Broad targeting - a double-edged sword for Facebook Advertising

Here you will find out about what is Broad targeting on Facebook advertising, types of Broad, why it's good and why it's bad and my personal opinion about that.
Iurie Marin
July 2, 2021

Here you will find out about what is Broad targeting on Facebook advertising, types of Broad, why it's good and why it's bad and my personal opinion about that.

I’m sure that you saw a lot of advice out there that you should use “Broad” as a targeting option for Facebook ads, or maybe you are already using it but didn’t try another option because it’s working for you. This is for you, this will create a different perspective about “Broad” and maybe it will answer questions you never had about this type of targeting.

What is Broad?

Broad is a type of targeting that you are setting up at Adset Level that gives freedom for Facebook to choose to whom to show your ads.

Types of Broad

Broad on Targeting Level (Importance: High)

No interests targeting or no lookalikes settings, just age range and location. This kind of targeting is giving a lot of options for the Facebook algorithm to find find the audience that will work the best with your objective. There can be a semi broad targeting, this is when you are using a high potential reach interest, like Amazon (Potential Reach: 96,000,000 people in US). As much Potential Reach you have as much this adset is a broad one, the maximum potential reach for the US is 270,000,000 people. 

Broad on Age range level (Impact: Low)

This is when you decide who should see your ad, going 18 - 65+ will give more room for Facebook to find the audience that will perform with your ad based on your objective, but if you have an age oriented product or you saw that some particular age range is not performing, you should exclude that particular age range, but be careful your CPM or CPC can go at a higher level but overall the conversion rate can increase and your CPA can dropdown. 

Broad on a location level (Impact: High)

Here we have two broad settings, one on a country level and another one on a city level. Country-wise is when you are using "Worldwide" as a location and you will be able to target all the world, for sure, if you have the budget for that, for this particular targeting, there are 2,900,000,000 people counted in potential reach. Another way to do broad targeting on a country level is to group 5-10 countries in adset and let them compete for the budget, spoiler, if you will group countries with different economic development, not the best-performing country will win. On the city level, you just leave it blank, so you target only one country regarding what city they are.

Why Broad is good:

  • Less time needed for management, leave it to run and pray for Facebook to gain valuable learnings so he can start generating cheap CPA. 
  • No prior research needed
  • Can generate very good results with in-demand products
  • Can be a shortcut to sales from day 1
  • Always a plan-B when your marketing strategy is not working
  • Can expand your usual customer demographics (a new age range that didn't purchase from you before) 
  • Can do research for you to understand what other countries are interested in your product and testing the field there
  • Less money spent on testing
  • Can be suitable for low CPA

Why Broad is bad:

  • Too much budget control to Facebook (had times when Facebook was allocating 60%+ to non-performing countries)
  • No potential of finding the gold mine (if you don't test targeting options, fewer chances that you will find an audience that will out-perform broad one)
  • After iOS changes if you don't integrate any 3rd party reporting tool you cannot know what age range, country, and city performed, so a lot less data in admanager for you, the only way to know that is to breakdown each category in different adsets, but that's already is not broad.
  • Broad success is not a long-term success

Worth Mentioning

Detailed Targeting Expansion option, a small option under the interest window. It helps you to expand potential reach based on the initial targeting you choose, it adds audiences that look like what you choose. Don't use it if your initial potential reach is low based on the interests/demographics you choose, in this case, Facebook will make your audience a broad one (no targeting) it will extrapolate to the maximum. The downside of it, that not all the time it performs better than without this option and you don't have control over what audience goes there, so no learnings from this.

My opinion about broad targeting

Broad worth testing, but not rely on. Today, Facebook wants you to do as broad as possible, they are giving a lot of options to expand the targeted audience so your budget goes as Facebook wants. Not having control over where your budget goes it's not a long-term approach, otherwise, you will rely only on Facebook and how well it will deal with the auction for the potential audience it wants to target. But, it's worth mixing up with other campaigns, it can be used as a benchmark of the ad account, or to generate sales short-term. Remember, Facebook is changing each day, and having a flexible approach will help you win on this platform, rather than having the same strategy for years.

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