Custom audiences are one of the many Facebook marketing tools we use to do thoughtful analysis that makes a real impact. The purpose of a custom audience is to target your entire list or specific segments of your list exclusively but the application of custom audiences goes far beyond that.
To create a custom audience, prepare your list (or segment) as a single column .csv and download Facebook’s Power Editor plugin. There are several options for custom audiences: email addresses, phone numbers, user IDs, and app user IDs.
Keep in mind that you can upload different list segments and do all of the below for each segment – the level of granularity is up to you. Uploading your entire list can work in ad targeting and has some practical use with custom audiences but think about trying some segments like:
- Customers who have purchased
- Frequent and reoccurring customers
- Hot leads and report opt-ins
- Webinar attendees
- Conference/speaking engagement attendees
- Customers who came from various traffic sources (SEM, Facebook ads, display ads, YouTube, etc.)
- Unsubscribe list (gray hat)
- SMS text messaging list
- Get creative – there are unlimited possibilities!
Alright, Tom. I’ve got my custom audiences uploaded to Facebook and I’m ready to do this thing, what’s next? Here are some of the more creative ways we use custom audiences internally at BlitzMetrics:
- Analysis against social interests
If you take a look at our documentation on social affinity for ad targeting you can do something very similar with custom audiences. Instead of finding the overlap between your brand and a particular interest you can see how many of the people within your custom audience have certain interests.
- Determining how social your list is
After uploading your custom audience to Facebook, you can find out exactly what percentage of that list is on the social network. This is very useful for determining how social these people are and in some cases can help determine if marketing your brand on social media channels will be effective.
- Demographic breakdown of segments
Did you know you can also do demographic breakdowns of a custom audience the same way you pull ad counts for precise interests? How much of the list is men? Women? What states and regions are they from? This information can eliminate up to 80-90% of wasted ad spend and help create an ad targeting strategy.
Lets say you upload your hot prospect list which only contains leads that have opted-in for a free white paper and clicked one of your ads within the last 30 days (we can accomplish this with InfusionSoft). You might find that 85% of the list is women, over 50% live in California, and 100% of the list is between ages 20 and 35. Knowing this you can target exclusively women that live in California between ages 20-35. This isn’t only useful for Facebook either, but all other channels as well.
- Lookalike audiences
Another feature many marketers ignore on Facebook is lookalike audiences. The way it works is you upload your list and Facebook automatically matches the demographic qualities of your list with other related users.
This helps get your brand in front of new prospects that are similar to your existing audience. There are 2 options for lookalike audiences: reach and similarity. Reach will give you a larger list of people to target but similarity will match the interest and demographic profile of your list as closely as possible, likely creating the greatest efficiency. Both are worth testing!
- Lead nurturing
How well rounded is your lead nurturing program? Sales funnels, especially for high priced or high value items are not 2 steps. You need to provide value up front, then provide more value and thought leadership, then nurture your leads by staying on their radar. I don’t care what business you’re in, nurturing your leads is going to make your marketing more effective.
Then, when the time is right figure out how you can help them and take action. If you’re doing nothing more than sending a “thanks for signing up” email you need to rethink your strategy. Use marketing automation to regularly rotate in fresh prospects once the existing leads are lower in the funnel due to your nurturing efforts.
Did this post give you some ideas? You don’t have to use the tools available “as is” – think of creative uses to maximize your output, make your targeting more effective or more granular, and most importantly drive measurable ROI. If you think of any other uses for custom audiences I didn’t mention let me know in the comments!
One area I wasn’t expecting to gain much knowledge in from attending Conversion Conference Chicago is Facebook marketing. I’m not talking about more fans or people liking your cat pictures; I’m talking about measurable ROI.
These tips will supercharge your Facebook marketing:
1.) Utilize lookalike audiences to find new prospects
Match your existing customer base (email list) to Facebook and create a lookalike audience. This will build a targetable audience of new prospects based on the demographic data of your existing customers.
Here’s how it works:
- Upload your list as a custom audience using Facebook’s free Power Editor plugin. For B2C expect a 70% match rate if your list is good. 30-40% for B2B.
- Create a lookalike audience via the Audiences tab.
- Facebook will automatically match your existing list with new prospects that have similar interests and demographic qualities such as age, gender, and geographic location. No testing needed, Facebook does the heavy lifting for you.
2.) Layered targeting
The more granular you are with targeting the better the results.
Don’t target by only interests or demographic qualities. Use combos of different demographics, interests, partner categories, connection and other targets. We call this “onion targeting.”
Using onion targeting you can create a few broad ads with larger audiences and dial in your demographic then multiply each audience that works.
Start with an ad that targets a few interests with an audience somewhere around 10,000. This is a good rule of thumb to minimize testing cost while still having enough data to make statistically significant decisions.
If that ad does well, filter it using a different target like age, gender or a broad category. Keep multiplying out combinations using the Power Editor to see what the most effective combo is.
Keep in mind you can be as granular as targeting 35 year-old men that drink energy drinks, drive a Ford pickup truck, and live in Kansas – take advantage of this!
To take it to the next level run unpublished page post ads in the newsfeed that only your targeted audience will see. These are also known as dark posts.
3.) Newsfeed ads are the Future for Facebook
Traditional right hand side (RHS) ads just aren’t effective anymore – 7 small ads crammed on the side all competing for your attention. Running ads in the newsfeed costs around 5X more per impression than RHS ads but you will often see a lower CPC because a 2-3% CTR is achievable.
My favorite part is that this ad unit is so new that banner blindness isn’t a concern and
CTR’s have been phenomenal for well-executed campaigns. Most people don’t even realize these are ads but the ones that do get militant if bombarded; limit your ad frequency to 3 to avoid this.
4.) Use your unsubscribe list as a custom audience
People unsubscribe from your list; reconnect with them on Facebook and get them back into your lead nurturing program.
How to get them back?
Offer a “welcome back” discount or a special piece of content or free consultation. Why might someone unsubscribe from you in the first place? Build your campaign around these reasons.
Really want them back?
Set a retargeting pixel so you can follow them around online – multi-touch conversion at it’s best!
FYI: This is considered “gray hat” because all custom audiences must be opt-ins. So you can’t do things like rent a list or scrape Facebook user ID’s, this probably isn’t enforceable but it is in the Terms of Service.
Tom Lambert is a full-time Internet marketer on a mission for more efficient online marketing and less wasted conversion opportunities. When he’s not busy reading and doing he writes an Internet marketing blog focused on the topics of conversion, optimization, and usability called Conversion Juggernaut.