Facebook Ads Age Targeting

Targeting Users by Age with Facebook Ads

Age targeting is one of the holy grails of demographic marketing. A significant amount of research goes into trying to determine the age range of a television show’s fan base or a magazine’s readership, and allocating ad spend accordingly. But Facebook Ads removes the guesswork from the process: every Facebook user is required to enter their birthday when they create an account. Aggregate age demographics are available to all Facebook advertisers.

By default, your ads will appear to Facebook users of all ages. This does not mean, however, that they will appear to people of all ages, generally speaking. Like most sites, Facebook does not accept sign ups from children under the age of 13. (Persons below that age cannot execute a legal contract, and therefore cannot accept the terms and conditions of a Facebook signup.) Therefore, targeting Facebook users of “all ages” really means targeting users age 13 and above.

To set an age target, you have to set a minimum and maximum age in the demographic targeting options when you create an ad. As we mentioned above, the lowest age minimum is 13, but otherwise the range is 13-64. (If you want to target users over the age of 64, set the maximum age to “Any.”)

However, just selecting an age range will not guarantee that yours ads will only be shown to users between those ages. Let’s say, for example, that you selected set the minimum age for your ads at “18,” and the maximum at “35”—a fairly common advertising demographic. Facebook may actually display your ad to a range of users slightly younger and older than what you have set. They do so to maximize the reach of your ads, without taking you too far out of your specified range.

For instance, restricting ads to users between the ages of 18 and 35 may result in estimated traffic of about 50 million, while going from 17 to 36 might give you 10 million additional viewers. (These numbers are completely hypothetical, but you get the idea.) Moreover, there are many situations where you are targeting a general range, but aren’t concerned about going slightly outside of it. As Facebook describes it on their Facebook help page,  “Although your ad may be targeting people aged 24-35, isn’t someone who’s 36 and interested in your services just as important as someone within your target range? We thought so too.”

Of course, there are many situations where you do not want to show your ads to anybody outside your age range. You may be selling a product that cannot be purchased or used by minors, in which case you will need to set an absolute minimum at 18, 21, 25, etc. Or, you may offer a promotion that is only available to younger customers: discounted tickets for people under 30, for instance, in which case “29” would be an absolute maximum. If you need to use a precise age range, be sure to check the box beside “Require exact age match?” when creating your ad.

Facebook has another age targeting option that is even more precise: birthday targeting. With birthday targeting, your ads will only appear to users on their birthdays. You don’t have to create 365 different ads for each of the year: one to target users with the birthday March 1, another for March 2, another for March 3, and so on. Simply select birthday targeting, and your ad will show up year on people’s birthdays. This is especially useful if you offer a promotion that’s birthday specific: such as free lunch on birthdays.

If you use age targeting option, consider taking advantage of Clickable Pro’s Facebook Target Library.  With the Target Library, you can create a series of different age targets – some with broad age ranges, others with exact ones, and even birthday targets – and reuse them across you multiple ads and campaigns. In Facebook, you’ll need to set your targeting options every time you build an ad. Clickable Pro’s Facebook Target Library allows you to build age ranges just once, and use them as often as you need.