Facebook ads audiences

Facebook Ads have become one of the most popular ways small businesses use to increase their sales.

And with very good reason! Almost everyone is on Facebook and as advertising options go, it is fairly inexpensive to reach those people.

However, time and time again I hear the same story: “my Facebook Ads aren’t working” or “I spent $100 on Facebook ads and didn’t get a sale from it” or  “I boosted a post, got some likes on my page but still no sales”.

This is all because there seems to be a massive misconception out there that if you simply pay for an ad the customers will come!

That is just untrue.

Even in the days of Mad Men, there were teams of account managers, copywriters and designers creating the ads. Their job was to discover what would connect with their ideal audience in a way that will get them to buy.

They spent hours, days or weeks perfecting their ads.

So why do we think doing a quick $10 boost on an ad will see our business boom?

But it’s not all bad news. And you don’t need teams of copywriters or designers to make an effective ad. Because we have something Mad Men didn’t have. We have a platform we can advertise on where we target the audience based on how well they know us.

We can meet them where they are at and provide them with what they need or are interested in, in that exact moment.

We no longer have to think of something that will appeal to the masses, instead we can pick a niche group and just talk to them like we would if we were having a one on one conversation.

Still sound overwhelming? Not to worry  I have some guidelines for you!

Here are 5 Different Types of Facebook Audiences and What you Should Advertise to Each

To be clear as well here, I’m not just talking about boosting posts. Boosting posts are useful if you just have a really great blog post or a great video or some promotion that you want to boost to your existing Facebook audience, but here, I’m actually talking about the backend. This is either the power editor or the ads manager and the audiences that you build there.

Facebook ads audiences no. 1: the cold audience

Who they are:

A cold audience is someone who has never heard of you before. They have no pre-perceived ideas as to what you provide, they don’t know what you do, and obviously, they’re going to be a bit more hesitant. They have to learn to trust you first.

The Aim: To get them over to your website or onto your email list

How to set it up:

This is as a “saved audience” type which you can setup using a variety of factors. This includes:

  • Specific geographic regions (even within certain kilometres of certain post codes).
  • Demographic information like age and gender
  • Interests (e.g. a particular sport or hobby)
  • Life Events (e.g. engagements)
  • People who follow a particular page (Note: this only works for those that Facebook has indexed so they must be more popular)

A great example of this is for a recent client of mine who’s target audience is parents of toddlers. She targeted The Wiggles because she knows that parents of toddlers are likely the main ones to be following or interested in The Wiggles.

This is a great way you can leverage other audiences.

One final way is to create a “Lookalike Audience”. When I explain the other type of audiences in a moment, once you have a couple of those set up, you can actually come back here and create a lookalike audience based around that. Facebook will take into account all the factors and create this audience for you as well. That is, people that aren’t already following you or on your list, but they are similar to your audience based on the above factors.

What to Advertise:

A big mistake that I see businesses make is that to a cold audience, they just go straight into the main course. They go into promoting their products. They say, “Here. Buy me. You’ll love me.”

You don’t want to do this for two main reasons:

  1. That will make your ads really, really expensive because the amount of your target audience who will actually click through isn’t that high compared to other types.
  2. People are more likely going to ignore them all because I just see it and go, “Oh, this person is just giving a sales pitch. I have no reason to trust them.”

Unless you have something really, really beautiful and special that people are just going to go, “Oh my gosh, I love, love, love that dress,” then you might get lucky.

Instead for this type of audience, it’s all about offering something for free or very, very cheap that can get them interested and over to your website.

So the aim here is to get them either over to your website or onto your email list.

There are a few ways you can do that. You can either promote:

  • A really, really amazing blog post or video that you have up on your site
  • Your opt-in freebie such as a checklist or factsheet or email course. (Check out this blog post for ideas)
  • A special event such as a webinar or video series for a launch you are running

The idea is you are providing something that they will find really useful.

Ad Content:

What I have found works best for this type of ad is to keep it short and sweet and keep it simple.

And I mean really simple. The most effective ads I have run to this audience have just had a plain background with some text. That’s it!

Here’s an example:

Another quick tip is to use a colour that stands out in Facebook which is mostly blue. To stand out you don’t want to use blue or green or similar. Instead go for orange, yellow or in my case I used hot pink.

The copy itself should also be brief. Keep it to just a few sentences that really connect with a core need or desire.


Facebook ads audiences no. 2: the warm audience (not on your list)

Who they Are:

These are people who have visited your website or are following you on your Facebook page but are not on your email list.

The Aim: To get them onto your email list.

How to Set it Up:

This is the type of audience that is set up using your Facebook pixel. Your Facebook pixel is some code that you put onto your website that tracks visitors.

If you don’t have that set up on your website already and you’re even remotely thinking about doing a Facebook ad sometime, do that now because it can actually track up to a 180 days of visitors.

What that means is that anytime someone goes to your webpage, if they’re logged into Facebook at the same time, Facebook will make a note of that. Down the road, you can come back and use this type of ad where you can re-target people who visited your website in the last 30 days, 60 days, 180 days.

These are people that  have at least identified as somewhat interested in what you have.

What to Advertise: 

Again, you can promote your signature email opt-in freebie or a special event like a webinar or a workshop or a challenge.

Ad Content:

You want to start making your ad graphics a little bit more recognisable because people have been to your page. So if you’re a service-based business, include your photo. Or for other businesses, you might include your logo or product images.

This is where you start to become a bit more branded because people already have some sort of recognition, so you just want to remind them so they go, “Oh, yes, that’s right. That’s that website I went to last week.”

Here’s an example of the same webinar promo as above but to my warm audience:

Facebook ads audiences no. 3: warm audience – product specific retargeting

Who they are:

These are people who have visited a specific product or sales page on your website but they didn’t buy.

The Aim: For them to come back and purchase that item

How to Set it Up:

You need to set up two specific Facebook Pixels for this. While the pixel code on the above audience type sits across your whole website, this is one you add individually to products you want to track. This is known as a “ViewContent” event pixel.

Then on the successful purchase page you can add a “MakePurchase” event pixel.

Once done you can create a custom audience of those who viewed that content but didn’t make the purchase.

There are a number of plugins you can choose from to help with this. I personally use “Facebook Conversion Pixel” on my WordPress site as I only have a few sales pages but there are much more advanced E-Commerce ones.

What to Advertise / Ad Content:

Here you are directly reminding them of the product or service they viewed. You may have noticed these in the past when you go to some big online store like The Iconic or something like that and you look at a certain bag or a dress, that all of a sudden, that dress or bag is following you everywhere. That is how they do it.

So this ad is just a visual reminder of that specific item.

Here’s an example from my Amplify Planner when it was on special. The Ad Copy itself referred to “last day”:

Facebook ads audiences NO. 4: WARM AUDIENCE (ON your LIST)

Who they Are: These are audience members who are on your email list but have not purchased yet.

The Aim: To get them to buy

How to Set it Up:

You can either integrate Facebook ads directly to your MailChimp account or you can export a CSV file from any other mail provider and then upload it as a Custom Audience.

Just note, this will only work if the email address that they opted in for your content matches their Facebook email address, so you won’t get every single person on your list onto your re-targeting list here, but you should be able to get a good proportion.

What to Advertise:

As these are people that you know are already interested in what you’ve got because they’re on your email list, you can now be more direct in your sales promotion.

The exception to that is if you’re running some sort of special event such as a webinar for an upcoming launch and you want to narrow down who is interested.

This is a great audience to start promoting your entry level products. This could be just the cheaper end of the spectrum, or it could be your tripwire product.

Even though you are likely making the offer to them in an email directly using this type of ad reinforces your message and also may connect with people who didn’t open your email.

Once you get to this point, the rates for people to click through should start getting cheaper because you’re getting really, really focused on a smaller audience. The more targeted it is, the better it is in terms of the rate you’re paying, whereas if you were trying to promote a paid product to a cold audience, it really won’t convert as well.

Ad Content:

Again, you want to really stick with using your branding but now you can start to use more words. Because people recognise you, they are more likely to think it is worth their time to read a bit more about what you offer. So you can have a few more dot points about the benefits that if they signed up for this thing or that they went and brought this mini course or this eBook or this handbag, whatever it is really emphasises that.

Facebook ads audiences no. 5: the hot audience

Who they Are:

This final one is one that people often forget about. These are people who have already purchased from you.

We forget that it is so much easier to get someone who has already purchased from us before to buy from us again.

The Aim: To get repurchases or an upsell to a higher end product or service.

How to Set it Up:

You have two choices here, you can set it up using those who have gone through to the “Make Purchase” Facebook Pixel on your website like in Audience No 2 or you can manually upload a CSV list like under Audience No 4.

What to Advertise:

This is really powerful especially if you sell something that people frequently replace or frequently do. A hairdresser, for example, you may have to go every six weeks. Or you might sell something more consumable that needs replacing every 3 months. Or you sell clothes and you are coming into a new season.

In those cases you might want to promote your new range or provide a simple reminder that something will need replacing. If you choose you could also include a special offer that provides an incentive to them.

Another way you can use this is if people buy a lower tier product. So maybe they purchased an entry level product, you can now start trying to upsell them to the next highest product up.

One final, unique way is as a follow up customer service. This is especially useful if you have something like a paid workshop and you want to make sure that they definitely show up.

The chance of them actually clicking on the ad in that case is fairly low because they already know the details, so you might not end up actually spending any money, but it’s just this little visual reminder as they are going through their Facebook news feed.

Ad Content:

As with the previous couple of audiences you want to make this really on brand and recognisable.


closing thoughts

Hopefully you can now see how much more you can get from using Facebook Ads in a way where you are targeting your audience based on where they are at on their journey with you.

By doing so you will not only save a lot of money in failed advertising but you can significantly increase your chance for sales as you are re-targeting those who are already interested in your business.