Facebook, the new kid on the block when it comes to paid advertising. It’s a platform that is growing every single day and it’s only getting bigger. With over 1.86 billion monthly active Facebook users, (Source: Facebook as of 02/01/17), advertisers are flocking to this platform. Why? Because of the targeting potential… It’s extensive. Advertisers can get as niche or go broad as humanly possible.  

Because of the huge ad targeting options, It can be very overwhelming when you are starting your first ad campaign..I know I was! So keep reading, as I delve in the huge array of Facebook ad targeting options and break them all down for you in this easy to read post. 

Facebook ad targeting options can be broken down into 7 categories:

  1. Custom Audiences (including lookalikes)
  2. Location
  3. Age & Gender
  4. Demographics
  5. Interests (Detailed targeting)
  6. Behaviour
  7. Connections

Let’s view this in more detail…

Custom Audiences

The most powerful targeting option you have. Period. Why? Because with it, you are able to upload your own customer database to identify people that you want to target.

Custom Audience option

Custom Audiences can be created using:

  • Email addresses – Upload your customer database of email addresses and Facebook will match it with the email address that people use when signing in to the platform
  • Phone numbers – Upload a list of customer or prospects that have called you
  • App Ids – Tracking people who have taken action on your ap (of note, your app/ game has to be connected to Facebook)
  • Facebook user Ids – The ID of a user’s profile
  • Website traffic – targeting users who have visited your website or viewed specific pages (awesome for remarketing)

Facebook will then be able to match the data above with as many profiles as possible.

Lookalike Audiences

Facebook will look at all the data of the people in your custom audience and create a new list of users that have similar interests and demographics in the countries that you choose. You have the option to target 1% – 10% of the match rate of your audience, meaning the similarity of your audience on a percentage basis (at Clicktribe, we usually do a 1-2% match rate for our client’s campaigns)


There are 7 types of location targeting available to target your prospects including:

  • Countries
  • State
  • Cities
  • Post code
  • Addresses
  • Designated Market Areas
  • Radius

    Location targeting options

You can then drill down and take it a step further by targeting:

  • Everyone in this location (this is the default option)
  • People who live in this location
  • People recently in this location
  • People travelling in this location (these are people who are visiting right now but normally live more than x km away)

Age, Gender & Language

  • Age – If you know the age group of your ideal customer, then you can target prospects that fit that age group. It defaults from 18-65+ years.
  • Gender – Pretty simple here… you have the option to target Women, Men or all genders.
  • Language – A whole array of languages to choose from.


The plethora of detailed targeting is unreal. This is where the creepy magic happens. Within detailed targeting you can really hone in on the type of person you want to target. Want to target someone who is studying architecture at University, living in  South Korea, that’s a fan of Oreo biscuits and is interested in hiking?  You can do that here.

Relationship status:

Facebook can target a person’s relationship status, only if they disclose it. You have the options of targeting users who are:

  • Single
  • Married
  • Engaged
  • Complicated
  • Open Relationship
  • Divorced
  • Civil Union
  • Domestic Partnership
  • Separated
  • Widowed
  • Unspecified


You can target 4 main options with this one

  • Employer’s – Name of the company
  • Industries – Automotive, sales, transport, architecture, engineering, business, finance, cleaning.. The list goes on!
  • Job Title – You can pick anything here

Financial information including:

  • Income
  • Net worth

Here you have the option to target income ranges for your prospects..For example if you have a very high end product, this sort of targeting is very handy.


This type of targeting allows you to target 3 main categories here including:

  • Home type – You can target prospects that either live in apartments, single family homes, property size and value of home.
  • Home ownership – Renter, first time buyer and homeowners
  • Household composition – Empty nesters, new parents, grandparents, working women, young and hip, children in home and more.

Ethnic affinity:

If your target market is part of a certain ethnic background, then this targeting option allows you to do just that.

Parents: Have a product or service that targets parents who are expecting? Parent targeting is what you need. You can target new parents, parents with teenagers, parents with adult children and more.

Who knew there were so many options?


This allows you to target the three main generations:

  • Baby boomers
  • Generation X
  • Millennials

Life events:

Ever wondered how you are targeted with ads related to very particular life events such as engagement, anniversary or wedding for example, wedding rings and romantic honeymoon holidays? This probably due to life event targeting- If you’ve put in a major life event on Facebook, then bingo! This is how advertisers target you. There’s a lot more than just the 3 life events I mentioned above – take a look, you’ll be shocked. 


Let’s face it, people have a lot of interests and those interests are a goldmine for targeting (💰💰💰) – you can browse probably everything here. From sports, places, foods, countries, topics, books, movies and fashion.. I could go on and on. For example, if you want to target travelling as a interest option, you can do so because Facebook will pull in all the data from people who have expressed their interest in travelling or liked travelling related topics… pretty straightforward huh?

You can type in and search for particular interests yourself or browse from the categories available to you already. If you think that’s a lot, there’s even sub categories. 

Facebook interest categories

Behaviour Targeting

Behavioural targeting is somewhat closely related to interests. The data is gathered by Facebook from 3rd parties such as Acxiom, Epsilon, and Datalogix

Here you can target:

  • Expats
  • Seasonal and events
  • Travel
  • Mobile devices
  • Digital activities
  • Purchasing behaviour
  • Users who are associated with charitable donations
  • Automotive
  • Financial targeting
  • Media
  • Job role


Connections targeting allows you to target people who are your fans of your Facebook page, friends of fans, people who have used your app. Basically, anyone who has some sort of connection to your page or service.

Final thoughts

So there you have it, a complete breakdown of all the different Facebook ad targeting options. Hopefully this article gives you the knowledge to go out and conquer Facebook ads (I certainly hope so because this article took me AGES to write).

The sky’s the limit when it comes to Facebook ad targeting – with a little experimentation and testing it can be a tremendously powerful advertising platform.