Determine the right audience size by using friend-of-fan targeting

We previously talked about using exclusion targeting to refine your campaigns, now let’s delve into how to find the right size for your audience.


This technique is not exactly a negative filter, but one of my favorite tactics when choosing audiences is to use friend of fan targeting.


Let’s say that this audience of 68,000 is too big for my budget.


Precise Interest


By the way, the rule of thumb on how big your audience targets should be is this: take your daily budget in pennies and multiply by 2 to get your daily audience size.  So if you have a $10 daily budget, then you have about 2,000 people you can reach each day.


Assuming you’re managing 10 ads at any one time, then you can have a reach of 200 people in each, giving you a total reach of 2,000.


And since half of Facebook users log-in each day, you could go for an audience of 400 people, which gives you a net 200 people each day.


This audience of 68,000 gives us an effective reach of 34,000 (since half of folks log in each day). And at our average newsfeed CPM of $5 (the pennies x 2 trick above), it would cost us $5 x 34 to reach them daily, which is $170.


But in my example, I have only $10 a day.


So I want to hit a more precise audience. And now I’ll use friend-of-fan targeting to filter it down a bit.


Estimated Reach


I’ve now got 16,800, which is slightly on the high side.


Some people will say that there’s no downside to targeting an audience that is more than you have dollars to reach.


To which I say– why waste money unless it’s not yours?  By adding in the connection target, I’m showing ads to people who have friends that are fans of BlitzMetrics.


All else equal, people who are fans of Mari Smith AND have a friend who is a fan, too, will be more motivated to click than those who don’t have a friend’s endorsement.




What should ultimately be governing my budget is profitability.  If I’m making money on margin, then I should keep expanding until my margin cost is equal to my marginal revenue. That’s first semester economics for you!


I like to use FOF (friend-of-fan) targeting in nearly every ad.  Having the magic combination of social trust as well as topical relevance (they’re interested in what I have to offer) is what drives conversion.


The only times I break this rule are:
  • When the client just wants a lot of fans– quantity over quality.
  • The audience is so small that the FOF filter makes it too small.
  • I’m trying to manipulate the media— when I workplace targeting, the goal is to get the impression, not necessarily a click. The audiences are usually quite small, except for those targeting Facebook as a workplace (too many users listing this).
Hope this helps you in your targeting escapades!


Let us know how this works for you.


Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads.  He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations.You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.