Marketing

What Is a Good Audience Size For Facebook Ads?

35 marketers share the Facebook audience size that delivers the best return on ad investment (ROAS) for them and explain why that size works.

Masooma Memon Masooma Memon on August 23, 2021 • 12 minute read

Wondering what’s the ideal Facebook audience size for your ads?

As much as you’d like, you can’t close your eye and pick a number. What’s more, you can’t pick too low a number or too high of it – since both come with their drawbacks.

And to top it all, selecting the best audience size for your Facebook ads depends on multiple factors. Your ad budget, who you’re targeting, and business size, for example, are some influential pointers.

But, of course, everyone needs an idea of what could be the best Facebook audience size for their ads. And, it’s exactly why we’ve put together this post where we asked 35 marketers about the best audience size.

So you’ll learn the following today:

Facebook Ads Dashboard Template

Why Is Audience Size Important?

Pre-determining your audience size is critical for reaching the right people with your ads.

Essentially, Facebook recommends targeting a minimum of 1,000 people with your ads.

You can start with that and scale from there as you get a better understanding of who your audience is. Or, you can kick off with a broader audience of 10,000 people or 100,000 folks – depending on your budget.

Whatever the case may be, it’s important you understand that targeting extremes for your audience size – too small or too large – won’t yield good ROI from your ads. This is why it’s essential you pay attention to your audience size.

What Impacts Your Facebook Audience Size?

The following three factors impact the Facebook audience size you pick:

1. Your budget

The smaller your budget, the smaller the audience you can target.

2. Who you’re targeting

Are you targeting a local audience? Or a regional or international one? Your costs tend to be low for targeting a local audience size.

Most marketers we polled (49%), however, target a combination of local, regional, and international audiences.

25% target ads regionally, 20% target internationally, and only about 5% target locally.

Facebook ads audience targeting

3. Campaign goal and audience intent

This one’s a hat tip to Amber Reed-Johnson from Giraffe Social Media. “Considering the buyers’ journey, your ideal audience size will shrink as users get further down the marketing funnel.”

“You’ll typically want to cast the widest net for growth ad campaigns in order to reach as many users as possible; these campaigns perform best with a broader audience,” elaborates Reed-Johnson.

“Further down the funnel, traffic ad audiences work best when they’re narrower, containing users who have already interacted with the brand on social media at some level.

Conversion ad audiences will then need to be even more niche, as you want to target users who are aware of the brand and also likely to purchase/perform a conversion event. At any stage, your audience size should contain at least 1,000 users for the campaign to run effectively.”

What Is a Good Facebook Audience Size?

Now, let’s look at what the experts think is the best Facebook audience size that you can try yourself. Your options are:

  1. 1000 – 10,000 people
  2. 1,000 – 50,000 people
  3. Between 10,000 and 100,000 people
  4. 30,000 – 50,000 people
  5. 500,000 to 1,000,000 people
  6. 1,000,000 people

On to the details:

1. 1000 – 10,000 people

According to Which Login’s Peter Thaleikis, this is the best audience for Facebook ads. Why? Because it “allows you to get a good idea of how your ad performs without spending too much money.”

But, Thaleikis suggests you don’t need to stick with this size. Instead, use it as your tester size. Then, “once you validate the combination of audience and ads work for your business, you can increase the size.”

Word of caution though: “Increase in steps instead of jumping straight to your full audience list,” advises Thaleikis. “Somewhere from 10k to 50k you will likely see strong delusion and the ads won’t drive as much revenue as before.”

2. 1000 – 50,000 people

Close to what Thaleikis thinks is this option with the same starting point of 1000 people but a higher upper bracket.

Generally speaking, “Facebook recommends a minimum audience size of 1,000 people. If you want to target the United States and you only have an audience of between 1,000 and 50,000 people then your ad will cost less,” explains Ankit Malawaliya from CC Facilities Management.

“But if you want to target outside of the US then your advertisement will get more expensive because it needs to be seen by more international audiences.”

It’s for these reasons that Malawaliya thinks the ideal audience size “depends on what industry or niche that you’re advertising for on Facebook.”

Hence, “the better idea is to scale up until the ROI resembles profitability,” Malawaliya recommends. “This could even be over 50,000 people as long as they provide a positive return in relation to the per dollar spent or impression viewed.

Remember that there’s no universal number for ‘too much.’ The choice is yours. You can get as low as a dollar, or go for broke with a wider audience.”

Natasha Rei of Explainerd agrees. Rei notes that Facebook recommends an audience size for ads ranging between 1,000 to 50,000 users. But as Malawaliya said, it all depends on your business and who you’re trying to reach with your ads.

This means “if you’re just starting a small business, it’s important that you start small by mastering your local market first. Unless you work for International exposure, I don’t think it’s necessary to reach out to the bigger audience when you don’t aim for that purpose.”

Related: Facebook Advertising Costs: 5 Metrics to Track for Keeping Your Costs Low

3. Between 10,000 and 100,000 people

Jonathan Aufray from Growth Hackers Services, however, thinks the lower target bracket should be around 10,000 – not 1000 that Facebook recommends. Plus, you’ll want to cap it at 100,000 folks.

In Aufray’s words: “you don’t want to target everyone on Facebook. ‘Everyone’ is not your target audience.”

“Ask yourself: are a farmer from Bolivia, a teenager from Turkey, an investment banker from the US, and an engineer from Taiwan within your target audience? Probably not all of them at once.”

It’s why Aufray advises creating “small audiences in order to customize your FB advertising campaigns for them. When your audience is narrow, you can hyper-personalize your campaigns for them and it will increase your engagement and improve your results.”

Related: Facebook Ad Targeting: The 4 Essentials for Finding Your Audience

Aufray’s not alone though. Most of the marketers we polled agree that this is the ideal audience size with 33% saying 75,000+ is the best-working audience size for FB ads.

According to them, the next best-performing Facebook audience size is a pool of 1,000 to 10,000 people – 29% agree to this.

Some 18% also say that 30,000 to 50,000 is good audience size. And, 9% think 50,000 to 75,000 audience size also performs well.

Less than 5% think that you should target fewer than 1,000 or between 10,000 to 20,000 people.

Best working audience size on Facebook

4. 30,000 – 50,000 people

Viien Cosmetology’s Sasha Matviienko opines you should start at targeting 30,000 users with your Facebook ads.

“Depending on objective and location size, we like to stick to 30-50K people,” Matviienko shares their experience. 

“This allows us to balance precision with performance. In an experiment done internally we found that an ROI for too-specific audiences is actually worse because when you target too narrow, CPM tends to increase.”

Related: 11 Proven Ways to Reduce Your Facebook Ad CPM

VinPit’s Miranda Yan also thinks it’s best to cap your target audience size to 50,000 – even if you start with 1,000 people.

The reason? “Beyond that, Facebook won’t be able to find you the right people and will take a longer time in doing so; meanwhile, you’ll be paying huge sums of money to keep the campaign going.”

Are you struggling with a high CPM from Facebook Ads? Watch the video below to learn how you can assess CPM from each Facebook ad and improve its performance.

Overall, you’ll learn the following:

  1. How to visualize your CPM by ad
  2. How to monitor your CPM
  3. How to improve your ad targeting

5. 500,000 to 1,000,000 people

“For your Facebook advertisements campaign, a target audience of 500,000 to 1,000,000 individuals is ideally best. This appears to be Facebook’s perfect balance,” Diego Cardini from The Drum Ninja opines.

“When you attract over 1,000,000 people on Facebook, your audience is often large. You and, in fact, Facebook will be unable to locate the appropriate individuals who are keen on your proposal.”

“If you give Facebook enough time to work its wonders, it will be able to locate them. However, you will have wasted a lot of time and money on a losing effort. So, if your audience is more than 1,000,000, consider adding additional interests to narrow it down,” Cardini writes.

On the flip side, if “your audience is minimal, Facebook’s ability for selecting people who fit the aim you want to achieve is lost,” notes Cardini.

“When your audience falls below 500,000 people, Facebook is forced to show your advertising to individuals who aren’t a good fit. These are folks that meet all of your requirements yet do not respond to advertisements.”

Kelly Sturtevant from Blue Page Social Inc. is on the same page here. “I tend to find an audience size of between 1- 5million to be a decent size for most ad budgets under $100 per day. This enables us to cast a wide enough net without getting too far beyond the targeting we’ve selected.”

“But if the audience is more regional or local, you will likely have smaller audiences to work with, and would not use a lot of targeting options,” Sturtevant points out. 

“In fact, some local audiences may not be big enough to have any targeting beyond location, and they can perform quite well.”

As for the budget, Sturtevant highlights: “If you have much larger ad budgets, then you have a bit more reach in your audience size and can possibly find decent results beyond a 5 million size, but you would want to ensure your targeting is on point.”

In a nutshell, “you want a large enough audience that makes sense for your budget, and small enough to speak only to those who are a good fit for your products and services.”

6. 1,000,000 people

Two of the marketers we talked to share that one million is the ideal size for Facebook ad targeting.

Mark Motes from Mark Buys Houses outlines: “the answer to this question really depends on the strategy you are implementing. This answer also depends on things like your advertised product or service and your ad spend budget.”

However, “in general, for an initial awareness campaign, a good audience size is probably somewhere around 1 million people.”

So Motes recommends the following strategy: “After you’ve converted at least 500 people to go to your website via your Facebook ads, you’ll want to turn on your retargeting efforts.

A retargeting campaign is geared towards narrowly targeting people who have already visited your website, then showing them a different ad. Perhaps on a retargeting campaign, you might share a testimonial of a satisfied customer to your retargeted audience.”

Related: Facebook Remarketing: How To Build Custom Audiences & Win Back Visitors

Jacob Landis-Eigsti from Jacob LE is of the same opinion. “We’ve found that larger audiences of 100,000 to 10 million have been the most profitable. The CPMs are lower, they’re easier to scale, and Facebook can really optimize performance over time. While we always test a variety of audiences, our larger ones perform better 9 times out of 10.”

Facebook Ads Dashboard Template

Ideally, it’s best to target a mid-range Facebook audience size. Small audience size doesn’t get you anywhere. Aiming for a large audience, however, means Facebook won’t be able to find the right people to target.

But make sure you pick the best audience size by first asking yourself who you’re targeting, where you’re targeting them, and what your budget is.

About the author
Masooma Memon
Masooma Memon Masooma is a freelance writer for SaaS and a lover to-do lists. When she's not writing, she usually has her head buried in a business book or fantasy novel.
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