Facebook Advertising gets results, we can all agree on that (we can, right?) but I’m sure we’ve all been in the position where we see some engagement on that promoted post and BAM! you quickly run up a Facebook Ads bill that makes that latest ASOS purchase look like petty cash on your credit card bill.
Step away from the ‘Boost’ button, it’s time to discover the most important part of your ads campaign – WHO is actually seeing them.
It might sound like a simple concept but without properly defining it and having a strategy to back your decisions, many advertisers get this part wrong.
What most people don’t know, is the opportunities available to them with their existing data and how to capitalize on the data your ads will give you in the future.
Make no mistake, Facebook is a customer gold mine
Facebook has become VERY good at knowing a lot about its user base. From what your main habits on their platform are to what your browsing behaviors off of Facebook include, they know a lot about what you do each day.
Facebook has also made some sweet deals with third-party companies that provide data to Facebook on its users’ behaviors in real life, eg purchasing homes, cars, and monitoring net worth. They combine it with the data they have on its user base and now they’ve added a whole new level of knowledge about how likely you are to perform certain behaviors.
(side note, let’s not go down that rabbit hole of privacy and user data but agree that it’s a good opportunity for businesses, yeah?)
With the largest social network in the world of over 1.8 Billion people comes challenges in trying to keep them all happy though. For Facebook’s user base to keep growing, it’s important to remember that Facebook will value its users over advertisers which is why you need to guide Facebook on the right audience to show your advertisements to.
Give them the wrong information, and they simply won’t show it if it doesn’t add value to the Facebook user. Seriously, you can throw money at Mark Zuckerberg but he will refuse to spend it if he doesn’t think it’s any use to that audience.
So, where do I start with audiences?
Firstly, you need to analyze what existing information you have that you can use to help build a more targeted audience.
Depending on how much and how detailed that information is, will determine where you can start to build your first audience. As more information becomes available and people engage with your ads you can then gradually build a relationship with them to move them closer to the point of purchasing.
Think of it as a funnel, starting with a wider audience that hasn’t heard of you before (but should) through to people that have engaged with you before to those that have bought from you.
To track people that have engaged with you and to move them closer to the point of purchase, it’s imperative that you have a Facebook Pixel installed on your website.
Make sure it’s installed on every page you want to track users on. Without it, you won’t know enough about your users and Facebook won’t know who to show your advertisements to.
Types of Facebook audiences
Depending on where the user is at in the funnel, Facebook can help you find them. If we overlaid Facebook’s terminology to the image above, we can then picture them in a hierarchy of importances so you know where to start:
What you will notice is each of these audiences are performing behaviors that gradually require more action from them and create a closer connection with you.
Hence why we’re always looking at moving them further through the funnel.
Let’s break down each of these fancy Facebook audiences a bit further
Facebook has over 900+ preset interest and behavior categories that group millions of users from around the world. Add on top of this, custom interests such as particular pages, Facebook groups, job titles, and industries, and it’s a fantastic way to start to build a persona of your ideal customer. If you’re a brand new business, it’s likely this is where you will need to begin.
2. Lookalike Audiences
Lookalike Audiences are large groups of audiences Facebook build for you that have similar characteristics, behaviors and interests to the “base” group you build the Lookalike Audience from. To build these you will need existing data to form the “base”. The next groups can help you do this more accurately.
3. Page Likes
Put simply, this is the people that like your Facebook page. A great place to start if you haven’t bought likes (and you never should) because it will mean it consists a targeted group of individuals that have shown an interest in your business.
4. Video Views Audiences
Facebook LOVES showing video to its users. Not only is the preferred post format by Facebook for the newsfeed (hello extra reach!) it’s now a great tactic to build an engaged audience. Facebook can now track how long someone is watching a video and as they hit certain thresholds they are placed in predetermined audiences (by you) to retarget ads to.
Say for instance you have a sweet video that is 60 seconds long. If someone watches 3 seconds of it and someone else watches at least 25% (15 seconds) or 50% (30 seconds) of it – who do you think is more interested in what you have to say? It’s an amazing tactic to quickly flesh out some data on who is your target audience based on how long they watch.
- The preset thresholds that Facebook track are:
25% (of overall length of video)
5. Page Engagement Audiences
Facebook knows each user’s behavior when they’re browsing through the platform including how they interact with posts and what actions they perform on them. Facebook allows you to build these audiences based on engagements such as clicking on any post, commenting, sharing or liking a post, and saving any of your posts that they see.
6. Data Custom Audiences
If you have an existing list of data from your business, you can upload this directly to Facebook, and it will attempt to find those users on Facebook. Great examples of lists are subscribers, sales prospects and existing buyers.
Upload your data via CSV or connect it directly to MailChimp if you use it and they can match up to 15 different identifiers (screenshot below). You can select as little or as many as you like when you upload your list but the more you have, the more likely it is that Zuckerberg and his Facebook minions will be able to find them. Note though, that Facebook doesn’t tell you exactly WHO it identified from your list, it just puts them in a group and tells you how many there is – cheeky buggers!
7. Website Custom Audiences
This is the piste de resistance of all the audience groups available. So you want to try and get as many people in Website Custom Audiences (WCA) as possible. Remember how I said the Facebook Pixel was critical? Without it you simply can’t build these type of audiences. Once installed though you can then segment your website browsers into different behaviors they perform (or don’t perform).
An example of how this could be used is to target website visitors that hit a particular page URL that will automatically trigger an ad to be shown to them back on Facebook. Now you know how all those websites manage to show targeted ads from that pair of shoes you’ve been considering buying!
The reason Website Custom Audiences are the goal of any ongoing advertising campaign is these people are the most engaged and committed current or potential customers. Now you can focus on delivering them value and getting them to convert or come back and convert even further. The larger you grow this pool, the less you will need to spend on finding new people (cold audiences) to show your business to.
Phew! Now what?
Information overload huh? I get it. It’s a lot to take in. If I were you, here is where I would focus my efforts on.
Firstly, I hate to sound like a broken record but if you don’t have that Facebook Pixel installed then you must go and install it now. Even if you’re not considering running ads for months, at least start getting some data to make your job easier down the track.
Next, start from the bottom of the funnel and work your way up:
Don’t have enough website traffic for Website Custom Audiences? Cool. They’ll start to build over time, on to the next one!
Ain’t got no email subscribers? That’s ok, they’ll come.
Got some existing people engaging with your Facebook page? If you’re an existing business this might be the first place to start!
But maybe you don’t have any of this and you need to start with Facebook’s Interests. That’s ok. Rest assured that as you find people interested in what you have to say they will start to populate the audience groups above them.
It’s all a matter of patience and learning from your results. With a sound Facebook strategy though you will be able to move people closer to your conversion and deliver a consistent stream of business. Believe me, it’s totally worth it!
About Your Guest Blogger: MEET DAN… Dan created Organik Digital to show businesses how to engage and convert their customers through Facebook by showing the right ad to the right person at the right time. He values businesses that speak honestly and market to their audience authentically to drive consistent results over time.