If You’re Not Using These 3 Facebook Targeting Tools, You’re Doing it Wrong

If You’re Not Using These 3 Facebook Targeting Tools, You’re Doing it Wrong

April 23, 2014

So you’ve spent time dabbling with Facebook advertising, trying out the platform’s basic targeting tools – location, demographics, interests – in different variations to reach your target customer. But what comes next? What if you want to get even more narrow with your targeting and rest assured that your ads are being seen by only the most relevant people and not being wasted on people who aren’t interested, won’t click, or are already customers?

Your answer lies in the form of three data-driven Facebook targeting toolsCustom Audiences, lookalike audiences, and Partner Categories (now known as targeting by Behavior). Yes data – you’ve heard of it. All three of these tools leverage third- or first-party consumer data to pinpoint not just those who may be interested in your product, but people who have shown intent to buy a product based on their past behaviors. These tools present the most effective means for reaching your ideal customer on Facebook – if you’re not using them, you’re likely wasting money showing ads to people who are only somewhat interested, or will click on your ad once never to return again.

Rather than waste another second focusing on what you’re missing, let’s cut the chase and outline exactly what these three targeting tools of the Facebook gods are, how they are best used, and how to get started.

Custom Audiences

Custom Audiences are targeting groups created using first-party data from your CRM, or website or mobile app visitation data. These are people that have previously interacted with your business, be it at a trade event, phone call, your website, mobile app, and so on, that have provided you with their contact information.

Because these people have previously shown interest in your company and/or intent to purchase, they are far more likely to re-engage with your company – be that actually becoming a customer or making an additional purchase – than a person who has never heard of your company and is unaware of the product or service you provide. For this reason, these audiences convert at a higher rate and lower cost when retargeted – the ultimate goal of any ad campaign. Tapping into customer data also opens you to a larger audience that may have been missed when using Facebook’s targeting tools, providing greater cost-efficiency at scale.

On the flip side, Custom Audiences can also be used for exclusionary purposes to ensure your ads only reach potential customers, rather than waste money advertising to a current customer that has already taken the desired action. An app developer looking to drive app installs, for one, wouldn’t want to show ads to people that have already downloaded their app. These advertisers can create a campaign that excludes all individuals within a Custom Audience of their customers – boosting efficiency and eliminating wasted ad dollars.

There are now three ways to create Custom Audiences: using data from your CRM, website, or mobile app.

Custom Audiences from CRM Data
Custom Audiences created from CRM data use email addresses, Facebook UIDs, phone numbers, app user IDs, and Apple IDFAs and match these to the person’s unique Facebook identity. Facebook IDs and email addresses have the highest match rates, so best to start with these then fill in the gaps using other information. Third-party Facebook partner Datalogix, for example, is able to match home addresses to Facebook IDs – a great option for companies whose CRMs that don’t collect enough customer information.

Custom Audiences from Websites
Create a Custom Audience of people who have previously visited your site with Facebook’s Custom Audience pixel. A pixel is a line of code, generated by Facebook, that tracks and matches your website visitors to their authentic Facebook identity. Your sPMD can create the pixel for you or, if you’re using Power Editor you can create the pixel yourself. Once created, copy and paste the pixel in the header or footer of every page of your website. Check with your sPMD or on the backend of Facebook power editor to ensure the pixel is “firing” or sending data. When creating a campaign, you will now be able to target all website visitors, or those that have visited specific pages.

Custom Audiences from Mobile Apps
The first step to creating a Custom Audience from a mobile app is registering your app with Facebook and setting up app events for iOS or Android. From there you can dynamically populate Custom Audiences of Facebook IDs based on certain actions (known as app events), including installs, and in-app purchases and engagement.

Overall, Custom Audiences has proven time and time again to be one of Facebook’s most effective targeting tools for driving ROI and lowering bidding costs. There are very few (if any instances) where we would recommend against using this tool – start collecting that first-party data and get cracking!

Lookalike Audiences

Love the results you’re seeing with your Custom Audiences, but running in to roadblocks when it comes to audience size? Look no further than lookalike audiences. Using the CRM or website data you provide, Facebook can create a new audience that closely resembles your Custom Audience. The difference is that these groups are created by Facebook based off of any Custom Audience that is already uploaded in a given account – so it will resemble your selected Custom Audience, but won’t feature quite the same level of buyer intent as the people already interacting with your brand and CRM software. Because these audiences are broader in nature, it’s worth mentioning a lookalike Audience needs fairly steady honing and retargeting to find the valuable users similar to your current customer base.

Facebook has added the capability of specifying exactly how similar the lookalike audience should be to your original audience. Of all possibly “similar” users, one can choose between the top 1% and the top 20% in similarity, with the size of the audience increasing as you move from 1% to 20%. For instance, the closer to the top 1% in similarity your lookalike Audience is, the smaller the reach but more similar the audience. The closer to 20%, the larger the audience – and greater the reach – but the increased exposure comes at the cost of ultra-high similarity. If used judiciously, lookalike Audiences have the power to radically grow your user base.

Partner Categories

Partner Categories are super targeted audiences provided by third-parties such as Axciom, Epsilon, and Datalogix. These third-parties use customer data to construct precise targeting groups for criteria like “people that intend to travel to Kansas City” or “People that eat Froot Loops cereal.” This expands upon interests targeting – which targets people based on their expressed interests on Facebook – by allowing advertisers to show ads to people on Facebook based on the products and brands they buy across both desktop and mobile.

Examples of Partner Categories include categories like:

  • Job Title

  • Demographics

  • Bank Card

  • Home Equity

  • Make and Model Car

As well as more intricate or time-sensitive purchase habits like:

  • Condiment Purchases

  • Kid’s Cereal buyers

  • People with specific travel locations (almost any large city in the US or abroad)

And finally broader behavior categories like:

  • Gamers

  • Fashionistas

  • Soccer Moms

Click here for the full list of Partner Categories (so far).

For maximum effect, combine Partner Categories – i.e. Cereal buyers AND soccer moms – for endlessly specific targeting variations or use them to find users in difficult to determine time sensitive markets – like intended travel to a certain destination. Partner Categories pick up the slack that other targeting options might miss.

Facebook does charge a premium to target these super specific audiences – since they’re provided via a third-party merchant – so they can be a touch pricey. However, if used to target the correct set of users and circumstances, the increases in efficiency and unlocked potential target audiences should make up for any minor premiums.

Every ad campaign depends on its ability to reach users, but the truly successful ones find and target the users further down the purchase funnel to maximize conversions while reducing CPA. Custom Audiences, Lookalike Audiences, and Partner Categories take your campaign to the next level of effectiveness.