How to Build & Target the Right Facebook Audience for Your Shopify Store (5 Tips)

You’ve spent long hours researching and developing your products through marketplaces (eBay, Amazon, Aliexpress if you’re dropshipping), communities, and trending product sites (like You’ve created your Shopify store and made it look as professional as possible. At last, you’re ready to advertise your new eCommerce store and get that first sale.

Finding that winning audience takes formulating several hypotheses and testing them out. And you may get inspiration from several sources: googling, asking your friends, and your hunches. Many of these audiences will not yield the results that you want at first. This is normal.

However, you can’t be careless in your tests. You’re spending real (and your own) money after all. If you join eCommerce groups as I do, you’ve probably seen too many posts like this:

shopify store not converting

Sadly, many Shopify store owners lose hope too early, and it’s most likely because they don’t rely on a process.

Now there are many possible reasons why a store wouldn’t convert: poorly optimized landing pages, poor ad creatives, or maybe even your products pricing.

But today we’re going to focus on an equally important factor that determines the success of your store: your target audience. A study published by Nielsen in 2016 revealed that only 42% of retail marketers in the UK hit their target audience, making this process essential in your online store.

More specifically, we’re going to focus on how you can get the right Facebook target audience. We’ll show you simple tips on how you can start testing so you can find that winning audience faster.

Tip 1: Use the Facebook Audience Insights Tool to Find a Base Interest

Taking advantage of the Facebook Audience Insights tool removes the guesswork from your research. What you need to do however is to know which interest qualifies for your brand. There is a simple approach to know this for sure:

“If person likes <interest>, then he/she may likely buy my product.”

Let’s have an example. One of our clients sells pre and post-workout supplements, and have done well with the Crossfit segment. They wanted to expand to new audiences, and so our task was to discover other groups that will purchase their products.

We decided to target endurance athletes (long-distance runners, cyclists, and swimmers) as they would most likely fit our ideal persona. Applying the approach above, here’s the process on how to find the audience that will likely convert.

1. In the Facebook Audience Insights tool, type the “base interest”. We’re going to use long distance running as an example here:

facebook audience insight tool

2. Go to the “Page Likes” tab, and you’ll see there the list of pages liked by your target audience. This will be your pool of options.

page likes facebook audience insights

3. Apply the “If person likes <interest>, then he/she may likely buy my product” mindset in your criteria. Our client targets more serious athletes so we focused our search on that. Below are categories that work well:

* Events such as The Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon
* Organizations such as The Road Runner and New York Road Runners
* Personalities/Public Figures such as Jeff Galloway and Shalane Flanagan
* Publications such as Runner’s World Magazine
* Websites such as RunJunkees and Another Mother Runner

Avoid general interests as a practice. If you sell Golf clubs, for example, don’t target people who like ‘Golf’ only. This audience may follow the sport, but they might be only spectators and wouldn’t purchase your products anytime soon.

The audience size that has worked for us is between 500,000 to 1,000,000 (note: for B2B clients, this number is lower: around 0,000 – 50,000) so use that as a benchmark especially if you’re working with a tight budget. What’s important is that you *test by category *so you can know for sure whether the audience you’re ad targeting is working or not.

You can set your tests to run for 3 – 5 days, starting with a budget of $5/day. Do note that you’re introducing your brand to people who haven’t heard of you before. Thus there’s a small chance of them buying right off the bat. So to determine whether a Facebook ads targeting test is succeeding or failing, look for signs of life: are there multiple add-to-cart or initiated checkout conversions? If the answer is yes, then these audiences may just need a little bit more of convincing before they buy.

Tip 2: Use the Suggestions Feature in Facebook Power Editor

I love using the Audience Insights tool when I’m looking for new audiences, but I find myself running out of options fast. The simple fix that I have is to use the Suggestions feature in Power Editor.

You can find it under the Audiences section in any ad set:

suggestions power editor

In this screenshot alone, you have seven new audiences that you can add to your list!

Tip 3: Discover What Works for Competition

Since spying tools like WhichAdsWork and are no longer in service, the simple alternative is to go to your competitor’s site and wait until they target you with an ad. When you see the ad in the news feed, select the “Why am I Seeing This Button” on the top-right part of the post.

why am i seeing this facebook ad

You will then see information on the ad targeting that your competitor has used:

competitor ad information

If you want to see related ads, click on the “This ad is useful” button. You will then start to see more related ads on your newsfeed:

this ad is useful facebook

Tip 4: Start with a Broad Demographic First

Unless your product serves a specific gender or age group, it pays to be broad in your Facebook ads targeting first. This is to make sure that you’re not getting false-negatives in your tests. Missed opportunities could be costly for your business.

I experienced this when I was doing Facebook ads for my store: I thought the products would appeal to a younger audience (18 – 30 y/o), but when I did my testing, 100% of my conversions were from people 45 years old and above. Imagine what I might have missed if I followed my bias!

I have since sold my store to another client, but I would have pivoted my site to cater to older people because of that insight.

Keep it broad and simple at first. When you validate your targeting, refine and optimize for return on ad spend (ROAS).

Tip 5: Set up a Facebook Retargeting Campaign

Here’s an old statistic: almost 97% of site visitors don’t convert when they visit your site. This remains true in 2017, where conversion rate is at 2.48%. If you rely on cold traffic only, you may not maximize your sales volume and limit your ROI.

The solution for this is to set up retargeting ads. Retargeting means your encouraging people who know your brand to purchase by placing ads in front of them. Hence they are one of the most-effective ways to acquire customers. If you have don’t have any, hurry and go set them up!

Some simple retargeting strategies that you can use in Facebook include:

* Retargeting previous website visitors: To boost your conversion rates, center your ads around an offer such as a discount, free shipping, or 30-day money back guarantee.
* Set up Dynamic Ads: Use this to target people who have added items to your cart but did not purchase. All you have to do is upload your product feed on Power Editor, and users will automatically see a Facebook ad that contains the items that your user left on the cart.

These strategies sound simple, and that’s the beauty of it. You can implement these strategies no matter how big and small your budgets are, and you can do them in a matter of minutes. I don’t want to sound cliche, but there’s no other way to find a winning audience than researching and testing over and over again. Thus it’s always a good idea to keep your approach simple.

May you find success in your Shopify eCommerce stores. Good luck!

Filed Under: acquisition, Ecommerce, Facebook Advertising

Tagged With: acquisition, audience targeting, ecommerce, facebook audience, facebook audience targeting, facebook interest, shopify store

Publish Date

November 12, 2020

Christian Alan Vibar
Senior Growth Manager

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