Making Sense Of Facebook’s Ad Targeting Choices by Industry


With over 3 billion users worldwide, Facebook has become a dominant player in the realm of social networking, attracting everyone from business executives to college students. 

It’s because of this commanding power and influence that advertisers have been flocking to the platform with enthusiasm, spending millions on Facebook’s advertising system. But while your target market may be there on Facebook, mastering the site’s promotional capabilities to reach them can be a challenge. 

Facebook offers hundreds of targeting options to choose from. However, to truly get the most out of the thousands you’ll soon spend on the platform, you must first learn how to take the helm of Facebook’s targeted advertising features.

Here are some tips to help you make sense of Facebook’s targeting choices and zero in on your target market.

Primary targeting methods used by Facebook

Facebook has a multitude of advertising avenues, but it all starts with narrowing down who you want to reach.

When creating an ad, you can target very precise segments, like within certain income brackets or their level of education. It lets you hone in on super-specific customer traits, identify friend networks, and provide retargeting options so that you can stay in touch with the right people. 

You can also choose age, location, gender, occupation, and much more. No matter what you’re looking for in a target audience, Facebook has it.

Consider this GoPro ad, for example. 

Now the target audience for this ad might be:

  • photographers/ videographers
  • people who love adrenaline-pumping adventures
  • thrill-seekers who are interested in extreme photography
  • visitors who have been to the GoPro purchase page but haven’t completed the purchase

That’s a lot of precision, huh?

The sheer number of possible Facebook ad targeting options is seemingly infinite. But we’re going to try and simplify things a bit to give you a sense of how you can go about implementing it. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive into some of Facebook’s primary surface-level targeting approaches you can use for product placement. 


Facebook location targeting allows you to focus on users based on where they are. Since Facebook has knowledge of all their users, they can pinpoint their location down to:

  • people living in or recently in your chosen location
  • people living in your chosen location
  • people recently in your chosen location
  • people traveling in your chosen location

You can also cast a wider net by targeting the traditional criteria of geo-targeting users by state, locality, zip code, country, etc.


Facebook allows you to utilize an array of demographics to make your advertising campaign tailored and relevant. Listed below are a few demographics to explore for your Facebook advertising strategy:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Relationship status
  • Work and employment
  • Education


Facebook’s behavior-based advertising feature targets users whose behaviors indicate they are most likely to convert. For example, if someone visits your pricing page or subscribes to your blog, you can target them with an ad showing them a coupon for your services. With this functionality, you also have the ability to identify your ideal customers who are already in the looking-to-buy stage and instantly target your ad to them.


Facebook’s interest targeting feature allows you to target people who have shown a specific level of engagement in your industry. By reaching these people, you can rest assured that most of the people reading your ads have a clear idea of what you do and might be interested in what you’re offering. Let’s say you’ve got a local business that sells R&B records. You can use Facebook interest targeting to display ads to users who have an affinity for music, vintage record players, R&B artists, etc.


Facebook’s tracking capabilities extend to people’s interactions with your brand, including any Facebook ads they’ve seen, the pages they visited, and even QR codes they scanned while browsing. This data can be used to serve ads on Facebook to individuals who are already familiar with your name. It’s a clever way to drum up interest in your business or drive customers back again – after all, they’ve already had a taste of what you’re selling so might as well let them finish their meal, right?

Examples of ad targeting choices by industry

Whether you’re working for a startup or an established business, Facebook’s powerhouse of ad-targeting methods can be a tremendous tool for getting your ad to exactly the kind of person you want to see it. So, let’s walk through a couple of examples of targeting strategies that can be used to reach an industry specific audience.

Automotive industry

Auto enthusiasts and potential car buyers are likely to engage with pages posting content that helps with car research. If you want to target this traffic, you can start by utilizing interest targeting toward company pages that fall into this category.

Alternatively, you could create an ad target flow that leverages “Automotive” behavioral targeting. From there, you can choose the relevant subcategories:

  • Motorcycle
  • New Vehicle Buyers (Near Market)
  • New Vehicle Buyers (In Market)
  • Owners
  • Purchase Type
  • Used Vehicle Buyers (In Market)

Further, Facebook’s core targeting options also include an entire section dedicated to “vehicles,” where brands can get broader in their ad reach.

Thus, depending on the type of automobile ad you are promoting, you can experiment with these options to come up with an effective campaign.

Hotel and travel industry

At first glance, it might seem like there’s a lot to consider when setting up Facebook ads for your travel and hospitality business. Rest assured, it’s not as complicated as it seems.

Start by layering in broad interest options. Select the ‘travel’ category and then proceed by choosing the relevant subcategory, which includes:

  • Vacations
  • Tourism
  • Air travel

Now you can zoom in on the behavior of your ideal customer persona. 

Choose the travel category in the behaviors tab followed by the appropriate subcategory from the list:

  • Frequent travelers
  • Frequent international travelers
  • Returned from travel 1 week ago
  • Returned from travel 2 weeks ago

Furthermore, you’ll also want to factor in other demographic information that can influence a person’s desire to travel. Newly-engaged users, for example, demonstrate a high degree of travel readiness. 

Tips for managing your Facebook ads

As you can see, Facebook provides a ton of options for targeting your ads. And while this is amazing news for businesses, it can also be quite overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you manage your Facebook ad campaigns:

Tip #1 – Supercharge your Facebook Ad campaign by targeting your competitor’s fans

Your competitors’ audience represents a group of users who have demonstrated a strong interest in similar goods and services to yours. So, by targeting your competitor’s fans on Facebook, you can reach out to individuals that are more likely to be interested in your business. 

One way to get your Facebook ad in front of your competitor’s audience is to use the Audience Insights dashboard in your Meta Business Suite account. Just enter your target audience’s characteristics and then use the Top pages section to see which pages your target users already connect with.

Tip #2 – Target people who are already interested in your product

It’s no secret that Facebook can track your online activities. But did you know that the social media giant can also tell when a user is considering making a purchase? 

That’s right – Facebook has the ability to identify when users are in the market for a new product or service. And because of this, businesses have a unique opportunity to target ads directly to these individuals. 

To take advantage of this, simply go to the Behaviours section of your Facebook Ads account and select the Purchase Habits option. From there, you can choose from a variety of purchase-related options where you can target users based on their likelihood to buy a product or service.

Tip #3 – Hire a professional social media marketing agency

If you have prior experience with Facebook advertising, self-managing your ads might be the best option for you. This will eliminate any extra costs and allow you to have complete control over your ads. However, self-managing ads may be too much work for beginners or those who are clueless about targeting, creating content, and setting up advertising campaigns. 

Now there are plenty of ads creation tools like Hootsuite ads and SEMrush social media ads, and collaboration tools like Wrike and Monday to take care of the setting up and coordinating aspect for you. Campaign planning, targeting, and goal setting will, however, fall to your Facebook ad expertise. 

So, if you want to take advantage of the huge potential that Facebook advertising has to offer, but don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself, it might make sense to outsource the process to a social media marketing agency. Most agency staffers have years of experience working with Facebook advertising, so they know how to create effective campaigns that will drive traffic to your business. Just make sure to find an agency with a well-oiled onboarding process to ensure that everyone is on the same page right from the start.

Get your Facebook ads to reach the right people

Facebook’s advertising platform is chock full of targeting options because the platform recognizes that businesses have different needs, and those needs require different approaches. Crafting the right marketing message and choosing attractive creatives is helpful, but the real challenge is reaching the right people. That’s why you should spend some time digging into the various Facebook ad targeting options in order to really succeed with your ads.

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