Everything You Need to Know About Ad Targeting through All Social Platforms


You’ve spent hours crafting the perfect message, searching for the perfect image to illustrate your ad, and researched your target demographic. Now before you share that precious creation with potential customers across all your social media channels, you need to make sure the right people are seeing it.

We’ve talked about getting to know your audience through Facebook Insights, and there are new tools on the way to help you discover the audience you want, but once you’ve established your goal audience, how do you get in front of just them? Let’s break down the basics of social media ad targeting with the main giants: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Facebook Targeting

Probably the most advanced and effective targeting settings you will encounter with social media ads, Facebook’s options start with the standard basics of age, location, and gender, but quickly extend to cover niche targeting by purchase behavior, residential profile, hobbies and activities, job title, job industry, and more.


Let’s say you are an organic housewares company advertising a current social media contest you are running on your Facebook page. How would you effectively target ads to users who are most likely to enter your contest and/or like your Page? Start with what you already know about your customers.

Target Demographics:

  • Women ages 30-55
  • Well-Educated/Financially Secure
  • Online Spenders
  • People who purchase organic/natural products
  • Homeowners
  • Interested In: Healthy Living and Yoga

Step 1: Fill in the basic targeting information:


Step 2: Narrow your targeting options even further by clicking “More Demographics”


Step 3: Evaluate your targeting. This is what an effectively targeted Ad should look like:

Make sure your Audience Definition is in the green!


LinkedIn Targeting

LinkedIn Advertising is perfect for the B2B marketer. Targeting is very specific to job title, industry, job function, seniority, company size, etc.

For example: Imagine you are a team building consulting company whose goal is to target your latest team building exercise to business owners, human resource managers, and teachers, and coaches in Denver, Colorado.

You have the following targeting options: location, company, job title, school, skills, group, gender,  and age. Within each of those options there are even more categories to choose from, whether it’s company size, or level of seniority within a company, etc.

So to target the right audience for that team building company in Denver, we might choose an audience like this:


Twitter Targeting

If you are seeking a larger following on Twitter, a rise in engagement, or visibility in the Twitter sphere Twitter Advertising will help you reach users you didn’t have access to before.

For example: You are a credit card processing company who wants to grow a Twitter following. You are primarily targeting people interested in the payments industry and business owners.

cm-whotofollowStep 1: You can choose to run a “promoted account campaign” or a “promoted tweet campaign.” A promoted account campaign will suggest your account to users under “Who to Follow,” while promoted tweets will show up in a user’s feed alongside all the tweets from accounts they’re already following.

Step 2: Give your campaign a name (this is just for your reference) and choose when you would like to run the campaign and for how long.


Step 3: Choose which way you’ll target–either by username or interest.

Targeting usernames allows you to reach users with interests similar to followers of the accounts you enter. For example, a popular twitter account for the payments industry is @pymnts, a popular payment industry blog. If I wanted to target people who follow @pymnts, you could just type their twitter handle into the search field and get recommendations from Twitter about what other high-profile accounts might be similar.


To target by interest, click “Browse Categories” to explore the different types of interest categories you can target (life stages, movies and TV, Music and Radio, Personal Finance, Pets, etc.) like this:


You can also limit targeting by gender, language, and even by excluding list audiences.

Targeting in the Rest of the Social Universe

We’ve covered the main three ad platforms here, but that’s not to say there aren’t still plenty of others with which we’ve seen great results for clients. Whether it’s on Tumblr, StumpleUpon, or YouTube (which is actually operated through Google Adwords), there is a place for everyone out there. And while Instagram, Pinterest, and G+ are beta testing ads/promoted posts right now with select brands, we’re sure we’ll have to update this blog soon enough with information on how anyone can use them.

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Rio Ziegler

Social Media Manager at Customer Magnetism
When Rio is not whipping up social media content, managing social ads, and analyzing social data, you can find her living in her local gym, pursuing a plethora of random hobbies, and feeding her addiction to salt water as CM’s resident mermaid.