How To Do Facebook Ad Targeting for Niche Marketers [Step by Step Guide]

Filed in Case Studies, Social Media, Traffic by on April 28, 2016

Traffic is not a problem anymore.

I’ve heard Ryan Deiss say this so many times (he’s one of my favorite digital marketing experts).

But it wasn’t until I used Facebook advertising for one of my niche marketing campaigns that I truly understood what he was saying.

Facebook is a goldmine for niche marketers because of the number of people using it and the kind of information they’re willing to share on it.

According to the latest Facebook community update, more than 1.5 billion people use Facebook every month, with an average American spending nearly 40 minutes every day on Facebook.


fb community update


No other platform on the web has so many engaged users.

And because people are sharing so much information about them on Facebook, it gives niche marketers so many different ways to find their ideal customers and capture them with Facebook ad targeting.

It gives you the opportunity to approach your target audience in an environment they’re already comfortable in.

Facebook desktop newsfeed ads, for example, appear as normal posts in a user’s timeline.

They can be identified with a small “sponsored” label and a call to action at the bottom.

But users don’t react to them as negatively as they do against Google’s banner ads.


fb ad unit


This is perhaps one of the reasons why Facebook ads are so successful.

They don’t disrupt the user experience and blend really well with the newsfeed.

The user sees them as just another post on his newsfeed. If he’s not interested, he can just keep scrolling.

So to take advantage, all you need is a well-designed ad campaign and an optimized landing page to capture leads.

Or even just a website with content as you can direct your ads straight to any page on your website.

But since the opportunity to cash-in with Facebook ads is so huge, the competition is quickly rising.



fb ad spend

Source: Invesp

That’s still cheaper than other ad networks if you look at the precision with which Facebook lets you target users.

And that’s what niche marketing is all about isn’t it?

Your audience is a very precise group of people with a very specific set of needs. You’re not targeting “adults with a belly” in your ads.

You’re going for a MUCH more targeted niche


Age: 30-35

Sex: Female

Location: USA

Interests: Weight-loss

Relationship: Married with kids

Likes: A couple of weight-loss and fitness magazines and has recently been to your website


If you’re a member of NicheHacks Facebook Private Mastermind group, you must’ve seen how members, especially Mohammed El Khiyati, regularly share awesome Facebook audience targeting case studies.


case study


And this is exactly what I’ll be talking about in this post: audience targeting with Facebook ads.


(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 traffic hacks click here or the image below)


What You’ll Learn in This Post

  • How you can find your ideal buyers on Facebook and start getting traffic
  • How to target people who show interest in your product and make them more likely to buy.
  • The simple Facebook ad targeting technique that’ll help you double your email list in no time.
  • The best way to start advertising on Facebook today at a low cost.



Get Familiar With Facebook Ad Types and Environment

If you’ve used Google AdWords before, you’ll find the Facebook ads hierarchy pretty similar to it. I’ll explain that in a moment.

But first, let’s have a quick look at how you can start advertising on Facebook.

There are 2 different ways you can create and manage your advertising campaigns on Facebook – Ads Manager and Power Editor.

You can access the Ads Manager from your Facebook profile.




This leads you to the standard advertising dashboard where you can manage existing campaigns or create a new campaign.


ads manager


Ads Manager has all the options you need to build a targeted ad campaign. So I recommend you stick to it at least for your first campaign so that you have a clear understanding of how Facebook ads work.

The Power Editor is for slightly advanced users with more customization options. It can be accessed from the Ads Manager menu.




It has a slightly different interface and more options.

But don’t get confused with these two interfaces, they are just two slightly different ways to manage your ads. You’ll be able to understand the Power Editor once you’ve run a couple of campaigns from the Ads Manager.


aaron(1)“There’s never been a better time to be in advertising, and there’s never been a worse time.” – Aaron Reitkopf

Click here to Tweet this!


Creating Your First Facebook Ad

Let’s get started with your first ad.

Click on the “Create Ads” link from your Facebook profile.




There are several things that you need to understand on this page.




First of all, you need to understand the difference between an ad campaign, an ad set and an ad unit. All three of them are listed on this page.

Ad Campaign is the top level where you only choose the objective of your campaign. You can choose from a list of different predefined objectives to start your campaign.

Here, I’m choosing the option to send people to my website/landing page. You can choose other objectives as well, for example, increasing the number of likes or simply boosting a post on your page.

But since most niche marketers use Facebook advertising to route people to specific landing pages, I’ve chosen this option.




This leads you to the Ad Set where you can choose the audience you want to target, the schedule of your ad and your budget.




This is where it really gets interesting because of all the audience targeting options you get. You can target people by location, demographics, age, interests and behavior – all at once!

Plus, there are several advanced targeting options that I’ll discuss shortly.

So let’s quickly have a look at the basic targeting options.

To find your perfect audience, try to be as specific as possible with these targeting filters. If you don’t, your audience will become too broad and your ad won't perform well.

On the other hand, if your criterion is too narrow you won’t have a large enough audience to target.

So you need to strike the right balance.

For example, in the location filter, instead of targeting the United States choose a specific state or city. That’ll give you a much more targeted audience.




The same goes for other filters like age, gender and language. Instead of targeting people between 18 to 50 years of age from any gender, go for single women between 25-35 years of age based in New York.




You can even use the “interests” filter to target people who’re following your competitors.

They are the ideal people for your ads since they’re already familiar with your industry and have an active interest in similar offers.

For example, NicheHacks can target people who’re already interested in Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income.

It’s one of the top affiliate marketing blogs on the web so naturally its followers should be interested in NicheHacks as well.




You can use this in any niche.

For example, if you’re running an Amazon product review blog in the bodybuilding niche (like Nader the fitness freak at NicheHacks) you could enter the names of famous fitness magazines in the 'interest' filter and target people who’re subscribed to those magazines.

You can keep adding new conditions based on demographics, interest or behaviors. The possibilities are just endless.




You can also exclude or include people based on their existing relationship with you.

For example, you can exclude people from your target audience who already like your Facebook page. They’re already on board so there’s no point targeting them again.




And finally, you can use the “Exclude people” or “Narrow audience” options to add if/then conditions to your ad.




These are powerful options that allow you to really dig in and target the precise audience you’re looking for.




But as I said earlier, adding too many filters can leave you with a target audience that is too small to target.




Facebook shows an audience meter that indicates how broad or specific your audience is.




You can also save this audience if you want to use the same targeting criteria for future campaigns.




Now that you’re done with basic audience targeting, you need to set a budget for your campaign. I personally recommend starting with a really small budget to see how your ad’s performing.

If it goes well, increase your budget. If not, make changes to your targeting criteria and do a test run again.

So I’ll start with a $5 daily budget and choose “link clicks to your website”.




When you optimize your ads for clicks, Facebook shows them to people, within your audience criteria, who click ads more frequently.




This is the best route to take since you want people to click on your link and land on your opt-in page.

This leads you to the third level, where you’ll create the actual ad unit.

So basically at the top there’s the ad campaign, under that is the ad set, and in the ad set you have multiple ad units.

I won’t go into much detail of creating an ad unit because that deserves a separate post (and since this post is more about targeting). But I’ll give you a quick overview.

You can create 5 different types of ads with Facebook.




But we’re interested in the first two really – desktop and mobile news feed ads.

You can display the same ad unit to desktop and mobile users, but I won’t recommend doing that. Instead, create separate ad units for mobile and desktop users so that you can properly measure the results and make changes where required.


facebook ads


Instagram and desktop right column ads are self-explanatory. Audience network refers to the websites or apps that display Facebook ads.

If you choose “Audience Network” your ads will be displayed outside Facebook, based on your criteria. But I’d say just stick to the basics for your first few campaigns. They are also VERY effective.

I’ll be writing a detailed post about creating optimized Facebook ad units in a few weeks. So make sure you’re subscribed to NicheHacks email list to get notified.

For now, let's get back to audience targeting.


Glen ViperChill"If you are willing to put in $5 per day on Facebook ads you can learn more about your industry than pretty much any other advertising channel" - Glen Alsop

Click here to Tweet this!


Is there anything more to Facebook ad targeting?

You bet!

We haven’t really started the fun part yet.

The basic audience targeting that I just explained is for you if you don’t currently have a large email list, or if your blog doesn’t attract a lot of traffic (at least 500 to 1000 pageviews/day)

It’s a great starting point for building your audience.

But the real magic starts with Facebook custom audience targeting.


(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 traffic hacks click here or the image below)


Build Custom Audiences To Tap Into Facebook’s Advertising Goldmine

The custom audience feature allows you to target people who’re already in an indirect relationship with your website or brand. And because of an existing relationship, they’re much more likely to respond to your ads and take action.

To create a custom audience, go to Ads Manger-->Audiences




From here, select Create Audience-->Custom Audience




There are three ways you can use the custom audience option.

  • Use an existing customer list (emails, phone numbers or Facebook Ids)
  • Retarget people who’ve visited your website or a specific landing page
  • People who’ve used your app



All of them are powerful options.

But for most niche marketers, the first two are more relevant.

Let me quickly explain what they are and how you can use them for your business.


  • Customer List

As I said earlier, if you already have an email list or a list of phone numbers, Facebook can help you target these people with your ads.

How? Because Facebook has more than 1.5 billion monthly active users and anyone who has email or a smartphone probably has a Facebook account has well.

So you just need to upload your contact list, and Facebook will match it with its own database to see which of your list members are active Facebook users as well.

Cool isn’t it?

You can share the list with Facebook by either uploading a CSV file (downloaded from your email marketing software), copy/pasting the contact list or by linking with a MailChimp account.





Once you upload the file, Facebook will take around 30 minutes to set up your audience. You’ll get a notification when your audience is ready.




Great, isn’t it?

If you have a huge email list, you’re bound to have a large chunk of subscribers that do not open your emails, or never take action.

By uploading your list, you can now target them in a completely different environment, bring them back to your site and boost conversions.

But wait, there’s something even more powerful you can do with this list. Something that’ll instantly give you thousands of highly relevant potential subscribers.

But I’ll make you wait.

First, let me explain the other custom audience option


  • Target Website Traffic

So if you have a website that attracts more than 500 pageviews per day, you can target the people who’ve recently visited your website but did not take any action.

This is called retargeting and it’s a powerful way to drive more traffic.

Just think about it.

A random Google searcher lands on your website, really likes what he sees, looks at your sales page,  goes one step ahead and is about to check out.

But for some reason, abandons the purchase.

Now here’s someone who took the time to view your product and sales page but still didn’t buy the product. Maybe there was something wrong.

You can target this person on Facebook and persuade him to complete the purchase.

Studies show that almost 75% of abandoners leave with an intent to return. A separate study indicates that abandoners spend 55% more on average when retargeted.



Source: SeeWhy


So how do you create a Facebook audience from your website traffic?

In three simple steps

  • Create a Facebook Pixel (an html script) for your account.
  • Add the Pixel to your website code
  • Create your custom audience

Let me show you how.

Create your pixel from Ads Manager-->Assets-->Pixels




From there, just follow the instructions, choose a name and create your pixel.




Every Facebook user can create just one pixel.

No matter how many websites you have, you’ll use the same pixel code to track your traffic and conversions (just like Google Analytics).

The pixel code is made up of two different sets of code – the base code and the standard event code.




You’ll need to copy/paste the base code between the <head> </head> tags of your website code to start tracking.

The standard event code is optional, and can be used to track specific conversion goals on your page, for example, Add to cart, Number of views, Search etc.

Every action has its own standard code that needs to be placed within the base code.




You can find these codes on the pixels page in your Facebook account under the “create conversion” tab.

The pixel will start tracking your website/landing page visitors immediately. You can monitor them in the pixel dashboard.




You can add this pixel to as many websites as you want.

But when you want to target the audience of a particular website, you can create it from the custom audience tab and mention the URL to track.




Over here, you’ll be able to mention the specific URLs that you want to target.




Again, Facebook gives you lots of options to include or exclude certain types of people from your audience.

For example, if your ad is routing people to a specific landing page, and you want to track those people, you’ll choose the second option “people who visit specific web pages”

Once you finalize the audience criteria, this particular custom audience will be saved and displayed in your audience dashboard.

You can create as many custom audiences as you want based on different criteria, and show them ads based on their interests and behavior.

Now how cool is that?


Double-Triple Your Audience by Creating Lookalike Audiences

If you’ve come this far, I’m sure you’re waiting for that one magic trick I said I’ll tell you more about.

Well, here it is.

This is one of the most amazing features in Facebook advertising and it really is a niche marketer’s dream.

So here it is.

When you create custom audiences, either by uploading your own customer list or by building an audience from your website traffic, Facebook gives you the option to create lookalike audiences.

Suppose you upload a list of 2000 email addresses and build a custom audience from it. Facebook will find out all the users, from those 2000 people, who have Facebook profiles.

When you select “Create Lookalike Audience”, Facebook analyzes its database of more than 1.5 billion active users and creates a lookalike audience that has the same interests and preferences as your uploaded list.

And trust me, Facebook does a great job at understanding people’s interests and preferences.

So the new audience you get has almost the same interests as your subscribers. You can now target them in your ads and convert them into your email subscribers.

If you understand the power of this feature, you can grow your email list 100x quicker than any other list building technique.

This is truly a game changer.

To create a lookalike audience, go to Ads manager-->Audiences




The audience dashboard has a list of all your custom audiences, which you’ve created either from your email list or from your website traffic (pixel).




Choose the audience for which you want to create a lookalike audience




You need to choose your target country for creating a lookalike audience. For example, if you choose the United States, Facebook will look for its users in the US who are similar to your subscribers in terms of their interests and overall preferences.




Keep the audience size small to find users that closely match your criteria.

Once you confirm your targeting criteria, Facebook will take 15-30 minutes to prepare your lookalike audience.

When it’s ready, your lookalike audience will be displayed as “active” in the audience dashboard.


(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 traffic hacks click here or the image below)


How Will You Benefit from Facebook Audience Targeting?

I’ve told you everything I knew about Facebook audience targeting.

It’s up to you to make use of this information and create super-focused and targeted advertising campaigns on Facebook that drive traffic and leads to your landing page.

As I said at the start, several members of NicheHacks Private Mastermind Facebook group are using Facebook ads to great effect. They’ve also shared several audience targeting case studies.

Join the group, become a part of the conversations and learn from the people who’re already leveraging this powerful advertising platform for their niche marketing businesses.

Oh and before I forget:

Building traffic to your site is easy ONLY if you know the right strategies. Download Stuart's 101 Traffic Hacks and start building easy traffic to your site.

And of course leave a comment below or feel free to ask me any questions about Facebook's Ad targeting for niche marketers...



Jawad Khan
Jawad Khan is a content marketing consultant and a freelance blogger for hire. Follow him on his blog, WritingMyDestiny, Twitter and Google+

Comments (11)

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  1. Ryan percy says:

    After spending my first 100k USD what I've noticed is:

    1. Campaigns with various targeting works better with smaller budget but when you scale up the budget for top performing campaign, CPC goes higher.

    2. Whole Fb marketing is about your Creatives which are being used for ads, even if you do right targeting your CPC would be fully dependent upon your CTR on ads.

    3. Generic campaigns along with proper lookalike and re-marketing could lead you for better ROI for any campaign.


    • Jawad Khan says:

      Hey Ryan,

      Great input, agree with the first two points.

      This is a beginner's guide so we focused on smaller budgets and multiple targeting options to come up with the right audience.

      Can you elaborate the third point a bit more? Are you saying that the initial campaign should be loosely targeted ?

      Intereste in hearing your thoughts.

  2. MindBlown says:

    Holy Smokes!
    This just changed everything about how I was planning on approaching my target market. I've heard for years that Facebook is the best targeting platform available, but I have never seen such a deep and thorough breakdown of what someone can do in order to build a huge audience quickly.
    Thanks for the in-depth post! I bookmarked this post about 1/3 of the way through.
    Thanks again, as I will be referring to it often.

  3. Denny says:

    This is really good! In-depth and easy to follow. Timely article as I have recently just started using FB ads. Learnt a lot. Thanks!

  4. Alison says:

    Great article. Full of practical advice which I shall be looking to implement. Thanks very much.

  5. Edward Byrne says:

    Thanks for a great article.

    One thing surprised me. You ended up with a target audience of 8400 people which you described as "Perfect" (with an arrow). Everything I have learned up to now (admittedly not a huge amount) has said to target between 500 000 and 1 million people. If you go smaller than that clicks work out very expensive.

    Please give me your thoughts on that.

    Thank You

    • Jawad Khan says:

      Hey Edward,

      When you're using multiple targeting filters to zoom-in on an audience, you don't need to target 500k-1million people.

      If you noticed, we started with a $5 daily budget in this post, since this is a beginner's guide.

      Starting with a narrow audience and running a few small campaigns gives you a good idea about your audience. You can then scale it up.

      But starting from half a million people is not something I'd recommend.

  6. Zama says:

    Wow wow wow I am totally blown away at the imformation I will post some comments on the facebook mastermind I am running Facebook ads soon for a sporting event in South Africa will let you know how it goes

  7. Meterola says:

    Thanks for the guide...