All of Facebook’s Ad Targeting Options (in One Epic Infographic)


If you have heard anything about Facebook advertising, you know it’s extensive (and complicated). If you’ve ever been targeted by Facebook ads, you know it’s almost borderline stalky. And if you have ever tried Facebook advertising out for yourself, you know it’s efficient and cost-effective.

While paid search marketing is mostly accomplished by targeting specific keywords that users are searching on, Facebook advertising is based on finding the audiences that are most likely to become your fan or your customer. These targeting options focus directly on users and profiling potential customers in order to get clicks and grow your business.

facebook ad targeting

As we have found with PPC, there’s definitely a sweet spot when it’s comes to ad targeting—somewhere between hugely broad and a tiny 20-person audience—just ask Brett McHale. Facebook has almost endless targeting options—so extensive that this particular marketer was able to specifically target his roommate in a series of elaborate ads. These options can be so specific that more than once, I have had Facebook friends complain about being targeted by ads that are “inappropriately personal.”

It’s easy to imagine general combinations of demographics to target on Facebook, but the real value is in interests and behaviors. By targeting to specific life events, you could catch your customer at the perfect purchase point in the funnel.

Moreover, there is an appropriate time and place for these targeted ads—before you address the many, many choices on targeting, make a plan! When you can get this granular, you can get carried away and the next thing you know, your campaign is targeting new grandmothers who are interested in weight training and animal rights, just celebrated a birthday, own vacation timeshares, and are currently shopping for homes in Waltham, MA. Even though you can be so specific, ask should your social media marketing strategy include it, and how?

ad targeting options on facebook

Recently, we sat down with a non-marketer interested in toying with Facebook Advertising to boost her small business. As we walked her through it, she became increasingly overwhelmed with all the options and we realized our mistake. Instead of mapping out her campaigns before jumping into the tool, we had ambitiously tried to execute with no clear strategy. What if your business is extremely broad? Maybe you have a pizza shop (everyone loves pizza) and you need to create an audience on Facebook. Once location targeting is complete, it becomes difficult to identify segments to target. If you get too specific, you risk excluding a chunk of potential customers; if you aren’t specific at all, you risk your ad getting ignored.

To help you navigate the seemingly murky waters of Facebook ads, our #flawless graphic designer Bekah Wheeler put together this handy infographic! This graphic will walk you through alllllll the many demographic, interest, behavior, connection and remarketing targeting options that are at your disposal as a Facebook advertiser. We recommend using it as a checklist when planning your Facebook ad strategy; hopefully, it should make the process smoother and inspire your next Facebook advertising campaigns.

<<Click here or click the infographic to load a larger version.>>

facebook advertising targeting options

<<Click here to get a PDF version of this infographic.>>

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Mansi Rana
Jun 28, 2016

I must say it’s a very informative post.

Keep Posting...

Ashish Khadke
Jun 28, 2016

wooww...that's really awesome infograph man.
Thank you.

Jun 29, 2016

Great blog! It's really informative and useful post.

Jul 01, 2016

Why is it epic? What is it even good for, which marketer will spend an hour looking on a pic when she should already know who to target.

Elisa Gabbert
Jul 01, 2016

Hi Phill, it's really for people who AREN'T aware of all the targeting options that Facebook offers. Lots of marketers might not realize the targeting possibilities.

Jul 01, 2016

I wouldn't be very enthusiastic about Facebook targeting by interest.

As you may easily check yourself it is "not very precise" to say it politely.

I've recently wrote in my blog about it, hope it is OK to leave the link here for those who interested -

Panda Gila
Jul 02, 2016

I used to keep my focus only on interest and general location before, but this infographic post has opened my eyes that so much more possibilities to explore to optimize my campaign. This post is awesome. Thank you Mary!

Jul 07, 2016

Thanks Mary and Elisa. Great infographic. Don't tell, but I still like to print things and then mark on them.

Elisa Gabbert
Jul 07, 2016

Ha, glad to hear it!

Jul 20, 2016

"One point fifty-five billion?" Really? I almost closed the tab when he said that. It's "one point five five." Twenty to ninety are in the tens column--the second digit from the point.

Jul 28, 2016

Very useful!

Where do I find the section related to "Life Events"?


Feb 04, 2017

Hi Maurizio,

"Life Events" can be found under the demographics filter. Life events include users with upcoming birthdays, users who have become recently engaged, users who have changed their relationship status and more.

Feb 25, 2017

Really Great Infographic ! <3
Thank You !! ;-)

Emi Felix
Apr 23, 2017

Hi Elisa!
Am I able to target a specific audience by the mobile apps connected to their faebook accounts?

Apr 25, 2017

Anyway to make this printable? The PDF only prints one page. Thanks.

Jun 15, 2017

Is there a pdf of this broken into pages?

Jul 03, 2017

Do you have this in a printable format?

Jul 04, 2017

Awesome post, thanks! There ought to be a directory version of this for quick reference searching, I'm sure a lot of Facebook marketers would love to have that resource.

Sep 14, 2017

You need new interests to target, the interests that NO ONE else is targeting, to reduce your costs and increase your profits.

Feb 15, 2018

Really wish I could print the graphic on standard paper. Is there another version?

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