The fact that Facebook is less of a pull-bases channel compared to, for example Google Search Advertising, implies that people are not always intentionally looking for products or services during their time on the platform. On Facebook, advertisements get “pushed” on people’s Facebook feed, in their Messenger inbox or between their stories. Whereas, when you are searching on Google, the advertisements you receive, exactly tap into what you are searching for at that specific time. For this reason, it’s even more important to target the right audiences and align them with your campaign goals in order to show them the most relevant ads possible and make your investment worthwhile. While scrolling through your Facebook homepage, you might wonder: “How did I end up being targeted with ads for sustainable fitness clothing for example?” Well, wonder no longer. Here’s how it works….
Audience targeting options in Facebook Ads Manager tap into every step of the conversion funnel, based on the different stages of the customer journey. Not only can you increase brand awareness by reaching new potential customers, the platform offers a wide range of options to target and remarket people who already know your business, in order to enhance consideration, encourage conversions and ultimately strengthen client relationships. New audiences can be created either in the Audience Manager or in the Audience section of each new ad set.
Increase brand awareness with Saved Audiences
Saved Audiences are considered to be “cold prospects” who have not engaged with your brand or business before. Facebook offers a wide range of criteria to define your ideal target group, such as location, language, age, gender, interests, job titles or even competitor targeting can be an option. Depending on your business’s offering, you can narrow down your audience or exclude certain groups of people. For example, if you are a brand selling sustainable women’s sports clothes, you can narrow down your audience to people who both like sports and are interested in an eco–friendly lifestyle. Within the objective of creating as much brand awareness as possible, you can exclude people who have already visited your website or purchased before. This way, you completely allocate your campaign budget towards new potential customers.
Drive consideration and conversion with Custom Audiences
If your campaign objective is to reach, engage or convert people who can be found further in the customer journey, Custom Audiences are the way to go. Custom Audiences consist of people who already know your business based on previous actions, such as liking your Facebook Page, visiting your website, or completing a purchase. The options for Custom Audiences available in the Facebook Ads Manager are customer list custom audiences, engaged custom audiences, website custom audiences or mobile app custom audiences.
Customer list: By uploading a CSV or txt file, identifiers such as e-mail, phone number or address are matched with Facebook profiles. The more identifiers, the more accurate the targeting will be. In order to simplify the set-up, Facebook offers a template for customer lists. Once the audience has been created in the Audience Manager, Facebook will notify you when it is ready to use.
Engaged custom audiences: People who have taken actions on Facebook apps and services. This includes people who viewed 3 or 10 seconds of a video you posted, people who filled in a lead-form, engaged with an instant experience/canvas (interactive ad format available for Facebook or Instagram mobile), liked your Facebook or Instagram Business Page or reacted to an Event.
Website custom audiences: People who have visited your website or specific landing pages up to 180 days ago. Similar to your saved audiences, you can opt to narrow down the audience or exclude certain landing pages.
Mobile app custom audiences: Use your app’s data to target specific audiences. This can be very useful when advertising about new app features or in app offers, for example. Here it makes more sense to target your ads to people who have already downloaded your app but do not use it that often yet.
Grow your audience by creating Lookalike Audiences
Finally, Facebook offers the opportunity to reach more people with a high likelihood of showing interest in your brand by creating Lookalike Audiences. These are audiences similar to your existing customers. Lookalike audiences are based on a specific custom audience (source audience) you created before and based on data pulled in via your pixel (a piece of code on your website that helps you track conversions from Facebook ads), mobile app or Facebook Business Page. Next to picking a specific source audience, you can choose the size and country of your lookalike audience: the smaller the size of the audience, the closer the match.
Not too narrow, not too broad: Potential Reach
Finding a balance between a relevant audience and a good audience size can be challenging. Here, Facebook will help you out during audience creation by showing the “potential reach” barometer and an estimation of daily results. Numbers change according to the different options and criteria you select. For example, your potential reach will grow when you target people aged from 18 to 65 years old, compared to only targeting people from 18 to 35 years old. A key takeaway is to make sure your Facebook audience stays in line with your brand’s target group in order to guarantee successful campaigns, even if this means decreasing your audience size.
What about GDPR?
Last but not least, it’s important to mention how audience targeting, and especially customer lists to create custom audiences, ensure GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance. Here, Facebook uses the concept of “Hashing”, that turns identifiers such as e-mail, phone number,… into randomized code before uploading it to Facebook. This process is irreversible, ensuring all necessary data privacy.
So, the reason why you received advertisements to buy sustainable sports clothes of a brand you haven’t heard of before, is probably due to your main interests on Facebook, your age, gender, language or country. If you already knew the brand, you might have visited their website or liked their Facebook Page, making you part of the brand’s custom audiences.
To sum up:
- Define your campaign goal
E.g. I want to drive consideration for my products & increase website traffic.
- Define your target audience
E.g. I want to target women between 18 and 28 years old in Amsterdam, people who like our Facebook Page or saw a previous video post and push them to our website.
- Create the right type of Facebook audiences, based on your campaign goal
E.g. I create custom audiences of Page engagers and video viewers. I increase my reach by creating lookalike audiences.
For more information on how to set-up Facebook audiences, visit: https://www.facebook.com/business/insights/people/audiences
Performance Marketer, Wax Interactive