How to Target Facebook Ads for Better Results

Today I have a guest writer, Sabrina Tinius of The Enchanted Traveler in Seattle. Sabrina is an expert in Disney travel and has planned trips for my family. If you're thinking of doing anything Disney-related, HIRE HER! She'll do the work for you, give you ideas about things you wouldn't know to do otherwise, and reduce your waiting time in lines by planning your park itineraries for you. I asked her to detail how to use facebook targeted ads and she was nice enough to walk us through the process.

If you're using Facebook for your cake or cookie related business, you probably already have a business page set up with some fans along for the ride.  But Facebook has changed a lot over the past couple of years, so it might be time to examine your tactics and results.  

You might wonder what I, a specialist in Disney vacation planning, might be able to tell you about advertising your cake business.  But it just so happens that the skill of targeting Facebook ads is fairly universal across all industries. Let's take a look at how you can use your ad budget wisely to get the most out of Facebook for your business.

Targeting For New (Relevant) Likes

Not all fans are created equal.  It's very important that the fans you bring in to your page are people who actually care about what you do, and, unless your goal is popularity instead of income, it's also important that they are people who are likely to buy something from you.  Therefore, your goal should be quality over quantity - it's much better to have a smaller number of engaged fans than a huge number of fans who never bother to interact with your page. 

So how do you find new fans that are likely customers?  By targeting your ads specifically.  When you go to your ads manager, and choose the option "Promote Your Page," you are taken to a screen that looks like this:

Now we are going to narrow this down to very specific types of people.  First things first, we need to choose our location.  Unless you ship your goodies, we're going to assume that you need the fans to at least live in your state.  Choose your state in the location box, and, if you prefer clients that live within a certain radius of your city, you can choose that, too.  Simply type in the city and then you will see that you have an option to choose how far of a radius you want to accept.

The best way to proceed from here is to think of a specific ideal client.  Because, yes, we can get pretty generic here and say, "Ok, great, I want someone who lives near my city, who might be interested in a cake, so that's moms, dads, grandparents, brides to be, mothers of the bride, grooms, mothers of the groom, graduates..."  

The problem is that then you are essentially targeting everyone, and when you do that, you are speaking to no one.  People who come across your ad don't feel like it's especially for them and are less likely to click on your ad.  So while there may be many types of people who will buy your cakes, we need to make this ad more specific...then you can create another ad for another type of person in the future.

I do this in my business all the time.  I might target one ad specifically to moms of preschoolers who need help with planning the best way to take a very young child to Disney World, and the next ad I might target grandparents who are looking to do a family reunion on a Disney Cruise and are stressed out trying to wrangle all the family members and preferences and make all the arrangements lined up.  Two very different ads, two very different sets of targeting.

So, for the sake of this article, I'm going to assume that we want to target moms of younger children who would be interested in a fancy cake to celebrate their child's birthday. 

We'll start with the age option.  We're going to make some assumptions here.  Let's assume many moms of preschool younger kids are going to be between 28 and 45.  That's the first parameter we'll set.  Next, we'll set the gender to female.  Again, it's not that we are saying dads can't buy cakes - but we have decided that for THIS ad, we are targeting moms.

If we want to set the language to English, we can do that as well, though if you speak another language and want to cater to that language, you can include that, too.

Right below languages, you'll see a drop down option for "More Demographics."  This area is very important.

Choose the option that says "parents."  Here we have several options, but the one that applies most here, in my opinion, is Moms.

We had decided we are targeting moms of younger kids.  So here we can choose "Moms of Preschoolers" and "Moms of Gradeschooler."  If we had chosen "All Parents" instead of Moms, then we could also have chosen "Parents of toddlers."

What else should you use under demographics?  If you sell a higher end product and know that your clients tend to be a bit wealthier, you might open the "Financial" option and then choose incomes that match your ideal clients.  You can also select if they are married, if they own a home, etc.

Side note:  We are focusing on moms for this ad, but I did want to point out that it's here under "More Demographics", and then under "Life Events" that you can choose "Newly Engaged" if you are targeting brides or grooms for wedding cakes!

The next categories are interests.  What interest might your ideal mom of young kids have?  You can choose things like "cakes" but you can also choose things that indicate they are a mom that spends higher amounts on her kids.  

For example, you might choose "Hannah Anderson," a higher end kids clothing line, or "Gymboree" or whatever you think that mom would be likely to purchase from.  You could also type in the name of a popular facebook page with moms in this demographic, if you know one... if, perhaps, there's a popular birthday party styling facebook page, you can see if it's an interest that you can target.   (Similarly, for brides you could target magazines like The Knot."

"Behaviors" is the next category.  This area is filled with interesting aspects of facebook users, and it's best to take your time to browse through to see what would be relevant for this particular ad.   For example, you can target purchasing types under "Purchasing Behavior," such as "Store Type" and then "High End Retail." 

At this point, you should have really narrowed your audience down.  Look to the right side of your page and Facebook will tell you approximately how many people you are targeting.  If you are targeting just your state and it says 3 million, well, you have some more narrowing down to do!!  But, it's best to stay above 5000 or so people as well.

Now we come to  budget.  You can choose a lifetime budget or a daily budget, and either works fine.  I find it best for people new to ads to put an end date on their ad so they don't forget that it's running and run up a huge bill!  

But do track how your ad is doing - you can always stop an ad if it's just wasting your money.  How will you know?  Your likes should be costing you less than $1 each.  Preferably, I keep mine under 50 cents each.

Finally, we come to the creative section - this is where you choose what your ad looks like.  Facebook will default to your page cover photo, but you can swap this out for any other photo you want AND you can also select multiple photos.  If you do that, Facebook will test all of your photos at first and then put your money toward the version that is getting the most engagement.  Pretty cool, right? 

Here is where you also will set what your ad says.  You have very limited space so think of something short and that draws new fans in.  In this photo for mine, you can see that I've targeted families with preschoolers:

Now look under that photo as see where it says "Mobile, Desktop, Right Column?"  I usually turn the right column ads off, as I don't feel they get noticed as much, but that's up to you. 

That's it!  Now all you have to do is click "Place Order" and you're all set!

Bonus: How Do I Get More of My Fans To See My Posts?
Now that you are familiar with the Ads Manager, you can use this to easily get more of your fans to see your posts and boost engagement.  Go to Ads Manager and select "Boost your Post."  From the drop down list, choose which post you want more fans to see. Skip all the other targeting and head down to this section:

Select "People Who Like Your Page."   Set your budget - I often just set 24 hours for $2 or so.  You will reach a large number of additional fans who would not otherwise see your content.  By doing this once a week or so, you will stay top of mind with more of your fans!

Sabrina Tinius is the owner of The Enchanted Traveler and helps families plan stress free Disney vacations so they can focus on making memories that last a lifetime.  From arranging the reservations to completely customized touring plans to keep you out of the long lines, she provides a concierge level of service that her clientele loves.  As a specialist, she continually stays up to date on the Disney destinations with multiple trips per year and intense research. To learn more, visit

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at and

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