With all the chatter around “Going Broad” on Facebook, I decided to dive into what it really means to target broad audiences, and how brands should do it. But first, what is Broad Targeting?
Broad targeting on Facebook is running an adset with no interest-based targeting or pixel-based audiences. This became a popular targeting method more recently, in an effort to combat the notorious iOS 14.5 update. Marketers are now leaning more on Facebook’s in-platform optimization to determine the best audience to show the ads to, rather than relying on mostly inaccurate in platform data.
With broad targeting, marketers are investing more time in perfecting and testing creatives. Long gone are the days when media buyers would spend hours granularly testing Lookalike audiences with single percentage increments. Now, most Facebook advertisers spend their time optimising creative and ad copy.
Why Should Your Targeting Be Broad?
Audience data is less reliable: Meta’s in-platform audience data has grown to be questionable after iOS 14.5. Before the update, Facebook users had to opt out of targeting, whereas post-update, users have to opt in. As a lot of users opt out of targeting, both retargeting and lookalike audience data aren’t being tracked nearly as well as they used to, changing the game for Meta’s advertisers everywhere.
It’s cheaper: In addition to combatting inaccurate targeting data, broad targeting on Facebook is cheaper than targeting a small audience (that has only shrunk post-update). Given that the Facebook ad has a good Click-Through Rate (CTR) and a good Relevance score, broadening your audience is a great way to lower your CPMs.
You’re no longer limiting the algorithm: With interest-based targeting, you’re telling Facebook who to show the ad to. With a smaller audience, Facebook’s algorithm will burn out quite quickly, aka Audience Fatigue. Traditionally, the way to overcome audience fatigue has been to create new audiences and test the same ads for different interests. With broader targeting, audience fatigue isn’t a problem anymore (but creative fatigue can be!)
Facebook will optimize towards relevance: Facebook’s goal is to get users to stay on the app. Broadening the audience tells Facebook that it can show your ad to anyone who is likely to engage with the ad, i.e.: people who are interested in your product, creative, or messaging. As people engage with the ad, Facebook will naturally show it to similar people, not limited by a specific target audience.
It has higher scaling potential: With killer creative and broad targeting, you’re no longer limited by the size of the audience after adding interests. Scaling your campaign becomes a lot simpler with broader targeting.
Facebook is removing interests: Facebook has been cracking down on interests that they deem as sensitive or redundant and removing them. Advertisers that relied on those targeting options have found themselves needing to change their strategy. Although you can upload customer lists and target lookalikes to go around the updates, Meta can remove specific targeting randomly, which could hurt your strategy.
Things To Consider With Broad Audiences
Campaign setup: Going broad is rather simple to do. Set the campaign’s location, its target age group (I like to keep this wide), and the target gender. Leave the rest up to Facebook (and your creative).
Ad Copy & Landing Page: Keep the location targeting specific. I wouldn’t run two different countries in the same ad set because I like to tailor the landing page and the ad copy towards the country. For example, if I’m running ads to both the United States and the United Kingdom, I would make sure words such as “favo(u)rite” and “colo(u)r” are spelled correctly. The same idea applies to Canada and the US.
Creative: Creative is KING with Facebook ads, especially when running with a broad audience. Facebook will use your creative to optimize towards the right audience. It will also be the one lever that you have complete control over. Have a testing campaign where you can test creative types, messages, and offers, and an evergreen campaign that constantly rotates winning ads. You will effectively be swapping out audience fatigue for creative fatigue, so finding the right messaging will be crucial, and will allow you to keep testing different ads, branding, and formats.
Should You “Go Broad?”
It’s definitely worth a test, but that does not mean it’s necessarily going to work for your brand. Alex Greifeld makes the argument that using broad targeting does not always necessarily make sense, especially if your target audience is very niche. You might find that “going broad” won’t breed a sustainable Return on Investment (ROI), and Facebook won’t be targeting the right people.
Other Targeting Strategies To Test
Going broad is not the only strategy that works for Facebook advertising. No strategy is a one size fits all for all Facebook ad accounts. Here are a few other strategies that are worth testing on Facebook in its current state.
Stack Lookalike Audiences: Uploading customer lists is a great way to tell Facebook what type of individual buys from your brand, and to get Facebook to find potential customers. Upload a customer list and create a lookalike custom audience from that data. Stack a 1% LLA of purchasers over the last 90 days and the last 180 days within the same ad set. This is also worth trying if you’re just setting up your Facebook ads account and already have purchasers from other means (ex: TikTok organic).
You can also use customer lists to retarget purchasers in special events (BFCM or new product launches). Keep in mind that if a user doesn’t use the same email for Facebook and when online shopping, this data could be spotty.
Shopify Audiences: Jonathan Snow released a thread last week about using Shopify lookalike audiences to lower CPAs and higher conversion rate (CVR). Although I’ve never tried this method, and Shopify audiences are only available to merchants on the Shopify Plus plan, it’s definitely worth a test. Shopify will give you a higher-intent audience, so although clicks and CPMs weren’t necessarily cheaper than that seen using Facebook LLAs, Shopify audience lookalikes are more likely to convert.
Digital marketing is notorious for turning into a plug & play game, with Facebook ad buying transitioning into creative strategy and testing, steering away from audience testing at the ad set level. The one predictable part of media buying is that it will always be changing. By implementing best practices and staying on top of the most recent trends, you should be set up for smooth sailing.