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Facebook Ads: how many interests to use per ad set

Many advertiser mistakingly add a bunch of interests in every Facebook ad. It’s not their fault, so called ‘guru’s’ have showing them this is the best way to reach the most people. 

That’s not where they’re wrong, adding a bunch of interests will broaden your audience size. However, when you add a bunch of interests and you get conversions through these interests, you won’t know which interests gave you that conversion. 

So you never know which interest is the winning interest!

That’s why you should never add more than one interest to every ad set. This way, you always know exactly which interest is a winner and you can scale that ad set. 

Obviously, you also want to target other interests to define which is the winner but these should be added one-by-one in separate ad sets. Ideally with 2 or more different ads to determine a winner between those as well. 

you should only test 1 interest per fb ad sets, never more.

So to sum up, you should always test multiple broad interests (ideally at least 5) in different ad sets with a minimum of 2 different ads in those ad sets. 

You should target one interest per ad set and create multiple ad sets so you can target multiple interests, then you can scale the winning interests
Example of multiple ad sets each targeting one specific interest

Test those ad sets for a minimum of 48 hours, after that, you should be able to clearly see which interests are winners and which aren’t. 

This is a way better method of targeting than just blindly going in with a narrowed down audience that targets multiple interests. This way you’ll find multiple converting interests (not just rottweilers, there are always more!) which means you’ll be able to scale far higher than if you were just focusing on one interest.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent audience overlap when having just one audience per adset? Wouldn’t I need to exclude one audience from the other?

No, you should not exclude one audience from the other. It’s a common misinterpretation that audience overlapping is a huge problem, it’s not. You should only target one interest per adset. 

Do you recommend narrowing down the audience with people interested in online shopping?

No. Please don’t target an interest and add online shopping behaviours to the interest. This will only make your interests less broad resulting in way less impressions and conversions. This will increase your CPM and should be avoided. 

What if you don’t put any interest in your facebook ad?

If you don’t target any interest, Facebook will try to find the appropriate audience for you. This can be good scaling but should only be used on a very seasoned pixel with a minimum of 5K in ad spent. 

Won’t I target too broadly with people who don’t care about my product?

Of course, you will, you will have interests that perform and interests that don’t perform. The whole point is that you find exactly which interests work and which don’t. If you’re targeting multiple interests in one ad set, you’ll never know exactly which one is underperforming and which one is doing well. That’s why you have to put them in separate ad sets so you can find the winning adsets and increase the budget on those. 

Should I turn on target expansion?

You should not turn on the targeting expansion option during testing phases. Read further for more in-depth information on target expansion.

What (almost) everyone gets wrong about testing interests for Facebook ads

The biggest mistake when it comes to Facebook ads I see clients, friends, and family makes is that they focus too much on finding the right target, right away. 

For example they want to target rottweiler owners so they make an interest “rottweiler” + “pets” + “online shopping” to ensure they have an exclusive audience that will be interested and will be buying their product. 

This might sound like the right mindset, and that’s how many beginner advertisers think, but it’s completely backwards.

This issue with this method is that you never find test multiple interests and never go broadly. Therefore you will never have multiple interests that you can scale up and the one adset that you have will be very limited in its audience, thus it won’t take very long before you reach ad fatigue.

The correct way of testing a new product or market is by creating multiple interests in different ad sets. Let these run for a couple of days (at least 48 hours) and then kill the ones that don’t convert and increase the ones that do convert. 

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