July 24, 2017

How Targeted is Facebook Targeting?

Image of person logging into Facebook


How targeted is Facebook targeting, especially in comparison with other forms of advertising? On Facebook, filters allow you to target by interests, demographics and geography, which helps you reach the right audience. Google AdWords, on the other hand, may trigger ads based on user preferences, but Google doesn’t “know” people in the same manner as Facebook. It can’t see what users like or follow, nor can it see data from a user’s personal profile.

“Two billion people use Facebook every month. With our powerful audience selection tools, you can target the people who are right for your business.” – Facebook for Business

This POV will explain the basics of Facebook targeting, some advanced options and new targeting opportunities beginning to roll out to advertisers.


Facebook’s basic targeting options allow you to reach people based on the following:

Location: You can focus on people in a state or city, or within a 10- to 50-mile radius of that city. You can also use geotargeting to reach audiences in a specific city during conferences or other organized events like fundraising walks or races.

Age: By selecting the minimum and maximum age range of an audience — Intouch typically chooses 18-65+ but can also narrow depending on the age range of the target group — you can reach the most appropriate people. For example, you could target ages 50+ to increase the likelihood of reaching those suffering from osteoarthritis.

Gender: You can target your ads to women, men, or “all.”

Community and Interest-Based Targeting: Interest-based targeting means you can zero in on audiences based on their interests and the Facebook Pages they like. Facebook identifies these interests based on user profile information, along with content on their timelines, keywords and categories associated with the Pages they like — including historical ads they’ve clicked on. In Facebook’s ad platform, the “Interests” section provides keyword suggestions along with an estimated audience size for each, which can help determine how to best select categories for each disease state.

Custom Audiences: A Custom Audience can be created from a list of your existing customers. You can target ads to that audience on Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network.

Lookalike Audience: This is the next step after a Custom Audience is created. You can choose a source audience (a Custom Audience), and Facebook identifies the common qualities of the people in it (e.g., demographic information or interests) and finds people who “look like” them.

Retargeting: Target users who have already visited your website. For example, if someone visits a website, then leaves, and then visits Facebook, they would be retargeted with an ad from that website. This happens if a pixel – the tracking code that allows your site to place a “cookie” on the visitor’s browser — is placed on the website, which our website developers implement on Intouch-managed websites.


Facebook even allows advertisers to target people with birthdays coming up within one week or in a particular month. For example, targeting users on/close to their birthday for an anti-aging product could help drive sales, particularly if they are celebrating a milestone birthday.

Facebook’s creepy factor got even more intense recently: It’s beginning a gradual rollout of Household Audience targeting and household measurement.

Household Audiences is a targeting option that helps marketers deliver relevant advertising to multiple individuals in the same household. A household audience includes the people in the source audience and the family members who live in the same home with them. Initially, the source audience can only be a Custom Audience, but Facebook plans to expand to other types of source audiences (e.g., saved audiences, Lookalike Audience) soon.

Household measurement offers marketers a new suite of household-level performance metrics in ad reporting, including household reach and frequency, household conversions, and two new breakdowns by household income and composition. These metrics provide insights into how your Facebook campaigns drive results across the entire household.

Together, these household marketing features allow you to get the most out of Facebook’s unique understanding of personal relationships to improve ad effectiveness. This is a great opportunity to target not only patients, but also their caregivers and reach an even more relevant audience through this type of unique targeting. You can read more about household targeting here: https://www.facebook.com/help/1891256861200384.

Unlike traditional Google AdWords options, you can actually target your Facebook advertisements according to the demographics and interests of your users – rather than simply targeting according to what they’re searching for. Because of this, the refinements that are available to you when you set up audience targeting can be really impressive.”   – Exactdrive.com

Overall, Facebook offers a multitude of targeting and retargeting options so you can show your ads to a narrowly defined audience: geographic targeting, age ranges, interests and more are available. You can even insert a tracking pixel into pages within your website to target your ideal customers with the products that they are most interested in. Facebook is constantly evolving and offering new opportunities to reach an even more relevant audience, most recently offering Household Audience targeting, which will ultimately help us reach patients and their caregivers with the same message.

Feel free to reach out to your Intouch representative or media manager with any questions.