Determining your marketing objective is a crucial first step in creating your Facebook ad campaign. It enables Facebook to guide you through the following steps as you create your ad using its tool. Once you select your objective, you can then move on to the next step of your campaign: creating one or several ad sets based on target audiences. Remember that each ad set includes your ads (what your target audiences will see). We’ll cover the creative aspect in our next article.

When you create a campaign, you must therefore create an ad set by defining a specific Page, if applicable, your target audience, budget and schedule. Note that each ad can have a different target audience based on the demographic and qualitative data you will choose. In fact, it is during this step you will determine all the parameters for displaying your ads.

Don’t forget that you always have access to your ad campaign’s settings in the Ads Manager. You can therefore change them at any time, and modifications take about 15 minutes to go into effect.

Choose the Page to promote

If you decide to promote your Facebook Page, you will have to identify which Page you will promote or create a new one, if necessary.

Define your target audience

Facebook enables you to target people who can potentially see your ad. You therefore have control over who you want to reach.

Several targeting options are available options. Let’s take a look at each one.

Custom Audiences

While this option was initially only available in Facebook’s advanced settings, it is now included from the onset in the Ads Manager. With this option you can easily include or exclude audience segments or create your very own custom audience!

What is a custom audience? It’s a list of people created using specific criteria and data that you already have access to. Therefore, instead of targeting an audience to reach new people, you use data that you already have, such as an email or telephone list from your clients, to target people that are already familiar with your brand.

As a result, you can create a list of people based on an internal client list (telephone numbers, email, names, first names, etc.) to reach your current customers. Facebook will then search the users based on the data you provided.

If you have a conversion pixel integrated on your website, you can create a list of people who have visited it. You also can create a list of user IDs from your app.

Since December 2016, Facebook allows you to also create a list of people that engaged with content on your page. This includes having watched a video, viewed/filled out a form, accessed a Facebook canvas, and even interacted with recent content. This last feature is very new and holds huge potential as we can now target engaged users with our page and its content, not just video, lead ads or canvas ads.

Locations, Age, Gender and Languages

Next, you can select your audience criteria based on traditional demographics. Be as precise as possible. You may know your target clientele; however, you should nevertheless take some time to question who your Facebook clientele is. Are your current customers different from your potential Facebook clientele? Don’t try to target everyone. Even if your product or service can be used by a wide variety of people, your ad campaign will be more successful if you target one or a few specific groups. Get to know your Facebook audience and understand its behavior!

Detailed Targeting

Facebook’s power and potential resides in the ability to advertise to highly targeted groups of people based on data collected from the social media network. You can therefore be very precise in determining what people you want to include or exclude from your campaign. All you have to do is use additional demographic data (education, job, lifestyle), interests, and behaviors.

Example of targeting, including and excluding per interest, behaviors or demographics

For example, you can reach parents of young children, people who just came back from a trip, bookworms, and much more. The possibilities are nearly endless!

Connections

You can also target users based on their connections to your Facebook Page, app or event. For example, you can include or exclude people who like your Page and/or friends of people who like your Page. The same applies to app users or people who replied to your event invitation. As you define your target audience and the budget for your ads, an overview of your selections will be displayed in the horizontal menu, under the Audience section.

You’ll see what criteria you have used to define your target audience as well as the potential scope and cost of your ad. Note, however, that these are only estimates, but they give you a good idea as to your audience’s details.

Defining your ad placements

Once you have finished determining your target audience, you then have to determine where your ads will be displayed. While Facebook can give you recommendations of where they are more likely to generate results, you can also manually configure your ad placements.

In case you didn’t know, you must use Facebook’s Ads Manager to create an ad campaign on Instagram. The reason? These two social media networks are linked together. This means that if you already created an Instagram ad campaign in the past and you decide to activate your ad placements with a new campaign, your ad sets will be displayed by default on Facebook and Instagram ! Make sure you take the time to change your ad placements to exclude Instagram if you only want to advertise on Facebook.

Determine your ad budget and schedule

Currently, you only have to choose your ad set’s budget, schedule and bidding criteria.

With respect to your budget, you have two options: a daily budget or a budget that is based on how long your campaign will last. Take into account the fact that Facebook will not end your ad campaign unless you set an end date. Make sure you end your ad campaign or set an end date if you opt for displaying your ad set based on a daily budget. This will avoid some pretty nasty (and costly!) surprises!

Determine your bidding criteria

Next, options will be displayed based on your marketing objective. You will be presented ways to optimize your ad delivery based on your objective. What’s more, you will need to determine the amount of your bid, when you get charged, your ad scheduling and delivery type.

You can now optimize your ad sets based on your objective (interactions with a post, mentions, Likes, video views, etc.), ad impressions or daily reach. It all depends on what type of results you are trying to obtain. If you want to reach as many people as possible, you should opt for the number of impressions. If you prefer focusing on specific actions, optimize your ads to encourage people to perform a given task.

You will also need to define when you get charged and your bid amount. You can pay based on CPM (cost per thousand), CPC (cost per click) or CPA (cost per action). This means that if you pay by CPA, you will only pay if a person performs a specific action (for example, Likes a page or interacts with a post)—even if your ad has been viewed millions of times!

If you decide to manually configure the amount of your bid, Facebook will nevertheless recommend an amount: an estimate of how much you should pay to get the results that you want for your optimized ad.

You can also opt to either continuously display your ads or select dates and times on which they will appear to your audience. If you don’t know your target audience’s behavior, start off simple and then analyze the results.

Finally, you can manage how your ads get delivered: standard (your ads are displayed throughout a set period) or accelerated (your ads are displayed as quickly as possible). Normally, you’ll want to use the standard option to optimize results throughout your campaign. However, if you want fast results or need to have your ads displayed as quickly as possible, use the accelerated delivery option.

You’ll complete the entire process by giving a name to your ad set. Make sure your name clearly identifies your targeting criteria; this way, it will be easier to differentiate one campaign from another. Don’t hesitate to create several ad sets based on varying criteria. This is a great way to test your ads, get invaluable information on your audience and understand its behavior.

There you have it! Get started on your Facebook ad targeting strategy. The next step will be to create your ads!