How To Use Facebook Audience Insights To Understand Targeting

If data is the future, Facebook is sitting on a whole mountain of it. Smart business owners can actually mine for insights all they want, for free. The only cost is your time and brain power.

There is a tool called Audience Insights, and not many people know HOW to use it.

My goal for this article is to share how you can leverage this robust data sifting tool to find new and exciting targeting opportunities. One can also use this tool to validate customer avatars as well, if they are so inclined.

In over-simple terms, Audience Insights gives you a looking glass into the corpus of user data available. Not all the user data, but certainly enough to do the job. 

On the left of the tool are your audience settings (which we will dig into in another blog post). On the right of the tool, are all the tasty data available in different slices. Should you find an audience slice you really like, you can create a formal Audience to run ads at the top of the tool.

Facebook Audience Insights gives you access into four distinct views of the Facebook users you’ve chosen in the audience settings. Later we will dive much deeper into how these views work. The four views you can see are:

  1. Demographic information such as age, gender, relationship status, education level, and job title.
  2. Page Like information such as top categories and relevant pages.
  3. Location information available by city, country, and language.
  4. Activity information such as how often the selected audience comments or likes a page; also see device usage in this view.

For some of these views, you can also see how your chosen audience compares to the average Facebook user.

As an example, when you look at people who like Coca-Cola in America, they are 27% less likely to be married than the average Facebook user. A simple insight such as this can help you refine your ad targeting. A competitor soda might exclude married people from their ad targeting to try and take some of Coke’s market share.

I believe that most people get confused about Audience Insights because they aren’t sure WHY they are using the tool. The various ways you can tune and select audiences leads to nearly limitless possibility, which can add to the confusion.

To demystify things, let’s look at how to read each view once you have selected an audience (which we show how to do later in the article).


#1 of 4 – How to Understand Demographic View of Audience Insights

The Demographic view shows your audience, the blue bar, and how it stacks up against the average Facebook user. You can hover over the bars for more information. You can even click the bar to add those audience filters to your existing selection.


For those who like Coca-Cola, they are generally younger and not married.

Scrolling further down shows the Job Title and industry information. The bars work the same except they are horizontal. The compare column shows how much more likely your selected audience is to be in that industry. Running ads that are segmented by industry is a great test to see who is really responding to your content.


Food and restaurants employment are 52% more likely than the average Facebook user for people who like Coca-Cola.


# 2 of 4 – How to Understand Page Likes View of Audience Insights

The Page Likes view shows two main chunks of data. First, you can see the top page categories liked by your selected audience. The tool will show 10 categories by default, and you can show more than 30 if you click ‘See All’. Second, you can see related pages and their audience affinities.


Coca-Cola fans really love Hershey’s and Steak ‘n Shake. Targeting these brands might be good for top of funnel awareness if one were a soda competitor.

The relevant pages and affinity section can be sorted by relevance, audience size, and affinity. This can expose other potential targets for advertising.


People who like Coca-Cola are 1,097x more likely to also like Gold Peak Tea- another member of the Coca-Cola brand.

Sometimes, you can find unexpected targeting opportunities. For example, a soda competitor would probably have good luck targeting a specific brand given the data above. That might not be super obvious before one looks at the data.


#3 of 4 – How to Understand Location View of Audience Insights

The Location view allows you to view your selected audience by top cities, countries and languages. This one is pretty self explanatory.

Fun tip: use this to sleuth out popular local places because you can click on the bars. Again, another rich source of potential targeting opportunities.


Indiana, Tennessee, and Texas are the biggest states for Coca-Cola.


I clicked on the Indianapolis bar and went to the Page Likes. These are all popular local places that are enjoyed by people who like Coca-Cola. One might consider geo-targeting these locations for highly targeted ads.


#4 of 4 – How to Understand Activity View of Audience Insights

The Activity view allows you to view your selected audience’s behavior on Facebook as well as some device information. While you can’t click on any of the bars in this view, the behavior data is still highly valuable.


Compared to the average Facebook user, Coca-Cola fans are much more inclined to Like a page, like a post, leave a comment, share a post, or click on an ad.


The only thing notable about American Coca-Cola fans, are that they are 19% more likely to use an iPhone/iPod than the average Facebook user.

There is a setting to change to the Primary Device usage in the upper right of the pane. This means that you are looking at the most used device by a user, rather than the combination of devices (i.e. phone, computer, tablet).


However, if we are only looking at the primary device, a Coca-Cola fan is more likely to be an Android user.

Now that you understand how to read the data, hopefully you can see how this information would be valuable to your business.

Again, there is a LOT of information here. Don’t get overwhelmed. Pick an idea and go with it.

Want to split test Apple vs. Android users? Try it out. Want to only go for single people because the data says so? Give it a shot.

The best part about running social ads is that you can take many shots on goal. By gleaning insight from this tool, you should be able to take more educated and profitable shots at goal.

In a future article, we will show you the best part of this tool…setting audiences!

For now, play around and see what you can discover 🙂