Changes to Facebook, Ads & Targeting Your Audience

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Changes to Facebook, Ads & Targeting Your Audience

Facebook’s recent changes affect small businesses more than any algorithm change in history. If you have a Facebook page for your small business, it’s unlikely that anyone will see your posts in their feed. So now what? Well, now we have to pay.

The Facebook strategy we’ve been recommending for businesses is now turned upside-down. One benefit – you won’t have to worry about coming up with as much content to post!  We can forget trying to increase our visibility by posting consistently several times a week. The focus is now going to be on quality over quantity and then paying to promote those quality pieces.

So let’s talk about Facebook Advertising and how to get your ads seen by the right audience.


The first thing you have to do is identify your ideal customer. This is the first step in any form of marketing.  Next, figure out how to narrow down your audience as much as possible.  Otherwise, you’re paying to show your post to viewers who aren’t even potential buyers.

Screen shot of Facebook Ads Audience Targeting by Location

When starting a Facebook ad (or paid post “Boost”), the first option you’re presented with is the “Audience” for the ad.

The first selections are Age, Gender, and Location.  The Location tool is excellent because you can target as many specific areas as you’d like.  The example to the right shows how you can choose several major metro areas. You can then set the ad to run only within the city limits, or include suburbs in a 10-25 mile radius as well.

After “Location” options, you’ll see “Detailed Targeting”.  If you don’t see this, click the blue link that says “Create new audience”.

The Detailed Targeting section will “INCLUDE people who match at least ONE of the following”.  It then provides a very hefty list of demographics, interests, and behaviors.  When they say “detailed”, boy do they mean it!  You can use demographics to target a specific profession, such as Physical Therapists.  You can target interests such as shopping at boutiques or attending live concerts.


Screen shot of Facebook Ads Audience Targeting by Behavior

Targeting “behaviors” is useful because there’s a documented action that has taken place. You can choose an audience that recently donated to a charity, bought a used car, or recently moved.  There’s way more than that though!  Be sure to check out Behaviors > Purchase Behaviors and look deeper at “Buyer Profiles”, “Purchase Types” and “Store Types”. Use these selections to hone in on the type of buyer you’re looking for.   Yeah, it’s a little creepy that they have all this information, but when we sign up for Member Rewards cards at stores I suppose it’s a given that information is going somewhere.

Then you can even EXCLUDE people!  Again, it’s “people who match at least ONE of the following”. If there’s one thing you know would disqualify someone from being an ideal customer, this is your chance to filter them out.

You can then choose to show it to “People who like your Page” or “People who like your Page and their friends”.  These options are great for businesses with a lot of Facebook followers and local, brick-and-mortar businesses. Especially if you’re promoting an upcoming sale or event!

You can also choose whether to run your ad on Instagram in the next checkbox.


If you don’t have a budget for advertising on Facebook, this does not mean you should give up on your business’s Facebook page.

While you may not get any direct benefit from posting on a regular basis, it still serves a purpose.  Your Facebook page will still show up in Google results. People will still go to your Facebook page to learn more, read reviews, and to see if you’re still an active company.  If I see a business page that hasn’t had a post for several months, I assume they’re closed.

Now more than ever, you cannot rely on a Facebook page alone to represent your business online.  There is no reason to go without a website; you can make a website in your Google Business Listing for free (post on that coming soon).  Keep using the “Social Networks” for social networking. Of the many factors in SEO, website mentions with backlinks carry a lot of weight. Stay social, keep networking, and get your name and URL out there in as many places as possible!

Photo of Abby Lehman Buzon, owner of The Helpful Marketer

About the Author

Abby Buzon

I'm Abby (Armstrong-Lehman) Buzon, Lead Designer & Owner of The Helpful Marketer, based in Medina County, Ohio. I got my start in marketing and website administration in 2010, became a mom in 2015, and left my day job in 2017 to begin The Helpful Marketer. I'm happier than I've ever been and I truly love what I do, so I'm here to share my story and give some marketing tips along the way!


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