facebook targeting problem

Houston you have a targeting problem.

You create a new ad set. You are excited. The audience window opens up and there are so many options! Age, likes, interests, behaviors, geography – how do you decide what fits?! Like a game of Tetris, you want to find the best piece to place in each section to gain the best result. You place one shape the wrong way and the whole game can be over quickly.

If your relevance score is low, or your CTR is low, or your ads simply do not work –
the problem is your targeting.
You can’t make everyone happy, you’re not a Nutella jar

The goal of any advertising campaign is to get your product in front of the people who are most likely to respond your message and buy your product. (And then come back for more and tell their friends). But what about brand awareness, you say? What about engagement? Sure, these are important but the end goal is always to bring your client to click “submit order”. If you want the magic of order submission to happen for your store, you need to start by understanding how targeting will make or break your Facebook campaigns.

In classic marketing strategy, target marketing means breaking the market into identifiable, reachable and profitable segments and focusing your efforts on few key segments consisting of clients whose needs, desires, behaviors, and interests most closely match your product message and features. Understanding who your target consumer is the key to attracting new business, increasing your sales and making your store a success, it will make all the difference between engaged audience and people who just don’t care.

5 common targeting mistakes that will kill you Facebook campaigns

You can reach anyone on Facebook. However, if you are making one of these common audience targeting mistakes you will reach absolutely no one.

  1. Wide targeting

Hint: If you are trying to reach 24 million people on $10/day budget, your audience is too wide.

Women 25-44 is not targeting, it just being lazy. No one has yet to invent a product that will appeal to such wide audience (unless you sell Nutella). Assuming that every person on Facebook is interested in your product or service will only lead to destroying you CTR.

Did you know that Facebook counts someone who likes cat videos as interested in cats? So imagine what will happen when you target a wide interest in cats when selling sweaters for cats. Actually, absolutely nothing will happen because very few people will be interested. Targeting true feline aficionados who buy sweaters for their furry friends will give you totally different results.

  1. Audience expansion

Hint: If you have a well-defined 500K audience that suddenly explodes to 24 million when creating your ad set, you have chosen to expand your targeting.

On paper, it sounds like a great idea as it gives the option to expand your target audience if Facebook thinks that doing so will get you better results. It allows Facebook to adjust your interest targeting to reach more people who may get you more and/or cheaper results, but wouldn’t otherwise have been in your target audience. In reality allowing any algorithm find new clients is a recipe for a disaster unless you have an extremely small audience and have difficulties finding new customers.

  1. Micro-targeting

Hint: If you are trying to reach 2,500 people on a $100 daily budget, your audience is too small.

We get it, you want to cut waste and maximize your advertising budget. It easy to tell yourself, “I only need to make so many sales, and my super fans with these specific characteristics are the only audience I need.” The truth is that too many layers will only reach a small number of people, and if the audience is too small, Facebook will not serve your ads. Facebook algorithms are set up to feed to large audiences. Anything less than 50,000 people is considered small. So if you are spending more than $100 per day to reach 2,500 people, your campaign may not deliver. Running a micro targeted Facebook ad is like putting on too many layers of clothing – it restricts the natural flow of movement of Facebook learning algorithm.

  1. Misunderstanding the layering concept

Hint: If your audience is very large and your CTR is low, you’re not layering properly.

Facebook allows you to narrow your audience to achieve your ideal client. Doing it wrong will result in low relevance scores and non-existing CTR as you will be reaching many people who just don’t care about your products.

Here we are targeting people who like cats AND are buying cat food and pet care products. Most likely cat owners.

Here we are targeting people who like cats OR buy cat food OR buy pet care products. In this audience you might find people who like cat videos, cat shelters volunteers, cat owners, or people who buy lizard care products. Most of these people will not care about your cat winter sweaters.

  1. Illegal targeting

Yes there is such a thing

Hint: If your ad account has been shut down and you received a letter from a big law firm, you have been violating privacy laws.

Ignoring legal compliance is a huge mistake and Facebook will check for these and will not show your ads. Never target an interest that is not directly related and avoid mentioning specific protected classes and be very careful with health issues such as diabetes. If you are targeting diabetes for a pharmacy website be sure not choosing diabetic patients who purchase from a protein meal company. This could lead to a disclosure of protected health information, or PHI, that may not have otherwise been known. Violations of HIPAA can lead to millions of dollars in fines, and prison time, even if the violation was unintentional.

These 5 mistakes will silently kill your campaigns, waste your money and hold your business back, if you feel that your targeting is failing you, be sure to contact us. We can help you figure out what’s stopping your Facebook campaigns from bringing you the fortune that you deserve.

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Nice to meet you

Helen Evenchen

Digital marketing strategist, wanderer, insighter, foodie, a mom. I’m also the marketing psychology geek behind Insightout Digital.
I have an MBA in consumer behavior and have been helping businesses big and small and teaching MBA students since 2004. I love helping entrepreneurs and eComm businesses just like you grow exponentially using systematic methods rooted in real human psychology and behavioral economics research.