Facebook’s Ad Targeting Bias & How Canadians can Survive

facebook targeting arrowFacebook ads are one of our favorite ways to generate additional leads and brand awareness for your business.

Unfortunately relative to our neighbors to the south, Canadians are left with fewer targeting options to narrow down their geographic targeting. This post will address these issues & provide Canadians with tips on how to survive in an ad targeting biased world.

The Problem

As you can see in the image below, Facebook allows you to target US zip codes simply by entering them into the targeting field (left). Unfortunately when it comes to Canadian targeting options (right) there’s no such thing as postal code targeting.
facebook zip code vs postal code targeting

Why It’s a Problem

Currently the smallest geographic region you can target in Canada is a city. If your clients are in a small town like Canmore Alberta, then no problem. The issue arises when you’re John running a small dry cleaning business in Toronto’s Danforth Area. If that’s the case then Facebook wants you to target ‘Toronto’ and not just the core city at that, it also includes scarborough, east york, the entire Greater Toronto Area, putting your total audience at over 6 MILLION PEOPLE!

Needless to say, John can’t afford to show his ad to 5,900,000 non-target people so how can he get around this issue? Read on…

The Canadian Solution

toquePut on your toque eh because this is pretty cool.

  • 1. Set your geographic targeting as accurately as you can get it. This will at the very least restrict your audience to that city. Be sure you have just that city chosen and not an __km radius around it as well.
  • 2. Friends are most likely to live in close proximity to each other, even Facebook friends since people have kids at the same school, go to the same gym, etc. Sure some of their friends might be old school buddies from out of town, but you’ve set your geographic targeting to a city so they won’t be targeted. In the targeting section go to “Include people whose friends are connected to” and enter your Facebook page. If you don’t want to target your current Facebook likers then you’ll also want to enter your page under “Exclude people who are connected to” (as seen below). This is a great way to narrow down your audience and even if only 100 people like your page, the size of their network of friends will surprise you. As you get your page likes from relevant people, your target audience will expand.
    facebook targeting ads
  • 3. If you have a lot of Facebook page likes then you may want to stop at step three, but if you’re still growing your page you can also go after people with ‘interests’ which are local to your target area. For John in the Danforth he might want to target people who have an interest in ‘The Danforth’ or ‘East York’ (a suburb of the GTA where John is).

Get creative and be sure to setup different targeting types in different ad sets so you can see what options are working best for your business. Stay strong Canadians and remember we’ll always have Maple Syrup, Ketchup Chips, and Caesars.

If you would like help promoting your business on Facebook, our experts would be happy to ensure you get as much value as possible from every dollar. Call us today at 647-350-0357 or contact us and let us know how we can help!


  1. John on September 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Hi – Would like to talk to you about running Facebook residential ads in Toronto.