How to Hit Your Target Audience HARD With Facebook's "Boost Post"

By Gina Broom
How to Hit Your Target Audience HARD With Facebook's "Boost Post"


If you have a Facebook page set up for your brand, (and let's face it: by now, you should), then you'll be familiar with the little "Boost Post" button. I'd like to take this opportunity to say that if you don't have a Facebook page set up to promote your brand by now, then for goodness' sake, get one now!

Whether you've actually clicked that button or not, I'm going to go through it with you and let you know how to make the most of the best feature: highly targeted audience filtering. 

How Does the "Boost Post" Process work?

Basically, you pay a fairly small sum, and Facebook will set your post in front of the demographic of your choice. It's like an ice cream parlor where you can pick your flavor and toppings, the quality is good, AND it's not going to cost you an arm and a leg. I often dream of such a place...

I asked Mark Ling to sum up his opinion of boosting posts on Facebook, to which he replied: "It's a good low-cost-per-click way to get a lot of visitors to a post on your blog." So... just what kind of reach can be had, and for how much, you ask? Well! Actions speak louder than words, but screenshots are best of all, so let me show you:

This is a screenshot from a friend of mine who is associated with a popular satire website that uses Facebook to share articles: 

Boosted Facebook Post

With just a $5 budget, they...

  • Reached 14,912 people within the demographic of their choice.
  • Had 738 link clicks.
  • Added 39 page likes.
  • Added 145 post likes.

I will have to mention that this is a satire website, so it pays to consider that the viral factor in the article titles will be high. With the right phrase and the right audience, however, you can achieve the same sort of virality. 

And even posts with attention-snagging subjects can gain by a shift in demographic, which brings me to my next point...

How Tweaking Your Demographic Can Make a HUGE Difference

My friend adjusted the audience slightly by going from targeting people who liked the page and those people's friends, to targeting anyone in the country between 18 and 65. This is what happened:

successful post boost

This one tweak earned one of the posts some massive numbers. In fact, it:

  • Reached 76,928 people
  • Attracted 9,612  link clicks
  • Earned 170 page likes
  • Earned 664 post likes

And all within 36 hours of posting the initial post! Note that the budget is just slightly more than double the original $5 budget but the return was much, much more than double. In this case, because of the shocking satire-post titles, extending the site's audience was a good idea.

For many brands, the opposite tactic of refining the audience is a better idea to hone in on the most targeted people. You'll have to think about your strategy depending on your brand.

Either way, you need to do these two things:

  1. Open your audience to more than those who've already liked your page and their friends. Get fresh eyes!
  2. Try different demographics and keep an eye on the successes and losses; just keep whatever works best.

How Do I Tweak My Demographics?

The first thing you'll adjust is your general age/gender/location demographics. If you need inspiration for understanding your own brand's demographics, you'll find that under the next point. 

When you've clicked "Boost Post" for any given post on your page, it'll likely be automatically set to "People who like your Page" under "Audience."

You want to select, "People you choose through targeting" instead, and then "Create New Audience," or "Edit Audience" if you want to change one you've already got.

Edit Boost Audience

You'll then be taken to a menu with variables that you can adjust to suit your audience, including location, age, gender and interests:

editing Facebook audience

If that's all you want to edit, it should be sufficient, but if you want to really hone in on your audience, you can take it a step further. When it comes to boosting a post about a niche website, this can be very useful.

Advanced Demographics Tweaking

For this next step, you'll need to go to the top right of Facebook, locate the button that says "Build Audience" and then select "Use Ads Manager" from the drop-down options.

Facebook Ads Manager

Then select Audiences from the left-hand side-bar menu.


Now go back to the top right, to "Create Audience," under which you want to select "Saved Target Group."

Saved Target Group

You can then start to adjust a broad number of variables to target very specific audiences, so that you don't waste time or money getting your posts seen by uninterested parties. 

To give you an example of just how specific you can get, I've created a concept for an audience that would be a "nicheception" - a sub niche within a sub niche within a sub niche. 

Let's say there was a dating tips website for conservative women in California. That's ridiculously specific. You could target all women, even all the women in California, but what about all of the liberal personalities and women who already have partners? You can filter down that far easily by selecting specific relationship status's and political preferences:

Audience Manager

Every element of people's lives that could be a status, tag, or interest on Facebook has become a demographics super-filter.

  • Posting about romantic gifts? Target "Anniversary within 30 days."
  • Long-distance relationship advice? There's an option to find people in those, too.
  • Liberal or conservative? Choose! If their political standing is anything to go by, you can filter 'em.
  • Industry-specific? If you're posting about sunscreens, target people working in outdoor occupations!
  • Are you in the travel and tourism niche? You can specify people who are planning to travel, are currently traveling, or returned from travel either one or two weeks ago.

There are many other specifics you could target. This is just a small list of examples, and the possibilities are huge. It's a little creepy really, but it does make audience targeting extremely effective. So from a marketing standpoint, you might as well get right into it!

You can save a variety of these audiences, and then select the best one for each post. You may find one usually covers your audience quite well, or you may find you need a variety to cover different post topics. Either way, it's that easy to set up. 

Once you've finished and clicked "Create Audience," when you go back to boost a post the option will be there for you to select. 

dating tips for conservative Californian women


How Can I Get an Accurate Idea of My Audience?

If you have no idea where to start, I'd suggest taking a look at both your current Facebook demographics, and your website demographics, to get a good idea of your target audience. You can do both of these things in AffiloTools

First head to Facebook under "Social" in the left-hand side-bar menu, then click on "Fans" on the right at the top of the page:

Facebook Demographics

From these Facebook statistics it would seem that targeting males in the 18-34 age range could be quite successful for this brand, particularly in London and Cairo to get really specific.

In AffiloTools, you can also check your website traffic demographics, which may give you further insight into the type of people who have a natural interest in your brand. For this you simply need to go to "Traffic" in the left-hand side-bar menu, and then "Demographics" in the top right hand corner.

The ones of particular interest here will be country, language, and perhaps even screen resolution if you're linking to a non-responsive site in your post. 

traffic demographics

Compare the two sets of demographics and see if they match. If you notice something different with your site traffic compared to what your Facebook traffic shows, there could be an interested audience on Facebook that you haven't even tapped into yet!

Overall, the two should give you a good idea of the main demographics. And you can imagine what other audience specifics you'd need to consider depending on your niche, such as "single" for posts about dating tips.

Targeting your audience like this means that you can get the best bang for your buck without paying to show your post to those who won't be as interested. It'd be a lot less work to sell a plaid flannel shirt to a lumberjack than it would be to sell one to a high-society fashionista. That's why you'd only want to spend time and money showing your goods to those tree-felling behemoths. 

Everyone is only guessing when they first set out, so these tools and a bit of trial-and-error will help you to make your guess at your audience an educated one.

Joe M1 9 years ago
Great article! Were you able to get a boost for a dating related page? I had an issue with facebook for a Dating tips for women niche page
Gina Broom 9 years ago
Oh what was the issue? Was it an age limit thing? You might have to adjust your targeting - I know I had to with weight loss as I wasn't allowed to target anyone under 18 with that topic.
Gregory Gaines 9 years ago
I have tried also on the dating niche, if your website address, or page you have created has the word dating in it, Facebook will nix it saying they are only accepting from their major accepted dating customers which I was not. I created a seperate facebook page targeting a product of my niche and that seems to go through, i also pointed toward a landing page i created that does not specifically mention dating other.
Gina Broom 9 years ago
Hi Gregory,

Interesting! That's a smart approach, creating a different page. I guess that'll be the best way around it for the time being...

A shame that you have to go to all that trouble of creating another page! But probably worth it with those relationship-status demographics...

- Gina
Art Manville 9 years ago
Great article. But I am not clear where you set up a boost post campaign and set the budget. I have done some PPC in Facebook so I imagine it is an option when you set up a new campaign.
Gina Broom 9 years ago
Hi Art,

It's much more simple than that for post boosting. When you load up your Facebook page (Just checking that you definitely have a page? Not just a personal profile?) and you look at any post you've already made, you should see a "Boost Post" button to the bottom right of that post.

To set up more specific demographics you'll need to follow the instructions in the blog post above, but for simple targeting it's as simple as pressing that "Boost Post" and filling in your budget, duration etc...

Hope that helps :)
- Gina
Hasan 9 years ago
Hey Gina, thanks for the great tips. Is there a way to target people who have liked a certain page? The people who I want to target are those who have liked the page of a competitor. Please advise!
Gina Broom 9 years ago
Hi Hasan,

Unfortunately I think you can only choose to target people who have liked your page, not other pages.

I think that in your case you could target a similar audience by setting specific industries, interests, and even behaviours in the advanced settings mentioned above.

The other way to target another pages audience is to contribute usefully on their page. If they have people asking questions on their page or in their comments, try giving them a good answer posting as your page. It'll help you to get seen at least, and if you've been helpful, they might just check out your page.

Between those two things, you'll get as close as you can to that effect. :)
- Gina
Dene 8 years ago
Hi Gina,
Are you allowed to boost a post with an embedded affiliate link?
Melissa Johnson 8 years ago
Hi, Dene!

As far as I am able to determine, there's no policy expressly prohibiting this. However, Facebook's ad guidelines are spotty and enforcement is inconsistent. You're better off linking to your site directly and directing them from there.
Manna 7 years ago

Amazing post!! :) Thank you. Currently I can't boost my post to my page followers because I don't have page likes. So should I just boost my posts for everybody? and later after I'll get some likes for my followers? :)

Thanks in advance!
Justin Golschneider 7 years ago
Hi Manna! You'll probably want to start by promoting your page to get likes. Here are Facebook's instructions on how to do that:
Roie Chua 7 years ago

Amazing post! But I am wondering can you please help me what could be the possible targeting to boost my ads for weight loss products? My ads was already approved but the engagement is very low less comments and less likes. Please help, thank you!
Justin Golschneider 7 years ago
Hi Roie! I spoke to one of our social media specialists, and here's his advice:

"The engagement on your advertising could be low for a number of reasons. Check if your audience is defined. Do you know their interests, demographics, behaviors? If you are advertising to the wrong audience, they will not engage with your content. Also, consider using Facebook's custom audience, if you have a client mailing list you can easily build a lookalike audience that goes beyond the scope of your reach. It also simply could be the advert itself. Have you considered testing different images or copy. You should be continuously testing as many variables as possible. Last, check your relevancy score, it will tell you if your ad is missing the mark."

Hope that helps!
Peter Mwangi 7 years ago
Hello, would be glad if you could kindly clarify more about audience interest.
Justin Golschneider 7 years ago
Hi Peter! You can choose audience interests while creating your audience for an ad. These include things like relationships or politics. If what you're advertising matches up to one of the interests Facebook lets you choose from, it's a great idea to use it to market to people who are interested in what you have to offer.
tammy 7 years ago
great post! thanks for sharing this author! cheers.
Mike Thomas 6 years ago
Great article. One thing I want to know Is there any way to set custom audience for a particular niche?
Cecille Loorluis 6 years ago
Yes, you can set a specific target audience when you boost posts.

Elias 5 years ago
I was wondering how Facebook pixel work and I just came across this article which clearly explains everything. Thank you so much for sharing this article.
Chane Pol 4 years ago
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