Skip to Main Content

How to Use Facebook Graph Search to Better Target Facebook Ads

Posted on 8.26.2014

:: By Adam Dince, Deluxe ::

The most effective ads on Facebook are the ones most highly targeted to a specific audience.  However, Facebook’s generic audience options are average at best. While Facebook has made huge leaps forward in its native targeting capabilities, there are ways to hack deeper.

Here's a step-by-step guide for using Facebook’s Graph Search to create meaningful segment targets within Facebook’s Custom Audience tool.  

Let’s use the restaurant industry as a use-case:

I live in Stillwater, Minnesota. And one of my favorite places to eat is Sal’s Angus Grill.

Let’s say you’re the social media manager at Sal’s and one of your objectives is to bring in new customers. Sure, you can run a few ads targeted at people who live in Stillwater that have expressed interest in food, restaurants, etc. But here’s a better way,

Enable Google Chrome as Your Audience Data Collector

Step 1: In your Chrome browser, go to your settings and click on the “Get More Extensions” Link

Step 2: Search for “Facebook Scraper”, and install the “FB UID Scraper” and install it.

Step 3: When installed properly, it will appear in your Chrome browser like this

Find the Competition and Collect Their Data

Step 1: Now, open up a new tab, navigate to Google and find your competition.

Step 2: Ensure competition is present on Facebook:

Step 3: Next, use Graph Search to find people who have liked your competition on Facebook:

Step 4: Now, use your new Facebook Scraper to pull the user IDs that have returned in the Facebook Graph Search results

Step 5: Export file with an appropriate name (e.g., Phil-Taras-Likes.txt)

Step 6: Back to Facebook. Go find people who have checked in at a competitor’s location.

Step 7: Repeat steps 4-5

Create Custom Audiences in Facebook

Step 1: Copy and paste downloaded TXT file data in to an Excel spreadsheet

Step 2: Delete all columns except for column A, UID

Step 3: Save file as a CSV (e.g., Phils-Taras-Likes.CSV).

Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 for each TXT file downloaded

Once you have the CSV files created, create a custom audience segment for each of them within Facebook Ad’s Audience tool:

The Finishing Touches

Now that you’ve got custom audiences created, make sure you create 

Advertisements that generate clicks 

Landing pages that pay off the resulting Website visits.

If you follow this advice, you’ll find that your ad spend generates a nice return and will put you in a better position to expand your social ad budgets in the future.

I hope this helps. If so, please share it with your friends.

Adam Dince has more than 14 years of experience in online marketing and Web presence management and is the Director of Earned Media at Deluxe. Find his blog at Follow him on Twitter @adamdince.

 SUBSCRIBE FREE to Website Magazine - 12 Issues 


Leave Your Comment

Login to Comment

Become a Member

Not already a part of our community?
Sign up to participate in the discussion. It's free and quick.

Sign Up


Leave a comment
    Load more comments
    New code