164. New Ad Targeting Options That Are Working Now

12 July 2022 | By Salome Schillack

Finding the right people when you advertise on social media means half the battle is won!

When you have great ad copy and a great message, you want the confidence to know for sure that your ad dollars are getting your message in front of the right people. 

But how do you do that if the platform and the rules keep changing?

Easy, you listen to today’s episode of The Shine Show with ad experts Caroline Fenton and Amy Wyhoon as they share with you all the ad targeting that is working right now. 

Tune in to today’s episode if you’re ready to be discovered by more of your future students. 



P.S. If you loved this episode and you're a committed online course launcher who wants bigger profits in your next launch, then The Launch Lounge is the place to be. No one size fits all solutions, just the right education you need when you need it, 1:1 coaching from experts in different areas of launching and scaling, and the best community of online course creators on the internet. It’s the place to be if you want to reach 7 figures and beyond. Doors are opening soon. Join the waitlist here.

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Hello, and welcome to episode number 164 of The Shine Show. Today, we're going to be talking about new ad targeting options that are working really well now.

Giving up your time and freedom to make money is so 2009. Hi, I'm your host Salome Schillack, and I help online course creators launch, grow, and scale their businesses with Facebook and Instagram ads, so that they can make more money and have an even bigger impact in the world. If you're ready to be inspired, to dream bigger, launch sooner, and grow your online business faster, then tune in because you are ready to shine, and this is The Shine Show.

Hello there, I hope today's episode finds you really, really well. Do you know what my favorite time of the week is? My favorite time of the week is... Actually, I have two favorite times of the week. The one favorite time of the week is a Tuesday morning, an Aussie Tuesday morning, which is a Monday afternoon in the US when we release a podcast episode because I know on a Tuesday and a Wednesday I get emails from you guys.

And, I love getting emails from you guys. I love it when we send out the podcast newsletter and you hit reply and you tell me what you thought about the episode or what you learned in the episode or how the episode is helping you. I have never, ever, ever had as big a response to a podcast episode as I had about the episode where I talked about what to do when you don't like your business anymore. Man, you guys and gals, there's a lot of us out there who has felt this way. There's a lot of you out there who's feeling this way right now. I have felt that way, and it's important that we say that to each other because social media is so fucking fake and it leaves everyone, especially if you are feeling a little despondent, feeling a little bit like you should be further than you are, it leaves you feeling like, man.

The feeling that I used to have is there's something wrong with me. That's how I used to feel. There's something wrong with me. Why is it taking me three years to figure this thing out? And if that's you right now, ugh, I want to give you the biggest podcast hug, the biggest, biggest podcast hug. And, I just want to let that just like someone who goes to college or university to learn to become a doctor, they don't know how to be a brain surgeon the moment they enroll in medical school. There's certain skills that just takes time, and building an online business really is not just as simple as grabbing your phone and starting to talk into it, and then suddenly you manifest a bunch of money, and a lot of the time I see people saying, "Well, the only reason you haven't made money is because you don't have the right money mindset," and it's such crap.

There is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you. You're just still learning the skills. So hang in there, and if you've learned some skills and you've built a business that you don't like, I have news for you, you could start over, you can change it. You get to do that. You have a lot more freedom than you feel you have just because we weren't raised to believe we have freedom, and just because our funny little brains tell us we don't have that freedom, so lean into that. Wow, I was not planning on going off on that tangent, but I love tangents. Don't tangents feel good? They feel good because we got to get the stuff off our chests. Second favorite time of the week is geek meeting. Every Thursday afternoon at 1:00 PM, Brisbane time, the geeks get together in my business and we go deep geek on our CEO level clients' work.

And, lately we've been going deep geek on some of the VIP clients' funnels and businesses as well. If you don't know what CEO or VIP is, they are two different levels of the launch lounge. So, when you join the Launch Lounge you can join as a regular member or after six months you qualify to become a VIP, which means you get a lot more time with me, and when you've hit six figures and you're ready to scale to seven figures, you come and join us inside the agency where we are now, calling this CEO level where we help you build your business as marketing consultants. It's way more than just an ads agency. We don't just manage your traffic, we help you, we consult on how you can scale your funnels and reach more people. So, Thursday afternoon one o'clock, the geeks come together.

The geeks consist of me. I'm probably the least geeky person in the geeks meeting, but I'm there, and then my two OGs are there, Hannah and Caroline. Caroline was the original OG Facebook ads manager I hired to work with me way back in 2018, and she still geeks out with us on our clients' funnels and Hannah, who's just the smartest person I know when it comes to data analytics and recently we've added Amy Wyhoon, Facebook ads manager to the mix.

We've added Tonia Krebs to the mix. Tonia is our community manager inside the Launch Lounge, and occasionally we have Rebecca join us as well. Rebecca is my customer support manager for the CEO level clients. So, she treats the CEOs like CEOs and she makes them feel like CEOs because that's how Rebecca rolls. So, Thursday afternoon we geek out and we go deep, deep, deep on all things, building audiences, making offers, and building funnels, data and analytics, which platforms are working the best, where's the best traffic coming from, how are these customers moving through the most profitable customer journey, how are the clients making money and how can we help them make more money?

Those are the sorts of questions we answer there, and sometimes it gets as specific as, okay, what targeting options are working? And, the other day we had a delicious conversation about targeting options that's working now and I asked Caroline and Amy to have a conversation and record the conversation for us, so that you guys can have a little bit of a fly on the wall, sneak peek into the types of things we talk about in the geeks meeting. And of course, you know that if you want more geek, you need to become a member of the Launch Lounge, and you already know that you can go to shineandsucceed.com/launch to sign up for the wait list, and you want to do that. But before you do that, just have a listen to this episode and find out what targeting options are working right now. Here's Caroline and Amy.

All right, so with all the changes happening in Facebook, Amy and I just wanted to get together and have a chat with you guys about targeting. So, all the options that are available to you in Facebook, but also maybe some of the things you haven't thought of trying, and maybe some things that you used to try and maybe should be trying again and maybe some things you've just never tried before. So, we just wanted to have a quick chat around targeting pretty much. So, Amy, hi.

Hi, how are you?

All right, so I guess really, what are you seeing and where do we want to start? So, do you want to start talking about what we used to do I guess, what we used to do in the good old days?

Yeah, let's start there because some people may be still here. So before all the changes, the iOS, Facebook bringing out all different updates every week, we used to sort of choose our audience size, say two to 6 million. I know it seems a lot, but-

Especially Aussie people.

Yes, it's not easy when you're targeting the US, but two to 6 million was sort of a good sized audience. We would also stack interests, so get all the interest in there, load them up and look-alikes were a lot easier because we've lost a little bit of the tracking, look-alikes are just a little bit harder. So, we're sort of testing lots of things, which we'll probably talk about later anyway. So, that's kind of what we were-

You're right, we used to be very clear on this, like 2.6 million as a sweet spot, and obviously we're talking about cold targeting here, so cold interest targeting, and as you say, stacking all those interests in there. So, maybe you've got digital marketing with copywriting, with social media, everything stacked in there, all the options fall in one asset, but I guess now with the changes and targeting not being as accurate as it used to be, we're testing a few different things. So, you were saying, Amy, that you've been testing actually bigger audiences, bigger than the two to 6 million, so what have you been trying?

Yes, so I've been going broad basically just gender, country, and age-

And no interest in there?

No interest, so we're looking at audiences that can range, depending on the country, from like 10 million, up to 80 million.


So, just it's working really well in engagement ads. I have had it work similarly to interest audiences for lead gen. So, it's definitely worth trying. You do need to have good copies, so it's really you want to have strong messaging, really good copy, like an image that's going to stop the scroll for the people. So, basically you're leaving it up to Facebook to find the people that have clicked on something else that your target audience... So, say for example you're looking at a copywriting course and you wanted to go copywriters, no interest in there, but your messaging around this copywriting is so strong that Facebook knows to find copywriters within that big audience.

That makes a lot of sense. I guess before we relied so much on the targeting options available within Facebook, like finding copywriters and now it doesn't know who the copywriters are. So instead of saying, "Oh, ignore that, just go to anyone that lives in this country, that is this age," and using your creative and your copy and your messaging to really actually find the right people, and then the algorithm [inaudible 00:12:44] off the back of that.

It kind of flipped a little bit, hasn't it?

It has, right? I think it used to be almost Facebook's biggest asset was its targeting, but now we're sort of losing that a bit. It's tricky, it's different, and I was just going to ask you though, often we can't actually see the size of audiences in Facebook anymore based on the new privacy and things. What are you doing around that, just guessing?

Sometimes. If you've used an audience before, you'll have an idea as to how big it is. What I'm finding though is if you exclude any... You might exclude people that have already opted into your lead market, that is when you lose the sizing of the audience. So, if you create the audience with the interest first, have a look at what the numbers are there, and then add your exclusions in. You should have an idea as to what size you're targeting.

Cool, good stuff, and I guess just talking about how this now works with the algorithm and the lack of visibility and everything, what if it's a brand new account? The pixel's not been on anywhere pages before, there's no data in the account, there's no campaigns that have ever run, the pixel has zero learning, is it really a good idea to be saying, hey, Facebook, find me the people that you have no clue who they might be? Is it a good idea to be try broad? Would you stay with stacked or look-alikes? Where would you go with it?

I would totally test it. I'm big on testing because you just don't know, and Facebook's AI is getting so clever. I know that I looked [inaudible 00:14:28] one day and I reckon within the next hour after looking at the website or one of posts that popped up on Facebook, I was targeted with like five other ads, different companies selling the similar thing. So, you just have to trust Facebook sometimes. I know it's hard, but test it. See whether it does work for you, and as I said, it's definitely worth putting out at the top of your funnel within engagement. Test it and see how your message is working with people and helping Facebook to find those right people for you.


What do you think?

What do I think?

Yeah, I'm giving it back to you.


[inaudible 00:15:22].

No, testing 100%, test it always, and I'd be super cautious with a brand new account if I'm honest. I would probably want to do a little bit of work with some more audiences and things like stacked interest audiences, that kind of thing, especially if also your look-alikes, if you haven't got big, strong custom audiences yet, then your look-alikes aren't necessarily going to work for you either, but I do think there's merit in testing audience sizes 100%. And like you said, with engagement ads, definitely going that bit broader and letting the creative and that messaging do the work for you rather than restricting it almost by giving it these interests, but I think we've seen time and again with accounts that don't have enough data or mojo that need a bit more warming up. So, it's one to be conscious of I guess.

Does it work across all campaign objectives?

Yeah, I liked you were talking about engagement ads earlier and that's obviously a really strong strategy that we use with our clients and students in the Launch Lounge and things, but I think the broad can definitely work. Like I said, an account with some data, with some good mojo, I think it can also work for conversion ads and obviously everything in between, so traffic, video views, anything else you've got in between, but with conversion it's again, it's testing. It's going back to looking at what you've had work in the past and trying new things and seeing if you can get better results with them. So, what else are you testing other than broad?

So, testing like mega stacked audiences, so just going interest based, but just everything, throwing in [inaudible 00:17:05]-

[inaudible 00:17:06] suggestions [inaudible 00:17:06].

That's it, and obviously trying to build up the size of it at the same time. Also look-alikes, so I could know that they're not working as well, so still testing different ones and every account is sort of... Every account needs to test because what works on one doesn't always work across all accounts. So with look-alikes, trying sort of like a bigger look-alike, so instead of 1%, which is obviously the closest to the original source, going bigger, so like 5% can go higher obviously the further away from one you get, the less similar or similarity to the source audience. 3% is kind of a sweet spot.

Yeah, you were saying you like where the 3% is at the moment.

It's a good number. So, I definitely throw in a one and a three just to see you might find the 1% works better, you might find it the 3% works better, and depending on budget, you could try a one, three and a five, depending on how much testing you wanted to go through.

And, one thing we've definitely tried in the past as well is actually a 10%. So like you said, going away from the quality, more towards the quantity to say you've got your email list and you've got a 10% look-alike of your email list. Maybe you've got enough data that you can do a 10% look-alike of your purchases or your clients, and then actually narrowing that down to one really strong interest. So, it might be back to your example earlier, you were selling a copywriting course, so you are targeting copywriters, so you create a 10% look-alike of your email list, and then you say you narrow that down to copywriting or copywriter. So, you pick something that you 100% know is bang on what your avatar are looking for, and then give Facebook that sort of helping hand basically in trying to give it the pools of people you want it to look in.

I like it. I haven't tried that one, so I might have to give that one a go.

I like it. It's smart, and it's using your own data, but also using that interest. So, it's kind of a bit of a combo one, but what about like single interests?


[inaudible 00:19:26] stacked, but do you try single interests in one aspect?

Sometimes I do, and it really depends on obviously the size, but if you can find that big, top level interest audience, it can work really well, and then depending on the size of it, you might even just layer it in with page admins. So, let me give you an example. Digital marketing is such a broad topic and covers so many different things. So, you could have digital marketing or you could break it down and you could have copywriting, social media marketing, email marketing, lead gen marketing. You could bring in all these different things that fall under the umbrella of digital marketing, or you could just try digital marketing and see which one works better for [inaudible 00:20:16].

I understand.

Once again, testing.

Testing, testing, testing, test it all, and you mentioned layering as well, which I mentioned with the narrowing of the look-alike down to your one store interest, but in the same way that you are narrowing that audience down.

Yeah, especially if you're dealing with B2B because generally most of them will be a page admin, so you're just narrowing it down. So, instead of getting someone that wants someone to do their social media, you're trying to find someone to... If you went to someone interested in social media, that could be someone that likes Facebook, but you actually want someone that's in business by putting page admin in there as well. They've got a page, so they're at least looking at marketing it.

And, the same way you could select business owners or something like that, small business owners [inaudible 00:21:14]-


Trying new layers.

Definitely, there's lots in there and you just find that sweet spot that works. So, there's lots to test with as well.

There always is. I guess one big change as well that... Oh, when even was it? I don't know, in six months, 12 months, probably more than that, but detailed targeting expansion. I feel like this has been a bit of a game changer in how we target and these sizes of audiences that we create, and I remember when it very first came out, our initial reaction was like, "Don't touch it, leave it off, control your audience. Otherwise, how do who you're trying to target?" But now, oh wait, for some people it's actually on by default, but now we use it quite a lot. What are your thoughts on detailed targeting expansion?

Look, sometimes it helps. If you have an interest and you know that it's only these particular three things that you're targeting, you can turn it on and let Facebook find people similar to that because maybe they're clicking on things that they haven't actually said I'm interested in, but Facebook can see what they're interested in. So, it can definitely help, and it also makes your audience a bit bigger, which Facebook likes at the moment. So, I feel like it's a little, here's a reward for doing what we want you to do.

I think it comes with that caveat as well, doesn't it? It says it will only go broader than what you specify if it leads to better results.


How much do we trust that? We're not sure, but like you said... And, I think in some accounts it's actually on by default, you can't change it. So, if you are [inaudible 00:23:00] it's on, then it's on, and I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing now-

No, I wouldn't worry too much either.


Roll with it.

Some look-alike expansion as well, that was rolled out... I'm probably talking about two years now, isn't it? Time is just crazy, but anyway-

[inaudible 00:23:24]. That's probably newer than the detail. The detail targeting has been there, but not as it has to be on, whereas it's rolling out, but it has to be on and then look-alike expansion. I haven't seen any that it's set like it's an option, like it-

[inaudible 00:23:40].

It's [inaudible 00:23:43] somewhere.

Audience expansion coming to custom audiences, which I think we've got interesting thoughts on that, but that's probably another episode, which we won't talk about today, but watch your space if you do end up with an option to be able to put targeting expansion on your custom audiences and probably check it's not on by default because that would maybe mark up some of your retargeting. And, talking of retargeting and warm audiences, we're focused a lot on cold with interest, with broad, with look-alike, and what about retargeting? We've already chat about iOS and visibility being down and privacy rules up and obviously leading to smaller audiences that we now have to retarget, but what are you seeing working with retargeting?

So, obviously the smaller audiences are a bit harder. Previously, we rely on the pixel to track people who have been to the website, but now we don't necessarily see all that information. So, it's a bit harder to create audiences to retarget that way. So, it's kind getting creative and working out other ways that we can catch those people to retarget them. I've been doing a lot with sort of on-platform engagement, so using engagement ads, video views, ads, and just retargeting anything that happens on the platform, and there's quite a few ways that you can do that too. So, it kind of seems to be working quite well. It's also a great way to warm people up just to bring them into your funnel if they haven't had too many touch points. So, it's something that I'm definitely implementing and I think something that we teach as well in terms of having an engagement ad running. It also helps with like account mojo. So, it's like a win-win.

So, obviously keeping people on the platform, keeping them on the Facebook app or Instagram app by using objectives like videos views, engagement, [inaudible 00:25:49] those buckets of people and to be able to retarget them rather than just-

You can also retarget anyone that's filled in a lead gen form on Facebook, anyone that's opened an instant experience and you can go into that and it actually allows you to pick if they've opened it, but not opted in. So, there's a few options in there, so I highly recommend going in and having a look at custom audiences that you can create and seeing what on-platform ones are in there to use.

It seems that Facebook want us to do this as well. It's the direction they want us to go in because they have more data and then they can better optimize your campaigns and then you can get better results, and then you keep advertising and you keep giving them money.

And, they don't want you to leave the platform. So, it's kind of like working with them.

Win-win, 100%. So, I guess the other one in terms of retargeting is email list as well. You want to build your email list, audience build lists as well, and then once you have your email list, you upload it back into Facebook and retarget that are on your list, say you're launching your course or whatever it might be, but I guess-

How many people do you need on the list now?

On the email list? That's a tricky one. It used to be that we could have like 100 people on the list and you could upload it back into Facebook and you could get back in front of them, and you can retarget them, but now it feels like you need more like 1,000, which especially if you're just starting out, you might not have 1,000 people on that list, and even if you are more established in business and you've got great big lists, but there might just be a certain segment that you want to retarget, there's not often 1,000 people in that.

So, I would suggest upload them, see what it says, and what error if it's not enough people. See what it says, really try and create a look-alike from it as well, but do just test what you have. And if you need to, you can always use your list in conjunction with pixel data. So, look at your lead event fires and include those people in that audience as well. So, it's definitely something you need to still do, definitely still be using your lists for your custom audiences, but just be aware you might need a few more people than we used to be able to create that audience, which is just again, a testament to big audiences, and Facebook wanting more and more people in these audiences they're targeting.

Absolutely. What about researching, like finding our audience? How do we do that? We need to know kind of what they're interested in. Have you got any tips on that?

We used to use, what was it, Audience Insights before that went away-

Yes, it seems so long ago now.

Just click the button and you can see absolutely everything, but with privacy the way it is, that's not a feature anymore. So, we have to get a bit more creative, I guess, but using Amazon, Google, YouTube, they're all good platforms to go and look at what your ideal clients are interested in. So, just have a look and they can also help inform things like copy as well. So, it's definitely worth diving down, and I'm really strong on just going back to your ICA, your ideal client, and looking at that avatar sort of piece of information on them, like what stage of life are they at? What are they doing? What's their lifestyle? Are they into health and fitness food? What else are they doing in their lives? It doesn't have to just be what it is about that course that you're selling to them, it can be all other aspects of their life and it might then trigger up some other great ideas that, I don't know, maybe if they're a bit older and they're in different categories, what else are they also doing with their life?

Are they looking at pensions? Are they looking at investment properties? That might have nothing to do with your course, but if they're in that age and they're sort of interested and lets someone target it, it could work really well for you. I think, Amy, you mentioned earlier with entrepreneurs, often we think about, are they interested in digital marketing, like Facebook advertising, all these things? Mindset, but Netflix [inaudible 00:29:54]-


[inaudible 00:29:55] and they're watching Netflix as well, so really do go back to that works that you've done in who you're targeting, and then think about how that plays out in the interest you want to target in Facebook as well-

Yes, I've got another little trick that when you see an ad, like there's three little dots at the top. If you click on that, it'll open up and you can click on the why am I seeing this, so that's another way to do some research because if that ad is something that you're selling, then you want to know what they're targeting because then you can target that also. It's a great little trick.

Very sneaky. I wrote in one of our ad updates the other week about how you can actually see what interests Facebook think you have as well. I thought it was so interesting, but you can go and see what your interests are according to Facebook, and then that's what you get targeted ads with based on those. But, you can actually go and call them if you want, so you could change up your whole entire interests and just be like, "No, I'm not interested in any of that anymore. I'm done." All very good ways to research and I guess all that said, just go research, research, test, test, test, and then if it doesn't work, what do you do if it doesn't work?

No, change something. No, seriously, it's all about testing. So if it's not working, have a look at the audiences. Are you testing a few? Is there one that's working better? Can you break that down? Can you try something similar to it? Tweak it, run it again, see what happens, and then I guess at the end of the day, if you try multiple audiences and nothing is working, it may not be the audience that's the issue. It might come back to your messaging or your hook or your offer, and that's when you have to go back to the drawing board, look at your creatives, look at the data that you've got as well, and a whole other episode right there, and just make... It's kind of like make those changes, but if it's not working and you've tried multiple audiences, there's something else that needs to change.

100%, awesome. Well, I hope there's some good food for thought for everyone there, and a lot of things to try and test, test, test as always.

Yes, absolutely.

Right, thanks, Amy.

That's my favorite word, no worries.


Thanks, Caroline.


Well, thank you very much, Caroline and Amy. I hope that you just learned a whole lot of new things about how to find your best audiences using Facebook and Instagram ads, and remember, hit reply to the email in your inbox. Come and talk to me, tell me what you think about this episode. If you haven't yet subscribed, get on the wait list for the Launch Lounge and then you're on my email list and you will get emails about fabulous, fantastic episodes we have coming up in The Shine Show. That's it from me and Team Shine, Team Launch Lounge, I will catch you again next week, bye.

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