Have you tried exclusion targeting?

In Power Editor, you can exclude folks you DON’T want to hit. For Google PPC veterans, this is the equivalent of negative keywords. For example, if you ran a personals site, you’d bid on “dating”, but have “carbon” as a negative to not match on “carbon dating”.


With Facebook, we can choose targets and exclude audiences within them.  For example, maybe we want to target the entire US minus San Diego.


Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 1.15.53 AM


Or maybe you’re a mortgage company licensed to operate in 47 states– you could list out all 47 states as a target or just just select United States and negative out the three states you don’t serve.


Let’s say that you’ve got your marketing automation running smoothly. You have content for those new to your brand and then content bucketed out mid-funnel as well as conversion.


You can exclude folks who are already fans, so they don’t see top of funnel messages.


Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 1.20.40 AM
Same for those you already have emails for– exclude them if they’re on your list already.


Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 1.23.30 AM


The pros by now are nodding their heads vigorously, as using the right combos of positive and negative audiences is critical to not wasting traffic. Even if you bid CPC or optimized CPM, not targeting as precisely as possible will cause your CPC to be higher.  Remember that Facebook is maximizing their eCPM (effective CPM), so they will charge you more when you waste inventory to make up for who didn’t click.


Negative feedback will hurt your organic rankings, as well as damage your brand value. Don’t want to be known for irritating users, right?


Many folks have asked for boolean logic– the ability to specify ANDs and ORs wherever they like.


For example, there is a difference between those folks who:


like Coke
like Pepsi
Like Coke and Pepsi
Like Coke or Pepsi


Coke venn Diagram


With precise targets, we can determine the audience size of those who like A or B as well as A and B.  However, we are, as of this writing, unable to target those who like A and B– despite being able to extrapolate the counts via some Venn Diagram magic.


In broad category targeting, you actually can get this.


Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 1.36.58 AM


You can specify ANY (which is OR) as well as ALL (which is AND).  So if you add in a bunch of broad category targets with AND, you’ll keep cutting down your audience size the more you AND along.


Likewise, if you choose ANY, then you’re expanding the audience, since you’re saying you’re looking to reach folks who like one or more of these topics, as opposed to ALL of them.


Watch your counts.


Put too many in the ALL bucket and you end up slicing your audience down to zero. If the estimator says “20 or fewer”, that means zero.


We have 50,000 people when we target ANY of these broad interests:


Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 1.45.47 AM


But we have just 1,260 when we try to do ALL of these broad interests. I had to remove one of them, since it was too many for Facebook’s tool to estimate.


Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 1.48.11 AM


One day we’ll be able to specify ANDs and ORs (boolean logic) between target groups and within target groups.  But until then, you’ll just have to make a lot of ad combos and clever custom audiences.


In our next segment, let’s talk about how to determine the right audience size for your targeting and budget.


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.