5 Mistakes Every Facebook Advertiser Makes with Interest-Based Targeting

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Targeting is one of the most important things to pay attention to in running Facebook Ads. It helps you select your audience with great precision. The key is knowing how to do that targeting!

While you can target your existing customers, one of the best-known ways of targeting on Facebook is what is called “interest-based targeting”– a type of targeting where you show your Facebook ads to people interested in specific subjects.

However, there are 5 critical mistakes people make in their interest-based targeting, which is what we will be covering in this article and video.

I’ll be honest: I’ve made all these mistakes myself. We learn by committing errors and figuring out how to fix them. I’ve compiled them here so that you can learn from my experiences and avoid trouble yourself.

Mistake #1: Not Understanding Who Is Inside an Interest

Most advertisers don’t fully understand how Facebook decides who is inside of an interest. If you are targeting that interest, who is actually going to see it?   

Liking a Facebook page is only part of becoming part of an interest!

Let’s say you are comparing Facebook pages with the exact same name; one is an interest and one is not. You’ll notice that the interest has plenty more likes than the other page!

This is because Facebook uses a lot of different data to decide who is inside of a certain interest. Even if they have never liked that Facebook page before, there’s a good chance of them still being within that interest.

An interest on Facebook ads and a Facebook page aren’t really the same thing.

That’s where a lot of advertisers make mistakes– they think of reaching the fans of one particular Facebook page, but that’s not possible anymore. It used to be back in the day, but at the moment, Facebook makes the interest much bigger than that, even including people who have never liked that Facebook page!

Mistake #2: Not All Interests Are Created Equal!

A lot of advertisers think that every interest is equal.

In fact, there can be a big difference between them!

Here are some examples:

Let’s say you are planning to target golf as an interest, because you’re selling something golf-related.

Who do you think is going to see that?

Do you think it’s going to be people who are casual golfers, or perhaps people who watch it on TV? What about the pros who are super into it?

There’s no way to tell!

You have to dig a little deeper.

Let’s say you’re going to target Tiger Woods.

Do you think that everyone who is a fan of Tiger Woods actually plays golf? Probably not! He’s so famous– even outside of golf!

Despite him being the number one golfer around, the people who follow him–or the people Facebook thinks follow him— aren’t necessarily into golf!

So let’s go a level deeper. Let’s say you’re going to target Phil Mickelson. He’s still a famous golfer, but isn’t as well known. It would be safe to assume that his fans would be more into golf then, wouldn’t it?

Deeper still, if you were to target Bubba Watson, you will get people who are actually more enthusiastic about golf, as Bubba Watson is not as famous!

Digitalmarketer makes this example perfectly clear in this infographic called “The ‘But No One Else Would’ Trick”.

You’ll notice that the more well-known your target, the more difficult it is to find the common denominator.

If you target Arnold Schwarzenegger, you’re not only going to target bodybuilders. If you want to target certain interests/people related to an interest, you have to take into account how famous they are.

The more famous your target is, the harder the audience will be to target.

Mistake #3: Going for the Most Obvious Interests

People would target “golf” because they do not know what else to target. This is the biggest mistake you can make!

Going just for the obvious ones means you are fighting against everyone else on the Facebook ads platform– it’s a bloody bidding war!

If you are pursuing the targets that everyone else is pursuing, then you are out of luck!

Be more clever and sophisticated than that.

There are 3 ways to do so:

i. Go for Famous People and Famous Brands Inside Your Market

Instead of searching for general interests, look for the biggest names in the interest. Look for brands that are marketing towards the target audience you want to reach.

ii. Ask Yourself “What Else Does Your Ideal Customer Want?”–Go Sideways

Think about what your customer is interested in beyond your initial target. People interested in fishing will likely be interested in outdoor activities like camping and hiking. Look deeper– look sideways–and see if there are related markets that serve the same customers you do. See if you can target those people.

iii. Use Clever Tools to Do It

If you were to go into your Facebook ads manager and enter a certain search keyword, you will probably only get 20 results. Using tools like ConnectExplore will make the job so much easier for you.

There is also a free interest search tool that we are offering! This will help you find more keywords than you would find in the normal Facebook Ads Manager.

These tools will help you find interests that you wouldn’t be able to find without them.

Remember: Do not target the most obvious interests if you don’t want to get caught up in difficult competition. You will get better results if you think creatively when choosing interests.

Mistake #4: Not Split Testing

People tend to create Facebook ads and add five or ten (maybe even more) different interests and hope for the best. Some may be right for your business, while others could make you lose money. Your overall ad might be losing, and you might be sighing, “This is not working for me!” So you change it, or delete it, or otherwise waste your time. That’s not good!

If you had split tested the different interests to see which ones perform the best, then you would know which to keep and which to remove. Do not forget to split test!

Mistake #5: Not Using Layering

On Facebook, you can target people interested in, for example, Coca-Cola. You could also say, “I want to target everyone who’s into Coca-Cola or Pepsi.”

Using layering means that you are targeting the overlapping section when two or more interests combine. It’s not “I am targeting everyone who is interested in Coca-Cola OR Pepsi,” it is, “I am only targeting everyone within the Coca-Cola interest AS WELL AS the Pepsi interest!”

You can always go a level deeper where you add three layers, or deeper still where you add four layers, and so on. You are looking for that magic overlap!

Through layering, your audience becomes way more targeted! You can do this through the Facebook Ads platform or through ConnectExplore’s convenient dashboard.

Interest-based targeting can be a valuable asset in reaching your audience. Avoiding these pitfalls is key to getting the most out of it!

Did I miss anything? Have you made mistakes with interest-based targeting that I didn’t cover here? Let me know in the comments!