How to Supercharge Your Social Ad Targeting | TravelResearchOnline


How to Supercharge Your Social Ad Targeting

Are your social ads bringing you exposure, engagement, and extraordinary results?

The science of ad creation has taken on a life of it’s own. Let’s sort through some of the details and the best ways you can make sure your social ads reach the right people, at the right time, with the right style of conversation.

Novice Level Advertising Tips

To Boost or not to Boost! That’s the question on top of the minds of many travel pros. While Boosting a post on Facebook is really easy, it may not afford you the best use of your advertising dollars… or it may! It becomes a trade-off of quick and simple versus time and talent.

Boosting a post can be an effective way to reach more of your fans when you select one of these boost options:

“People Who Like your Page”.

Upside: If you have a dedicated fan base filled with people who like your product and aren’t just lurking fans, this is a good option to start with.

Downside: If you have a low number of fans and/or fans that aren’t particularly interested in your business, this isn’t a great option.

“People Who Like your Page and their Friends” isn’t a bad option if your fans fit your ‘perfect client’ category.

Upside: One can possibly assume that your ‘perfect clients’ have friends that are like them and would be a good fit for your product.

Downside: If you don’t really know much about your fan base, then this may not be as valuable an option as higher targeted options.

“People you Choose thru Targeting” works well once you have a number of custom audiences and target audiences set up in Ads Manager or Power Editor. See info in the Intermediate Level Advertising section for the details.

Upside: This is a quick way to reach your preferred audiences.

Downside: You don’t have as much control over the timing of your ads as you would going directly to Ads Manager or Power Editor.


Overall, the timing and targeting options on Boost Post are fairly limited. If you want your ads to be shown only during daytime hours or only evenings on the weekend, Power Editor is a better option for you.


Intermediate Level Advertising

Do you have a great email list of clients and potential clients?

Is your client email list segmented by style of travel, travel interests, etc?

Do you have a clear picture of your target demographic?

If you’ve answered yes to any one of these questions, Facebook Power Editor or Ads Manager is the choice for your next ad campaign.

Use your great email list to set up a Custom Audience. This is so cool! When you select “Customer List” you simply input the emails of your selected clients and Facebook matches them up with existing Facebook users. For example, if your email list contains 10,000 emails when you upload it, Facebook may match up 8,000 of its’ users with those emails. You now have a valuable list of 8,000 of your clients who have Facebook accounts. You can target those people in advertising.

Here’s where you find this option: Ads Manager < Audiences < Create Audience < Customer List.


Engagement on Facebook allows you to create a custom audience of video viewers over the last 180 days. It’s a powerful way to target video ads to already interested fans.

Once in Power Editor the door is open to set up your unique audience targeting.

Not only can you target by demographic you can also target by:

  • Life events
  • Relationships
  • Interests
  • Travel aspirations
  • Culinary styles

Once you set up your unique Target Audiences, you can save and reuse them for multiple campaigns and ads. While it takes a bit of time to design your Target Audience for specific markets, the value is that you can re-use, tweak, and continue to benefit from them over time.

For example, perhaps you have quarterly event that you’d like to advertise to a specific demographic. Simply create your graphic and ad copy, then create your target audience and build your ad. Each quarter you can evaluate the results of your previous ad and re-use the target audience or create a new audience. In addition, you can set up 2 ads each with unique target audiences and split test the results of your ad campaign.


Overall, targeting can be as complex as the audience you’re aspiring to reach. The more details you know about your desired audience the more likely you are to attract and engage.


Advanced Social Advertising

Once you have a solid grasp of your ad audiences, ad creation, and are measuring your success, it’s time to break into different styles of advertising on Facebook.

Carousel ads give you the opportunity to showcase 3-5 images and or videos in a single post. You can use different headlines, links, and/or calls to action in a single ad.

Upside: Maximize your story-telling options and provide a variety of calls to action.

Downside: A reader needs to scroll thru the carousel to see each image.

Here’s how you may incorporate this into your marketing campaigns:

  1. Showcase exhibits at your attraction
  2. Spotlight a variety of room types at your hotel
  3. Highlight your resort or cruise ship activities
  4. Focus on travel or destination tips
  5. Showcase the value of working with a travel pro

Canvas ads are a fully immersive vehicle for integrated story-telling. Imagine giving your mobile viewers a singular experience that features photos and videos along with text and links. Calls to Action buttons are available.

Upside: It’s new, exciting, and loads quickly.

Downside: 2 minutes of video is allowed in each Canvas. You may want to split up the video content with still images to better tell your story.

Tip: consider customizing your Canvas to different target audiences. For example, if you’re targeting weekend hotel visitors or festival attendees, you’ll want to use a different message than if you’re targeting girl get-aways or luxury travelers.


Overall, these new types of advertising mediums are a powerful way to stand out in a noisy medium and attract new eyeballs to your unique content.

Social advertising is about creating the perfect mix of timing, visual appeal, and communication style. The wealth of options available gives you extraordinary ways to get creative and engage your audiences.

Which will you use next?

Where have you seen the most success with your social ads?

catherineheegCatherine Heeg, international speaker and trainer, focuses on social media marketing & communication for the travel and tourism industry. Join the conversation and connect with her at and socially.

Connect online for access to free social media resources.

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