Ad Platforms

How Do Facebook Targeted Ads Work?

Choosing the right audience has always been a challenge. And a big mistake that businesses make is not targeting their audience correctly. Why do businesses fail so often with Facebook advertising? Is there a way to master the Facebook advertising system? Read our blog to find out more.

The ease and effectiveness of Facebook marketing has spurred the growth of the platform into one of the most powerful advertising tools on the market.

95.8% of social media marketers (551 surveyed) around the world say that Facebook is the most effective social media advertising platform that produces the greatest ROI. It has been proven to work countless times for both B2B and B2C companies.

In 2019, Facebook generated a whopping $69.6 billion in revenue from advertisements. This figure accounts for 98.5% of the company’s entire global revenue. The growth of Facebook Ads in the last 10 years has revolutionized the company with exponential growth.

The most unique feature boasted by Facebook is the capabilities to reach the ideal target audience, creating the best chance of conversions for your business.

This is an impressive undertaking, but how do Facebook targeted ads work?

Let’s find out.

Screenshot 2020-07-16 at 17.14.24.png

How Do Facebook Targeted Ads Work?

For this article, I will assume you are familiar with the different types of Facebook advertisements. If you feel you need a more detailed description of understanding Facebook ads though, check out our blog detailing ways you can improve engagement on Facebook.

Here, we’ll focus on how to correctly target and tailor Facebook ads to gain maximum return on your investment, rather than creating Facebook ads in a design sense.

The goal is to focus your mind to create Facebook ads that work by engaging the right audience and converting clicks into sales.

Facebook Target Advertising

Facebook ads can be targeted towards specific people with great accuracy. Users can be segmented into various categories according to their:

  • Location

  • Demographics (with detailed precision)

  • Tastes

  • Behaviors

  • Profile Information

Facebook targeting criteria

The database which Facebook collects on its users is extensive and informative from an advertising perspective and is a great tool for all marketers!

Make sure to test different types of targeted groups while preparing your advertising campaign. Sometimes we find an engaged audience in a place we never even thought to look.

If you are interested in a particular audience, but not the entire group, say “people who go to the gym but only in Europe.” There is an option to exclude locations to aid in narrowing your search.

Lookalike audiences

Lookalike audiences are a fantastic way to dynamically test out new audiences and expand the reach of your original target audience. This feature analyzes people with similar lifestyles to your target audience, with perhaps a small difference, and will target them as they are, probabilistically speaking, a potential customer too.

You can create a lookalike audience similar to your target audience from:

  • Facebook followers

  • Frequent website viewers

  • Previous buyers

  • Frequent post viewers

  • Newsletter sign ups

  • Phone numbers

  • Emails

Facebook targeting options allow you to examine the “lifetime value” of an individual. This means that specific customers that frequently purchase or view your content can be given higher priority in basing a lookalike audience off them. This allows you to create a more accurate profile for your lookalike based off people who are of high-value to your business.

Why Do Businesses Fail in Facebook Advertising?

Most businesses fail in the Facebook advertising game because they don’t master customer research.  Without knowing exactly who your customer is and what engages them, there is a very small chance that your advertisement will succeed.

The hardest part of advertising is choosing the right audience. And the biggest mistake that businesses make is not targeting their audience correctly.

Facebook may provide cutting edge advertising technology for your business to avail of, but without a specific target in mind, the technology is worthless to you.

And remember, people are using Facebook to connect with their friends and family, not to buy products or services. So be smart with your advertising campaigns, stick to quick low-friction conversions designed to not take up too much of the users time.

Grab their email, up-sell later.

Importance Of Ad Targeting

Detailed Facebook targeting for advertisements allows you to minimize ad spending while maximizing ad returns.

Choosing the right target audience for your business will save you time, money and hassle in the long run.

The average cost-per-click (CPC) for a Facebook ad is $1.50, meaning that if you get your audience wrong and engage with people who aren’t likely to convert into sales, you can waste money very quickly.

Sniper Facebook Targeting

Sniper targeted ads on Facebook is a saving grace for a problem all salespeople have been through at one stage of their career.

Here’s a scenario I’m sure all of us can relate to:

You meet a potential client. The meeting goes great and the probability of a sale seems high. They don’t buy on the spot but you’re sure that it’s only a matter of time before this sale is closed. 

And then, radio silence…

The potential sale goes cold and you have no idea why.

Do you follow up with another email? Will that be too forward?

Or should you stop second-guessing yourself and just wait for the sale to roll in? But what if it doesn’t? 

Thankfully, Facebook has provided us with a brilliant solution. Sniper targeted ads.

This powerful function allows you to target a specific individual. Just the one person, but the one you want.

So now your ‘sure-thing sale’ who’s been ghosting your emails for the last two weeks will start seeing you pop up all over their Facebook feed.

If this “not so subtle” reminder isn’t enough for them to seal the deal with you, well, I guess you can go back to “harassing” them with “just checking in” emails.

How Optily Can Help

Creating the perfect Facebook advertising campaign is only half the battle though. Google’s Campaign Manager is another world of different advertising technology and techniques.

At Optily, however, we allow you to control all your ads in one place.

Optily’s cross-channel automated optimization software enables you to achieve a higher return from Facebook & Instagram advertising, by automatically optimizing bids and budgets based on consolidated performance data across Facebook Ads and Google’s Marketing Platform.

Making it easier than ever before for you to get the most out of your money!

Final Tips To Master Facebook Advertising

Sometimes the sheer size of companies such as Facebook can make it difficult to comprehend the importance of them. Facebook is one of the most powerful marketing tools in the world.

So here are some final quick stats for you to think about when creating your Facebook ad:

  • Facebook videos have over 8 billion daily views

  • 100 million hours of video watched every day

  • The average Facebook organic reach for most business is just 2%

  • 85% of users watch videos with the sound off

  • Images account for 80-90% of Facebook advertising performance

  • The most effective time to post on Facebook is in the afternoon on weekdays

About Optily

Optily is the only single-click ad spend optimizer for eCommerce. Our plug-and-play online platform quickly links all of your Google and Facebook ads together and helps you easily determine which campaigns are working. With just one click, you can apply our optimization recommendations–like moving budget from a lower performing Google ad to a better performing one on Instagram.

Optily saves you time and money by instantly optimizing your ad spend.

More To Explore


Partnership Announcement: Conjura

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with the Conjura, the eCommerce analysis platform for profit powered by data.

Let's keep in touch

Join the Optily newsletter!

Stay up-to-date on platform changes, digital marketing tactics, and industry news. We promise we won’t spam!


Optily has partnered with Clearco to provide you with financial tools to grow your business.

Start your funding application below. Approval can take as little as 24 hours and every funded account receives 3 months of Optily software for FREE.