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The Best Facebook Ad Targeting Options (that aren't going away)

Facebook just made some MASSIVE changes to targeting. Here are the best options that still work.

Facebook is Shutting Down Partner Categories

Facebook announced in March that starting May 24th, you will no longer be able to create ads using Facebook Partner Categories.

Any active campaign using Partner Categories will be turned off on Oct 30th.

What does this mean? The ability to target people based on things like income or other household purchases is now going away soon.

What is a Partner Category (and how do I know if I use them)?

On Facebook, there are 3 basic ways to target. You can base it on:

  1. What someone tells Facebook.  When you sign up for Facebook you tell them your name, email, phone number, age, gender, education, relationship status etc.

  2. How they interact with Facebook. Likes, comments, sharing of posts, using Facebook to log into services (i.e. Instacart) 

  3. Off-Facebook Data. This data is from 3rd parties such as household info or purchase behavior. Many of the options under Behaviors and Demographics will be going away.  

*Facebook has some 3rd party sources labeled. You can know for certain if you hover over the audience with your mouse - Facebook will tell you if the source is from a partner category.

Targeting Options That Are Going Away

What are the changes coming to custom audiences?

Custom Database Uploads

Who you can upload to Facebook:  When uploading a Customer File onto Facebook to make a custom audience, this must be an Opt-In list.  This can not be a list of name, emails, and phone numbers you purchased and upload to Facebook. The system will make you verify that this list is an opt-in list.  (It will be easy for Facebook to find out if you break these rules. For example, if multiple people load up large lists with lots of overlap, that can raise a red flag). You can read the full disclaimer HERE.

Custom Audience Sizes Hidden

When creating a custom audience, Facebook will limit the information you can see on audience size.  The audience size will be an estimate. An "under 1,000 " will be the smallest size you can get.

Potential Reach is Unknown

When running ads, Facebook will now how Estimated Daily Reach. This will prevent people from reverse engineering data from Facebook from anonymous emails. (A practical example of this would be loading up 1,000 emails, then targeting only males. You now know what percent of your list is male vs female, info you did not have before)

This can be a challenge since you will not know what the daily ad spend should be. Start with a smaller budget and don't slice up your custom audience too much. Watch reach and frequency closely to make sure you are not overspending.  

Top of Funnel Targeting

Middle of Funnel Targeting

What are the choices? 

Facebook Custom Audiences is a powerful tool that allows you to retarget leads based off of very specific parameters.  You have the ability to create audiences based off of Customer Files,  Offline activity, Website Traffic, Engagement on Facebook or Instagram, or app activity.  Within those categories, you have dozens of options to create targeted audiences.  Before we go over the best options for targeting, we need to cover what is changing on Facebook.

All website Pixel Traffic

Even if someone has gone to your website, it's a safe bet that they did not bookmark it. Running top and middle-of-funnel content to people who have been to your site is a great and cheap way to keep them engaging with your content.

Customer Files

If you have a large list of leads in your CRM that have opted into your marketing, you can quickly and easily load them up on Facebook and continue to run ads to them. We typically see a match rate of 30-50% depending on how new your list is.

For Facebook's best practices on prepping your data, click HERE.

Engaged on Facebook or Instagram

If someone has interacted with you on social media but has not made it over to your website, this is a great opportunity to keep them engaged before they are ready to make it over to your site. 

Pro tip: Retarget people who have engaged with you on Facebook on Instagram and connect with them on both networks. This audience is usually less than 1/2 the size of people who engaged with you on Facebook, so budget accordingly.

Bottom of the Funnel

Bottom of the funnel is the action phase of the funnel. This section of the audience is comprised of the people most likely to buy your product or service, so here it's better to be direct.

Specific Money Page Retargeting

Target people who have visited your money pages (product page, testimonials, about page) or visited pages multiple times on your site with more specific CTAs asking for business. Very few people will ever read your review page because they are bored; they are reading your review page or spending time on your product page because they are researching whether or not they should buy from you.

High-Value Database Segments

Target people who have entered your database through specific content. If someone fills out a home value request or requests information on a product for the next 30 or 60 days, you want to try and drive action with your ads.  

Specific Video Retargeting

Retarget on Facebook based how long someone watched a video. If you have a product explainer video on Facebook, you can cheaply retarget people who have watched 25% or more with a more direct call to action.

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