I know I’ve said this plenty of times before, but Facebook’s ability to target advertising is absolutely amazing. For starters, you can target your existing app users and people who are very similar to them. You can even target users based on specific actions they have performed within your app, like making an in-app purchase.

These features are awesome if you already have a user base, but what if you don’t? If you are just launching your first app, how do you know what your potential audience looks like? I’m about to show you how to do this and more with Facebook Audience Insights.

First, lets check out how we can find out more about an existing group of your app users. Then we will move on to finding out more about your competitors audience and how you can target an audience just like them.

Understanding Your Existing App Users

Here’s how you can see LOTS of detail about your existing user base. Demographics, interests, page likes, spending behaviours. It’s all available!

Ok, so the first step is to open the Facebook Audience Insights tool. It’s not easy to find, so I’ve included the link for you:


Before I keep going, I want to point out that the driver behind analysing your existing users is Custom Audiences. If you don’t already have Facebook Custom Audiences set up you won’t be able to do this. Find out more about Custom Audiences in my post here.

1. When you first open Audience Insights, you will see this screen. It’s just a way to shortcut some of the initial set up. You don’t need to use it and you can configure everything on the side panel. Select either ‘Everyone on Facebook’ or ‘A Custom Audience’. It really doesn’t matter which one you choose.


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2. Now you need to select a custom audience. The only thing to note here is that you have to pick an audience with more than 1000 people in it.

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3. After you select your custom audience you will see the Insights data change immediately.

You are now seeing demographic data about your custom audience compared to that of the entire Facebook population. The percentages you see for each demographic are the percentage of all users in your Custom Audience and the percentage of users in the entire Facebook population.

Have a look at the picture below. This is an example of a small Custom Audience of mine. At a glance, here are some interesting insights from the ‘Demographics’ tab:


  • 65% of my app users are men, while only 55% of the total Facebook population are men.
  • 35% of my app users are women, while 45% of all Facebook users are women.
  • Men who are 35-44 years old make up 25% of my user base, but only 15% of all Facebook users are in this category.
  • 40% of my app users are married, compared to 35% of Facebook users.
  • 30% of my users’ highest level of education is high school level, compared to 25% of all Facebook users.


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Moving over to the ‘Location’ tab I can see where most of my users reside.

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And on the ‘Activities’ tab we can see how often these users like pages, comment on them, share posts and click ads.

We can also see which devices these users access Facebook from. No surprise that iPhone/iPad are the most common devices for these users since the Custom Audience is for an iOS app.

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As you can see, there is plenty of really valuable information available to help you understand your existing app users. There are heaps of ways you could use this. To give you some ideas; You can use this to help re-engage this existing audience. Or you could use it to help guide updates and changes to your apps.

And remember, you can do this for any Custom Audience. So if you’ve got one with people who have made an in-app purchase in your app (and with over 1000 people in it), you can see this same information about those users!

What if you your app isn’t live yet or you don’t have any Custom Audiences with > 1000 people?

Here’s a great way to use the Audience Insights tool if you haven’t launched an app yet but want to create an awesome advertising campaign from day 1.

What you can do is look at your competitors to get an idea of what your potential user base looks like. Here is how you would find an existing competitor similar to your app and analyse their audience. Once you understand what their audience looks like you can target a similar audience with your own ad campaign.

Here’s how you do it. In this example I’ll pretend I’m releasing a new match-3 puzzle game. Original I know!

  1. When you first visit the Audience Insights page, select ‘Everyone on Facebook’
  1. Now we want to use the ‘Interests’ field to narrow our results down to users who are interested in apps similar to ours. Here you should think of a successful competitor and enter the name of the app in the ‘Interest’ field. I’ll use ‘Candy Crush Saga’.


This will give you an audience of people who have an interest in Candy Crush Saga.

And here are the results:

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Because we’ve got such a large audience with this interest (150m-200m people) there is even more data available to us than with the Custom Audience!

Here are a few interesting things about this Audience:

  • The majority are women (60%)
  • 5% of them fall into the ‘Raisin Grandkids’ category, which is defined by Facebook as “Older singles and couples notable for their active grandparent status. Every household shows the presence of children”.
  • 45% of these people are married, compared to 37.2% of Facebook users.


That’s just the beginning. If we move to the ‘Page Likes’ tab, we can see pages that this audience has ‘liked’.

Obviously Candy Crush is number 1, with 39.3m people liking that page. But take a look at the other pages these people like.

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Moving on to the ‘Location’ tab, we can see the top cities, countries and languages for this audience.

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Tip: Click on a country or enter one in the bar on the left to see audience details only for that country. This lets you see the most popular cities in a given country, for example.

If we select United States as the country, we can also see Household and Purchase data. This gives you information about the household income, size, spending methods, purchase behaviour and more.


So what can you do with all this data to help you create targeted ads for your new app?

Facebook Audience Insights gives you the ability to filter the audience based on a whole range of factors. I’ve touched on this with Interests, but you can further refine it using the toolbar on the left. The best way to find out more is to head over and play around with the tool.

Once you have filtered the audience down to one you think is a good representation of your target audience, you can actually save that audience.

Once saved, you can use this audience for the targeting of your next ad campaign.

The other option is just to note down your main observations about the audience you want to target and use those when you set up the targeting options for your next ad campaign.


So you can see just how much information is available to us, but do you think it has a practical use for your app business? I definitely think it does for mine, and I’ll keep using it to learn more about different audiences and create more effective ad campaigns for my apps.