How To Use Facebook Audience Insights For Better Targeting

Posted on May 26, 2016 by

Facebook Audience Insights

Are you struggling with Facebook ads targeting?

Unsure how to find relevant audiences to improve or scale your campaigns?

Discovering what your perfect customers are interested in is one of the most crucial parts of Facebook advertising. In fact, just by changing one interest you could more than double your campaign results.

In this article, I’ll show you exactly how to use the Audience Insights tool to uncover hidden targeting opportunities, which can result in a staggering 64.83% decrease in your advertising costs.

Why Facebook Audience Insights Matters

The greatest thing about Facebook advertising is the ability to reach super specific audiences.

We can narrow them down not just by the location, age and gender, but also by the education level, relationship status, life events, and of course, thousands of unique interests and behaviors.

Yet, every week I speak with advertisers who select way too generic audiences and end up wasting a lot of their advertising money – and that’s exactly what Audience Insights solves.

Instead of promoting your running shoes to people who are interested in “running”, which includes more than 46 million users in just the United States, we can use the tool to discover laser-specific interests that will include only the most passionate runners:

How to use Audience Insights for Facebook target audience research

An example of interests that are much more relevant to running.

Even if you’ve already found an audience that converts well, you can use Audience Insights to find dozens of other related interests to scale your campaigns and get more sales.

Here’s how to do that in five easy steps.

1.  Access Audience Insights Tool

Navigate to the Ads Manager, click on “Tools” at the top and select ”Audience Insights” from the drop-down menu:

Where to find Facebook Audience Insights tool

Or type into your browser to access the tool directly.

2.  Select Your Audience

Once in Audience Insights, select the audience you want to analyze:

Facebook Audience - Everyone on Facebook, People connected to your page, A Custom Audience

  • Everyone on Facebook – all Facebook users
  • People connected to your page – your page’s fans
  • A Custom Audience – people in your email list or website visitors audience.

If you have a very large fan base or custom audience (email list or website visitors), you could begin by analyzing them first.

Otherwise, I suggest you to go with “Everyone on Facebook” as that gives the most insights.

3. Define Your “Seed” Audience

Next, use the sidebar to specify the “seed” audience you want to analyze by entering the location, age and gender, and add at least one related interest into the “Interests” field.

For the interests, I suggest to avoid generic interests like sports, nature, travelling, and choose specific ones right from the beginning:

Specify the audience segment to analyze in Audience Insights on Facebook

In this example, I selected a more specific interest – ‘Runner’s World’ – instead of a generic one like ‘Running’.

You can narrow the audience down even further with other layers: connection to your pages, behaviors, language, relationship status, education, work, financial, home, market segments, parents, politics (US), life events and more categories.

Analyse Facebook users by behaviours, language, education, work, financial, and more categories


After making any changes to the audience, you will immediately notice how the number of monthly active people changes and the age and gender chart updates too:

How many monthly active users a Facebook audience has

See how many monthly active people there are in your target audience.

Although we can spend a lot of time analyzing demographics, location, activity, household and purchase, I like to go directly to the Page Likes tab – that’s where the real magic happens!

4. Analyze Top Categories and Page Likes

If you followed the previous steps correctly, you will see a list of the Top Categories that your potential audience is interested in, as well as the most popular pages within each category:

Facebook's audience Insights and what categories people are interested in

I highlighted just a few pages, but you can see that most of them are related to running and fitness – great for us!

What’s even more exciting, you can scroll down to see a list of dozens of pages that are ranked by relevance and affinity:

How to identify new target audiences on Facebook

By definition, relevance is:

The Pages that are the most likely to be relevant to your audience based on affinity, Page size and the number of people in your audience who already like that Page.

And affinity:

How likely your audience is to like a given page compared to everyone on Facebook.

– which means that if you see a very high affinity score, it will be extremely likely that the audience you selected is also liking those pages.

Sometimes, however, Facebook will not display any data if the seed audience is smaller than 1,000 people. In that case, I suggest to remove some unnecessary layers of targeting or add a few bigger countries:

Expand the target audience if Audience Insights stops working on Facebook

Or the opposite can happen: If the seed audience is too broad, Facebook will give suggestions that aren’t relevant at all.

When that happens, replace the broad interest with something more specific you found among suggested pages to get even better insights.

5. Save Most Relevant Pages

Continue with playing with the seed audience until you see more relevant results in Top Categories and Page Likes.

Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and rank pages by affinity or relevance.

Look at all pages and write down specific interests, brands, magazines, websites, organizations, community pages, famous people or anything else that might define the target audience:

How to use Facebook Audience Insights tool

Another example of using using Page Likes section for targeting ideas – this time, analyzing ‘Ryan Deiss’ as an interest.

For that, I like to use a simple Google spreadsheet where I save the page name, its URL and the number of fans:

Saving Facebook Page Likes suggestions into a spreadsheet

Creating a list of the most relevant pages to your product or service that could be used for any advertising campaigns.

You can even add an extra column for your own comments, so that you can write down which of those interests are working well after a campaign finishes.

Note: you will not be able to use all of the pages you just discovered. Sometimes even the smallest pages can be used for the Facebook ad targeting, while other times a page with hundreds of thousand of fans will not appear in Detailed Targeting.

Bonus: Test Your New Audiences

Just by using this simple approach to researching target audiences, you’ll reach much more relevant people and get more from your advertising campaigns.

But if you really wanted to see the differences between those interests, you would need to split test them and analyze the results.

You can do that by separating audiences into different ad sets, so that you can see exactly which interest is working best for your offer:

How to split-test Facebook ad campaigns by ad sets and audiences

You can cut your cost per conversion by as much as 64% by just testing a few different interests.

And like in the example above, you might be lucky to find some audiences that are converting two or even three times better than the rest!

facebook dark post


For me, Audience Insights is the most important tool on Facebook.

It allows us to analyze all Facebook users and find unique and very specific interests that we didn’t know even existed.

As a result, we can show our products or services to much more relevant people – and convert them more easily into leads and sales.

Will you be using Facebook Audience Insights to improve your targeting? Let us know in the comments below.

Learn how to use Facebook Audience Insights for better targeting