Let Facebook automatically expand your interests targeting and show your ads to more relevant people, but only if it can get you better results.

One of the most powerful and easiest ways to get the right people to see your ads on Facebook is using interests targeting. Many advertisers get great results by using the right interests in their ad sets, but unfortunately, it can be very challenging to find the right interests to use.

The interest targeting expansion helps advertisers to overcome this challenges and reach more people, without manually adding more interests.


When using the interests targeting expansion, you basically allow Facebook to adjust your detailed targeting and automatically add interests to your ad set. Facebook will show your ads to more relevant people but only if it can potentially help you to get better results.

The expansion is not a Lookalikes audience, but the principle is very similar. As in lookalikes audience, Facebook helps you find similar users based on your own settings. A lookalikes audience is based on your website traffic, app users, or your costumers lists. When using lookalikes audience, Facebook finds similar people to your own users. The interests expansion works in a very similar way. With the interests targeting expansion, you are able to reach more users based on your own targeting settings. Facebook automatically adds interests to your mix and expands your potential reach by it. The expansion reaches people that will not be a part of your potential audience otherwise.

The expansion is available in conversions and app downloads campaigns only (for now) and is automatically enabled (In accounts that this feature is available on). Meaning, if you wish not to use it, you need to manually disable it.

tip Tip: Pay close attention to this. If this feature is available in your account, and you are not interested in using it, make sure to turn it off.

The Downsides

While this feature can make your life much easier and help you get better results, you can’t really know the effect of it. There’s currently no way to know when the expansion actually happened, and if it did, there’s no way to see how it performed. Facebook doesn’t currently give any of this data.

tip Tip: To overcome this issue, you can test out two different ad sets in different time periods, and compare the reach and performance differences between them. Of course, you can always use our Free Facebook ads analytics tool and easily see if there are any changes you need to notice in your performance.

So to summarize, here are the important facts about the interests targeting expansion:

  1. Interests targeting expansion is available with conversions and app downloads campaigns only (at least for now).
  2. Even though they are similar, it is not a lookalikes audience. The expansion is done by adding more interests.
  3. The expansion is automatically enabled in your ad sets. If you don’t want Facebook to expand your targeting with additional interests, you need to manually disable it.
  4. The actual expansion happens only when Facebook thinks it can get you better results.
  5. The expansions do not appear in your reports. Meaning, there’s no way you can see if your ad was shown to the expanded audience, and how it performed.

My personal take on it

I would definitely advise you to test out this (potentially awesome) feature. The best way to increase your reach is by lookalikes audiences which are definitely a super effective way of targeting on Facebook, but sometimes your custom audience is just too small to create a really good lookalikes audience. The interests targeting expansion can definitely be a good replacement and help you reach more relevant people, and improve your results.

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