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#057: It's Not About The Targeting

May 25, 2024

Read Time: 3.5 Minutes


After a lot of testing over the past few weeks and discussions with my Meta Ads coach and mentors, I'm now (exclusively) using Advantage+ Audiences with our Meta Ads.

It's not only targeting I've been testing though; I've also been testing:

– Account Structure

– Placements

– Budgeting

– Rules

– And more...

But all this stuff, although important, isn't anywhere near as critical as the one thing we should all be focused on more than anything else with our Meta Ads:

The Ad Creative

The ads people are seeing on their Facebook Feed.

We'll get into this more shortly, but first, I want to dive a little deeper into my new approach to targeting.

My Advantage+ Targeting Strategy

With Advantage+ Audiences, you are letting Meta find your audience for you, which it does by analyzing your Ad Creative and looking at who has interacted with your previous Ads.

But, we can give Meta a little push in the right direction, as I cover in my newly updated Meta Ads Mastery For Authors.

I do this by layering on some detailed targeting and demographics as "suggestions".

Meta will prioritize these suggestions when finding people to show our Ads to, using that data and then going off on its own adventure to discover more people (outside of our suggestions), who it thinks will resonate and click on our Ads.


But, I'm not testing any targeting options.

I'm simply using the same targeting options in every Ad Set:

– Age

– Gender

– 5-20 Detailed Targeting options

Meta's algorithm knows far more about our audience than we do, so I'm not going to fight it, micro-manage it or handhold it.

I'm getting well out of its way.

On top of that, with Traffic Ads (the campaign objective to use when sending folks from your Meta Ads to your books on Amazon), if you're not using Advantage+ Audiences, you're forced to use Advantage Detailed Targeting instead.

Advantage Detailed Targeting
simply means that Meta will look more broadly than the Detailed Targeting options you select anyway.

Sure, the demographic data (age and gender) are hard boundaries for the algorithm (unlike Advantage+ Audiences), but from all my testing, I've been seeing stronger and more stable results from Advantage+ Audiences over Advantage Detailed Targeting.

So, that's my take on the targeting. In short, I'm using Advantage+ Audiences with suggestions and using the same targeting options for every Ad Set – zero audience testing required.

Let's move on...

Creative Diversification

Meta isn't about the targeting, as I've hopefully illustrated to you now.

It's about the creative; the Ads people are seeing on their Facebook Feeds.

Let Meta handle the targeting whilst you focus on creating the Ads, because that's what will make or break your success with Meta Ads.

This is where I spend the most time; crafting Ads, but also researching and understanding our readers to give me the data I need to craft good Ads in the first place.

Here's a sampling of what that looks like:

– Researching reader desires

– Writing Headlines

– Writing Primary Text

– Creating Images (and Videos)

– Reaching out to influencers to create review videos we can use in Ads

– Analyzing which assets of an Ad work and which don't

– Looking at Ads inside and outside the publishing world

One thing I've learned over the past 6 months or so is that diversifying your creative (image or video) will give you far better results.

Sometimes, sure there's an advantage in using the same background image, for example, with different reader review quotes, like these:

But once you've found something that works in a specific style, and it's collected a truckload of social proof (reactions, comments and shares), it will be hard to beat it with anything new that looks similar.

This is why I'm finding we're getting better results overall now by diversifying our creative:


You're going to reach different types of people with different creative (image/video) by diversifying the style of your creative, such as mock-ups, book cover-inspired imagery, testimonial videos, AI-generated imagery, etc.

Yes, it's important to test different Headlines and Primary Text, without a doubt.

But when 56% of actions on Meta Ads are as a result of the image or video (a stat from Meta), this is where I put my focus.

Wrapping Up

If you feel like you've exhausted all avenues of creating new images or videos.

If you feel like your creative well has all but dried up.

It may be time to get out there and start collecting some inspiration and ideas from other Ads to get those creative juices flowing.

The Meta Ads Library is a great place to start.

Test a variety of different ideas, compositions, angles, etc.

Shake things up a bit, create images/videos you wouldn't normally create (but keep them on-brand).

I'm now using Canva more than I ever have before.

They have a huge range of pre-made, customizable templates to choose from.

Here's just a handful of the Ads I've made in Canva, each of which took less than 5 minutes to create with their templates:


These are very different from my typical Ads, and some haven't performed well, perhaps because they look too much like an Ad.

But I'm going to continue creating and testing. This is the benefit of using images or videos; they are quick to create and you can start testing them within a matter of minutes. Something that isn't possible with video a lot of the time.

We're also working on some new influencer marketing style Ads (think BookTok and Bookstagram). They've worked well when we've used them in the past, so looking forward to testing these out again.

If there were a "secret hack" (not a term I like to be honest, but it reinforces my point) to Meta Ads, this would be it; focus on the creative, not the targeting.

That's all for today.

Thanks for reading, see you next week.

To Your Success
– Matt

Learn How To Run Meta Ads And Build A Six-Figure Author Business

Get immediate access to my FREE How To Create Scroll-Stopping Meta Ads That Sell Books course when you sign up for my weekly newsletter for self-published fiction authors.