Digital marketing

How To Unleash The Power Of Targeting On Social Media

I believe in Maya Angelou’s quote…“When you know better, you do better.”

How can a marketer achieve success on social media without a good acquaintance with its tools?

When it comes to ads targeting on social media, many marketers do not know that it’s not limited to the well-known criteria like gender, age, and location.

Social media has lots of criteria that can help a lot in reaching the exact target segment in high accuracy; let me tell you how…

I choose some top social media platforms to unleash their powers of targeting.

Facebook and Instagram

As you know, Instagram is owned by Facebook. Instagram ads are also managed through the Facebook platform. So, both share the same targeting criteria. You can target the audience on both by interest such as sports, health and wellness, shopping, or by behavior such as frequent travelers, technology early adopters. Another option for targeting by job title is available; however, I would recommend LinkedIn, which is more accurate and reliable in such criterion. I’ll give more details about LinkedIn targeting in this article.

  • Targeting can even be more specific. Imagine that you can target parents with early school-age children (6-8 years).
  • Targeting by language can be used to reach different socioeconomic classes, for example in Egypt, people of higher socioeconomic classes usually choose English or French Facebook interface rather than Arabic (a bitter truth).
  • Location targeting is not limited to countries and cities. You can be as specific as targeting provinces or areas such as Cairo airport or JBR in Dubai or Aziziya in Mecca with the ability to choose if they are living in this area or just visitors.
  • If you have a database of customers’ contacts, you can use a custom audience option to target them. Note that “contacts” must be the same that they used in Facebook registration. You also must get their consent first before using their contacts in ads targeting.
  • A good option we use sometimes is to target friends of people who like the page or the amazing lookalike audience, which is a Facebook segmentation tool that finds users whose demographics and interests are similar to those of your existing followers.
  • You can also put the exclusion criteria. For instance, people who already installed your app or responded to an event so that you do not need to waste budget running ads to them again.



Besides geographic and demographic targeting, you can target your ads on YouTube by keywords. For example, if your product is a protein bar, you can target people who are searching for exercising videos.

YouTube allows targeting by placement in specific channels or maybe by targeting certain topics where we can reach multiple channels focused on specific topics such as motherhood, gaming, etc.


Twitter has a tailored Audiences tool, which uses your own CRM lists to reach specific groups of users. The most tool I like in twitter targeting is the “keywords” tool which acts on signals of intent by delivering timely messages to users based on what they’ve recently Tweeted or engaged within Tweets.


It is a treasure for B2B, which has targeting superpowers that are not available on any other channel. On LinkedIn where you can target by industry, company name, company size, job title, job function, seniority, fields of study, degrees, skills.

Let me give an example: you can target HR managers in big companies in Kuwait or owners of SME’s in Algeria. It is magic!


In the end, bear in mind that going narrow for targeting will increase the cost accordingly. The more restricted the audience, the higher the ad price. So, you must be careful when measuring costs vs. benefits. You might not need to be so tight if you are not marketing a niche product.

Ahmed Samy

15 years’ experience in digital marketing, Ahmed has been managing digitalization of healthcare communication projects in Switzerland, India and Mexico. Managed the launch of tens of websites, mobile apps, Google ads campaign as well as social media marketing campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube in Egypt, GCC, South Africa and Australia. Samy has been gaining insights, expertise and competency on how to determine clients' key objectives, choose the optimum strategy and tactics to achieve those objectives !