10 Powerful Ways to Target Facebook Ads Every Performance Advertiser Should Know

Facebook Ads

As most sophisticated marketers know by now, performance advertising on Facebook is significantly different from search engine marketing. While SEM is fundamentally keyword-targeted, meaning advertisers bid on keywords, Facebook Ads is fundamentally profile-targeted, meaning advertisers bid on people. As a result, the ad copy, call to action, and graphics need to be rethought and re-designed for the “people-targeted” Facebook world – not just copied and pasted from your Google AdWords campaign.

As more advertisers and marketers shift more of their attention and budget to Facebook Ads, Facebook’s performance advertising system, it’s crucial to understand the power of Facebook’s targeting capabilities. Here are details on the 11 ways to target Facebook Ads that every performance marketer should know:

1. Location Targeting

Facebook gives advertisers the power to target ads down to the country, state, or city level. This is a powerful way for both national brands and local small businesses to make sure their ads are reaching customers in their target markets. Starting this month, advertisers can now choose multiple countries, states, or cities to target a single campaign against – eliminating the need to have multiple campaigns for multiple geographies. You can target each Facebook Ad to up to 25 countries.

In addition to pure location filters, Facebook also offers Radius Targeting – the ability to target users located within a certain distance from any given city. Radius Targeting makes it easier for local advertisers to reach people living in the greater vicinity of target markets. For example, an advertiser wanting to reach people over 18 in San Francisco could target Facebook users only in San Francisco proper – about 300,000 people. With Radius Targeting, that same advertiser could target people within 10, 25, or 50 miles of San Francisco, expanding the possible reach of the campaign 500% to nearly 1.8 million people.


Facebook determines users’ locations based on IP address lookups. However, Facebook also says that “if a user has listed a current address on their profile, they may see ads targeted to that location, regardless of where they are currently located.” Ads are not targeted to a user’s geographic networks, which are being deprecated from the site.

2. Keyword Targeting

Keyword targeting is perhaps one of the most powerful ways to reach your target audience on Facebook. Say you wanted to promote a new sci-fi movie on Facebook – you could easily target your ad against all users who had placed “Star Wars” or “Star Trek” as interests in their profile.

Facebook targets keywords based on interests, activities, and favorite books, TV shows, movies, or job titles that users list in their Facebook profiles. Facebook also targets keywords based on the names of Pages users are fans of or Groups users belong to. Facebook also suggests keywords sometimes as well. “Our system looks for the keywords that are most common among the users your targeting already encompasses,” Facebook says.

Thus, keyword targeting offers the best opportunities for competitive advertisers to aggressively bid on users with related or rival interests to their own company or brand.

3. Connection Targeting

Connection targeting is perhaps the most robust of Facebook’s recently released targeting features. With connection targeting, advertisers can now target their ad to only reach users who are:

  1. Fans of any of your Pages
  2. Users of any of your Applications
  3. Members of any of your Groups
  4. Attendees of any of your Events

Basically, Facebook wants to make it easy for business and brands to increase engagement with any users they’re connected to on Facebook through Facebook Ads, using it as a paid notification or cross-promotion channel. You can also target users who are connected to one of your Pages/Groups/Apps/Events but not to another in order to do more specific cross-promotions.