My wife just gave birth to our fourth little girl a few months back, and Hillary at 3Q Digital suggested that I tackle the subject this month on FBPPC: how would I reach people like me on Facebook?

Facebook makes it surprisingly easy – not to mention effective. Here’s how I would serve Facebook ads to new parents like myself.

1. Target Parents

Facebook actually has a great broad category targeting solution for parents.  It used to be buried in the family status category, but is now called out as “parents.”

Facebook categories

It gives parent categories based on age of child. Pretty helpful, huh?

2. Target Interests (general terms, competitors, accessories)

Another strategy that could be used on its own or in conjunction with the first is precise interest targeting. Everyone who buys ads on Facebook is familiar with precise interests. You type in the interest and out comes audience size based on interested parties.

Unfortunately, many don’t use it to its fullest. Targeting competitors is a simple way to get better coverage with your target market If they are in the market, they may already have contacted your competitor – you might as well hop on the bandwagon (or get them to hop on yours).

For instance, 1,500 like Graco baby products within 50 miles of where I live, less than 1,000 with children under 4. If you’re another stroller brand, go after that audience!

graco advertising

You can also target accessories that are related. Pacifiers, bottles, etc. use brand terms to narrow the category even further and push your dollar a bit further. There are fewer than 1000 people within 50 miles of where I live interested in pacifiers; that’s a pretty tight target with a high likelihood of conversion.

Facebook pacifier

Tightening the market down this way ensures that a modest budget can really get coverage among so few people. With a CPM of $1.00, these folks will see your ad at least 5 times for a measly $5. Better coverage and conversion than TV, I can tell you that.

3. Use CAT targeting

A more complicated way is using Facebook’s Power Editor to use Custom Audience Targeting. If you are serious about Facebook marketing, you should be using or learning Power Editor now. But, with more power comes a more complicated user interface.

Using Power Editor, click on the Audiences tab.

Then check out the drop-down called “Create Audience,” and click on Custom Audience.

Facebook audiences

Using your CRM, locate customers who have bought in the last 90 days and export a CSV file from Excel or Numbers (if you’re a Mac junky like me). Then go back to Facebook and input your audience name and description, then choose your CSV file under the “Choose File” header. And click “create audience.”

If you want to target these people, go right ahead. But, be sure to create a second custom audience and do this one extra step too. In the split screen below, use the “Create Similar Audience”:

lookalike audience

…and optimize for Similarity in the pop-out screen.

optimize for similarity

This will create a look-alike audience based upon your actual sales experience.

Well, there you have it: three targeting strategies for reaching new parents. Go forth, and let me know how it goes.

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Cody Vest
Cody Vest is the creative director at Vest Advertising in Louisville, KY. A second-generation Ad Man, he bridges the gap between digital data and ad strategy building campaigns across every kind of media outlet from Facebook to broadcast TV. Cody's interests include building easy ways to get key marketing data from the open systems of the social web, and strengthening traditional campaigns with digital insights.