How to use audiences’ exclusions on Facebook ads

Audiences’ exclusions are used by all the Facebook advertisers in one form or another. The two most common cases of using audiences’ exclusions are the necessity to avoid overlapping audiences and exclude impressions for an inappropriate audience segment.

Let’s take a deeper look at both cases.

Overlapping audiences

Almost every advertiser who uses Facebook Ads sooner or later faces the fact that the number of different audiences that can be used simultaneously to launch advertising campaigns is limited. Technically, it’s possible to launch a huge number of audiences for targeting, however, it is necessary to understand that the more audiences work, the greater the chance of their intersection.

Intersection itself almost always happens if to compare two audiences, but it’s necessary to pay attention to how many simultaneously overlapping audiences are in the account, as well as the percentage of intersection.

A large number of overlapping audiences can cause low results in the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, wasting the budget, low impressions number, and, as a consequence, a low number of conversions and poor ROAS. Therefore it’s necessary to exclude overlapping audiences from each other.

The first question is how to determine the intersection of audiences. You should go to the Facebook Ads account and choose “Audiences” in the upper left menu in the “Assets” section.

You will see the list of all saved audiences in the account.

To determine the percentage of the intersection, you should select two or more audiences, then click on the drop-down menu icon at the top of the page and choose the option to show the intersection of the selected audiences.

After that, the comparison of all selected audiences will be shown. So it will give the information about how many percent of users from the audience A are members of audience B.

In addition, in this window you can add additional audiences for comparison. The option is available by clicking on the drop-down link at the bottom of the modal window.

If the overlapping is more than 15% it’s better to exclude one audience from another.

To do this you should go to the ad group settings and choose the audiences for exclusion from the drop-down list of all saved audiences. You can choose one or more audiences. Some advertisers exclude in each ad group all other working audiences to avoid their intersection at all.

Based on the actions above, it becomes clear that in order to be able to exclude audiences from each other, they must be saved in the audience section of the ad account.

The algorithm of actions is as follows: create an audience, add it to the saved audiences, check the intersection with the audiences you’re planning to target, if there is a significant intersection, and especially if its’ level is quite high, then exclude one audience from another in the ad group settings.

During the work with audience exclusions it’s always necessary to pay attention to the final target audience size. For example, if the size of the audience for targeting after all the exclusions was reduced to several thousand people, then you should consider whether it makes sense to launch an ad group for this audience, or it’s better to limit ad groups to those audiences that were excluded (and which were launched in other ad groups).

Inappropriate audience segment

Another possible option for audience exclusions is inappropriate audience segment. It can include some specific characteristics, interests, or behavioural factors of the audience that need to be excluded from the targeting audience.

Usually, the necessity to exclude some audience segment is connected with the current ad results or with some requirements or characteristics of the business.

For example, if the website sells products for children from 2 to 10 years, you can choose for targeting people who are interested in “Parenting” and “Child care”. But in this case, your audience will include all “parents who care about a child”. So you should exclude from your audience parents who potentially have younger children to avoid showing ads to an irrelevant audience. For example, you can exclude people who are interested in “Diaper” and “Breastfeeding”.

The other possible necessity of segment exclusion are results that were received during the working period of the ads. Don’t forget to check the “Breakdown” reports in your ads account. You can find this option above the report table in the right corner.

This option could give you a lot of information for further campaigns optimization. Also, it could help understand the audience segments which are necessary to be excluded. For example, you can notice that one of the regions has much lower results than others. In this case, you can exclude it in the geographic settings of the ad group. All other breakdown options should also be analyzed.

Conclusion: Audiences’ exclusions are one of the important features in Facebook Ads account. This option can help optimize the campaigns, avoid wasting the budget and increase the performance results. But it’s necessary to be careful with its’ possibilities and regularly check the results of the advertising campaigns.