Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Social Ads Targeting and More

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Social Ads Targeting and More

Social ads — You’ve seen them. In fact, according to Kyle Wong, digital media contributor with Forbes, you can see around 4,000 to 10,000 social ads in one day. Some ads may make false promises (big mistake), not promise enough (too cold), and some ads are just right – click! Those ads come from people/companies who really have an understanding of the many targeting options available on these channels and how to use them. Let’s take a look at two of my favorite social media channels, Facebook and LinkedIn, and all the targeting options available to you as a talent acquisition professional.

CLICK TO TWEET: A person will see ~4k-10k #socialads in one day. Here's how the targeting works. #recruitmentmarketing


UPDATE: Facebook changed it's targeting for employment ads significantly in 2019. Read all about it.

Facebook has hands down the best social ads targeting options out there. Why? Because they have been collecting users’ information from the first day they created profiles. What kind of books they like, the last movie they saw, restaurants they visit, places they’ve worked, and even professional skills (new, below!) It just knows. This is great because the ads you see (and the ones I create) can be targeted to the exact person you’re trying to recruit! With more than 1 billion users on Facebook, it can sometimes feel like you’re looking for a golden needle in a haystack or a purple squirrel in a bushel of hay squirrels (or something like that). Targeting layers can help you focus ads on only truly qualified people.

social ads

(Check out this new option in the about section of your Facebook profile that allows you to include professional skills!)

Now, Facebook is notorious for changing things on their advertising platforms such as Ads Manager and Power Editor without letting anyone know. Targeting options are constantly being changed, shifted or deleted, so as of today, here is an infographic with the complete list of all targeting options Facebook has to offer in 2017. My favorite part about the plethora of targeting options is how you can mix all the layers to really hone in on whom you want to see your ad, and who is more likely to click!


I enjoy using LinkedIn social ads because the platform that is all business all the time. Whereas Facebook social ads can catch the passive audience who might be job hunting, LinkedIn ads catches the eye of people who are more likely to convert, i.e. fill out an application. The targeting options here are not as robust as Facebook targeting, but as a recruiter looking for people with niche job titles and or skills, it gets the job done.

LinkedIn targeting is completely dependent on what is in users’ profiles. This means that the more information they provide about their professional career in their profiles, the better targeted ad they will be served. There are some similarities to Facebook’s targeting such as where they went to school, their job title and skills, and even which groups they have joined. Unlike Facebook, it will not “listen in” on your posts to collect further information about what type of person you are and what you are interested in.

Here it is, in one place, the targeting options available to recruiters on LinkedIn’s self-serve “dark ad” platform.

The Facebook and LinkedIn Audience Network options allow you to reach your targeted audience on their mobile devices through partnered websites outside of these platforms. At this time both channels could not produce a list of those websites, but they do have a feature that allows advertisers to exclude categories or block certain websites. Caution: Without 100% transparency on where your ads will be placed, this option may back fire, as Facebook has explained, “Note that Facebook will try to ensure your ad is not shown against the categories of content you choose to block, but cannot guarantee success in blocking your ad 100% of the time.”

All these targeting options can get a bit overwhelming, so it’s a great idea to have a plan of action when you are creating social ads. Having a clear and concise targeting plan and knowing the position you are looking to fill will help you get those ads in front of the right people who will see it, click it, and apply.

Not sure where to start or what to do? Contact us! We’re happy to help with all your social media needs and questions, and the fun doesn’t stop there… we are also great at Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest to really make your company stand out to those new hires.

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