A Facebook Page About Cheating Rocked My Ad Results: How I Deal With Precise Interest Targeting

One of the biggest struggles my clients face is choosing the right audience to show their ads to. You have so many freaking options: it’s oh-so easy to get turned around and end up targeting an audience that’s either painfully vague or straight up wrong for your business. The result of both of those mistakes is the same: terrible results in terms of no or expensive conversions.

When you’re trying to reach a new audience with your blog posts or your list-building content, I’m a big proponent of using interest targeting mixed with other demographic filters.

But I don’t mean using those vague interests that Facebook suggests when you first click on the Interests field in the Power Editor. They want you to choose interests like “parenting” or “do it yourself (DIY)”. And sure, that might sound like it’s a good fit for the people you want to reach.

DON’T DO IT. I beg of you.


The problem is that we have no way of knowing how Facebook determines if people are interested in these more general categories. If I share the Buzzfeed article I read last night about the MomBod, does that mean I’ll fall into the group of people interested in parenting? I’m not a mom . . . see what I’m getting at?

Precise interest targeting is definitely the way to go, but I want you to do it like this: target the people or businesses that have a very similar audience to your own.

Some of the people/businesses I target often are:

  • Amy Porterfield
  • Mari Smith
  • Jon Loomer

These three all talk about Facebook ads in their work, so their audience is primed to learn about them. (Thanks, guys!) When I include them in my audience under Interests, that means my ads will reach their fans.

Two others I’ve used to great success have been LKR Social Media and Gary Vaynerchuk. They haven’t worked very well for me in my general list building campaigns, but rather when I use this trick. (I highly recommend you give it a try.)

It took me a long time to figure out the precise interests that made the most sense for my particular ads. All you can do is test, test, test, which is time consuming and no, it ain’t cheap. But it’s worth it; when it comes time to do a bigger paid campaign, you won’t waste time figuring out who you should be targeting.

“For the love of coffee, where are all the Facebook pages I want to target?!?”

Even if you’ve figured out all the demographic specs of your perfect target audience, you’re bound to run into this classic precise interest targeting problem: none of the businesses whose fans you’d like to target show up in Facebook’s Interests field.

Every single advertiser is cursing about the same thing, but I’m sorry to say that there’s no trick. Most Facebook pages aren’t in their advertising system, at least not yet. Sadly this is the only explanation Facebook gives for this issue:

Not every topic is available as a choice within targeting. If a particular term isn’t found within targeting that may be because it is too small of a topic and may be represented within a larger topic, or it may be sensitive. The targeting choices available do change as topics are added or removed.

I always tell the same story: I was running ads around B-School time, and desperately attempting to target Danielle LaPorte’s fans. She must have had over 40,000 fans back then. But she just wouldn’t show up under Interests, no matter how I tried spelling her name.

About a month after B-School closed for enrollment, I started typing her name in that field again, just for kicks. There she was. SON OF A BEE-STING!

What changed? Facebook probably just added her into their advertising system. Simple as that.

Struggling With Finding the Perfect Interests?

If the Facebook page you’re trying to add has fewer than 10,000 fans, chances are it’s not on their priority list to be added to the system. Definitely check for it every once in a while when creating your audiences, but don’t get your hopes up.

If the page is HUGE (as in 100K fans or more), make sure you try every variation of the name you can think of. You won’t find anything if you type in “School of Greatness,” but Lewis Howes is available to target under Interests.

And if you’re at a complete loss for precise interests to target, use Facebook’s Audience Insights tool to see what you can come up with. While running ads for someone in the relationship coaching arena, I discovered the page I Am Fed Up With Your Lies and Cheating. Am I the only one who had never heard of this magazine? They’ve got a shit ton of fans!

It turned out to be an incredible interest to target; I cut down the cost per conversion by 50% for that client when I switched out another interest for this one.

In other words? You never know what you’re going to find in there. Check out these instructions on how to use Audience Insights for your ads, and keep me posted if you discover any golden nuggets in there for your audience!

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