Facebook’s advertising platform has quickly become a marketing channel that many businesses just can’t afford to ignore. There are now over 5 million businesses investing in Facebook Ads, and it’s certainly no mystery why that is the case. One of the biggest selling points about Facebook is their audience targeting settings. People often provide a lot of information about themselves voluntarily, such as age, birthdays, relationship status, education levels etc. But by buying data from Axciom, Experian and others, they’re able to provide advertisers with an incredible range of information to be used for targeting. Here are just a few examples:
• If you’re a frequent flyer
• If you’re an active credit card user
• If you often donate to charity
• If you’re an early or late adopter of technology
…which can be really powerful. But, it is still often not enough. The use of custom audiences takes targeting to the next level, and allows you to continue getting your brand in front of the right people again and again, ultimately building loyalty and generating sales. In this article, we’ll have a look at some custom audiences that you can use to do just that. Let’s begin!
1. People that have engaged with your Facebook page
A great place to start if you want to expand your post reach beyond what you’re getting organically. People that have engaged previously are naturally more likely to engage again. They know what you’re about, and are likely still interested in what you have to say!
Here’s how to do it: Once you’re in the audiences tab of the Ads Manager, hit the ‘create audience’ button, followed by ‘custom audience’, and you’ll get a popup that looks like this:
As pictured, select ‘engagement on Facebook’. Next window… select ‘page’
Simply select your page (if you have more than one), then choose how many days into the past you’d like to use for this audience. In this example, we could target people who have engaged in the past 60 days.
The maximum is 365 days, though this feature didn’t exist prior to October 2016, so you won’t be able to go any further back just yet!
2. People who have visited your website previously
For this one, you’ll first need to ensure the Facebook pixel is installed correctly on your site. That’s for another article, but for now, you can find setup instructions here if you need them.
Similar to the first one, the rationale behind using this audience is that they’re familiar with your brand. They’ve been to your site, know what you’re about, and are much more likely to pay attention to your ad as they scroll through their feed!
This time, after clicking create custom audience, we will of course use the ‘website traffic’ option.
Next, we have a handful of options. We can blanket everybody who has visited the website recently (or in your specified time period, anyway), or we can be more selective.
As the name suggests, the ‘specific pages but not others’ option will allow you to be super specific!
The ability to exclude certain pages is most commonly used with ‘thank you’ pages, or pages that indicate a conversion in some way. If you have an e-commerce store this might be the page people are directed to after a purchase, or likewise on a generic contact form you can redirect traffic to a thank-you page to indicate an enquiry has been made.
For example, you may choose to do something like this:
3. Use an email list of past / existing customers
This one can be great to upsell additional services, or offer new products to people who have bought from you before. It makes sense as a good place to start, as we know that these people definitely trust us enough to get their wallets out!
The standard way of importing an email list is via a .csv file, but you can also import directly from Mailchimp if you use it. Otherwise, for other CRMs and email marketing software, you’ll usually find a way to export contacts in a .csv anyway.
To find this in the asset library, simply go to custom audiences as normal, and then:
4. Lookalike Audiences
This one is best used when you already have some existing/past campaigns with conversion data. In a nutshell, this feature allows you to pick out the people who Facebook deem to be similar to another audience (such as your Facebook page fans, or your email list). This is considered in terms of demographics, interests, behaviour, etc.
You’ll be able to select how broad your lookalike audience should be. 1% is the smallest and most specific; the absolute closest match you can find. But if this is successful for you, you may want to scale up with a larger audience. The broader you go, the less similar the lookalike audience becomes.
This one might be easier than you think to setup, too. Simply find your audiences tab again in the ads manager dashboard, and click ‘Lookalike Audiences’.
Then, select your page and your geographical targeting, how broad you want your audience to be (1% is usually a good place to start), and voila!
Bonus for WordPress users
If you’re using WordPress, there’s a great (and free!) plugin that you can use to dig even deeper with your custom audiences. It’s called Pixel Caffeine. The creators have a more in depth guide on how to install and use it, but here are two great examples of what you can do.
Target based on referral source
What this means is that we can create audiences based on how they found your website. For example you might have traffic coming through from various social media channels, search engines, direct visitors (typed straight into their URL bar), etc.
We can choose to target (or exclude) people that visited from a particular source.
If you’re an e-commerce store that gets decent search engine traffic, you might know from analytics that these people have some of the highest conversion rates out of all traffic sources. Therefore to get the most out of your ad budget, this could be where you start. See below:
Target based on blog categories visited
While this is possible to do without Pixel Caffeine, the plugin definitely makes is easier. This option is great for promoting specific products or services to an audience that have already qualified themselves as prospects.
Suppose you have a content marketing strategy whereby you’re publishing regular articles and growing a blog following. In the case of a digital marketing agency like ourselves, we might write about SEO, social media, PPC, web design, and so on – and have those relevant categories for blog posts.
If your website offers multiple products / services to various target audiences, it often is simply not enough to blanket all website visitors with a generic ad.
We can then create an audience of people who have read only that category of post and create a tailored ad for that group. They’ve been reading about SEO best practices? Hit them with an ad for a free website audit. They’ve been reading about social media post inspiration? Offer a social media management consultation or similar. Get the idea?