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Using Facebook Audiences To Leverage Engagement

You’re not alone if you’ve seen a dramatic drop in engagement on your Facebook posts for business this year. Let’s take a closer look at how the news feed on Facebook is changing, as well as tips and tricks you can use to reach people using audience settings in Facebook paid ads.

Ally Bootsma
By Ally Bootsma   |  

 Oct 08, 2018

Over 80 million businesses use Facebook to increase brand awareness and improve sales. Facebook isn’t going anywhere for those brands, but the Facebook News Feed might. You’re not alone if you’ve seen a dramatic drop in engagement on your posts this year. 

Let’s take a closer look at how the news feed on Facebook is changing, as well as tips and tricks you can use to reach people using audience settings in Facebook paid ads.


Just a few years ago, if your business posted something on your business page around 10% of your followers would initially see a post. If it was liked, Facebook would roll out this post to more and more people testing reactions as it went. The process of getting your message out there was pretty simple — capture the attention of 10% of your audience and watch your post spread. 👀 

We all remember the days of kickstarting Facebook engagement using our knowledge of this — you’d see businesses tell their audiences to tag friends in posts or comment with their favorite whatever. Those were heady days. 🙌🙌 These days things aren’t that simple. Any given post from a business is now only reaching as few as 1% of your audience in news feed. News feed isn’t just dying for businesses, it’s already dead. The old tactics you’ve been using won’t work anymore. Far from a reason to panic, you should try to use this as an opportunity to shake things up. 


What Can You Do?

The decline in engagement within the news feed (over 50% in the last 18 months) isn’t accidental on the part of Facebook. 📉 Facebook has been shifting towards a pay-to-play model for businesses for years now. Combine this with their dedication to making sure users actually see content they connect to that encourages community and while the latest decline in engagement may seem startling it’s actually very deliberate move by the platform. Put simply, Facebook wants businesses to pay for engagement. The days of only using organic content have almost entirely gone, and that's okay.

If you’re not already budgeting Facebook into your 2018 ad spend, you’ll need to get on that quickly. Blending good organic with paid content can be incredibly effective and allows for businesses to reach not only their own audiences but audiences highly likely to purchase from their ecommerce site or engage with their brands.

How Much to Budget

A budget of as little as $50 a day can see spectacular results for your business (that's around $1500 a month). If you set up at least 5 ads within your ad set and you’re paying $10 per ad per day. Those with larger budgets will find that they can play with stages in the sales funnel — reaching people who are ready to buy as well as those who are earlier on in the buyer’s journey.


Think carefully about how and when you might want to boost, promoted, or create unpublished post ads to supplement your content.

Alongside your paid strategy, budget your team's time accordingly too. It's all about using Facebook smartly these days to ensure you create engaging and quality content. For some, this could mean posting less often with better content rather than churning out links and images in an effort to become content kings.

Leveraging Facebook Audiences to Maximize Sales and Conversions

Facebook has a very powerful audiences feature that can often get overlooked or be undervalued when it comes to ad planning. We get it. You're super eager to dive into ads and get started with some sweet leads, brand awareness, or engagement. It can be easy to skip right through the audience settings, or stick with something quite generic.

Avoid the generic. Using Facebook Audiences to segment your campaigns is exactly how you can create relevant, timely, and engaging content that costs very little per result. Win! Facebook Audiences

Facebook Audience Types

Within Facebook Ads there are three main types of audience:

  • Core Audiences: These are your traditional demographic targeting, of which there are a million combinations. A sometimes overlooked feature in this segment is using life-events (weddings, graduations, and moving house) to trigger ads, which can be super useful for ecommerce sites who offer occasional gifts and trinkets.
  • Custom Audiences: These are based on data that you provide Facebook or that Facebook already has on your brand and are best used for targeting those who have already interacting with your business in some way.
  • Lookalike Audiences: These can be generated from custom audiences and will result in an audience similar to those who have already purchased or interacted with your brand before.

While core audiences are often used by brands in Facebook Ads to some success, we often find the other two types of audiences can be underutilized. Here are some tips for making the most out of your audience options.

Dig Deeper with Core Audiences

Have you ever taken the time to really look into all of the options available to you within the demographic audiences on Facebook? There are a lot of possible combinations.


We often say that to do Inbound marketing right, you need to create buyer personas — fictional profiles of your ideal customers with real data and information. Once you have this, you can use those personas to make audiences in Facebook. These audiences are incredibly powerful because they aren't just people who you think might like your online store but they're also exactly the leads you want. By creating audiences based on your personas you're pre-qualifying your leads meaning you don't have to waste time on people who will never buy from you.

Taking a look under the hood for a second, here are a few of our favorite Core Audience features:

  • life events
  • digital activities (shout-out to all Facebook users in the 'early adopters' of technology bracket!)
  • travel habits
  • job titles
  • education
  • parents
  • interests
  • location
  • and much much more

Remember that you can exclude people from your targeting too — this is especially useful if you don't want to constantly hound current customers with brand awareness ads for your business. 

Leverage Your Customers

Your customers are the growth engine of your business. Be sure to use them when you're building your Facebook Ads. As we said above, you can actually exclude this audience when you need to from Ads, but Ads should also be targeted to these people too.

Facebook is great for re-marketing — whether you do this using a traditional ad, or you promote a post to your customers instead encouraging them to engage with your brand and leveraging them for recommendations.

The Custom Audiences feature will allow you to retarget based on:

  • a pre-existing email list (provided this complies with data laws)
  • engagement with your brand or ads
  • website or app traffic (using a Facebook pixel or SDK)
  • offline activity

Find Your Lookalikes

So you've set up super targeted brand awareness ads for your Core Audiences, and you're re-targeting to your Custom Audiences in a clever and engaging way. There's only one thing left to do — generate some Lookalike Audiences based on existing customers.

When it comes to Lookalike Audiences you can choose how similar you want them to be. The size ranges from 1% to 10% of the total population in the countries you choose. 1% is going to more closely match your customer base, while 10% will least resemble it. You can create this audience based on a Custom Audience so if you're already running ads for a Custom Audience it's super simple to set up!

Some Quick Facebook Audience Tips

  • You can (and should) save audiences. Call these something very descriptive when naming them because it’s easy to forget and when done right, you'll have quite a few audiences on the go
  • Location based targeting is super fun
  • There are a tonne of local ad features for ecommerce sites that also have storefronts.
  • You can use Audience insights to better understand audiences on Facebook and create audience personas. This pulls data from the entirety of Facebook.
  • Broad audience targeting is good for brand awareness, but not ideal for tight budgets. The smaller your budget, the more segmented your audience should be. You can even try microtargeting too.
  • Constantly adjust and tweak your ads. Although Facebook will allow you to automate a lot of things (you can set Frequency caps, alerts that notify you when certain factors are met or turn off ads entirely) the best way to optimize those ads and keep them fresh is to review them on a weekly basis.
  • Lookalike Audiences only really work if your Custom Audiences are valuable and convert well. Lookalike Audiences can only be as good as the data you give Facebook.

Bring In The Experts

Maybe your team have the basics of Facebook Ads covered, but they're looking to fully optimize their campaigns or create layered targeting that skyrockets conversions. If you're ready to go beyond the basics, our team of experts have over 100 years combined experience and are up for the task.

Contact us today  for a free consultation, and find out how we can take your Facebook Ad Campaigns from zero to hero.

Ally Bootsma

Ally Bootsma

Ally creates content for our clients and manages their social media accounts. In her free time she loves to be outdoors and eating delicious food.

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