The ideal audience size for Facebook Ads: Updated June 2019

Ideal Audience Size Facebook Ads

Have you wondered how many people you should have in your audience when you set up your Facebook Campaigns? This blog post will help you discover the ideal audience size to target for your Facebook Ads.

One of the unique things about us at Organik Digital is that we are based in Melbourne, Australia. And while we love our overseas counterparts that have taught us a lot about Facebook Advertising (read our blog post on resources here), the biggest difference between us is the size of our population.

At just over 24 Million, we’re less than half of the population of the UK and less than 10% of the population in the USA. And while we have a decent uptake of Facebook users at just over 16 Million, we simply don’t have the numbers that our overseas companions insist we target.

Each month we hear knew estimates on the ideal audience you should be targeting when going to a cold audience. But sometimes in regional areas and smaller based businesses, it’s simply impossible to target that many people.

We want to give you some tips on why you should first try to get as many people in your audience though, even if it does seem a bit counter-intuitive.

WHY should I target larger audiences in Facebook Ads?

The biggest factor is what drives Facebook’s success and allows us as advertisers to get continual results – DATA.

Facebook are hungry data munching machines. Think of the analogy of a high-performance car, if petrol is money, then oil is data. And while the car would still operate, it simply wouldn’t go as smooth as it could without keeping the oil levels topped up.

It’s difficult to decide to target people that aren’t in your target audience, but Facebook already has data and will soon discover who your target audience is for you. But only if you give it the opportunity with enough data to work with.

Some tips for increasing audience sizes in Facebook Ads

Below are some tips for finding the ideal audience size in Facebook Advertising, but honestly, you need to do the best you can. Not all of them will be applicable to you, but testing the results are different sizes is the best way to discover the right audience for your business.

Increase Lookalike size percentage – MOST EFFECTIVE

Lookalike audiences require an audience source to allow Facebook to find other users that are similar or ‘Look Like’ them. The audiences can be made up of page likes, custom audiences such as website browsers, people that engage with your page or even uploaded email lists.

Facebook then allows you to target a percentage of a country’s Facebook database. For instance, in Australia we have a total Facebook userbase of just over 16 Million people, so 1% will be a total of 160,000, 2% will be 320,000 and so forth.

What we’re currently seeing with detailed audience sources (larger than 1,000 people) is lookalike audience sizes of 10% are the best performing audiences.

This sounds counter-intuitive, I know. An audience that large is about 1.7 Million people in Australia. But once you narrow it to age groups, gender and location it becomes smaller. Even so, audiences with several hundred thousand people in them are outperforming audiences under 100,000. 

1% lookalike audiences v 10% lookalike audiences

The data doesn’t lie. The top row is 1% lookalike audiences v 10% lookalike audiences with the same offer

Use expanded interest

Facebook introduced a box underneath the interests section that you can tick if you would like Facebook to expand interests if it means you will get a lower cost per result. It’s a simple way to increase your audience size and let Facebook do it for you.

Consider the reach objective

Facebook will show your ads to people in your target audience that are likely to perform the behavior in your campaign objective. So when you have a total audience, Facebook will only focus on a subset of them as they will be the ones that perform more of those behaviors (click on a link, watch a video, purchase etc.) and at the best price to you. Sometimes if it’s a matter of trying to reach as many people as possible in a small audience then you might want to consider the reach objective. Be mindful that this won’t necessarily mean you are going to get the best results possible, it just means that more people are likely to see your ad.

Look at suggested audience categories

One of the best features in Facebook’s detailed interest categories is they learn when you search for options available. Facebook suggest other similar interests, demographics or behaviors to help you broaden the audience size.

Broaden demographics

One of the simplest ways to broaden an audience is to simply expand the basic demographics you’re already targeting. Most people go very specific as they have a good idea of their ideal customers, but there will always be people that will be on the edges that could possibly be interested in your business. Remember, we’re just to give Facebook more data so if you’re correct with your audience knowledge, it’s likely that Facebook will naturally show the ad to more of those demographics anyway.

What is the ideal audience size for Facebook Ads?Click To Tweet

What about Facebook custom audience sizes?

This is another common question we get when people setup their campaigns and target custom audiences such as website browsers or people that have engaged with your page or profile. The ‘gauge’ that Facebook indicates will most likely say it is too narrow and that your ad won’t perform – IGNORE IT! It purely says that because it defaults to how many people Facebook suggest, but they still constantly say that you should always be trying to get people into custom audiences and re-targeting them with other ads. Trust us, your ads will still run, they will still be seen by those custom audiences (providing there are obviously enough off them, at least 100+) and it’s highly likely they will perform better than any of your other target audiences. Think about, people that have interacted with your brand and know, like and trust you already are more likely to convert so it makes sense to always be using Facebook custom audiences in your strategy.

What have you found is the ideal audience size for your Facebook Ads? Have you had difficulty trying to get it right and Facebook always telling you there are never enough?! Tell us in the comments or share it on Twitter with your thoughts.

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