One Super-Secret Way to Find Audience Targeting Ideas for Facebook Ads

This post appeared first on Tammy Cannon’s site, Cannon Online Marketing. I learned this trick from her and just HAD to get her to share it with my readers! Thank you, Tammy, for this awesome post and tip!

Struggling to find the perfect Facebook ad audience? I’m here to help!


Audience targeting is the number one reason why Facebook ads fail. I’m here to help you get new ideas on your ideal audience inherent in your Facebook timeline. Are you ready? Let’s learn!

I’m one of those people who scrolls through my Facebook timeline, not to see what all my amazing friends and family are doing (although I do love you all), but I scroll to look at ads. I know that sounds weird, but for a marketer, it’s important to know what businesses are doing, and what catches my eye that I can perhaps incorporate in my own advertising.


If you host a local business, you’re likely targeting a local audience living 25 miles around your location. That’s fine and makes sense for you. But what should you do if you want to branch out beyond your location to reach people in your niche? Or maybe part of your delightful business serves an online customer base and you want to capture those eyes and share your offering with them.


I get served a lot of ads just because of the business I’m in. You likely see the same thing right in your timeline while you’re looking at an adorable picture of your niece. Here’s what I want you to do to get new targeting ideas for your own ads. Take a look at this ad served to me this morning. You can tell it’s an ad because it says ‘Sponsored’ at the top under the page, Simply Measured in this case.


Find an ad in your timeline that resonates with you or is even in your same niche. You’ll see a tiny little arrow next to the ‘Like Page’ button and when you click on it, you’ll see this pop-up box. Click on ‘Why am I seeing this?’ tab.


Facebook is going to tell me why I’m getting served this particular ad. Apparently, Simply Measured wants to target people aged 23 and older (much older in my case, ha!), living in the United States interested in Socialbakers. Fair enough. I may have at some point liked that page or mentioned them in a Facebook post. Who can remember?


Now let’s take a look at a Facebook ad served to me by someone in my actual field of online marketing or social media. Oh wait, that’s me. *Note – Facebook will continue to hopefully recognize that they’re showing me my own ad, but alas nothing is perfect.

This is an actual ad I’m running right now sending people over to a list-building blog post I created because it will be all the rage this year. But who exactly am I targeting? Let’s find out.


For this ad, I’m testing out Mike Dillard’s page as an interest to see if any of his followers might resonate with my message. Why did I do this? Let’s take a look.


Mike has been doing some very heavy advertising on Facebook. In fact, I can’t log on without seeing his face. Take that statement however you wish. I targeted him for my ad because he is spending a lot of advertising dollars on the very same subject – growing an email list. Some of his followers may want to read a ‘how-to’ on the subject, which is where I come in.


This is a sidebar ad and when I click on the ‘x’ at the top, it tells me why he is targeting me.


I fall into Mike Dillard’s target audience because I resemble customers he already has. This is a fantastic method of targeting once you get your following beyond 1000. Once you get to 1000 fans, Facebook can create a lookalike audience, meaning people similar to your fans that you can target.

Here are some other interesting findings as I scrolled to get new ideas for audience targeting:

  • James Francis targeted Smart Passive Income w/ Pat Flynn
  • Amy Porterfield is targeting people who like her page
  • Traffic and Funnels is targeting Female Entrepreneur Association
  • Marketo is targeting Marketing Automation

I was served all of these ads for a specific reason, and I marvel at the accuracy of it all. If you aren’t using Facebook Ads, I hope you give it a try in 2016. Scrolling your Facebook Timeline and finding out why you are being served an ad may introduce you to new interests you can use in your own targeting.

If you want some free help in dabbling with Facebook Ads, take my ’30-days to a Better Online Presence’ screencast video workshop. Learn at your own pace in 30, 5-minute screencast videos where I show you the ‘how-tos’ of the ‘should-dos.’ Preview the first 10 lessons by joining the resource library on my site!

Leave me a comment and let me know why advertisers are serving ads to you. I love geeking out on this kind of research.

About the Authortammy-bio-circle

Tammy Cannon is a social media stylist helping creative entrepreneurs streamline their online presence to reach ideal clients. After serving 100 in-person clients, Tammy has taken that knowledge and creates online workshops to serve new students worldwide. Join her free library of resources at