If you’re boosting posts or running Facebook ads, getting your audience right is *key*. Targeting too narrowly, getting geography wrong, or creating the wrong audiences can increase your costs and lead to ineffective results.
But not to worry, because today, we’re filling you in on the five audiences you should create before you get started and how to set them up in Facebook Business Manager.
The first thing you’ll need to do is log into your Facebook Business Manager. Once you’re in there, the easiest way to set up an audience is to click the “Audiences” category on the top left-hand side.
Note: If you don’t see it here, scroll down and you should find “Audiences” under the “Advertise” section of the page.
From there, you’ll click the “Create Audience” dropdown and select the type of audience you want to create. The three “types” of Facebook audiences we’re going to be worrying about today are saved, custom, and lookalike.
A saved audience is an audience that’s created based on information you have or own. You’ll need to manually input this information in order to create this type of audience.
A custom audience is created based on an action or engagement. For example, a custom audience might consist of people who downloaded a lead gen, clicked an ad, visited your website, engaged with a Facebook post, submitted a form, or took some other type of action.
A lookalike audience is an audience that’s created based on the demographics of your existing customer base. It requires input of information — like the names, email addresses, addresses, and zip codes of your customer base — and Facebook uses that info to find your customers’ Facebook profiles and create an audience that “looks” similar to them.
Note: In order to create custom audiences, you MUST have the Facebook Pixel installed on your site. Otherwise, these audiences won’t work for you.
Now that you know the basics, let’s dive into the five audiences you need to create before boosting posts or running Facebook ads.
#1 Geographic & demographic audience
This first audience is a “saved” audience that will target people in a specific area. You’ll need to manually input some information to create this audience.
What information do you need to add? The zip codes, cities, or counties you’d like to target and the age range you’d like to target.
You may be tempted to narrow down your audience further with more filters, but Facebook likes to work with broader audiences, so we recommend stopping with location and age.
If you know that your buyers are predominantly male or female, you can choose to target a specific gender, but we recommend just inputting the location and age range of your ideal customers.
Keep in mind, Facebook knows that, as a home service business, you want to target homeowners over apartment owners. So you don’t need to add that type of information. In fact, if you choose to continue narrowing down your audience, you could actually hurt your efforts and increase your costs.
#2 Website retargeting audience
The second type of audience you’ll want to create is a custom audience that will consist of people who have visited your website within a certain time period. To create this custom audience, you’ll need to click “website” in the custom audience dashboard.
We recommend targeting website traffic using a 30-day window. 45 days is way too long to keep someone in your funnel, and while 15 days is ideal because you’re retargeting them closer to the actual website visit, most websites aren’t going to have enough traffic for a 15-day retargeting audience. So for most home service businesses, it makes sense to set the custom audience to include people who visited your website in the last 30 days.
#3 Video views retargeting audience
Next, we’re going to create an audience that consists of people who have engaged with our videos on Facebook. This is also a custom audience, so you’ll need to click on “Create Audience,” “Custom Audience,” and then “Video.”
Select any of the recent videos you’ve posted on your Facebook page, and choose to target people who have watched 3-seconds, 10-seconds, or 95% of the video/videos.
If you have a really strong video watch rate, we would recommend 10-seconds, but if you just want to get people to engage with you again, selecting 3-seconds is fine.
#4 Customer list lookalike audience
If you have a customer list, you can actually upload it to Facebook to create a custom audience that consists of similar people.
Before you upload your list, make sure it includes your customers’ names, zip codes, emails, and phone numbers. The reason your list needs to have all of these things before you upload it is that Facebook needs this information in order to match up your customers with their Facebook accounts. From this information, Facebook will then create a lookalike audience – an audience that looks like your existing customers.
You’ll have the choice of choosing from 1-10% in terms of how closely you want your new audience to match your customer list, but we recommend going with 2-3%.
Super important note on lookalike audiences: Make sure you select the location targeting for your lookalike audience, specifying state, county, or zip code. Otherwise, your lookalike audience will default to cover the entire U.S., and you’ll be paying to put ads or boosted posts in front of people who will never *actually* do business with you.
#5 Facebook page engagement audience
The final audience you’ll want to set up before you get started is also a custom audience. This audience will consist of people who have engaged with your Facebook page. Once again, you’ll click on “Create Audience” and then Custom Audience,” but this time you’ll select “Facebook Page.”
Next, use the dropdown menu to select “People who engaged with any post or ad.”
Then Facebook will target anyone who has engaged with your posts or ads in the last 30 days, but hasn’t visited your landing page or taken an action.
Time to Get Things Going!
Alright, now that you know who to target and how to target them, it’s time to create your audiences so you can build your ads, boost your posts, and put Facebook to work for your business.
Facebook and Instagram ads not performing as you expected? Not to worry. I talked with Megan, our Social Media Advertising Strategist, and got her tips for troubleshooting and fixing poor ad performance.
If you want your ads performance to improve or you’ve noticed that your ads performance has changed drastically, these are the things you want to check:
Are you using the right type of campaign for your goals?
Is your targeting correct?
Is there a problem with your budget?
Has Facebook flagged any of your campaigns?
Is your frequency too high?
What’s your relevancy score?
Has the competition ramped up?
#1 Are you using the right type of campaign for your goals?
If your ads aren’t doing well, the very first thing you need to look at is whether or not you’re using the right campaign. Does your objective match your goals?
Facebook has three different marketing objectives that each of their campaign types fall into: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion.
Awareness includes brand awareness and reach campaigns.
This is the marketing objective you would choose if you were trying to get your company out in front of as many people as possible or in front of people that are best suited to what you’re offering.
Think: spreading the word.
Consideration includes traffic, engagement, video views, and any type of campaign that is designed to get the viewer to think about purchasing from you.
Conversion covers any type of campaign that’s designed to get those who see your ads to purchase from your brand, sign up for a webinar, or take whatever action it is that you consider your “end goal.”
Why does it matter if your campaign objective matches your goals?
Let’s say you want to drive store visits with your ads, but you’re using a traffic campaign. Well, you won’t see the end results you’re looking for.
Here’s why: A traffic campaign drives more traffic to your website, not your store.
In this case, you’d be better off with a conversion campaign that features ads with offers or incentives for visiting your store.
#2 Is your targeting correct?
The second thing you’d want to look at is your targeting.
When we talk about targeting with ads, we mean your audience. Who is in the audience you’re targeting with your ads? Is your audience large enough?
Facebook will show warnings like, “Your audience is too small,” or “Your audience is too broad,” and those things do affect performance.
So if you’re running the right type of campaign but you’re still not seeing the results you’d like to see, take a look at your audience and make sure you’re targeting the right people.
#3 Is there a problem with your budget?
The next thing to check is: is your budget feeding out?
While it’s not the only option, most people will be using a daily spend for their ads (for example: $5/day).
Now, let’s say you’re spending $20 a day and you’re thinking, “Wow, my campaigns are just not working.” If it’s budget-related you’re either:
Not spending enough.
Miscalculating your reach.
Let’s address spend first.
Let’s say your cost per result for a lead gen campaign is $25 and you’re spending a daily budget of $20…
Well, Facebook cannot get you a lead in one day with that budget. It needs two days worth of budget to get you a lead with that lead cost and that daily spend.
To see if this is the problem with your ads performance, you need to look at what your cost per result is and what you’re spending daily.
You might want to only spend $5/day, but if a lead in your industry costs more than that and you’re not willing to spend it, you’re wasting your money.
Facebook has to match industry standards and they can’t give you a lead for $5/day just because that’s what you want.
So if the average plumbing lead costs about $80, you need to be willing to spend at least $80/day or accept that you’re only going to get one lead every several days.
Now, let’s talk about your reach.
You may think that your reach is really wide and your budget will go a long way — but you could be wrong.
For example, you may think it’ll be $0.50 to $1.50 per lead, but Facebook may be saying something different, depending on the day.
So you need to look at the estimated daily reach. If that’s not lining up with what you’re getting in your results, then it’s time to switch campaigns, adjust your budget, and switch up some copy and headlines.
If it is matching, then Facebook is doing the best it can with what you’re giving it.
#4 Has Facebook flagged any of your campaigns?
Still not sure what’s affecting your ads performance? Then it’s time to look for any red flags (pun absolutely intended).
When you look at your dashboard, do you see any yellow or red triangles next to your ad sets, your ads, or your campaigns?
If you have a red triangle, you either need to fix that ad/ad set/campaign, or delete it.
Why delete? Even though that ad might be turned off, Facebook Ads Manager sees in there and can hold that against you in the long-run. So if you can’t fix it, get rid of it!
If you have a yellow triangle, read it and take action!
The nice thing about Facebook Ads Manager is that it tells you why it’s flagging something, so you can fix it.
And if you don’t understand what it’s saying, you can always go in and submit a request that says, “Hey, I don’t really know what this means,” or “Hey, I don’t agree with this.”
Flags can get overturned, but you can’t just ignore them.
#5 Is your frequency too high?
Let’s say your ads were running just fine for a couple of weeks or a month or two, and then all of the sudden, performance plummeted.
Chances are, your frequency is too high. Frequency means how many times a person has seen that specific ad in the time that it’s been running.
Why is too high of a frequency bad? It means people aren’t engaging with your ad anymore because they’ve seen it so many times.
What’s a good rule of thumb for frequency?
If your frequency is at or over four and your ads have started to decrease in results or increase in costs, it’s time to switch those ads out or update them.
You can keep the same campaign, you can even keep the same ad set, but you need to keep fresh ads coming in there.
#6 What’s your relevancy score?
If frequency is down and cost doesn’t seem too ridiculously high, but you’re just not seeing the results you hoped for, look at your relevancy scores.
Relevancy scores are broken down into three parts:
Quality ranking — This is determined by the feedback on your ad in comparison to other ads going to the same audience. Are people liking it?
Engagement ranking — This is determined by looking at how people are engaging with your ads. Are they getting a lot of likes, comments, clicks, shares, etc.?
Conversion ranking — This is determined by looking at whether or not your ads are achieving the goals you’ve set for them. For example, if you’re running a traffic campaign, is this ad bringing more people to your site? If you’re running a conversion campaign, is the ad getting conversions and purchases?
If quality, engagement, and conversion rankings are low, and Facebook is saying your ads are in the bottom 25% of ads, chances are your ads just aren’t being shown, and people aren’t liking or engaging with the message you’re putting out there.
If this is the case, you need to completely overhaul your headlines, your copy, your videos, and your images, and get something out there that people really care about and want to engage with.
#7 Has the competition ramped up?
If you’re freaking out because your Facebook or Instagram ad costs just skyrocketed and you don’t know why, look at CPM. CPM = cost per thousand impressions.
If this number is high, it typically means that your competition has increased on Facebook or Instagram, and indicates that more people are targeting the same audience you’re targeting.
A good average CPM is between $5 and $15.
That said, during the holidays, you can expect a normal CPM to be $25+ because more people are typically vying for your audience’s attention during the holidays.
If it’s not holiday season and you have a really high CPM, that means you have a super competitive audience and it’s time to go back into your audience and see if you can adjust your targeting.
See if you can target people who are a good fit for your business in a different way, so that you can get those costs lower.
For example, you may use a lookalike audience instead of interest targeting, or you may focus on retargeting instead of cold audiences.
You’re still getting to the same people, you’re just going about it in a different, more cost-effective way.