Skip to main content

5 Essential Ingredients for Your Facebook Targeted Ad Recipe

5 Essential Ingredients for Your Facebook Targeted Ad Recipe

You ever look in your fridge, see a bunch of random (but delicious!) ingredients, and have no idea how to combine them into a cohesive meal? Trying to hone in on the perfect combination of Facebook ad targeting parameters can feel a lot like that. With thousands of audience targeting options and a hearty handful of ad layouts, finding the right Facebook ad targeting recipe can be overwhelming, frustrating, and leave you starving for some positive results.

If it helps, you’re not alone. A 2017 survey found that 62% of small business owners feel that Facebook ads just aren’t satiating their craving for reliable targeting.

While we can’t tell you exactly who you should be targeting, at least until you’ve chatted with us about your specific business, there are some fundamental ingredients that form the so-called mirepoix of every great Facebook targeted ad marketing strategy.

So, strap on your novelty “We Be Grilling” apron and get out the good tongs. We’re about to dish up a heaping helping tried and true ways to see results with targeted ads.

Ingredient #1: Data

When it comes to marketing, the difference between working with data and working without data is like the difference between using a chef’s knife and a butter knife to cut vegetables. Sure, you might accidentally make some progress, but it’s going to be sloppy and hard-won.

The neat thing about our Facebook ad targeting recipe is that a lot of the work is already done for you, especially if you are already at least semi-familiar with the analytics tools available through your business manager. We dig into the specifics in our recent post on creating and using a Facebook ad account, but there are some really cool features that are worth mentioning again.

For example, you can target an audience based on recent life events. This is particularly handy if you specialize in things like weddings, photography, babies, or birthdays. If you’re a jewelry store or a photographer, you might target those who have an anniversary coming up in the next 61-90 days with a special sale price for those who are celebrating their one year.

You can also target based on interests, which is going to be the real meat and potatoes of your Facebook targeting ad recipe, apart from your basic demographics. Layering interests and demographics on top of one another allows you to create a very narrow, direct audience of people who are most likely to engage in your brand. A tattoo studio, for example, isn’t going to necessarily want to target all beauty lovers, or those over a certain age, or those who have been looking around for laser tattoo removal. Facebook’s ad creator allows you to take what you know about your client’s interests and mix them together into a perfect combination built to be seen by your audience.

Ingredient #2: Brand Personality

We’ve talked quite a bit about brand personality and authenticity because it can be the make or break point for whether or not your audience is captured by the message you’re trying to send. While brand personality is a complex, multi-faceted, and very personal piece of your business, it can be simplified into 5 fundamental dimensions, created by Jennifer Aaker, that can help you with your ad recipe. Take what you want from each, put your own spin on it, and find the audience that appreciates what your brand personality has to offer:


Sincere brands bring a little bit of child-like wonder back to the world of advertising. They strive for honesty, wholesomeness, and often lean on the idea of family. Examples would include Disney, Hallmark, and Amazon, to some extent.


Exciting brands lean on trends, current events, and swiftly shifting marketing approaches to keep their buyers engaged. They are aggressive, spirited, and enthusiastic. They also tend to keep the energy high when it comes to creating content. This would include Nike, Tesla, and most energy drink companies.


Brands that boast competence are the ones that emerge as leaders in their particular industry. They are seen as intelligent, capable, and reliable. Competence brands make up a large sector of our lynch pen resources, like Google, Microsoft, and Intel.


Luxury brands like Apple, Tiffany & Co., and Rolex rely on the sophistication personality to sell to people who like the finer things in life. They portray themselves as glamorous and romantic, often putting a large portion of their marketing towards presentation. In fact, the aesthetics of these brands are often so prolific, they’re one of the first things people think of when considering a luxury purchase.


On the opposite side of sophistication is ruggedness. Think Jeep, Jack Daniels, and Marlboro. These brands portray their customers as folks who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, feel more comfortable in jeans than a suit, and spend their time outdoors. They’re seen as dependable, reliable, and tough.

Ingredient #3: Demographics

If most people knew about any particular piece of ad targeting, it’s probably demographics. Obviously, you’re not going to sell men’s jeans to women or denture paste to Millenials. When you’re targeting a particular demographics sector, you’ll usually run into questions of:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Income
  • Whether they are married and/or parents
  • Location, from country down to city

When you layer simple demographics with the more interest- or recent shopping-based data, you are able to create an extremely well-rounded algorithm that comprehensively targets the key elements of who your customers are and what you can do to better market to them.

Ingredient #4: Visual Interest

While data, demographics, and personality make up the bulk of your targeting efforts, creating visual interest that aligns with those other factors is just as important. You can tell the most charming, delightful story in the world, but if it’s black Times New Roman on a white background, you can hardly expect it to catch the eye of someone with the attention span of 8 seconds.

On the other hand, you also have to be careful not to overwhelm with busy text, loud colors, and confusing calls to action. Instead, focus on providing pops of interesting color, keeping your graphics clean and eye-catching, and thinking about what message you are trying to send with your advertisement. What emotion are you trying to elicit?


Ingredient #5: Love

While it might seem a little cliche, passion for your customers, for your industry, and for your business is an essential ingredient in your Facebook targeted ad recipe. Remember earlier when we mentioned that the process can be a little frustrating? The love that you have for what you do is going to be the catalyst that helps you get past the inevitable rut that happens to most small business while they’re waiting for an investment to show returns.

According to OkDork, a site run by Noah Kogan of Sumo Group, your advertising dollar can take anywhere from 1 day to 6 months to become profitable. In the meantime, it can feel like you’re pouring money into an endless abyss of creative efforts that aren’t raking in the dollars. We cannot state it emphatically enough… Be. Patient. Things don’t happen overnight, and the longer you’re willing to stick it out, the better your Facebook targeting ad recipe is going to work. It’s like leaving a gumbo in the fridge overnight. It’s tasty day 1, but there’s something about leaving it overnight that makes it a little tastier.

If you aren’t sure where to start, or if you have the right tools to start Facebook advertising, get in touch!

To get the most bang for your buck, we use a multi-pronged approach centered on increasing your Google rankings, building a captive audience on social media, utilizing the plethora of opportunities that is email marketing, and building out incredible content that demands to be seen, shared, and discussed. Along the way, we help you understand the who, what, and why of your marketing strategy with a range of tools that delves deep into your demographic data. That means better returns, sooner.

UPDATE: Since the publication of this article, NATIV3 has been named one of the Top Digital Marketing Agencies by DesignRush. Contact us to get started today!

Share this post:

If you have any questions, feel free to call us



400 Cedar Lake Rd S.
Minneapolis, MN 55405
Sales: 612.354.6164Support: 651.900.7834

Washington, DC

Sales: 202.505.2763

© 2024 NATIV3, All Rights Reserved.