Ultimate Guide to Facebook Ads – Demographics

In this chapter we are going to  learn about Demographics targeting in Facebook ads. But before that

What is demographics :

facebook ad targeting demographics

Demographics is the study of proportions of large populations ( such as populations of a country). The study contains things that can segment people in larger size. The core elements in the demographics is gender ( male , female, others), Age ( children, young adult, adult, aged), Race.

Initially it was used in government surveys such as census to measure the countries diversity. This data can also help government to carry out socio-economic activities. But things has changed. You might ask what a government survey thing has to do with advertisement  that too with Facebook advertisement?

Facebook.com would be the largest country in the world if it was recognized as a country. Facebook user base is over 2 Billion. So with Facebook ads, you have the power to reach largest audience in the world , if you have budget.

So by understanding  Facebook ads demographics, you are acquiring an ability to reach large audience. The most important part you learn in this chapter is not only how but also WHY. Almost all the courses can tell you how to do it. But rarely a course tells you why you should do it and rationale behind doing this.

If you want to know the different types of Facebook ads targeting were explained in the  previous chapter.

I hope this post lives up-to the expectations.

How Facebook has Accurate demographics :

facebook targeting demographics

Most of the online channel offers demographics targeting. But none of that could be matched with Facebook ads demographics. Reasons : on sites other than Facebook, people don’t usually give demographics / accurate demographics.

For example, if you’re creating a gmail address, google might get to know your age and gender. But not your race, but Facebook does. Also the social elements in the Facebook makes the user to give away most personal information on their profile and update timely whenever required.

When they are in relationship they update, when they have anniversary they update. These information are very valuable but only available to Facebook.

So Facebook book has accurate demographics and more demographics, because you and i can’t stop yourself sharing on Facebook.

Why demographics are important ?

Now you know demographics can help you to segment people in larger quantities. By understanding demographics you know a very effective way to target larger set of audience. And for some industries and products, sometimes using basic demographics with a little layer on targeting would be suffice.

For example, if you want to promote trendy clothing for men adults, by using the demographics to get the targeting half done. You can use demographics such as gender : male, age : 20 – 40.

Maybe you need to add a few other targeting layers to reach potential target audience for your product/service.

What are the demographics targeting available in Facebook?

Facebook offers more than just basic demographic option for advertisers to choose. Because it collects more information from users (not kidding). Here’s the demographics options Facebook offers:

  • Education
  • Home
  • Life Events
  • Parents
  • Politics
  • Relationship
  • Work



Education is one of the core sub-demographics. This usually contains educational detail such as educational levels and other things.

It contains four categories:

  • Educational level
  • Fields of study
  • Schools / universities
  • Undergrad  years

Educational level :

This is more of a top level and very broad targeting when it comes to educational demographic of the user. With this option you can target highest educational level of the users. It contains various levels such as At high school, at university , at post graduate etc. it also contains many other degrees ( educational levels) for you to choose.

When your service requires at-least a minimum educational level to participate you can use this. For example, if your promoting a higher education consultant agency, you can target people at high school level they would be needing higher education in a year to two.

But most of the times, advertisers would be tempted to use basic demographics instead of above demographics.

Just by targeting the users based on the educational level you can target larger set of audience.

Field of study :

When it comes to demographics such as education and profession there’s an another beast which has more options to target than Facebook. Which is LinkedIn ads platform. It has plenty of options to make advertisers struggle to choose.

But google doesn’t have any such demographic targeting available as straightforward as LinkedIn. One thing LinkedIn lacks with Facebook is scale.  2 Billion > 350 Million. (as of writing this).

Field of study is one such good option for advertisers. This is basically a layer narrow down on the educational level.

If you want to target students who study environmental engineering, then

Educational level : college


Field of study : Environmental Engineering

You can use this option for selling agency services to students or high class engineering equipment. Field of study has various domains in most of the academics.

Schools/universities :

This is very explicit. You can target students who study at these universities. All you need to do is to enter the university name and if that’s available you can target people.

I suspect this targeting is available for early. Facebook is started from Harvard University and expanded from one university to another. And then from one country to another ( except : china). China blocked Facebook for some reason.

Undergrad years

If you want to laser target undergrad students, Facebook has options for you. In this undergrad options you get to choose from which year they started and which year they complete.  

Home :

Demographics - home

This is yet another demographic parameters which was used in census. It was referred as household. Household deals with a family as a single entity.

But this options under demographics isn’t such metric. It contains two options:

  • Family based households
  • Housemate based households
So what is household audience:

Household audience is a Facebook feature that allows marketers to target people is same households. Facebook defines as if two or more people staying in same location over an extended period of time.

This segment will be attractive if your are selling high cost home appliances. For example, if you sell to housemate based household it doesn’t make sense.

One mistake even a smart marketers seems to make is that, they will drop a targeting based on improbable things. Like in the above case, you can’t certainly say people in housemate household didn’t buy such large appliances with high cost ( i bought all those appliances while living in housemate household).

But that’s a very unlikely scenario. That doesn’t mean you should include the housemate household in the large appliances targeting.

By targeting household audience, you will be able to target entire household members at once. Since all the persons in households seems the same Ad copy, it helps in making purchase decisions.

If you wonder how Facebook  ads demographics determine who lives in same household?

  • Self declared relationship status on Facebook profile
  • Common names
  • Same home locations
  • Same Activities
  • Where to they log in internet

This feature can be created from the audience manager menu using custom audience.

This feature could also helpful in excluding certain types of audience.  If a person already bought your product, you can also exclude family members from the targeting. Since the one person in household already brought, others are unlikely buy the product.

Life events :

Facebook Demographics Life Events

Life events targeting allows you to target people who are celebrating most memorable moments in their life. Events such as anniversary, date of birth , new job , new relationship and childbirth.

By yathav

I'm very passionate about technology, marketing & analytics. Using WordPress and working on blogging & search engine optimization for almost 8+ years, I'd like to share my thoughts, hacks and best practices about what i do professionally & what I experience.

One comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *