Audience Overlap: One Mistake That Can Ruin Your Facebook Ad Campaign

Facebook Ad Campaign

Learn more about the one disastrous mistake that might bring harm to your entire Facebook ad campaign: audience overlap. Keep reading to find out why!

With nearly 2.85 billion active accounts on a monthly basis, it is no wonder why Facebook has expanded beyond a mere social media platform. Today, Facebook is better known for its ad services, which provide entrepreneurs of all kinds with the opportunity to tap in with a vast pool of potential customers.

However, if not navigated carefully, running Facebook ads might not turn out as profitable as initially expected. Hence, in today’s article, let’s dissect one of the most common problems faced by digital marketers – experienced ones even – that shatter an entire ad campaign. And it is audience overlap!

What Is Audience Overlap

Audience overlap occurs when a single business displays multiple sets of ads to the very same target audience. When you pay for more than two ad sets and aim at drawing attention from an identical group of users, your ads will be competing against one another, and the results will be much worse. That is not to mention the exorbitant costs involved that otherwise would have been saved.

While it sounds like an absurd mistake, this situation happens rather frequently due to the way Facebook ads are structured. Typically, when you set up a campaign on Facebook, it allows you to fill in a variety of ad sets, each varying from the other in terms of content, visual assistance, target audience, budget, time frame, etc. Depending on the brand’s marketing plan, different ad sets will come up at different moments of the campaign, or they might appear simultaneously but with different purposes.

As stated above, each ad set contains individual ad copy and imagery that delivers a core message that closely ties in with the overall theme. When you start launching the first ad set, whatever belongs to it will fight for customers’ attention. 

But this is perfectly normal, and any reputable Facebook ads agency would highly recommend the practice. The reason lies in a concept called A/B testing. As several ads are on the stage simultaneously, you will have the opportunity to track down their performance and measure the necessary metrics. From there, feel free to drop which one is not doing the job and stick to the ads that bring about excellent outcomes.

But when it comes to launching the second, third, or n-th ad set, things start to get murky. Now, an entire campaign is usually focused on a few products or services, sharing one particular target audience. Therefore, as you host different ad sets trying to create an impression, earn more clicks and convert Facebook users to shoppers, you accidentally double down on the competition within your own campaign. 


Subsequently, it decreases the efficacy of your ads and increases ad spending. In some extreme cases, customers may get bored or irritated of seeing ads ranting about an item all over again that they associate your brand image with negativity.

If the theoretical knowledge is not illustrious enough, let’s examine the example below.



Your store offers fashionable earrings designed for young females aged 20-30 and has a low pricing. Based on the unique selling points, you create the following ad sets with seemingly different target audiences.

  • Interest: In the first group, you find out about a number of Facebook users liking your fanpage, or the competitor’s fanpage, or interacting with Facebook posts related to jewelry and earrings recently. 
  • Demographic: In the second group, you look for female youngsters from 20 to 30 years old, as they fit perfectly with the ideal customer portrayal. 
  • Lookalike: In the third group, you take advantage of the lookalike tool from Facebook. The engine brings together users that it believes to share the traits of your target audience. 
  • Customized contact list: In the final group, you upload data from your own source; all of them are your loyal or one-time customers.

At first look, these four ad sets seem capable of working alongside. But do they?

  • Within the people intrigued by earrings, in particular, there will be females being 20 to 30-year-old. 
  • Within your contact list, there will be people interested in earrings and sharing the same age range.
  • Also within women aged 20 to 30, there will be past shoppers who once purchased your products.

Have you spotted the problem? As you venture deeper into your Facebook ad campaign; you will soon realize your ads are not functioning at their best. Not only do they have to compete with other rivals on the market; but they also have to fight against their kin. The longer this situation continues, the more it exceeds your budgets while not eliciting any noticeable returns.

How To Determine If There Is An Audience Overlap

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If you suspect your target audience is placed in more than one ad set, consider using the Ads Manager tool from Facebook to find out. Under the Tools tab, click on Audience (or Audiences if you are using Power Editor.) From there, select the All Ads Sets, and they will be shown on the screen.

On each ad set, choose “Edit Ad Set” and keep scrolling down until you find the “Save This Audience” button. Tap on it, then return to the Audience window. This group of the target audiences will serve as the benchmark. In the Actions bar, choose “Show Audiences Overlap.” Tap on “Add Another Audience”; and continue to do so until you have filled in all required data. Facebook will give you details on the number of overlapping customers from five different ad sets at max. 


Audience overlap is a common mistake made by both amateur and experienced digital marketers alike. So if you ever encounter this problem, rest assured that you are not alone. Instead of getting caught up in the unwanted dilemma, visit and find out the best solutions to run a Facebook ad campaign flawlessly!

Read More: Tips to Better Manage Your Business Fan Page on Facebook

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By Maria Hussain

Mars is a content writer and founder of Hesolite the place for you to get SEO tips, backlinks. He gained extensive knowledge by doing researches on various technology projects. You will find his SEO-related contributions on top sites online.

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