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While there is no official method to target people by their Facebook Groups in the Facebook ads platforms, there is a way to do it using a video post in that group.

  1. Make a video to post to the group as your business page, preferably as an admin so you can pin it
  2. Post your video to the group you want to target – or more than one group if you are targeting wider
  3. Build a custom audience in Ads Manager that is based on your video’s views

Here’s those three steps in greater detail – and with a few caveats that you will need to be aware of to make this work.

Step 1: Make a video to post in to the group

Videos can be retargeted in a custom audience, even if they only appear in a group.

The first requirement is that you need to be an administrator of the group – or at least a member of the group. It’s best to be the admin of the group because you can pin whatever you want to at the top of the group posts – or list it as an announcement, which means you’ll get more views, and this is what most important when it comes to this trick.

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You see, this workaround requires that the group has a fairly substantial number of members in it to work well. Having as many as 1000 members will be helpful, because you want as many people to see your video as possible. A couple of hundred will be a good start, and get enough data for you to retarget in the ads platform later.

Step 2: Post your video to one or more groups

Post to one group or many

Next, make an informational video that isn’t all about selling your course, or your consultations or whatever it is that you are selling. Add value here, give something worthwhile away in the video that makes people want to watch. The longer they watch it, the more accurate the targeting will be. That said, even a 2-second autoplay will be enough to retarget on, but retargeting people who viewed at least 15 seconds of the video (also known as ThruPlay) will give you an way more qualified group of people who may really be interested in what you have to say or sell.

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Once you have your video made, load it into your target Facebook group. Or you can always load your video many times into many groups. It’s ok, we can call on the viewing data from all those videos later when we put together your ad campaign.

But most groups only let me post as person, not a business!”

You can join a group as your business only if the group administrator hasn’t disabled that option in the group. Many groups have chosen to disable this, however. Especially those of the “Buy, Swap and Sell”  and “What’s On in Town” ilk.

There is a workaround though; if you load the video onto your Facebook business page, then SHARE that video post into the Group, then you can view that audience as indicative of the Group’s membership.

The caveat here is, that people may have viewed that video on your business page from other sources, such as followers of your page, or from other places that you shared that video. The trick to keeping the audience data as pure as possible is to post the video to your business page, but only share that specific video with ONE group.

Finally, there is a potential issue, whereby you are sharing the video from your business page to the group as your personal profile name, which is not always desired.

Step 3: Build your campaign around a custom audience

Create a custom audience from your video views

Now comes the magic part. When you go to create your new ad campaign on the Facebook Ads Platform, you can choose whatever objective you like, but when you start building your Ad Set, create a new Custom Audience. Then build that custom audience from video views from all those videos that you posted into those groups. Or if you are just targeting one group at a time, then build your custom audience from the views of that one video that you loaded into that one group.

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When you’re selecting the video whose views you wish to call on to target, you’ll have the option to target those who viewed you video for the 15 second ThruPlay measurement or for 2, or even 10 seconds. The higher quality and more engaged viewers that are of a higher value to you will probably be amongst the ThruPlay viewers and durations longer than that. But you can hit a lot more people who would have simply triggered a view, but may not have seen your video at all, by targeting 2-second viewers. This will give you more people, and be a better representation of the general audience in that group, rather than specifically targeting those who were most engaged by watching more of your video.

And naturally if you own the group and you have the ability to pin the video to the top of the group or your business page, then you’re going to get even more of those views and thereby get more people worth targeting in you ad campaign.

Image of a group concept

While you can’t specifically target members of a group just yet in the Facebook Ads platform, you can get an audience that delivers quite a lot of members of that Group so you can serve them relevant ads. It just takes a little bit of a workaround and a dash of creative flair in your video so you get at least 3 seconds of viewing on your posted video.

This article was updated on Wednesday May 26, 2021

Dante St James is the founder of Clickstarter, a Facebook Blueprint Certified Lead Trainer, a Community Trainer with Facebook Australia, a digital advisor with Treeti Business Consulting, an accredited ASBAS Digital Solutions advisor and presenter, and the editor at The Small Marketer. You can watch free 1-hour webinars and grow your digital skills at Dante’s YouTube Channel.