8 Facebook Ad Targeting Tips to Improve Your Return on Ad Spend

Facebook ads can help drive traffic to your school’s website, build brand awareness, increase inquiries and enrollment. Facebook ad targeting is the process of selecting the criteria by which Facebook will decide who will see the ads you create. No matter how much you are investing in Facebook advertising, you will boost your results by adjusting the audience targeting of your ad campaigns.

Why Is Facebook Ad Targeting Important?

Facebook ad targeting is important to your return on ad spend (ROAS) for one simple reason – in order to gain conversions, you have to ensure the people viewing your ad are likely to be interested in your school. That means you will want to use specific criteria, such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Marital status
  • Life events
  • Homeownership
  • Education level
  • Income
  • Interests
  • Religion
  • Religion + Education
  • Parents with preschoolers
  • Parents with early school-age children
  • Parents with pre-teens
  • Parents with teenagers
  • There are many more demographics, interests and behaviors to test

Read more: The Complete Facebook Interests List (2021)

Without specific targeting, you will be showing your ad to thousands of people who are not in your target audience.

Facebook ad targeting can be tricky. If you are able to select the right audience targeting criteria, you will receive an excellent return on investment. However, if you target the wrong people, you can also lose your investment. You either hit or miss. This is why audience targeting is crucial.

The process of creating Facebook ads, and figuring out who to show your ads to, can be confusing and overwhelming.

Don’t worry, though. I’ve got you covered today with 8 Facebook ad targeting tips.

Facebook Ad Targeting Tip #1. Utilize Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook Audience Insights is a wonderful resource for creating targeted Facebook ad campaigns. It is a powerful, free tool Facebook offers to help every business learn how to target their ads successfully.

Here’s how to use Facebook Audience Insights:

  • Go to the Facebook Audience Insights dashboard and select an Audience. You can choose between your current followers (Current Audience) and everyone on Facebook (Potential Audience).
  • Click on Filter and select your demographics.
  • Continue to filter your demographics until you narrow your audience down until it fits with your target audience.
  • Save the audience you’ve created.

Facebook Ad Targeting Tip #2. Use Facebook Custom Audiences

Facebook Ads Manager tool allows you to submit your own audience, whether it be from an email list, phone number list, Facebook User ID list, website page visitors, etc. This feature is called Facebook Custom Audiences. You can also create audiences based on behavior taken on your App (if you have an App) and engagement on your Business Page.

Once you’ve created a Custom Audience, you can ask Facebook to create a lookalike audience. This will create a much bigger list of potential audience members based on the criteria derived from your custom audience. You can also create lookalike audiences based on your Facebook Page followers, website visitors and user lists.

Once you’ve created a lookalike audience, you can further personalize your targeting. For example, you can:

  • Send specific ads to enrolled parents for retention purposes
  • Exclude existing parents from receiving ads targeted to prospective parents
  • Target people who have already visited your website to give them another chance to fill out an inquiry form
  • Segment your audiences and test different ads targeted at each segment

Facebook Ad Targeting Tip #3. Leverage Saved Audiences

When working within Facebook Ads Manager, you can create as many different audiences as you want. Then, you can save each audience and test your ads on as many audiences as you want to see which one works best.

The best way to leverage Saved Audiences is to create audiences with granular layers. What I mean by this is to create audiences with the same demographic criteria except one difference. In this way, you can identify the demographics, interests or behaviors that are most effective.

Facebook Ad Targeting Tip #4. Review Facebook Ad Relevance metrics

Facebook provides a “relevance score” so you can determine how well your ad fits your target audience.  And having a higher relevance score can lower the cost per click of your ad. Facebook gives each ad a relevance score between 1 and 10. A score between 7 and 10 indicates an above  average relevance score.

To find the relevance score of an ad campaign, go to Ads Manager > Campaign > Select an Ad Group > Select an Ad in the Ad Group > Scroll to the Right for the Column Titled “Relevance Score”.

If you don’t initially see a column titled “Relevance Score”, you may need to enable the column by selecting the Columns drop-down. Then select Customize Columns > Select Relevance Score.

There are four ways you can improve your relevance score.

  • Make sure you know your target audience
  • Refine your targeting within Ads Manager
  • Improve your Facebook ad creative (image, video or graphic) and copy
  • Make sure your ads include a call-to-action, encouraging viewers to click-through to your landing page or website

Facebook Ad Targeting Tip #5. Find your best content

On most blogs and websites, there are usually a few articles attracting almost all the traffic. Some marketers call this “unicorn” content. You can use this content as ideas for your Facebook ad campaigns.

For example, let’s say your Athletics webpage is a top performer. You could repurpose the information on the page into:

  • An infographic
  • An outreach letter
  • A video clip montage
  • Use images from your Athletics department or user-curated content

You can test different ideas using your best “unicorn” content. The possibilities are almost endless. Try using different messages, creatives, formats, etc., until you find something that works.

Facebook Ad Targeting Tip #6. Try combining two audiences

If you feel your audience is too broad, you can try combining it with another qualifier.

Let’s say you’re targeting parents of school-age children in your area, and you think this is too broad. You can combine your saved (base) audience with another demographic – like people who love to watch The Goldbergs. While this is a totally random audience I’ve chosen for this example, you would want to try to find a demographic that makes sense to pair with your base audience. Then, you can make a reference to the second layer audience (The Goldbergs in this example).

This will add an extra layer of personalization, making it more interesting to the combined audience. People are getting more and more “ad-blind”, so you want to try to catch their attention with something they’re interested in.

Facebook Ad Targeting Tip #7. Use the Facebook Pixel for retargeting

The Facebook pixel is a snippet of code you can paste into the code in your website. You can then build a list of people who have visited your website including the specific page(s) they’ve visited. You know these people are interested in your school because they’ve visited your site. You can create a Custom Audience using the people on your pixel list.

Then, you can create “retargeting” ads. A retargeting ad reminds the person they visited your website and encourages them to take the next action, such as fill out an inquiry form. In this way, you are retargeting them with a specific message reserved for people who have visited your website.

Setting up a Facebook pixel on your website is pretty easy. You’ll just go to the Pixels tab in your Ads Manager and select “create a pixel.” Click “create” and you’re done. Now you just install it in your website’s back-end. If you have a developer you will send the code to him or her.

Facebook Ad Targeting Tip #8. Try targeting audiences who use different devices

If you know your audience is primarily using a mobile device, you can target your ads to mobile users. You can find this type of information from within Google Search Console. Just be sure to make sure your ads are optimized for mobile viewing.

Detailed targeting within Facebook Ads Manager allows you to get very specific related to devices, so use your analytic information and try targeting the top devices used by your demographic.

Facebook ads are an excellent tool for school marketing if they are done well. One of the most important factors to consider is how you target people who will be viewing your ad. The tips and strategies discussed here are only the tip of the iceberg. Take the time to get creative, do your own research and do lots of testing until you are a Facebook ad targeting expert for your school!


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