Your Complete Guide to Facebook Targeting

Facebook currently has almost 3 billion active users worldwide (as of the first quarter of 2023), making it the most widely used social media platform in the world and its popularity isn’t likely to decrease anytime soon. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Facebook Ads have become more and more popular amongst companies of all sizes as a tool to achieve business objectives and, consequently, success and growth.

However, with such a vast audience and in order to make the most of your marketing budget, the challenge is being able to identify your potential customers to communicate a message that stands out and is relevant.

The key to successful advertising on Facebook is in fact in choosing the right audience and communicating with it at the right time and in the right way.

In this article, we are going to explore how Facebook Ads targeting works, what can be done and achieved with them, and how each solution can provide different benefits for your business.

Ad Targeting

As just mentioned, being able to target your audience on Facebook is highly important and it’s possibly the one thing that can make or break your campaigns’ success. The reason why this happens is very simple; we all have different interests and what resonates with us might not resonate with another person.

The good news here is that Facebook knows a lot about us all and we, as marketers, can use that knowledge to our clients’ advantage.

By default, the Facebook algorithm is designed to show your ads to the users who are more likely to find them relevant. However, as we have seen, that most time is just not enough and that’s where the three audience selection tools – Core, Custom and Lookalike audiences – come in handy.

Facebook Core Audiences

Designed to refine the reach of your advertising campaigns, Core audiences allow you to select specific parameters such as location, demographics, language, interests, behaviour, and engagement with your Facebook and Instagram pages.

This is a built-in audience targeting feature that uses Facebook users’ behaviour on the platform and personal information. It doesn’t require any external data nor a Pixel to be installed on your website and is available to all advertisers.

This type of audience targeting is a great choice when you are just getting started with Facebook Ads and don’t have enough customer or traffic data.

Facebook Custom Audiences

Custom audiences are a more advanced targeting tool that allows you to identify and connect with people who have already interacted with your business online or offline.

To build custom audience lists you can either use your own data sources such as website traffic and email lists or you can use Facebook engagement data. If, for example, you wanted to retarget users who had previously engaged with your events or ads on Facebook, liked your page, or watched a video you had posted, you will be able to do so with custom audiences.

This type of targeting is particularly useful for direct response campaigns that are aimed at driving action, sales, and customer loyalty.

Custom audiences are also particularly useful when it comes to building similar audiences and are in fact commonly used as seed audiences, or sources, in the creation process of lookalike audiences.

Facebook Lookalike Audiences

As the name suggests, Lookalike audiences are similar to a pre-existing audience of your choice and specifically designed to help you reach a larger yet still very relevant set of users.

They are a very efficient way of connecting with people who are likely to engage with your ads due to similar interests and traits to your existing and most loyal customers.

Lookalikes are built from a source or seed audience and by selecting the location where your new audience lives as well as the size of the audience you wish to reach; the smaller the size, the higher the similarity to the source.

This kind of audience targeting is particularly useful for businesses looking to grow their customer base and expanding into new markets.

Combined use of lookalike audiences and geographic targeting, in fact, allows you to identify users that are similar to your existing customers but that live in different countries, making it easier for businesses to grow internationally.


With so many different targeting opportunities, Facebook Ads represent a great opportunity for both new and established brands to speak to their audience, expand reach to new and unknown markets, and connect with them in many meaningful ways.

Want to learn more about Advertising on Facebook and how it can help your business grow? Then check this out.

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