Photo by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash

During a meeting with one of my client, she told me that she wanted to expand the Facebook ads campaigns to neighboring countries (Singapore and Brunei). This was a bit of a challenge because the current campaigns were targeting people with interests specific to a Malaysian customer persona.

You’d think that you can just duplicate the campaigns and just change the target location to those countries. But unfortunately it does not work that way.

Say your target audience read a certain popular magazine only published in Malaysia and you use that targeting option in your Facebook Ads campaign. Use the same targeting option but change the location to Singapore, you will get a much smaller audience size. And they are most likely not the audience you want to show your ads to either.

I was thinking about starting from scratch and run some tests to find targeting options that bring good results. But the budget given was not enough to run tests and optimize for a time sensitive campaign.

That’s when I remembered, Facebook’s Audience Insights Tool. This tool is free to use and provides a huge amount of demographic and behavioral data of people on Facebook. Awesome right?

Which pages the audience “Like”

My favorite part in Audience Insights is the Page Likes section. You can see the pages of different categories ‘liked’ by the audience that you set. This was how I found good targeting options to use when expanding to Singapore and Brunei.

I wanted to find a specific interest that parents with kids ages 3-12 would have. This gives me a broader audience size to work with compared to just using Demographics > Parents targeting.

To get this answer, I first set parameters of the audience I want to see data for. This is done on the left side of Audience Insights. I used the Demographics > Parents targeting option and also added a somewhat broad interest that I think would fit regardless of country. Then I set the country to Singapore.

Go on to the data side (right side) and click on Page Likes section. This is where you would find top pages categories as well as the specific pages that the certain group of audience Likes.

Pages are not interest

Unfortunately, you cannot target specific pages. You might find some pages that are listed in the interest targeting option, but you’re not actually targeting the audience of that page. You are only targeting people who have that interest.

This is where in-depth research comes into play. I’d look at the different pages to get a general understanding of that audience. You will most definitely find some patterns.

The first trick is to use the patterns detected, and come up with different interests. Type in those interests and see if they are available for targeting.

After I play around with that, I would go into the different pages to get more information.

What kind of information do I look for? I look at their posts. What kind of creatives are they using and what’s the copywriting like?

I also look at the people that engage on the posts. You can get a little bit more information by going through their profiles.

Aim for 500k and above

While going through the research, I’m actually typing in the interests that comes to mind. Type it in the interest targeting option.

My general rule is to aim for 500k or more potential audience reach. This is so that Facebook’s optimization has some room to work.

Plus, you can let it run longer without having to keep adding new audiences.

Use the narrow audience feature to get a more targeted audience. Say I want to target parents with sons (boy). First level audience will be interests that of parents. Then narrow the audience by including interests that boys would have.

Don’t overthink it

I’m a huge fan of Facebook’s conversion campaign objective. The reason is because I don’t need to spend a lot of time thinking about getting the audience right.

This is because Facebook will optimize for the conversion that I set. Let’s say I choose complete registration as the event that I want to optimize for. Facebook will then show my ads to people who are most likely to convert (complete registration).

So you don’t need to be very specific in the targeting. That’s why I said earlier about aiming for 500k audience. Just let Facebook optimize it for you.


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