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.


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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

About the Author

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is on a mission to create a million jobs.

He is the host of the CoachYu show, a digital marketing certification program that partners together with industry professionals just like doctors, engineers, and teachers where people can get trained and have a job at the same time.

He has been building brands and teaching marketing for over 13 years.

Specializes in helping young adults to grow into the leaders of tomorrow, by confidently developing their marketing skills through training programs and seminars with enterprise clients like The Golden State Warriors, Nike, and Rosetta Stone.

He developed the Technology Partner for Digital Marketing Agencies and Personal Brands. A RevShare Partnership Program that enables growing companies to stay competitive.

None of this would be possible without the generous support of partners such as DigitalMarketer, Social Media Examiner, Fiverr, GoDaddy, Keap, OmniConvert, Onlinejobs.ph, Tom Ferry, Barry Habib, and others who believe in training up millions of digital marketing professionals.

Dennis has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, CNN, CBS Evening News and co-authored “Facebook Nation” – a textbook taught in over 700 colleges and universities.

Dennis is an internationally acclaimed speaker in Facebook Marketing who has spoken countless times in 17 countries, spanning five continents including keynote events at L2E, PubCon, Digital Agency Expo, Marketo Summit, and B2C Growth & Innovation Virtual Summit.

Besides being a data and ad connoisseur, Dennis enjoys eating spicy buffalo wings or might just spot him playing Ultimate Frisbee under the sun.

You can contact him at dennis@blitzmetrics.com or on one of his social accounts below.