Back to the Basics: The Nuts and Bolts of Facebook Audiences

by | Aug 22, 2018 | Social Media Marketing Tips

Facebook adsAt AIM, we like to stay at the forefront of new advertising platforms, copy tactics, and technical know-how.

But sometimes, we need to dive into the more “hands-on” aspects of Ad platforms.

So I’m introducing a new “Back to the Basics” series where I’ll discuss different elements of advertising on various ad platforms.

This week’s topic of discussion is Facebook Audiences.

Website Traffic Audiences

First, let’s talk about “Website Traffic” audiences.

These require the installation of the Facebook remarketing pixel throughout your entire website.

Website Traffic Audience
After you click the Website Traffic option, you’ll see a widget that allows you to select different criteria.

The first step is to decide if you want people who meet ANY or ALL of the criteria you select. This will vary based on the audience you want to create.

Website Traffic Criteria
I suggest selecting ANY when you want to reach a larger group of people who have different interests or who visit a series of pages on your website.

You’ll select ALL when you want to create a very targeted audience that has a specific goal.

In the example I’ve prepared below, I selected ALL because I decided I wanted to target the people who spend the most time on my website, but also had visited a page about bitcoin.

In some instances, you might prefer to exclude all people who have visited confirmation pages (see the blue arrow for the button to exclude criteria).

However, I recommend that you create an audience from these converters, which you can then exclude from your advertising.

In addition, once you’ve captured a conversion, you can also reach out to those leads and customers via your list.

Other criteria you can use to exclude people are pages visited, time spent on site, etc.

Now, I’ve been talking about these as exclusion audiences, but you can also create target audiences this way. You may not ever actually target these audiences, though.

What you will likely do is create a lookalike based on web visitor and customer behavior. We’ll discuss this more in a few minutes.

Lastly, don’t forget to give your audience a useful name!

Audience Name

Custom Audience of Converters

Let’s look at creating an audience of people who have hit your confirmation, or thank you, page.

You’ll use this list to add as an exclusion to most of your campaigns.

“People who visited specific web pages” will be your primary criteria.

I recommend setting the date range to the maximum, which is 180 days. This will give you a larger exclusion audience.

How you want to set up this audience with the URL will change depending on your website. If there are multiple pages, you need to find the common element they all “contain,” so that you can target it.

If you need to exclude other pages that also include that phrase, you can use the “Exclude” button.

For example, if your landing page and thank you page use the same /directory/, but have a different /sub-directory/, you could include /directory/ but exclude /landing-sub-directory/.

Create Custom Audience
This isn’t 100% fool-proof (well, nothing is), which is why you can create another exclusion audience.

“Customer File” audience

Before we discuss the tactical elements of Customer Files, let’s first talk about creating “Customer File” audiences.

Since you own this data, you can segment out whatever information you need.

For your exclusion audience, you’d definitely want to pull together all existing customers.

But I recommend a larger exclusion audience, and then I recommend you pull together lists of customers of specific products.

The reason for this is that you can model other audiences based on these customers.

When you have these lists created, you can start getting more creative, especially if your marketing intelligence suite is strong.

Think of:

  • Lists of customers with a lifetime value (LTV) in the top 20% of customers. We know 80% of our sales come from 20% of our customers… this is a cheat to try to approximate that effect.
    • Or, you can simply include LTV with your general customer list and let Facebook do the work for you. This is a new feature, so buyer beware.
  • Lists of people who have been customers for more than 2 years (longevity is valuable).
  • Lists of people who are subscribed to multiple products. We know that these people have purchased more than one product, they’re valuable customers. A model based on their profile would likely also have that value.

Now, you match the email addresses for each of your customers to the audience profile you’ve selected.

To get these audiences created on Facebook, you select the Customer File option under “Create Custom Audience.”

Customer File
Once there, you’ll see an import screen. It’s as easy as clicking and following upload instructions.

Import Screen
Similar to “Website Traffic” audiences, you also want to create a lookalike for each of these audiences.

Lookalike Audiences

The last audiences we need to discuss are lookalike audiences.

We’ve already mentioned these a few times.

They’re audiences that are algorithmically modelled after one of your other audiences.

To get to this option, simply click the “Lookalike Audience” option underneath the “Create Audience” menu.

Lookalike Audience
From there, you simply:

  1. Select your source, or the audience you want to use as a model
  2. Select the location you want to target
  3. Select your audience size

My tip on audience size is to start small.

You want to start with an audience that’s maybe a million people, maybe less if you’re targeting a smaller country.

I usually start with an audience that is the size of 1-2% of the overall population.

This also ensures that you have a tighter match with your model.

Once you’ve proven the success of the Lookalike Audience, you can create another version with a greater percentage of the population.

You’ll start to see diminishing returns, but will see greater scale.

Other Options

There are many more types of audiences you can create in Facebook.

We don’t have time to go into all of them in detail, but the Website Traffic and Customer Files are the two most effective tactics I use.

For a quick idea of your options, however:

  • Engagement audiences
    • People who have viewed your videos on Facebook
    • People who have viewed your Canvas
    • People who have interacted with your Facebook or Instagram pages
    • People who have interacted with your events on Facebook
  • App interactions
  • Offline data

Now that you know your options, play around with them! And share your results with us.

You never know when you’ll hit the audience that is just right for reaching your customers.