How to create Facebook audiences for effective Facebook Ads user acquisition campaigns

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When it comes to developing a winning app user acquisition strategy, it’s important to evaluate all of your paid UA channels to determine which platform(s) will deliver the best return on investment for your app’s business objectives. Along with Apple Search Ads, and Google UAC, Facebook is still a strong performer for meeting app growth objectives, with detailed targeting as its biggest advantage. 

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the best method to create Facebook acquisition ad campaigns so you don’t miss your most important target audiences. Let’s start by looking at the different types of Facebook ad targeting options and then drill down into how to create Facebook audiences that will result in the most effective Facebooks ads campaigns to grow your app.

Facebook Ads Broad Audience Targeting

First, we’ll talk about the most basic form of targeting that we’re all likely familiar with: broad targeting. It’s called broad because this approach can target anyone—any gender, age, or lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if the audiences are interested in your app or not, or if they share qualities with your ideal users. 

With broad targeting, your ads get served to an audience that only needs to tick off 2 boxes: 

✅ Lives in your desired locations 

✅ Speaks your targeted languages 

Broad targeting is beneficial and necessary if you are a new app going to market, or if you’re expanding your app into a specific new market and are looking to discover who your audiences are. 

As part of a “research and discovery” process, broad targeting is the best practice for allowing the Facebook algorithm to learn and scan the landscape. From here, you can have a good look to get a better understanding of who your target audiences are. By having broader data to analyze, it helps prevent you from rushing into subjective assumptions that can prematurely narrow your audience size. 

Facebooks Ads Audience Targeting by Demographic

The second Facebook targeting option is demographic. You can find your user’s demographic by doing surveys/research or—a more accurate and easier way—by using the age and gender information from the Facebook dashboard after running broad campaigns. 

Demographic targeting includes information such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation 
  • Marital status 
  • If they have children or not 

For example, one of our clients, Portable North Pole, creates Santa videos for children for Christmas and they find that their most successful campaigns target parents with kids that are 3-8 years old. Whereas, another fintech client with an app that focuses on stocks and investing, sees that their target audience includes 25 to 64 year-old males.

Finding your audience’s demographic not only helps you to lower the cost per install but also can help you to strategically develop your app in the long term based on your target users’ preferences. 


Facebook Ads Audience Targeting by Interest

The third type is targeting by interest, and is where you (the marketer) can combine both your research skills and your creativity. 

How to best define your target audiences’ interests? Our recommendation: always start by looking within your app. This means analyzing your app and exploring all the features from your users’ point of view. You should understand your app in the same way your users do in order to identify what they like and don’t like.

Most importantly, what is their goal in using and engaging with the app? From there, you can establish ideas about your audience’s interests and let Facebook suggest what other interests the platform thinks best matches your audiences based on your initial input. 

Of course, it’s ultimately your call to choose which interests are most suitable for your audiences, but remember, you want to keep the interest size big enough but not too big — ideally under a couple million people. Be sure to test one interest per ad set so you know which interest works and which doesn’t in your final analysis.    

Facebook Ads Lookalike Audience Targeting

Last but not least is lookalike audience targeting, which is often a very effective method for acquiring new users. 

What is Facebook lookalike audience targeting? This approach involves finding new users who share the same qualities as your past users. 

How do you perform Facebook lookalike audience targeting?

You can start the process by creating a list of your past users’ email then uploading the list to Facebook. 

Your list of past users can be users who have installed your app, people who have used the app at any point in time, or people who have accounted for an event within the app, such as ‘make a purchase’ or ‘app registration.’ 

Strategically select your source audience—which you must have in order to create a lookalike audience—that’s between 1,000-5,000 people. Remember that the quality of your audience matters. Depending on your specific goals, you’re likely to get better results using an audience that’s made up of your best user as opposed to including all of your users. 

The next step is choosing how large you want the lookalike audience to be and the locations for your audiences. The best practice is to choose a range between 1% and 10% of your selected target country’s total population. (Note: the size you choose depends on how closely you want your lookalike audience to match your source and how much budget you have to cover the audience size.) 

Also for every single source audience, you can create up to 500 lookalike audiences. The minimum number of people your source audience must have is 100 from a single country, but as we mentioned, you’ll ideally have at least 1,000.

We recommend testing your lookalike audience. For example, you can create 10 groups from your 1-10% lookalike audience and test to see which group performs the best.

In Summary

Creating Facebook audiences is a smart strategy to implement to not miss any potential users that are out there for your app. And while the process may be seemingly straightforward, it’s important to make proper use of all the customer data you have and make sure it’s the type of quality data you need to make the informed decisions that will achieve your app growth goals.

If you need app marketing support in setting up and creating effective Facebook Ads app campaigns, our paid UA specialists would be more than happy to help!


Jennifer Sansone

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