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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Audience Targeting

Audience targeting helps you show your ads to the people you care about as a marketer. When you create an ad in Ads manager or directly from your business's Facebook Page, you'll have the opportunity to target your ad to people based on location and demographics like age, gender, and interests.

You can choose the audience you want to reach by selecting one or a combination of targeting options that suit your business's needs, while helping you reach the people you care about. There are a number of targeting options available on Facebook:

  1. Core Audiences are the targeting options available via the data given, submitted, or shared by people on Facebook. This includes their age, gender, location, and Pages or topics they like.
  2. Custom Audiences are target audiences of people you already know, created from information you provide or from information generated on Facebook's products.
  3. Lookalike Audiences are a target audience you create from a ‘source’. It finds other people on Facebook who are the most similar to the people in the source. For example, you upload an email list of your VIP customers, and you can then target people who look like your VIP customers.

All of these options allow you to target real people with precision and scale. This means that advertisers can eliminate any waste in their advertising on Facebook and Instagram. For instance, a golf shop can reach out with golf club offers to people in the local area who have an interest in golfing, but exclude anyone who has bought golf clubs from the shop in the past two years.

Custom Audiences

Custom Audiences is one of the most powerful targeting tools available. There are several benefits to utilizing Custom Audiences, namely:

Upsell/cross-sell customers:

  • Target email lists of customers who have purchased in the last 30-60-90 days with complementary products. For example, target an apparel buyer with an ad for shoes.
  • Target email lists of customers who have purchased in the last 30-60-day days with new products in the same category.
  • Target all existing customers to invite them to a promotional sale – segment by brand preferences and buying habits, for example.


  • Target customers who haven’t purchased any product over the last six months with an offer.
  • Target customers who last purchased over a holiday with an offer for an upcoming holiday.

Custom Audiences are another targeting tool that significantly minimizes wasteful advertising. A common concern with advertisers is around how Facebook controls the data. There are a number of steps taken to protect both the business’s and customer’s data:

  • Facebook hashes the data provided by the advertiser. It's hashed locally in your browser before it's uploaded to Facebook.
  • After your hashed data is uploaded to Facebook, Facebook matches it against its data.
  • The matches are added to a Custom Audience for you.
  • The matched and unmatched hashes are deleted.

There are many options available when selecting your targeting in Ads Manager. You can create a new audience cluster, or select a saved audience you created in the past. You also have an option to select or upload a custom audience, which you can use for exclusion purposes. For instance, if you wanted to drive new customer acquisition, you could exclude your database of current customers from the ad campaign. Then you can select core audiences like location, age, and so on. You can then view the size of audience that is available to reach after your targeting specifications are set. It’s important to distinguish between estimated daily reach and potential reach:

Estimated Daily Reach

This is an estimate of the number of people your ad can reach daily, based on factors including the performance of similar ads from different advertisers targeted to the same people you're targeting, and how much you’re willing to spend to reach them (that is, what you set as your budget). Because the number of advertisers and people on Facebook changes from day to day, you might see changes in these numbers from time to time.
Important: These numbers are estimates only. They're meant to help you decide how much you want to spend on ads, not as guarantees of how many people will actually see your ad once it starts running.

Potential Reach

This is the number of monthly active people on Facebook that match the audience you defined through your audience targeting selections.

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Dave Morrissey

Dave Morrissey is a Client Solutions Manager in the Retail and eCommerce division at Facebook. A seasoned digital marketer who specializes in social media, Dave now helps his clients achieve their marketing objectives through identity-based, data-driven marketing that's grounded in measurable business results.

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


    Dave Morrissey
    Skills Expert

    This module focuses on Facebook and how the platform’s features can be leveraged by digital marketers to develop a successful marketing strategy. It begins by describing how Facebook works as a platform and outlines the Facebook terminology marketers need to be familiar with. It then provides best practices for setting up a Facebook Page and creating Facebook Page Posts. It goes on to cover the different platform features on Facebook and explains how to use the Facebook Ads platform effectively. Finally, it provides you with the knowledge to plan and deliver a Facebook advertising strategy, and to analyze its performance.