Using Behavioral Targeting on Facebook to Your Advantage

Using Behavioral Targeting on Facebook to Your Advantage

Trapica Content Team

Marketing Guides
4 min read
April 5, 2021

No ad will be successful if it doesn’t target the right audience. Many marketers can spend hundreds of hours making small tweaks to ad messaging and visuals, but fail to recognize the importance of targeting. How can you expect to get a good ROI if the ad doesn’t go to the right people?

Thankfully, improving targeting is no longer a manual process. We have behavioral targeting, insightful marketing tools and opportunities to improve regardless of skill or experience. Today, we want to focus on behavioral targeting by learning the basics, benefits of using the technique, different ways to integrate behavioral targeting into a marketing strategy, and finish on a step-by-step guide to getting started.

What’s Behavioral Targeting?

Rather than attempting to find a new audience for your brand/products, behavioral targeting is about delivering ads to those who have shown an interest in your brand or niche. When opening a grocery store, the store owner chooses the center of a city because it has a history of consumers shopping in these locations. The same applies to our Facebook ads. We want to get our name in front of those who have already shown an interest through their actions.

Benefits of Behavioral Targeting

With behavioral targeting, the idea is to reach out to multiple small audiences rather than one large one. If you choose this technique, here are the benefits:

  • Higher CTR - Since we’re finding relevant people for our service and products, the hope is that they have some form of interest and are therefore more likely to click through (and in turn, we reap a higher CTR).
  • Relevance - With the new target in our sights, we can play around with custom ads and create something that will resonate with the specific ad groups.
  • Improved ROI - Whenever we spend money in marketing, we hope it will bring a return. The chances of a good return are magnified when we stop pursuing those who aren’t interested in what we have to offer.
  • Better Engagement - Your prospective consumers are seeing relevant content, and this hopefully means that they’ll share it with like-minded people, whether it’s friends, family or colleagues.

How Does Behavioral Targeting Work?

You should always pair behavioral targeting with interest, location and demographics-based targeting. With this diversity, our Facebook audience is highly defined.

To get started with behavioral targeting, our focus is going to be on the Detailed Targeting section of the ad platform. After starting the targeting process based on interests, you can keep layering categories with demographics and behaviors. As you keep layering and narrowing, this means that, for a consumer to qualify for an ad, they need to meet the variations set out not just in one layer but across all of them. If you have four targeting layers, for example, everybody who receives your ad will qualify based on the four characteristics.

Different Targeting Options with Facebook

As a marketer, the benefit of advertising through Facebook is that you have one of the most advanced ad platforms at your disposal. When it comes to behavioral marketing, it can be broken down into the following:

  • Mobile device users
  • Digital activities
  • Season or events
  • Purchase behavior
  • Travel

If we look at the first option as an example, we can really narrow down the audience depending on their mobile device by operating system or brand, network connection, whether they also own a tablet, whether they’re new mobile device users, and more. With all of these opportunities to narrow down in each of the five targeting methods, we get closer to the perfect audience than ever before. Even with travel, we can narrow down based on commuters, frequent travelers, business travelers, and even those who are currently traveling.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Setting Up a Behavioral Targeting Campaign

Don’t worry, we’re just about to provide some step-by-step assistance for those who are confused. Remember, the plan is to combine behavioral targeting with interest and demographic targeting. Therefore, we shouldn’t consider this as the all-powerful, magical solution to all our marketing needs but instead as a part of the whole strategy.

Step 1: Choosing a Behavior

If you’ve never ventured into this side of Facebook targeting, we highly recommend heading into Detailed Targeting and getting familiar with the options available under Behaviors. Take a look through and decide with your marketing team the most important behaviors according to your real audience.

Remember to consider what you’re trying to achieve with your ad campaign. Recently, a company struggled with results only to realize they were including Android users in their strategy to increase iOS app installs. Little mistakes like this should be avoided, as they can hinder your goals.

With so many opportunities for narrowing, there is no excuse for not taking advantage of Facebook’s Detailed Targeting features. Want to target sports fans? Choose this in the behaviors section. Want to sell traveling backpacks? Target students and those who travel frequently.

Step 2: Get Creative with Angles

If you want to complement the campaign with a promotion or offer, why not base this offer around their behavior? As marketers, our job is to frame the product/service so that it looks attractive at all times. Let’s say that sales for tennis-related equipment goes up in spring as the sun starts to show; your campaign could focus on getting outside after a long, cold winter.

Whatever you do, be confident and follow through. What do we mean by this? Well, those who find the most success with Facebook ads tend to have synergy across landing pages, ads, angles, and all other aspects.

Step 3 - Generate Ads that Resonate

With behavioral targeting out of the way, it’s time to speak to your audience through the ad. Don’t just think about the copy; you should be aiming for a CTA, headline, text overlay, and image that speaks to the recipient and connects with the chosen behaviors in some way. If we return to the example of tennis equipment, you want to show people playing tennis and having fun in the sun. After sitting inside all winter, this will prompt them to click through.

If you’ve never done anything like this before, look at some examples online. If you want to learn how to connect with an audience, companies like Nike have set a high standard and valuable example. Watch one of their YouTube videos and you’ll find that it is always on brand. Nike doesn’t reach out to every audience. Instead, by focusing on the right people, its targeting efforts are almost always successful.

Here are some tips for how to better resonate with your audience:

  • Know Them - Knowing your audience makes content and product development smoother and informs ad creation. The more you understand your audience, the better your ad campaign will perform. You’ll know what they like, what they don’t like and what they respond to in terms of content. When learning this, don’t forget to share information between your blog and ads. If a particular article has performed well, perhaps you can learn from it and use this information for ads (and vice versa).
  • Target Pain Points - As consumers, we react better to brands that recognize our problems. Therefore, we recommend homing in on pain points. What problems does your product resolve?
  • Ask Your Audience - Whether you ask customers that have purchased your products or send out a simple poll on Twitter, one of the most underused marketing techniques is asking your audience questions. If you want to learn about them so that you have a guide for behavioral targeting, approach them directly.


There you have it, everything you need to know about behavioral targeting. In this ever-competitive world, Detailed Targeting provides us all with an opportunity to reach out to the people who need us most. It also helps us to find our niche and become a leader within it. Success is possible, but only as long as you’re willing to experiment and review the data to continually improve over time.

Marketing Guides
4 min read
April 5, 2021