Are you thinking of using Facebook Ads interest targeting but are not yet sure how to pick the right interests?

Or, maybe you have already experimented with interest targeting but didn't get the results you were looking for?

If so, then you're at the right place here!

I have written this simple guide to help everyone reach the right audience using Facebook Ads interest targeting.

After reading this guide, you will learn:

  • Why you should use Facebook Ads interest targeting
  • How Facebook Ads interest targeting works
  • How to use Facebook Ads interest targeting to get the best results
  • 5 tips to further improve your Facebook Ads interest targeting results
  • What the perfect audience size for Facebook Ads is

Not bad, right?

Let's get started!

Tip: If you've never used Facebook Ads before, I recommend first reading our complete Facebook Ads guide for beginners. That will teach you everything about the platform, including how to create your first Facebook Ad!

When should you use Facebook Ads interest targeting?

First of all, you should know that you can target three audience types on Facebook Ads:

  • Core Audiences
  • Custom Audiences
  • Lookalike Audiences
Facebook Ads Audience types

Facebook Ads interest targeting falls under the category "Core Audiences". Using it, you can target an audience based on their interests, demographics, or behaviors.

To use Custom Audiences or Lookalike Audiences, you will need data from your previous customers.

Thus, if you're just starting out with your online store, you will have to use Facebook Ads interest targeting to test several Core Audiences and gather data for your future Custom and Lookalike Audiences.

Once you've generated some sales and have collected customer data, you can move on to Custom Audiences or Lookalike Audiences. These will often work pretty well as they are based on an audience that showed interest in your business.

However, I don't recommend quitting using Facebook Ads interest targeting once you've started using Custom or Lookalike Audiences.

By testing new interests and audiences at all times, you may find an audience that will work even better than your previous one. And, what may be more important, you will avoid ad fatigue.

Ad fatigue graph

This is a phenomenon where the audience you're targeting has seen your ad too many times, causing your ads to become "invisible" for them. Your audience won't engage as much with your ads anymore, and the ad results can decrease significantly.

Tip: In 2024, some people say that they've seen the best results by leaving the interest targeting empty and just letting the Facebook algorithm do its thing. Try it out for yourself!

How does Facebook Ads interest targeting work?

You will be able to find the interest targeting settings within your Ad Set settings.

More specifically, the interest targeting is set up in the "Detailed Targeting" section:

Facebook Ads interest targeting (detailed)

As I said, Facebook doesn't just give you the ability to target people with a certain interest, but also people with certain demographics or behaviors.

To give an example, let's say that you're dropshipping and are trying to sell a product in the pet niche like this automatic feeder for cats and dogs:

AliExpress product example cat/dog feeder

You are looking to target people who love cats or dogs and need a solution to give their pet some food while they are away from home. Those people may be frequent travelers.

Here's an example of how you can use Facebook Ads interest targeting to target those people:

Facebook Ads interest targeting example

In this example, I'm targeting people who are interested in Facebook pages related to "Cat Lovers" or "Dog Lovers" and are frequent travelers.

You can do this by clicking "Narrow Further" and adding "Frequent Travelers" in the "and must also match" field.

Since you're dropshipping, you will probably want to avoid targeting other dropshippers or people with interest in AliExpress, since they might copy you or buy the product directly from AliExpress.

That's why you can click on the "Exclude" button, which will allow you to exclude certain interests, behaviors, or demographics from your audience.

By following this process, you can target a specific audience with your Facebook Ads in just a few simple steps!

Facebook Ads interest targeting strategies

There are a couple of strategies you can use to pick interests for your target audience. In this article, I will show you how you can do it using a dedicated approach or using a quicker (but possibly still effective) strategy.

Analyze your customers (or product) and develop a buyer persona

If you have a small budget for advertising and want to avoid spending too much money on testing tens of ad sets, you should research your customers or product (if you don't have many customers yet) and develop a buyer persona.

This is also something you should look into if you've already tested some interests and didn't get the results you were hoping for.

Note: Don't forget that a bad targeting isn't the only reason why you aren't getting any sales. If you have difficulties with getting sales on your online store, check out this article.

But what is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a fictional person that represents your ideal customer.

Here are some questions that fit with identifying a buyer persona:

Buyer persona

For online stores, the most essential information to know about your ideal customer is their personal info, value & fears, negative info, and their interests!

If you know everything about your buyer persona already, filling in the Facebook Ad settings to target them is a piece of cake.

But how do you figure out their age, gender, hobbies, interests, and so forth?

As (almost) always, there are a few different methods you can follow:

1. Use Google

It may sound simple, but in some cases, doing a few Google searches can really give you a good insight into your ideal customer's personal information!

In my article about 13 Facebook Ads Beginner Mistakes, I have covered an example of doing Google searches to find out information about your perfect audience.

In that example (you can find it here), I tried to find useful information about the audience that could be interested in buying fishing equipment.

Do you want a sneak peek?

Here's (a part of) what I found:

Audience demograpics example

This single image shows a massive amount of information about fishers. If you can find a picture like this for your niche, you will immediately know which age range, genders, and income levels you should target!

2. Use Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook Audience Insights is a tool that lets you explore certain interests and find more interests to test.

My favorite way to use this tool is to learn more about my target audience's demographic and interests by selecting a specific country and a large, broad interest that you already know your buyer persona has.

To give an example, let's say that I am selling cat toys. My buyer persona would definitely be interested in cats, right?

By filling in that interest in Facebook Audience Insights, I am able to get loads of new ideas and information. For example, here is the demographics page.

How to use Facebook Audience Insights

I just learned that my buyer persona is likely a woman, married, and went through college.

But there is more. For example, if I head over to the "Likes" tab, I can find out more about other related interests:

Facebook Audience Insights Page Likes example

This shows that most of my potential customers are interested in women's clothing stores, real estate (specifically old houses), and comedians!

Not only that, scroll down, and you will find even more information about this audience's interests:

Facebook Audience Insights pages with highest affinity

For instance, you will see that 1.6m people (of the 2.6m that like the Facebook page) who follow Chic Soul (a women's clothing store page) will be interested in cats.

Awesome, right?

3. Analyze your customer database

The most reliable source to learn more about your buyer persona is your customer database.

All these people have already bought something from your store, which means they are (partly) representative of your future customers!

As you may guess, the only downside to this method is that you won't be able to do it if you're just starting out, which is why I'm giving it as the last option.

If you already made some sales and have a customer database, you can use Facebook Lookalike Audiences to automate this process of using your previous customers to find new ones.

Facebook Lookalike Audiences Dropshipping

This is a feature from Facebook Ads that lets you automatically create audiences that resemble your customers!

To create Lookalike Audiences from your customer list, you will first have to create a Custom Audience from your customer list in Facebook's Ad Manager. (You can learn here how to do that)

Quick testing method: pick interests based on educated guesses

If you have a larger ad budget and don't want to do extensive audience research, you can use the quick testing method.

Using this strategy, you will create many separate ad sets, each containing a certain (combination of) interests that you've picked based on educated guesses.

Then, you will let them run for two or three days, after which you will kill the unprofitable ad sets and scale the profitable ones.

With educated guesses, I mean that you should try and find interests that fit with your product.

For example, suppose you're selling a special kitchen tool.

You can try targeting obvious interests like:

  • Chef
  • Cooking
  • Food
  • Gadget
  • Kitchen
  • Tool

Or specific interests like:

  • Bobby Flay,
  • Le Creuset
  • Top Chef
  • Gastronomy
Facebook Ads interest examples

This method allows you to test multiple interests quickly, collect data about your buyer persona quicker, and therefore speed up your way to using Lookalike Audiences.

One way to start is with a large and broad interest like "cooking" in the example I've given above. Then, analyze the Facebook Ads Manager Dashboard results to narrow down and find your perfect audience step by step.

An alternative is to start with many small and specific interests like "cooking recipes". By doing a lot of testing, you will likely find a profitable interest that will recover your losses in other ad sets and hopefully leave you with a profit, too!

Hint: Do you already know which countries you should target for the best results? If not, check out our article about the 15 Best & Worst Countries to Target!

5 Facebook Ads interest targeting tips

When using Facebook Ads as a complete beginner, choosing the right interests can be quite confusing.

Here are 5 Facebook Ads interest targeting tips that will help you choose better interests to target or allow you to find new relevant interests to target:

1. Use the "But No One Else Would" trick

Suppose you're selling a product that only the more passionate people in a certain niche would buy, like professional golf equipment.

In that case, you will have to find a way to target only the most dedicated and passionate golfers.

To do this, DigitalMarketer came up with a great trick called "But No One Else Would".

In the example above, some people may be tempted to use a famous golfer like Tiger Woods as the interest.

However, that's a mistake.

Tiger Woods is too well known and is probably liked by many people who only watch golf and don't play themselves. Therefore, they won't purchase your products and will waste your ad budget.

Instead, you should target a golfer that is mostly known by golfing enthusiasts only, because those people are the ones who would buy your product.

An example would be Bubba Watson, who is less well-known by the general public.

"A golf enthusiast would know who Bubba Watson is, but no one else would."

You can apply this concept to other areas and niches as well, like:

  • What TV shows do cooking enthusiasts watch, but no one else would?
  • What events do bodybuilders attend, but no one else would?
  • Which Facebook pages do pitbull owners like, but no one else would?

2. Turn off “Detailed Targeting Expansion”

Detailed targeting expansion is a setting on the ad set level that will allow Facebook to target people outside your specified interests.

Detailed Targeting Expansion Facebook Ads

I recommend turning this setting off.


Because you won't be able to judge whether a certain interest is working for your ad if you don't even know if Facebook targeted people from within that interest.

It can also work against your strategies, like the "But No One Else Would" trick I showed you above.

Suppose you are targeting an audience with an interest in Bubba Watson and leave Detailed Targeting Expansion enabled.

In that case, Facebook might target people with an interest in Tiger Woods, while the strategy was all about keeping it strictly to Bubba Watson!

3. Use Facebook's interest suggestions

If you're looking for new interest ideas, try to use Facebook's interest suggestions.

By clicking on the "Suggestions" button, Facebook will show you a whole list of relevant interests you can test as well:

Facebook's interest suggestions

4. Don't only target the most obvious interests

While the "Cooking" interest might work if you're selling kitchen tools, it's probably an interest almost all your competitors are targeting.

Since Facebook Ads works with a bidding system, these most obvious interests can become really competitive and drive up your ad spend.

The advantage of these obvious interests is that they include a massive amount of people, which in turn decreases the bid you will have to place.

Still, don't be afraid of trying more creative and specific interests like celebrities, TV shows, product manufacturers, and more.

As an example, these can be the ones I showed you before for the kitchen tool; Bobby Flay, Top Chef, and Le Creuset:

Facebook Ads target creative interests

5. Use Google to find new interests

What if you're trying to come up with more unique interests, but have run out of ideas?

Well, you can always use Google to find new interests!

For example, if you're selling kitchen tools and are looking for famous chefs to target as an interest, just do a Google search, and you will find plenty:

Google search to find new interests for Facebook Ads

What is the perfect Facebook Ads audience size for interest targeting?

The perfect Facebook Ads audience size for interest targeting lies between 500,000 and 5,000,000 people.

Still, since Facebook's AI will do most of the hard work of finding your customers, a couple of thousands less or more does not matter that much.

But, don't try to target an audience of just 50,000 people since Facebook won't be able to optimize your ad delivery that well.

Facebook Ads best audience size

Usually, a bigger audience is better since Facebook's machine learning algorithm tests your ad on many smaller audience groups to find the best performing one.

When it's fully optimized, it will only deliver your ads to the part of the total audience that is most likely to convert.

Also, scaling your ads is much easier with a bigger audience since there are more people to show your ad to, and it will take longer before ad fatigue occurs.

If your audience size is too big or too small after narrowing or expanding your interests, you can play with your targeted countries in your ad sets.

For example, you can create one ad set that targets a big country like the US, and another ad set that targets a couple of smaller countries like Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.


Researching your target audience can be time-consuming. But remember that you will save your ad budget if you do it correctly!

Nevertheless, don't stop testing new interests and audiences since you might find new ones that will work even better.

It's like a trade-off; the less ad budget you have, the more time you will have to spend to research and find your customer audience yourself.

If you have a big ad budget, you can just test every relevant interest and let the data do its thing!

Also, if after reading this article, you're wondering why your Facebook Ads are not converting, then don't forget to check out this article with 11 tips to help fix it.

Just don't forget to use other audience targeting strategies like email marketing to get the best ROI out of every customer. You can check out our complete email marketing beginner's guide here.

I hope that this guide has helped you to understand the details around Facebook Ads interest targeting and will improve your ad's performance.

Good luck with everything, and have a great day!

Want to learn more about dropshipping?

Ready to move your online store to the next level? Check out the articles below:

Plus, don't forget to check out our in-depth how to start an online store guide here.

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