling the same product as you and add them to your interest search bar. There are all sorts of creatives ways to make your audience more specific by researching and taking the time to understand your brand first.

5. Conclusion

It is all about getting to know your audience. Trial and error plays a big part in the process, and you have to make mistakes to learn from them. The critical factor is dictating your mistakes and strategizing on how to improvise moving forward. A/B testing is a compelling strategy to help you gain insights into your consumer. You can read more about A/B testing in our previous blog post on How to improve your conversion rate through A/B testing.



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