When targeting ads on Facebook exclusion can be the secret to increasing your conversions.

There are a myriad of ways to target an audience on a variety of platforms.

Wherever there is an audience—be it on TV, the radio, in magazines, or on social media – there are different best practices that you can utilize when audience targeting.

But the format that has the best ROI for your social advertising dollars is undoubtedly Facebook.

Why Facebook

Sheer Size


I won’t waste your time arguing this, other than to say that the platform has 1.71 billion users, which make up 81% of online adults, and 80% of them check it every single day.

Additional Platform Access

When you advertise on Facebook, you’re not just getting access to their 1.71 billion users. You are also able to reach out to Instagram audiences and the Audience Network.

In case you’re a little rusty on what the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) actually is, it’s a “collection of mobile apps where Facebook advertisers can serve ads using the same targeting and measurement tools that they use on Facebook.” This means that your advertising can expand beyond Facebook’s boundaries and target users of different mobile apps.

So if you want to focus your dollars and manpower on only one platform, Facebook is the best choice for the greatest ROI.


Why exclusion can be what you’re missing in your Facebook audience targeting

You can read hundreds, if not thousands, of guides that will walk you through the basics of how to set up a Facebook ad campaign. Further, there are a plethora of articles on which audiences to target.  Everyone talks about ways you can find new customers or target your current user list when you start advertising on Facebook.

But what is rarely discussed is looking at who you should exclude as well.

Inclusion is obviously important in life, society, and the workplace. But for Facebook audience targeting, exclusion can be the real secret to increasing your conversions.

Previous customers may be a great group to exclude if your goal is to bring on board new customers. If you are highlighting a popular product that most of your current clientele have already purchased, then you would want to exclude the current customers from receiving this ad.


You don’t want to kick previous customers completely out though. You can also narrow previous customers down by excluding those that have purchased recently to make sure you are going after customers who haven’t been back in a while.

E-commerce isn’t the only area that sees success by excluding groups. This tactic also works for lead generation campaigns. If you are advertising for an MBA at your university, you would want to exclude users that already have an MBA, or even a graduate degree. It makes more sense to go after those that don’t have that level of higher education to see if they want to come back for it (or lack thereof).

A third segment that can be beneficial to exclude is their buying power. If you are a high-end brand with high-end prices, you would want to exclude younger age groups, as they won’t have the amount of buying power as an older professional.

For example, if you were advertising Hermes bags on Facebook, you obviously would want to exclude those users who do not fit the demographic of such a luxury item.

The same also goes for certain brands and sales with very low price points. You would likely exclude older age groups (outside of mothers and fathers) when going after clientele for that type of brand.


How to exclude

Exclusion through Facebook Ads Manager

The best part of this form of audience targeting is that are multiple methods available within Facebook Ads Manager system for exclusion.

You can always exclude under the major categories available for campaigns, as well as uploading previous customer lists to exclude them from an ad for a product they have already purchased.

When you want to delve deeply into behaviors or interests, you’ll want to look to “Excluded Detailed Targeting.”


Because you can target behaviors with this method, you can exclude people whose behaviors indicate they are likely to not purchase your product or service. When promoting your high-end luxury vehicle inventory, excluding people who are shopping for affordable minivans recently is a smart move.

Cap on number of times customer sees ad

Facebook understands that if you constantly bombard your potential customer or client with the same ad over and over again, you are likely to lose them.

An over-saturation of an ad on a customer can lead to decreased engagement with that ad and lead to negative associations with your brand. Facebook automatically limits the frequency of your ad in someone’s individual News Feed to 1-2 times per day per advertiser.

This handles the excluding for you, and saves you the time and effort of determining the limit on someone viewing your ads.


Best practices

Don’t exclude yourself too far

As with most things in life, moderation in excluding targeted audiences is required. You don’t want to exclude so many audiences to the point that you are left with too small of an audience pool, or one that isn’t likely to convert. Use the knowledge that you have gleaned from previous advertising campaigns to use the exclusion tool effectively.

Remember who you are

You know your client or customer best (at least, I hope you do!). You know why you want to bring them your product or service and what benefit they can gain from it. Make sure that you don’t lose that thread when you are advertising on Facebook. Don’t cast your net so wide that you are targeting people who would never be customers. Make sure you stay true to your brand and exclude judiciously.


Look to the past to keep evolving

Now, staying true to your brand doesn’t mean you shouldn’t review previous campaigns or work to evolve new ones. It’s crucial to keep track of how previous campaigns have performed so you can continue ones that have done well and review the ones that have failed. Even failed campaigns have something to show you about your advertising and customers. There is always something you can learn from that experience. As you continue to move forward in your Facebook advertising, be sure to look back to see what can inform your future.

Final thoughts

Facebook is always innovating and finding ways to reach people. This benefits you and your ads, since you will likely be on the front line along with the social media platform.

Even better is the benefit of Facebook advertising to your bottom line. Nanigans found that return on ad spend on Facebook rose an average of 75% year over year in the second quarter of 2016.


So with the ability to reach the breadth of audiences Facebook provides, combined with the nuanced targeting excluding certain groups, why wouldn’t you use Facebook for your audience targeting?

OrionCKB is a direct-response agency focused on social media advertising for e-commerce companies.