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5 types of social media targeting

April 17, 2020

Targeting is key to the success of a paid social media campaign, but many are unaware of what sort of targeting criteria is available.

Here are five of the most popular targeting options:


Retargeting is something I’m sure most of you are familiar with from the audience side of things. You look at a product on a website and for the next few days, the products or business you looked at appears everywhere.

Now retargeting doesn’t simply have to be targeting everyone who visited your website, you can also target visitors based on their actions on the site. For example, people who initiated checkout or started filling in their details can be targeted specifically. Based on their actions, they were very close to making a purchase and they may just need that extra push, so a retargeting campaign offering 5% off may prove the deciding factor.

Retargeting can be extremely effective when used right, but it is worth considering that volumes of traffic affect this. 

As you can imagine, a global company with tens of thousands of daily visitors will have a much larger pool to target, and thus the campaigns have more chance of succeeding.


Lookalike audiences are dubbed the ‘Holy Grail’ of Facebook and it has been reported that they were used widely for political campaigns such as the Donald Trump election campaign and Brexit.

Lookalike audiences are created by Facebook, based on data supplied to them. This data could be a customer database uploaded or website visitors.

Essentially, Facebook takes the data source and finds similar people to who you’ve provided them with, ie. potential customers. So the stronger the data, the better the results.

The lookalikes are based on numerous characteristics that only Facebook truly knows, but it is mostly based on online behaviour and has worked wonders for companies (and politicians).


Interest-based targeting allows you to target people based on things they are interested in. The list of interests isn’t endless, so we need to make sure that the interests that we can target for are relative to what we’re advertising.

Facebook identifies who is likely to have an interest in something based on things they interact with, pages and groups they like and what they talk about.

You may have experienced that after you clicked on a Facebook ad for a product, you all of a sudden are targeted by similar products. This is likely to be due to interest targeting taking effect. By clicking on an ad for, say, headphones, you are likely to be interested in headphones and earphones so other ads will try to capture you.


LinkedIn is the most accurate when it comes to job-based targeting, as people list a lot more about their work on LinkedIn than they do on the likes of Instagram or Twitter.

On LinkedIn, you can target people based on a plethora of work-related categories, from job title to size of the company to key skills.

Facebook also offers work related targeting, although it is less common to list your job title on Facebook these days. If you are looking to target someone from a particular industry then interest targeting may still work. Someone interested in construction, or construction-related Facebook group/page, is likely to have some relation to the industry.

Basic Demographic Based

In some cases, a brand appeals to a broad range of people and sometimes demographics-based targeting can be effective.

Say, perhaps, your service or product is targeted at married people, Facebook will allow you to target people who are listed as married.

You do, however, want to be clever when your business appears to such a broad group of people, as you can still narrow the market down by catering the wording and artwork to each subcategory that can be targeted separately as part of the same campaign. 

You may, for example, decide to target husbands aged 60+ with one ad. That will allow you to use more specific language such as mentioning the word ‘wife’, and you can add images of older couples to make it more relatable.

We often find ourselves combining the above to find the most effective market for our campaigns.

If you have a lookalike audience, you may want to narrow it down by age or gender (for example), based on statistics you find on the likes of Google Analytics. If 95% of people who purchase your product are female, then it’s probably worth only targeting the females in the lookalike.

Whatever campaign you’re interested in we have the skillset to improve your visibility and conversion rate. Contact us today to find out more about our paid social media solutions.




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