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!
About the Author
You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.
You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.