International Micro-Targeting with Facebook

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At its most basic, micro-targeting is the hyper-segmentation of audiences coupled with personalized messages or offers to increase conversions. Your favorite brands do this all the time, and it’s pretty effective. Once you know what your audience wants and their specific demographics you can use this to make compelling ads that are highly relevant.

For international markets, micro-targeting has become an essential component of most campaigns because it allows you to granularly target your audience. Here’s a look at how you can set up micro-targeting campaigns on Facebook today. Facebook may be changing its policies, but there are still ways to appeal to international social audiences.

Initial Steps

Before you get started, you’ll need to know the demographics of your target audience. The best way to do this is to create semi-fictional profiles of your customers called Buyer Personas. These profiles are your ideal customers – the ones who understand and cherish your core values and buy from you time and again. Once you understand your ideal customer you can invest in prospects that are going to turn into leads. The more you know about these customers the more targeted your ads can be.

Using Language

If you’re marketing internationally you should already have international top-level domains (TLDs) and websites translated into local languages. You’re also going to need to translate your ads into the right language. Have multiple countries to cover? That’s okay, Facebook offers advertisers dynamic language optimization meaning you can include multiple languages of text that will change to suit a user. Coupling this with targeting geographic and behavioral factors is going to help you target very specific buyers, producing messaging that resonates with them.

Facebook Laptop Image International Microtargeting

Image: Facebook


You have an international audience, it makes sense to segment your audiences by location and offer them tailored content specific to where they are. For Facebook, it’s easy to micro-target by location by simply entering locations (cities) into the location section and setting the radius around the city. The closest you can get to a position is 17km. In addition to this, you can select whether you want to target residents, those recently in the area, or travelers. With specific addresses, you can reduce this down to a 1km radius. Especially useful if your product or service will appeal to people visiting a specific location.Facebook Custom Audiences Example-Location International Microtargeting

Note: On other platforms, this isn’t quite as detailed. Granular targeting is available on Twitter for some cities in Australia, America, Canada, South America, Japan and Europe but it is not everywhere.Twitter International Location Targeting Example


You can create lookalike audiences based on your page or website contacts, or you can set up entirely new audiences based on behavior. Use likes and interests to get even more detailed. For instance, you might micro-target to parents who live in the Vancouver area with adult children who have recently gone to college. Your product? Hot tubs. Your creative? Designed to appeal to parents with an empty nest.

Facebook paid international behavior targeting example

Rumors abound about what Facebook may or may not be retiring in the aftermath of recent data issues with Cambridge Analytica, but for now behavior targeting remains an integral part of ad targeting options. Since the real issue in recent news has been third-party information and use of third-party data, keep an eye-out for the phasing out of third-party information like income, and purchasing behavior in particular as this has recently been confirmed by Facebook.

International Marketing Checklist


Using Facebook’s lookalike audience feature, and uploading a list of your customers, is a great way to remarket. When creating a “Lookalike Audience,” you choose a source audience (a custom audience created with data like fans of your page, email lists, or phone numbers) and identify the common qualities of the people in it. Facebook finds an audience similar to (or who "look like") them. This is particularly great if you already have customers or contact lists in the country you’re targeting but your source audience doesn’t need to be from the country/countries you want to target i.e. you can have a source audience from Finland, but use that to create a lookalike audience in South Africa.

It’s worth noting that Facebook’s custom audiences will also change in the near future. Following Facebook’s involvement in data collection by Cambridge Analytica, the social media giant is updating its privacy policies to protect user data against violation. This comes shortly after the decision to implement the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a regulation through which various European governing bodies seek to protect individuals’ data. All of this means that in the near future you’ll be required to use a ‘certification tool’ to verify you’ve attained data with user consent when using a custom audience.

Avoid Nano Targeting

There’s a fine line between the perfect custom advert and creepy. The focus of micro-targeting is on creating authentic and unique relationships with potential customers that lead to conversions and increase sales. It’s not about weirding people out. Finding this line can sometimes simply be a matter of good judgement and experience – something we have lots of at Meticulosity.

If you’re looking for tried and tested methods that can increase qualified leads for your international sites, contact us today for a free consultation. From cc TLDs to providing fluent and bespoke content that speaks to your international markets, Meticulosity has over 100+ years of combined experience and a vision for detail.

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About Author

David Ward
David Ward

Dave is the CEO + Founder of Meticulosity and a serial entrepreneur who has spent his 20+ year professional career as an agency owner in digital marketing and web development space.

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