Facebook has become a standard tool for today’s advertisers, with ad revenue pushing $40 billion on the platform last year. It can be an efficient tool for marketing because users already turn to the platform for business, including housing and roommate-request groups. But with 2.19 billion users, you need to make sure that your ads are getting in front of the right people.
That’s where targeting comes in. Good targeting means that you can pinpoint who is the exact demographic you want to respond to an ad and narrow in on those folks specifically. So if you have properties that are family homes with a price tag that demands at least 100k/yr salary, you can target married 35-year olds with a kid and an income of $100k.
Facebook ad targeting allows you to optimize your ad performance because it raises the chance that your ads get in front of people who actually care about your product. For a real estate agent, this means you can craft ads that will appeal to potential buyers in the right price range, entice people who are likely to rent and spend less on Facebook ads.
And you can do it all in 15 minutes using your Facebook business account — nothing else necessary.
What is Facebook ad targeting?
Facebook ad targeting is a way to limit the audience for your ads. Instead of solely relying on Facebook’s algorithm to place your ads in front of people, you can create a group of people who you know are going to like your content. You can choose between a plethora of options provided by Facebook, like age range and interests.
For example, if you’re a woman over the age of 18 who lives in the U.S., you might have seen Dollar Shave Club ads recently…
Because that’s a demographic Dollar Shave Club wants to target:
Notice how their copy for that ad starts with “Ladies” and includes a quote from a woman named “Camille”? That’s because Dollar Shave Club saw their target demographic, created an audience and crafted content directly for them.
This is a powerful tool for marketing. It means you can craft ads to appeal to a certain demographic, and then ensure that demographic sees those ads. For example, as a real estate agent, you’re probably not trying to sell luxury homes to people in their early 20s. You can narrow who sees your luxury home ads to the age range most likely to be looking to purchase, so you’re spending your money more efficiently.
Facebook ad targeting can also give you increased engagement because you’re seeking out the people who will respond to your ads. If you’re looking for a luxury home, for example, and you see a beautiful Facebook ad, you’re more likely to click on it and more likely to actually follow through and set up an appointment.
Creating an audience to target
Creating an audience for FB ad targeting is about finding the intersection of interest, location, income, etc., that will be receptive to your message.
If you use no targeting, you’re broadcasting your ads to 240,000,000 potential users, which is a huge waste of time and money. Not only will you be hoping that your ad magically lands in front of the right people, you’ll also be wrecking your relevance score. Your relevance score is calculated based on how many people engage with your ad and how many people hide it or complain that they don’t want to see it.
To try and give users the best ad experience possible, Facebook incentivizes advertisers by charging them less for delivery of ads with a high relevance score. That means that targeting your ads to the right audience will lower your overall ad costs as it increases engagement.
To create a target, you can start manipulating some basic settings that will help you narrow down your audience:
That “Use a Saved Audience” tab will save you time down the line, but if this is your first time targeting go ahead and fill out basic information to narrow down who will see your ad. These basics (location, age, gender, language) are a great way to set yourself up.
Then, look at more advanced options. We recommend you go through all of what Facebook ad targeting has to offer because there are a lot of hidden gems, but you can also search for demographics if you know that there is a specific demographic you want to hit.
For example, the first step might be targeting based on location (your city), then income (to match with the price of your listings), and then an interest in the outdoors (if you’re pushing how your properties are in close proximity to a national park).
As you narrow down the spectrum, Facebook will tell you how big your possible audience is. For example, targeting people who are 26-36 in St. Louis and interested in fitness and running (possible luxury apartment with gym renters) has an audience of 77,000 people with an estimated daily reach of 1,500-4,000 people.
You can use this tracker to determine whether or not you’ve narrowed your audience down enough based on your ads and your goals.
Making the right content
When you know what you’re advertising and who you’re advertising to, it’s time to bring those together to make your ads. Facebook ad targeting creates this custom audience for you, and now you have to show them something that will speak to them in particular — you have to craft your content and your message to appeal directly to that group of people you are targeting.
Renters want different things than buyers. Luxury buyers want something different than college students. Use your knowledge of your clients to speak to the concerns of these groups. Take this ad, which is clearly targeting families who need three bedrooms:
The copy pushes all the features that would be appealing to a family: three bedrooms, a gated community, easy commute and 120 acres of green space. Targeting for this ad might be for people in their 30s and 40s with kids and the right income bracket to have this in their price range.
When you’re making ads, ensure that you’ve got visual pop that will catch the eye of Facebook users. The ad above does well to play with bright colors of blue and green and a high contrast of white buildings and background. Whether it’s a stunning shot of an apartment kitchen or a neighborhood skyline, the visuals will help you catch eyes and reinforce your offer with visual proof.
And don’t forget you can try different types of ads. Take this video ad showcasing the property and interior of a home in Cleveland:
This piques viewer interest and uses the power of visuals to grab attention. Just seeing the front of the house wouldn’t reveal the beautiful backyard or spacious kitchen that makes it an attractive property, but a short video does. Buyers for a four-bedroom house are more likely to have specific requirements for their home than a short-term renter, so providing a video right off the bat shows you understand that they need to see if a property checks their boxes before they see it.
If you’ve got multiple shots or a video of a model apartment, try incorporating video or carousel ads to show off those properties or neighborhoods and catch more interest. This can be a great way to spruce up copy and make different versions of ads to run without much effort.
To get the most out of your targeting, you need to learn what is most appealing to that group. You’ve already taken a stab at making the right content, now A/B test it to ensure that you’re optimizing your targeting.
A/B testing, or split testing, in Facebook’s ad platform is easy. All you need to do is create two campaigns, which is as easy as creating one ad but changing one thing (title, picture or caption) about that ad and running both versions at the same time — the one that gets more clicks wins.
To create an A/B test in Facebook, simply click the checkbox when starting a new campaign:
Then, you’ll see a section in your ad creation dashboard with a dropdown menu to choose what you want to test. You select from the dropdown menu and then continue creating a new ad as per usual, choosing a second placement, audience, delivery optimization or creative element as prompted.
Facebook will automatically run both of the ads you create in your A/B test and give you a report after both have run their course so you can compare their cost, effectiveness, click-through rate and other metrics.
Facebook’s help platform has a step-by-step guide to setting up split testing if you want to get fancy, but all you really need to know how to do is create a campaign. The A/B test is just an extra few clicks. Even though it’s easy, it is important. A/B testing can show you which ad is more likely to appeal to your target demographic and will be more relevant (read: cheaper) to your audience. It will help you boost conversions and optimize your ads even further.
Tricks for setting up great targeting
Now that we know what targeting can do for you, let’s quickly go through how to set up targeting for your campaign one step at a time. We already know that targeting begins in your basic ad setup by choosing from preset demographic information:
And we also know that you can choose from specified interests in your basic setup as well:
These are the basic ways to target your Facebook ads, and you should use them every time you set up a campaign. But there are also some other tricks that will help you target your intended audience even better.
1. Make a custom audience
If you have a list of customer emails that you want to target, you can create a “Custom Audience” with those emails:
Under “Tools” find “Audiences”:
2. Make A Lookalike Audience
If you already have an active Facebook page or community, you can create a “Lookalike Audience.” This means that Facebook analyzes the people who are already engaging with you and creates a group of people with similar qualities. To do this, go to “Audiences”:
And then click “Create a Lookalike Audience”:
And then choose your Facebook page, which will pop up automatically in the “Source” field, and narrow down your location and how closely you want your new audience to match:
As you become more comfortable with targeting, you’ll be able to copy, manipulate and create new audiences in no time. Don’t forget that Facebook has a huge library of help docs that can help you push even further with targeting once you’ve got the basics down.
And don’t be afraid to try different things! Testing out new audiences, different ad copy or a type of ad you don’t normally choose can help you find and connect with leads on Facebook. Mix in a new type of campaign regularly until you’ve got a whole arsenal of ads, copy and audiences that are boosting business.