New ways to interest customers through Facebook custom audiences

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I can think of nothing that an audience won’t understand. The only problem is to interest them; once they are interested, they understand anything in the world.
— Orson Welles

 Have you ever browsed online, added something to your shopping cart then changed your mind and left without purchasing, only to later receive an email reminding you about it? Or perhaps you’ve visited a website and then feel like you’re suddenly noticing a lot of related online ads on other sites. Coincidence? 


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Hardly. It's called remarketing, and with recent changes from Facebook, expect to see more of it in your Facebook feed from now on.

Facebook has for a while allowed businesses to upload email or phone number lists which when matched with their users can allow you to run very targeted Facebook ads to specific groups - and this is the exciting bit - even if they are not already a fan of your page.

Now their Custom Audience capability allows you to place a piece of code on your website or mobile app to extend these custom audiences to people based on their behaviour on your site.

What this means is you can continue the conversion with them that stopped when they left your site - and if you know what was interesting them, you can experiment with ways to pique that interest again.

For instance, this might be people who’ve visited your website but left without buying, or customers who’ve previously made a purchase. You can see how a targeted message offering a discount of their next purchase could drive increased sales in a very cost effective manner.

For B2B customers, events like downloading a whitepaper, clicking on 'contact us' or viewing a product page can all be flagged as conversion events and used to deliver highly targeted and relevant ads when your prospects are viewing their Facebook news feed.

Facebook and others are reporting that customers are noticing a 4-8x return on ad spend; obviously results like that will rely as much on good segmentation and creative as the technology, but when it only involves a little analysis and setup to achieve, it would be worth experimenting with.

As part of the update Facebook’s also introducing 5 new call to action buttons - shop now, learn more, sign up, book now or download:

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Though given that these buttons don’t necessarily stand out in the ad and command attention, it’s difficult to predict how these will improve conversion.


How can you start taking advantage of Facebook’s Custom Audiences?

  • Consider the purchase funnel of your site, and use Google Analytics to identify conversion events, points at which visitors are leaving in order to determine relevant ads they could be shown later.
  • Look at your email database and consider whether there are ways to segment it, based on product, location, loyalty, demographics and more. This will help you improve the relevance of your ads which should improve conversion.
  • Upload a list of your current customers to be excluded from Facebook advertising so your message can more targeted, and your ad budget not wasted on trying to convert existing customers. 
  • If you’re a B2B business, you could use an export of your Linkedin contacts and target them with a custom message.
  • You can set up a custom audience when you create a new ad; Facebook has a step by step guide here


Image via Jan Ramroth