Targeted Ads: Basics All Entrepreneurs Should Know

Targeted advertising can be tailored according to audience interests, demographics, keywords, and other parameters. The advertising platform’s algorithms identify users interested in the product and show ads to that segment.

You can run such ads on different platforms, and it’s suitable almost for all businesses from a modern Woo Casino to an old-fashioned barbershop. The main thing is to choose the right format and set the audience settings.


Targeted advertising can be run on multiple social networks and advertising platforms that broadcast ads on websites and applications:

  • Meta. The company includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. Ads are set up in the Facebook Ads Manager office. To run an ad, you must create a Facebook business page.
  • Instagram. This social network has its advertising tools right in the app. To use them, you need to convert your profile from personal to professional. Instagram tools have fewer advertising options than Facebook’s ad cabinet. They are suitable for the basic setup of the promotion of posts.
  • TikTok. Ads are set up through the TikTok account and are shown in a standard video format in the applications of the TikTok family: TikTok, TopBuzz, BuzzVideo, etc.

Targeted Advertising Formats

Targeted Advertising Formats

It can be launched in different formats depending on the platform, audience and your product.


This ad often looks like a regular post in the social media feed: photo / layout + short text with a call to action or a button. The advertiser chooses the button depending on their goal. It can bring the reader to the site, sign him up for a mailing list, or open a bot or a specific post.

The post is seamlessly embedded into the user’s feed between the communities’ posts and profiles they are subscribed to.

Stories or TikToks

Creatives for vertical stories can be static (photos and graphics) or animated (videos). The peculiarity of this format is that users are used to browse Stories and TikToks quickly, and spend only a few seconds clicking on each tab, so it’s important to create a creative that’s designed to keep attention at a glance and let users hang on to the ad longer. The ad will appear in the story feed.

Desktop Versions

On some sites, you can place ads that people will see only in the full version of the site. Typically, these are small text-graphic blocks with product information and a button or clickable banners.

Other Formats

There are many ad formats for a variety of purposes. For example, you can load several ads into a carousel or create a lead form to collect applications.

What Kind of Targeting There Is

An important feature of targeting advertising is the setting of parameters. Just choose a platform is not enough, you must also correctly identify your audience and specify these criteria in the control panel. Let’s look at what may be the parameters for selecting a segment of users:

  • Socio-demographic: Gender, age, marital status, education. These are the easiest and most obvious criteria, according to which the site algorithms will narrow the search.
  • Interests: In these settings, you can specify your field, product/service, and related areas. For example, if you advertise a foundation, add to the interests of cosmetics and self-care. But remember, don’t set too narrow or too broad interests. In the first case, algorithms will have a hard time finding the right users, and in the second, your ads will be shown to non targeted audiences and you will pay more money for less effective results. 
  • Geography: For example, the country or city where you sell your product or provide a service. If you deliver orders only in certain regions, you shouldn’t show your ad across the country – you will be paying for the coverage, which will include users you aren’t interested in.
  • Key queries: This parameter resembles interests. These are the words a person enters into a search engine when they search for your product. If you are advertising dog food, these might be the following queries: dogs, pet food, dog food, dry dog food, dog care, etc. Not all social media sites have this option. But if you can set keyword queries for a campaign in your office, use that option.
  • Time of day: This option allows you to set the display of ads for the whole day or a certain period.

Pros and Cons of Targeted Ads

As with any advertising, targeting advertising has advantages and disadvantages. Here are its main disadvantages:

  • Careful moderation: Each site has its own rules for ads. Each ad is sent to the moderator for review. And it does not always pass at once. But if you follow the site’s policy, problems can be avoided.
  • The subtleties of setting: The success of your ads depends on each parameter you configure. For example, if you specify the wrong audience, the site will show your ad to users who may not be interested in your product. And because of the lack of limits, the budget for the week can be spent in a day. You should be very attentive to the settings.

But keep in mind the advantages:

  • Wide choice of formats: You can submit your ad in the format that best demonstrates the product’s benefits. Make it in video format, static, connect registration and data collection form, put a suitable button, put several product cards in one campaign, etc.
  • Quick optimization: The results of the first days of advertising appear in the cabinet quickly enough. This allows you to evaluate its effectiveness and test various hypotheses while your ads run. If something goes wrong, I can promptly respond and run a new campaign with different parameters.

What Businesses Can Use Targeted Advertising

Targeted advertising is useful for any business whose audience uses social media. That is, most businesses in the market.

Before launching targeted advertising, it is important to understand what platform your audience uses most often, what their interests are, and what format will allow them to tell you about your product better.

For example, you are advertising a palette of bright eyeshadows. Let’s assume that your brand’s audience is female, 18-35 years old. You could try running ads through videos on TikTok. Many users on this site post cosmetics reviews and their makeup options, so it may be easier to find a potential customer here.

But if you’ve decided to organize an event where your makeup artists will hold a master class on using this particular palette, advertising in the feed won’t work anymore. It’s better to create a lead form to collect applications for the event.

How Much Targeted Advertising Costs

There are no specific price tags for advertising. The budget of each campaign depends on the parameters you specify.

Here’s what affects the cost:

  • Your budget. You can set its limits yourself in the advertising cabinet. Often, sites indicate after this action what the coverage of users will be at the entered amount.
  • The duration of the campaign. You also choose the time frame yourself. You can even run an ad for a few days.
  • Payment for displays (CPM) or for conversions (CPC). Some sites have auctions that set the cost per click/show. The rate you set depends on whether you win the auction and whether users will see your ad.

Ad platforms also have a spending limit per day. This is a useful feature. It helps distribute your budget evenly over the entire display period.

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