Reach Your 100% Perfect Audience With Facebook Behavioral Targeting


As a marketer, you create tens of Facebook ads each month. You spend hours tweaking your ad visuals and messages. But… are you even targeting the right audience?

Here’s a confession: I used to be so overwhelmed with increasing our company’s ad conversions that I completely forgot about targeting the 100% right audience.

But as we finally upped our targeting game, we saw an over 35% increase in our Facebook advertising ROI.

You too can improve your ad performance by targeting a 100% perfect Facebook audience.

In this guide, we walk through the basics of Facebook Behavioral Targeting and look how you can use this feature to create better audiences.

Ready to learn something new today? Here’s your go-to guide!

The basics of Behavioral Targeting

Before we dive into mobile devices, traveling habits and purchase behaviors of your target audience, there are a few things every marketer should know. First, let’s have a look at why you should even bother to target multiple small audiences instead of a larger one.

Benefits of Facebook Detailed Targeting:

  • Higher relevancy – advertising to highly targeted audiences lets you create custom ads that are targeting specific ad groups
  • Higher CTR – by showing highly relevant ads to people, they’re more likely to be interested and click on them, leading to a higher CTR
  • Higher engagement – if people see a highly relevant ad, they’ll like and share it with their Facebook friends, giving your brand a free advertising boost
  • Higher ROI – by excluding people who aren’t really interested in your product and offers, you can reach the right audience at a lower cost

Tip: Behavioral targeting works best in combination with location, interest, and demographics-based targeting. You can mix all of these together to build a highly defined Facebook audience.

Behavioural targeting Facebook

How Facebook Detailed Targeting works:

As you start to create a new audience, take advantage of the Detailed Targeting.

You can narrow your audience by adding several layers of required categories. Start by targeting people by interests, continue with demographics, and add a separate layer of behaviors.

Using the narrowing option means that your audience must match at least one variation in each targeting layers. If you want your audience to match five specific characteristics, you need to create five separate targeting layers by narrowing the audience five times.

Do not insert all your audience characteristics into one targeting group as they will only need to match ONE of the following characteristics:

Read more: The Evergreen Guide to Facebook Ad Targeting Optimization

Behavior-based targeting options in Facebook Ads Manager

As I mentioned before, using behavior-based targeting helped us at Scoro, a B2B SaaS company, to reach a highly targeted Facebook audience we didn’t even imagine could exist. And it helped us improve our ads’ click-though-rate and relevance score.

How can YOU benefit from Facebook’s behavior-based targeting?

Let’s take a look at all the different possibilities that Facebook offers for building a well-targeted audience. First, we’ll examine the targeting options available in Facebook Ads Manager. Next, we’ll give you a short overview of additional options you’ll encounter when using the Power Editor.

When creating a new audience or adding a new campaign, Facebook gives you the following targeting options:

  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Facebook Categories

Start by selecting Behaviors and a lot of new options appear.

1. Targeting by Digital Activities

Under this category, you can target people based on the actions they make while online and the devices they use.

digital activities

Your options include:

  • Operation System Used
  • Canvas Gaming
  • Console Gamers
  • Event Creators
  • FB Payments (All)
  • FB Payments (Higher than average spend)
  • FB Payments (Recent)
  • Facebook Page Admins
  • Internet Browser Used
  • Operating System Used
  • Photo uploaders
  • Primary email domain
  • Small business owners
  • Technology early adopters
  • Technology late adopters

Audience segments that help to up your targeting game:

Event Creators – this group includes active people who organize both corporate and personal events. They might be interested in products used on events but also business-related offers.

FB Payments – target people who have used the Facebook Payments platform to reach an audience who is more likely to spend online. This behavior group can work wonders for B2C companies.

Facebook Page Admins – who creates new Facebook pages? You’re likely to reach many small business owners and marketers, but also bloggers.

Small Business Owners – want to target small businesses? This group includes people who have listed themselves as small business owner or own small business pages on Facebook.

Technology Early Adopters – if you’re bringing new products to the market, targeting this group of curious people might be your Golden Nugget.

Technology Later Adopters – if you’re promoting a product/service that’s already well-known, targeting this group can get your ads in front of people who had never heard of your brand before.

Read more: What You Can Learn from Facebook’s Audience Overlap Tool

2. Targeting by Mobile Device User

This behavioral targeting option obviously benefits software and app producers who only have their product available on specific devices. But it can also help you find the audience segments that prefer high-end products to cheaper ones.

You can craft your Facebook audience by the following categories:

  • All Mobile Devices by Brand
  • All Mobile Devices by Operating System
  • All mobile devices
  • Feature phones
  • Network Connection
  • New smartphone and tablet owners
  • Smartphone Owners
  • Smartphones and tablets
  • Tablet owners

Take advantage of these Mobile Device User categories:

All Mobile Devices by Brand – get creative and imagine which smartphone companies your buyer persona might prefer. For example, Apple owners are likely to be well-off as iPhones are fairly expensive.

All Mobile Devices by Operating System – if your application or tool works best on a specific operation system, this is your chance to eliminate other OS-s.

Tablet Owners – by targeting this group, you’re more likely to reach tech-savvy young people (and toddlers, tell us about good parenting!)

3. Targeting by Seasonal and Events

Seasonal and Events lets you target Facebook and Instagram audiences by their interest in current events such as sports events and holidays. If you have a seasonal offer to make – go for it!

Target by seasonal events behavior

This is what you can target in summer 2016:

  • Summer Games 2016
  • Baseball 2015
  • Cricket Enthusiasts
  • Fall Football (US)
  • Professional Football (US)
  • Ramadan 2016

Get inspired and target based on the right behavior:

Summer Games 2016 – this is the perfect behavioral group to target people interested in sports. You can create content around the Olympics and advertise it to this particular group to catch their attention.

Fall Football (US) – as with any other sports event, this gives you the perfect opportunity to reach young (and mostly male) audience.

4. Facebook behavioral targeting by Travel

One of the most exciting groups in Facebook audience targeting is Travel behaviors. If you spend some time thinking about how you can make it work for you and use a creative approach, you’ll open up a chance to target just the perfect audience.

And it’s not just for travel agencies and airline operators!

There are many options to choose from:

  • All frequent travelers
  • Business travelers
  • Commuters
  • Currently traveling
  • Frequent International Travelers
  • Returned from trip 1 week ago
  • Returned from trip 2 weeks ago
  • Used travel app (1 month)
  • Used travel app (2 weeks)

Whom you can target based on their travel behavior:

All frequent travelers – traveling is a fairly expensive hobby, so targeting frequent travelers might indicate they’re well-off or traveling for business. You can reach either audience by combining Travel with other targeting options such as Purchase Behavior.

Business travelers – whatever business-related (or B2B) offer you’d like to get out there, business travelers should be part of your target audience. But remember they’re a busy bunch of people, so make your offer as straightforward as possible.

Commuters – do you have an interesting book, podcast or application that entertains people? The commuters might be interested in spending time with your offer!

Currently traveling – just imagine how well this audience behavior plays when combines with location and age-based targeting? You’re able to address all the tourists happening to be near your business (or simply in town).

Behaviour-based targeting options in Facebook Power Editor

The Power Editor got its name for a reason – it truly is more powerful than Facebook Ads Manager. I personally like to use AdEspresso’s Behavioral Targeting feature as it presents all the options available without the need to use Power Editor.

The list is actually TWICE as long, go and check it out (if you’re an AdEspresso user)!

Behavioral targeting in AdEspresso

So let’s talk a little bit about advanced behavioral targeting.

5. Targeting by Purchase Behavior

There are tons of opportunities to reach your perfect audience by targeting them by purchase behaviors.

Behavioral targeting purchase behavior

Which targeting segments should you try first?

Business Purchases – under this category, you’ll find the sub-categories of:

  • Business Marketing
  • Maintenance, Repair and Operations
  • Office and Corporate Gifts
  • Training and Publications

If your ideal client would buy any of these products, it is well worth a try to target them!

Purchase Habits – this category accommodates 3 advanced options:

  • Above average spending
  • Offline buyers
  • Online buyers

This could be a gold mine for eCommerce businesses as well as store owners who’d like to attract people who like to shop offline.


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