How to improve your marketing

Why the custom audience is the secret sauce to every sales funnel.

I’m going to address one of the most important elements of social media advertising: creating audiences. By creating audiences you will not only be able to be more efficient with your dollars, but you will also (when done right) be able to maximize your R.O.I.

Platforms like Facebook and Google AdWords allow you to create specific retargeting audiences based on an almost infinite number of parameters, including: page visited; number of page visits; time since visiting; and specific actions taken on your site. Creating audiences allows you to craft your messaging to be more contextually relevant to where your consumer is in your funnel and, hopefully, move him/her closer to product purchase. Understanding this context with your audience can create a more positive experience and, more than likely, allow you to convert your targets into customers for a lot less money.

What are my audience options?

Along with the standard custom audiences that these platforms allow you to market to, like uploading your customer list or your email database via a .csv file, Facebook has recently made changes that allow you to create and build your audiences from more interactive, engagement style ads like video, or lead form style ads. This basically allows you to remarket to people who simply engaged with your ad and didn’t necessarily click through to your website yet. This is a very underutilized, yet overly powerful, way to qualify people in the early and middle stages of their customer journey.

These very powerful audience options include:

  • Video – This is the beacon of on site retargeting with Facebook. You now have the ability to target people who have watched a certain time or percentage of your video. This feature is now integrated with Instagram as well.
  • Lead Form – Previously named “Lead Ad,” this audience option is now fully integrated with Instagram and allows you to retarget people who have opened, filled and did not submit, or filled and did submit the form. This is super powerful for lead generation campaigns.
  • Full Screen Experience – The Canvas has been renamed and includes the ability to target people who have opened the canvas ad or clicked on links within it. The latest improvement to this type of audience is that it is now integrated with Facebook’s newer Collection ads that open up a similar experience.
  • Facebook Page – Facebook Page audiences allow you to target people based on their interactions with your page. You can cast a wide net and remarket to everyone who has engaged with your page or, more specifically, to people who have taken a specific action on your page like sent a message. Since so many ecommerce brands start out with a Facebook Page long before they move to running paid ads, this type of targeting is very useful because you can leverage all of that legacy data based on interactions with your page’s followers.
  • Instagram Business Profile – Similar to the Facebook Page type, this audience allows you to specifically target people who have engaged with your Instagram profile. Depending on the type of products you’re selling, you may have infinitely more engagement on Instagram.
  • Facebook Events – This audience type allows your brand to target people who have interacted with any event you may have created. You can structure your audience toward those that are going and/or interested in the event. For an ecommerce brand, this would be especially useful to run website conversion ads for a product to people who have responded as going or interested, after a specific event your brand hosted or sponsored, like a tradeshow.

In addition to these, Facebook allows you to create lookalike audiences based on these engagements as well as from outside customer data, like your customer list or your email database via a .csv file. Facebook’s algorithm will then find people who match the source audience based on a multitude of variables. Audience size ranges from 1% to 10% of the total population in the countries you choose, with 1% being those who most closely match your source. If setup correctly, lookalike audiences are a fantastic way to scale an ecommerce brand horizontally when they have reached a point where they are having a hard time scaling their ad budgets vertically.

As of late, the engagement style audience types have proven to be an extremely powerful tool in an advertising system. They not only get less expensive conversions, but they also provide you with data on the engagement of the user. So even if you don’t get an immediate conversion, you can use that interaction to remarket and potentially create a sale at a later date.

Here’s an awesome tip: Anytime you create a new piece of content, like a blog post or new page on your site, create a custom retargeting audience for that page right away, even if you’re not planning on running ads on it immediately. That way, if you ever decide to drop that content within your funnel, it’s been populating the entire time and you have a sweet custom audience ready to remarket to.

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