Facebook Audience Insights 101 - How to Get Started

Facebook currently has over 2 billion active users on a monthly basis. The average user spends about 35 minutes on Facebook every day and checks this platform about 8 times per day. With these stats in mind, it’s no wonder it’s incredibly popular as a marketing platform.

To put it in numbers, 93% of marketers who run ads on social media use Facebook. The average cost per click on this platform is $1.72, while the average click-through rate across industries is 0.9%.

All of this means one thing - Facebook is an excellent advertising platform with amazing potential. Throughout the years, Facebook has come out with a range of tools to help marketers, such as Facebook Business Manager and Facebook Pixel. One of the tools in the marketers’ arsenal is Facebook Audience Insights, an incredibly useful, free feature that can help you immensely in your advertising efforts.


What is Facebook Audience Insights?

There’s a reason why Facebook is so popular for advertising. Instead of placing an ad out there and hoping to reach a fraction of your desired audience, you can target your audiences with surgical precision. One of the tools that can make this happen is called Facebook Audience Insights. Coupled with the Power Editor and Ad Creation tools, it provides everything you need to create great ads with precision targeting.

new audience in facebook audience insights

Before we delve further into why you need to use this tool, let us get the best part out of the way. It’s completely free to use and you don’t have to run paid ads to access any of its features. This means that even if you don’t want to advertise your page and business, you can learn a lot about the people who interact with your page.


Getting started with Facebook Audience Insights

Once you go to Audience Insights, you’ll get two or three options, depending on the size of your fan base. These are:

  • Everyone on Facebook
  • People connected to your page
  • A Custom Audience 
facebook audience insights main menu


Everyone on Facebook is self-explanatory - this is the entire Facebook auditorium. People connected to your page entails only those users who liked your page. Custom audience will only show up in your Audience Insights if you have manually uploaded a list of emails. If you have a mailing list connected to your page accounts, Facebook will run those emails in its database and connect them with Facebook accounts.

If none of these presets work for you, you can go to the Create audience tab on the left and craft a completely custom audience using a host of parameters. This is exactly what we will do for this article.


How does Audience Insights work?

As you can probably tell, Facebook has an incredible amount of data regarding its users. However, the data in Audience Insights doesn’t come from one source only. First and foremost, there is the self-reported Facebook data, which is everything that a user submits. This includes location, gender, age, relationship status and other bits of information which users supply themselves. On top of this, you have data available from third-party partners. Facebook itself does not have data such as household income, purchasing behavior and so on. Everything in these categories is available from third-party sources such as agencies, who link data to Facebook user IDs. The good news is - this data exists; the bad news is - it’s available only for USA-based audiences.


Build an audience

Now that you’re in Audience Insights, let’s get to segmenting your audience. Note that all of the data in the center of the dashboard is interactive and the stats will change immediately as you change parameters. Let’s say that you’re a personal trainer in California, USA, who wants to target women looking to lose weight. 

create audience in facebook audience insights

First of the tabs is Location, which is set to United States by default, but you can select specific countries, regions and cities. What’s more, the tool even allows you to make exclusions. You can enter as many locations as you want - especially useful if you run a local business. Let’s say that you want to choose California as your location.

Going further down into segmentation, let’s get into Age and Gender. Even if you’re not that sure about your ideal target audience age, you should definitely enter values here. The majority of Facebook users are in the 18-29 group, but the range goes anywhere from 18 to 65+. For our purposes, we’re going to select women from the age of 18 to 40.

Now comes the fun part - the Interests tab. There is a range of options to choose from including Business and industry, Entertainment, Food and drink, Shopping and fashion… And those are just the main categories. In our case, we’re interested in Fitness and wellness, so we’ll select that as the main category. Further down we can go into Bodybuilding, Dieting, Gyms, Meditation, Nutrition, Running, Physical fitness and so on. We’ll go ahead and select Dieting for our research. Note that you can select multiple interests if you want to make a broader search.

In the Connections tab, you can select pages you want your audience to be connected to. You can select multiple pages, but only those pages which you manage. You can also exclude segments of your audience using People Not Connected to.

In the Advanced tab, there is a host of features for segmenting which you can use to get extremely precise audience results. The self-reported bits of data that come directly from Facebook are Language, Relationship, Education and Work (only the Job title field).

Let’s say that we want to target married women with college education who work in corporations. The idea is that our niche are busy women who don’t have time to go to the gym and need one-on-one personal trainers to help them with their dieting efforts.

top categories in facebook audience insigihts

Based on the results, you can now tell that you have 500 - 1000 active users in your custom audience, which is still a fairly large crowd of people. Going through the tabs, you can find useful information about your audience, such as Top Categories. This will show you the categories most likely to be shared by the majority of your audience. Even more useful is the Page Likes section:

page likes in facebook audience insights


This will show you the pages which your target audience is most likely to “like” besides yours, which in our case tells us that the audience is interested in organic food and outdoor activities. Note the Affinity tab - this shows how many times the users in your set custom audience are more likely to like a certain page than the average Facebook user. You can use these insights to craft better ads and content for your business page and website.

Note that the custom audience we created is fairly broad and could be dwindled down further to get in front of the exact people you want to. You can do this using filters such as Income, Net Worth, Home Type, Market Segments, Politics, Parents and so on.

The Activity tab is one to watch out for, as it will show you how active your audience is on Facebook and whether it’s worth running ads at all.

device users in facebook audience insights

Device users will give you insight into the devices your audience uses to access your pages. As you can see, in our case there’s an even split between Android and Apple and our audience is 47% more likely to use desktop combined with mobile to access our content, compared with the average Facebook user. This means that we need to optimize our ads, as well as any content that we direct outside of Facebook - it has to be accessible across different platforms. 

Ultimately, how much time you spend building your audience depends on how much info you already have about your clients. If you don’t know your market that well - you can get to know it better using this tool - or at least the portion that interacts with you on Facebook.


I have a custom audience - now what?

Once that you’ve discovered and built your ideal audience, it’s time to get in front of them. Click on Save at the top of the page and your new custom audience is stored.

create an ad from facebook audience insights

Audience Insights provides you with two options - you can use the Ad Create Tool or the Power Editor. If you opt for the Ad Create Tool, you will automatically get your custom audience once you launch the tool. On the other hand, you will have to select your custom audience in the Audience tab in the Power Editor.


Final words

Facebook Audience Insights is an incredibly powerful tool that every marketer should use for Facebook advertising. Even if you’re not running Facebook ads, you can get extremely valuable information on your fans and the people who interact with your page. Combined with the Power Editor and Ad Creation tool, you have everything you need in order to create amazing Facebook ads suited to exactly the kind of audience you’re after.

The value of Audience Insights is twofold. On the one hand, it is an immensely powerful tool for marketers that makes targeting easier than ever. On the other, the information that you gain can be used for much more than marketing. By looking into your existing audience demographics, you can craft better buyer personas, more successful marketing strategies, create better content and generally improve on your product and ways to advertise it.

 Have you used Audience Insights for your Facebook advertising purposes? What kind of success did you have? Please let us know in the comments!

Do you run Facebook ads but you also want another way to get more leads and sales? How about trying out quizzes? We can help you generate more leads and sales - try it out today for free!

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