The Basics of Social Targeting in Under 3 Minutes

In the past, you probably used verified media audiences and, possibly, event registration statistics to determine where you would invest your marketing budget. Once you found the magazines and events that would help position you in front your audience, you would place your ads and set up your booth.

Then all you could do was hope that, among the massive amounts of impressions, your ads would be seen by the right audience. The entire process was never quite exact.

Fortunately, the internet has changed marketing. New marketing channels such as social media provide new opportunities to advertise in front of millions of people. For marketers looking to use social media platforms, there are a wide range of targeting options that will help you ensure your ads are in front of the right audience at the right time.

Let’s take a look at the different targeting options on social media and see how they can benefit your marketing.

Targeting Options

Social media sites offer a number of different targeting options for your advertisements that can help you drill down specific audiences and interest groups. Below is a list of different targeting options common across social media (but it is by no means exhaustive):

  • Age
  • Location
  • Language
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Job Title
  • Occupation
  • Interests
  • Friends
  • Profiles Similar to Friends
  • Relationship Status
  • Device
  • Content Viewed
  • Keywords Searched
  • Browsing History

Cost Effectiveness

Social media ads can be affordable and cost effective. While industry events can be very effective in many industries, they can also be expensive and difficult to establish a justifiable ROI.

On the other hand, an advertisement on Facebook, for example, might be priced as low as $0.24 cost per click. By targeting specific audiences on social media, your campaign is likely to have a more easily justified ROI.

The targeting options on your social media ads can help you use your marketing budget more efficiently.

Creative Advertising

You can deliver the right messages to the right people at the right time by using social media ad targeting. Advertising to large audiences requires creating blanket statements that can apply to anyone within that audience. However, these larger audiences are made up of smaller audience segments.

For instance, if you are marketing to the trucking industry, then your larger audience of trucking industry professionals is made up of fleet executives, owner-operators, and dealers. Those audiences can even be drilled down further to identify the geographic location of their business location, the type of haul, or even the routes they frequent.


By targeting specific groups of people, you now have the ability to use images and copy that appeal to the interests of that targeted audience.

Your ads are no longer blanket statements going out to massive groups, and you can highlight unique problems that you can help them overcome. (A snow tire manufacturer shouldn’t market to the southeast!) While you shouldn’t overdo it, you have the ability to express superior knowledge of your audience in your social media ads.

You have in-depth knowledge of your audience and you can create targeted ads that directly appeal to their needs.

In the past, speculation and correlation were the main forms of measuring the effectiveness of marketing. With these advances in targeting, marketers can rely more and more on metrics and analysis to gauge the effectiveness of marketing messages and deliver a provable, exceptional ROI.

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