How to use Facebook Audience Insights to build audience personas

Meet Brenda. She’s 45 years old. She lives in her upper-middle class home with her husband and 2 school-aged children. She drives a minivan and enjoys listening to the radio, especially country music. She graduated from college but didn’t go on to grad school. She now works in the healthcare industry.

Facebook Audience Insights - Brenda

Jointly, Brenda and her husband earn $65,000 annually. They bought their home for $175,000.

In her spare time, she enjoys gardening and cooking for her family. She also likes to watch the Hallmark Channel, especially the mysteries.

When Brenda shops, she enjoys buying clothes for her and her kids. While she does subscribe to some subscription services, she’d rather spend disposable income going out to eat with her family.

Also, if you’re an animal rescue group, Brenda is who you want to reach on Facebook.

How do I know this? Facebook told me. Using the Facebook Audience Insights tool, which was launched in May of this year, I keyed in a few interests and behaviors of dog lovers and Facebook spit out this wealth of insights that helped me envision Brenda, my ideal constituent. Here’s how I did it (spoiler alert – it’s insanely easy):

Create Your Audience

This is where you input as much information as you have about the people you want to reach on Facebook. This includes all of the basics (age, gender, location) but can extend far beyond into interests, career, behaviors, financial status, political affiliation, family status, home value and more.

For the sake of this example, I kept the audience for my pretend animal rescue fairly simple. I kept targeting to both men and women, but set the age at 21 and above, since many shelters require you to be at least 21 to adopt a dog.

For interests I included “Animal rescue group” “dog lover” and “dog rescue.” I added “Pets” under hobbies and activities and for behavior, I indicated that my audience should include people that have donated to animal welfare organizations.

Facebook Audience Insights

Build Your Persona

Congratulations! Your job is officially done. Once you checked your boxes to build your audience, Facebook matched your input against its more than 2 billion users.

Facebook has actually created its own personas you can build off of. 8% of Facebook users who match my criteria match Facebook’s “Apple Pie Families” persona, which was the core I used to build Brenda.

Facebook Audience Insights - Apple Pie Families

Learn More About Your Own Brenda

There’s an important disclaimer here – that there’s no direct correlation between components. That means that if Facebook says 8% of your audience matches the Apple Pie Families pesona, and 8% shop for cosmetics, it’s not necessarily the same 8%. There could be a small, substantial or even no overlap.

For example, while the Apple Pie Families, who own their upper-middle class homes, had the highest percentage matching my audience (8%), Facebook also found that 82% of my audience are renters. This is where you have to expand your imagination based on what you already know about your audience and likely build a few personas to account for all the variables.

Here are the insights I paid particular attention to when creating Brenda:

Age, Gender and Occupation

4-4.5 million monthly active users matched my animal-loving criteria. 72% were women, but their ages were spread fairly equally between 25-64. I chose age 45 because it was right in the middle and matched the Apple Pie Families persona that served as Brenda’s core.

59% of my audience is married (this also matches Apple Pie) and 64% went to college. 18% work in the healthcare industry.

Facebook Audience Insights - Occupation

Page Likes

This is where I find out what else Brenda likes on Facebook. What’s great about Facebook Audience Insights is that it divides other pages liked into categories so you can get a more complete picture. It was from these insights that I determined that Brenda likes to garden, cook (Betty Crocker and Paula Deen both make appearances), listen to country music and watch the Hallmark channel.

Facebook Audience Insights - Page Likes


This is where I was really able to build off the Apple Pie Families persona by digging deeper into Brenda’s home life. Here I learned that Brenda’s family has a household income of $50-75k, that her house is worth $100-250k and that she has 2 or 3 children.

Facebook Audience Insights - Household

Purchase Behavior

This is the fun part, where you get to learn about Brenda’s purchasing behavior. Brenda doesn’t do a ton of retail shopping, but she occasionally shops online. Mostly, she buys clothing, food or pet products.

Facebook Audience Insights - Purchase

Bonus – Facebook Activity

The Activity tab shows you how Brenda spends her time on Facebook. Last month, she commented on posts 22 times, and like 26 posts. That’s a lot higher than the average Facebook user, who leaves 6 comments per month and likes 7 posts.

But the best news is she clicked on 16 ads last month, compared to the average 5. That means she’s more responsive to advertising than the average Facebook user.

Facebook Audience Insights - Activity

Have you used Facebook Audience Insights? Tell us about it in the comments below!

3 thoughts on “How to use Facebook Audience Insights to build audience personas

  1. I think this is the number one reason Facebook is so big for businesses. It doesn’t even matter that they have the biggest audience; if you could target a much smaller audience this precisely, they’d still win. Thanks for another great tutorial!

  2. Pingback: 6 social media location hacks to grow your brand - Dog-Eared Social

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *