Advertisers can now target Facebook ads by recency of activity

Facebook has created a new way for businesses and developers to target ads to users who have taken an action on Facebook or in an app within a more specific time range.

Using the “action spec” targeting capability, which allows advertisers to reach users by the actions they take in Open Graph apps and on Facebook directly, an advertiser could designate a time range shorter than 14 days. The default is still 14 days, but previously there was no option to set a shorter window.

This change gives advertisers more accuracy in reaching the most relevant users for a particular message. For instance, a local business might want to reach users who checked into their store within the past week. A developer might want to target users who installed their app in the past three days. A page owner might want to retarget users who viewed one of their page tabs the day before.

Action spec targeting is still a beta feature limited to advertisers working with Preferred Marketing Developers with the Ads API, so it isn’t widely known or understood. However, the feature offers developers unique opportunities to reach users who have taken specific in-app actions, including in their competitor’s apps. It also gives brands ways to segment and target their fans by the actions they take on their page or a competitor’s page.

Action spec targeting is also interesting in that advertisers can define a “negative action spec,” meaning users who have not taken a particular action. For example, a developer could reach users who have played a game, but not made an in-app purchase in the last 10 days. Advertisers can also reach friends of users who have taken a particular action.

More technical information about action spec targeting, including targeting by app activity in a time range is available here. A list of Facebook actions that advertisers can target against using action specs is available here. Businesses that are interested in this type of targeting should seek out an ads-qualified PMD.


To learn more about this topic, join us at Inside Social Apps in San Francisco June 6-7. One of our Vendor Workshops is “Scaling Up Your User Base Without Sacrificing Quality” where Adotomi Chairman & Co-Founder Joe McCormack will explain how to leverage the complexity of Facebook advertising into large audiences of deeply engaged users and players.