How to Boost Facebook Ad Traction Using Interest Targeting

Interest Targeting

Surely I’m not the only person who has been overwhelmed by choice when it comes to narrowing my Facebook Ads audience?! I mean come on! Facebook gives us so many great tools for research and interest targeting sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. 

Knowing how to get your ad in front of a highly-qualified audience will be the difference between Facebook completely draining your marketing budget and you finding the sweet spot and earning some serious ROI. So what’s the secret? Spending 90% of your time on keyword research and a mere 10% setting up your audience.

First things first, before you start refining your interests it is imperative to have a clear understanding of…

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. What niche within that target audience are you creating an ad for?
  3. Who are you big competitors in that specific niche?

Once you’ve outlined the above you can move into the research phase using Facebook’s free Audience Insights Tool.

Audience Insights (your new best friend) 

Tools Menu > All Tools > Planning > Audience Insights > Select ‘Everyone on Facebook’

Use this tool to find out demographic and engagement information about the keywords you plan to target. Keyword research is so incredibly important as it ensures you are getting your ads in front of the right people and are finding segments to target that isn’t already being used by competitors.

Start typing a competitor’s business name into the ‘Interests’ Search box and check the following:

  1. Monthly Active People (under the title) – Does their audience reach meet your target? If it’s too large you will need to add exclusions and layered keywords (I’ll touch on this later) if it’s too small you will need a multiple keywords strategy
  2. Age/Gender – Look at the demographic spread of the audience
  3. Location – If this is a local marketing campaign apply a location filter

Next, look at ‘Page Likes’ this will show you the connected interests of this audience segment and will be valuable when layering keywords and finding a segment that is not heavily populated with competitors. Test keyword combinations until you find about 30 possible interest based keywords (Brand names, fan pages, Celebrities ect) write these down.

Tips for Picking Your Interest Keywords

 Avoid Generic Categories

Try to avoid ever using the generic interests that you find under the ‘Browse’ tab. These pull in a lot of irrelevant leads and will waste ad money. Take a look at your own preferences, they often wrongly associate interests based on these interest-categories. These would include the likes of ‘Mediation’, ‘Business and Technology’ or ‘Women’s Health’, you need to be far more specific with your keywords.

Layering Broader Keywords  

Using the ‘AND’ variable, rather than the ‘OR’ between keyword selections will allow you to narrow your audience and rule out irrelevant users that may be associated with one of the broader keywords. For example, the audience that like the ‘Runner’s World’ page is quite broad. If you knew that you wanted to target only females you would set your interests as ‘Runner’s World’ AND ‘Women’s Running Magazine’.

Interest targeting


Exclude Interests to Close in On Your Niche

Once you have layered your keywords you can further rule out irrelevant users by choosing to exclude certain interests. This is especially helpful if you have a very specific niche in mind for the ad set. While doing your research in Audience Insights you will be able to see in the ‘Page Likes’ section whether there are any conflicting interests.

For example, if you were pushing a Recipe E-Book Download that largely-contained recipes using meat using layered keywords such as ‘Degustation’, ‘MasterChef’ and ‘Fine Dining Australia’ you would want to apply exclusions to ‘Vegan’ OR ‘Vegetarian’ (Authors, recipe pages, organisations ect.) as these interests are not compatible with your offer.

Creating Your Audience

 Interest Targeting

Fill out all the sections above the line using your Customer persona and market research!  

Detailed Targeting

This is where the research you did in Audience Insights will come in handy!

  1. Start by entering one or two main keywords in the detailed targeting box. These will be the keywords that had a large amount of ‘Monthly Active People’, if you are targeting a competitor’s segment add one or two competitor’s names.
  2. Click ‘Narrow Audience’ here is where you use qualifying keywords to close in on your niche. There will be irrelevant segments pulled in from your main keywords use this section to rule them out!
  3. Make sure you have truly ruled out those irrelevant segments by clicking ‘Add Exclusions’, be specific with your exclusions so you are not removing valuable leads from your audience segment. 


Let us know how you go and if you want to see more blogs about Facebook Marketing leave us a comment or email us at 

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