Facebook Ads: Detailed Targeting

You can set up Facebook ads quickly by boosting a post and specifying very little — a zip code if you’re a local business, for example, or just targeting your followers. But sometimes it’s worth Detailed Targeting.

Detailed targeting

Detailed Targeting for Facebook ads includes a number of different factors. We’ll examine these in more detail below, but suffice it to say that you can talk specifically to people who have close friends who are recently engaged, or to folks in long-distance relationships, or to individuals who use outdated operating systems to access Facebook, or people who have family members living abroad, or people who used to live in Australia but now live in Milwaukee and have a newborn child.

Feeling intruded upon yet?

The fact is, Facebook users cheerfully share all kinds of information with their Facebook friends and therefore with Facebook. As long as Facebook just aggregates the data rather than sharing it with you directly, they aren’t invading users’ privacy. Their choices for your audience are based on user activities, including ads they click and their engagement with pages.

That allows you to narrow your audience targeting to people who are most likely to welcome your ads. Do you make skincare products for people who have skin? Then you’re probably not ready for Detailed Targeting. 

But if you have a clear persona for your customer, or a specific target for a campaign, you can get the best ROI by narrowing your focus. 


When Facebook says “demographics” here, they’re talking about some specific items:

  • Education, including schools, field of study, and years during which they were an undergrad
  • Financial, including income as indicated by zip code
  • Life Events, including nearby anniversary date and moving away from hometown or family, birthday, new relationship, and more
  • Parents, which means that they are parents, divided by age of offspring
  • Relationship, including widowed, “complicated,” “open relationship,” and more
  • Work, including many industries, plus write-in for companies and job titles

This information allows you to show your kiddy weight training classes to parents of kids 8 and up, not to parents of toddlers. 


You can choose people’s interests from these categories:

  • Business and Industry, from Advertising and Agriculture to Science and Small Business
  • Entertainment, with many options from puzzle video games to mystery novels, including a variety of media and genres within the media listings
  • Family and Relationships, including dating, marriage, and parenting plus variations
  • Fitness and Wellness, from Bodybuilding to Yoga
  • Food and Drink, ranging from alcohol to chocolate, Indian food to energy drinks
  • Hobbies and Activities, including a wide range of things like gardening, drums, fish, and adventure travel, plus politics and social causes
  • Shopping and Fashion, where you can get as granular as sunglasses or tattoos
  • Sports and Outdoors, from surfing to triathlons
  • Technology, which surprisingly contains only “Computer Memory”

For many companies and organizations, you can choose exactly the people who are interested in what you have to offer.


The categories here:

  • Anniversary
  • Consumer Classification
  • Digital Activities
  • Mobile Device User
  • Device Use Time

This section allows you to target people who have an anniversary coming up, those with connections to other countries, and folks who use console games, as well as early tech adopters and people who have just acquired a smartphone.

More Categories

There is a “More Categories” option, but we haven’t seen any more options here. We assume it is for the future. 

You can combine characteristics, though. If you want to appeal only to vegan women who are interested both in mountain bikes and in dogs, you can do that. Facebook points out that going too far in this direction can give you a very small audience. At one point as we were playing around with the tools, we got a prediction that we could reach 0-6 people a day, a number scarcely worth paying for.

This is a nice feature of Facebook ads: you get predictions and a handy chart telling you whether Facebook thinks your chosen audience might be either too broad or too narrow. 

Assuming you can resist the temptation to go too far in one direction or the other, you can definitely focus on your best customers.

Try out the Detailed Targeting options for your next Facebook ad — and let us know if you need help. We have a proven record of success with social media ad management. 






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