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5 High ROI Uses for Facebook Custom Audiences

Just about everyone knows about Facebook’s custom audience feature by now – but most don’t know that you can get extremely creative with the way you use them.

Most marketers simply upload their entire list and use it to push products. That strategy works…but the application of custom audiences goes far beyond that.

My team has tested hundreds of approaches for using custom audiences but I always find a small handful of techniques drive the highest ROI, by far.

Here are 5 ways we use custom audiences that generate 5-10X ROI for almost all of our clients…

Build up hype for a launch or new service


If you run the type of business that does product launches custom audiences could be a big time game changer for you.

One of my favorite ways to build up excitement around a launch is to upload my most responsive list segments to Facebook and nurture them with launch ads for the upcoming product. As far as creative – I recommend making a special launch video that introduces the product to the prospect, shows them the value and why they should care, then gives them an option to get on an ‘early bird’ list. Now you have a laser targeted segment that you know is interested in your new product. (hint hint, mail these people more often)

Nurture prospects at different stages of the funnel

facebook-custom-audience-hyper-responder-segmentSome sales teams have incredibly complex sales cycles – they can literally span months at a time for some industries. If you’re segmenting your list based on the different stages of your funnel (i.e. prospect, qualified prospect, engaged prospect, customer, premium customer) you can upload each segment as its own audience then use it in your ad targeting.

What to use for creative? Lets say your sales team knows qualified prospects are mainly interested in your competitive advantages – you can tailor your ads to speak to that question to increase response and conversion rate to the next step in the sales cycle. Figure out what type of messaging compels customers to take the leap to the next stage of the cycle and focus on that.

Create a lookalike audience based on buyer list

Lookalike audiences are probably my favorite targeting option right now. We’ve had a ton of luck with them, especially in the last few months. If you upload your BUYER list to Facebook and create a lookalike audience, it will automatically find new people to target with the same interests and demographics.

But wait…it gets better. You can take a lookalike audience and continue to filter it by any of the standard targeting options. For example, lets say I took the Conversion Juggernaut buyer list and uploaded it as a custom audience then created a lookalike audience. If I was trying to sell my email marketing course I can then take the lookalike audience and filter it down by people who like “Andre Chaperon.” That makes the audience even more targeted and success even more likely.

In most cases lookalike audiences will work great on their own, but don’t forget you can always continue to filter them down to target a more specific demographic.

Custom audiences based on different interests or needs

If you can’t tell by now, I’m all about hyper granular list segmentation. You should setup as many list segments as possible: buyers vs. non-buyers, responders vs. non-responders, owners of specific products, customers that have spent over a certain dollar amount with you, etc. You never know when those segments will come in handy.


One way you should definitely be segmenting your list is based on what people buy so you can sell them more stuff they actually want. My list is segmented based on interest in different digital marketing topics like email marketing, Facebook ads, AdWords, SEO, Analytics, etc.

Now if I release a product related to one of those topics…guess who I’m going to email first and most frequently about the new product? But we can take it a step further with custom audiences…

Uploading these segments to Facebook will let me target people that have raised their hand and told me “I’m interested in what you have to say about email marketing.” Hopefully you can see how powerful that is…

Exclusion audiences (buyer segments)

When optimizing Facebook ads, the little tweaks and optimizations can add up big time and save you a lot of ad spend. Don’t forget to use exclusion lists to prevent certain people from seeing your ads.

If you’ve never used an exclusion list…

Basically, you can tell Facebook NOT to target certain people which is the inverse of normal custom audience targeting.

Why would you want to do this?

To prevent certain people from seeing your ad that you know won’t take the offer. The best use for this is to exclude your buyer segments – if they’re already a customer they probably aren’t going to buy the same product again, so showing them an ad is a waste of money.

But you can take it well beyond that…

You can exclude the “freebie seeker” segments that never buy from you…or the people who have only invested small amounts if you’re launching a big product…or people that are already on your list if your goal is to generate opt-ins…

If you’ve never used an exclusion audience, you can set these up in Power Editor under the “Audience” section when creating your ads:


Just always keep in mind that little optimizations go a long way and can be the difference between a break even campaign and a profitable one.

Try these out and don’t forget to always be looking for creative ways to use custom audiences. Facebook pioneered this technology and we as marketers should be constantly pushing the boundaries on what’s possible with them.

What are some of your favorite uses for custom audience targeting not listed here? Let me know below!

The 2D Funnel and How It’s Killing Your Revenue

If there’s one commonality I’ve noticed with online businesses that are failing or having a very difficult time gaining traction it’s with the way their funnel is setup.

Fact: most businesses don’t have a proper funnel or backend.

Fact: setting up a proper funnel will without a shadow of a doubt increase your revenue, immediately.

Fact: creating a proper funnel is within the budget and capabilities of anyone doing business online.

Depending on the type of business you’re running, you might think about the word ‘funnel’ in a few different ways. For this discussion we’ll use this definition:

Funnel: the process and sequence of events a prospect goes through while becoming a customer

Did you know that a well documented study found that the average consumer needs to interact with a brand at 7-13 times before becoming a customer?

Think about that for a second…

It’s really no wonder so many “marketers” go around saying things like “Facebook ads didn’t work for us” or “native ads don’t generate direct response conversions.”

It’s because they’re doing it ALL wrong.


What they don’t realize is that showing your ad to someone once isn’t going to cut it if you’re trying to sell a product or service.

You need multiple touches, in most cases more than 10, before someone will *really* consider doing business with you.

Enter the 2D Funnel.

Not only that, but you need to build your relationships slowly with prospects and deliver them value in some form along the way.

I call it the 2D funnel because it truly is 2 dimensional and lacking any depth. You would be surprised how many online businesses are setup this way…

A 2D funnel has four major flaws…

  1. No prospecting or pre-qualification stages: you’re either a customer or you aren’t.
  2. Only one “touch” which will repel 99% of website visitors.
  3. No backend or upsell path so it’s impossible to increase average order value or customer lifetime value.
  4. No way to provide value to the customer before you ask them for money.

Those four problems are seriously throttling your revenue.

Lets say you’re selling a workout program with paid traffic. Most marketers would send the traffic straight to their sales page, probably using a long form sales letter and add to cart buttons sprinkled throughout the page.


If the visitor doesn’t buy the product on the spot, they’re gone forever.

They were never *really* a prospect, and unless they’re in the 1% that will buy your product immediately the first time they see it, that’s it.

This is why I call this type of funnel (or lack thereof) 2 dimensional. There’s no opportunity to re-engage that prospect and you’re out a whole lotta revenue.

Customer or no customer. On or off. 2 dimensional.

Now lets rap about 3D funnels.

a 3D funnel is setup much more intelligently to first qualify prospects then give you ample opportunity to re-engage with and provide value to them. A 3D funnel converts a much larger chunk of visitors into customers while generating more revenue per customer. That second part is key.

Always keep in mind it requires a minimum of 7-13 “touches” in most cases before prospects will buy. Look at how much revenue this client would have lost if they only focused on the first handful of interactions:


We’re literally talking about millions of dollars here. This is the one part you really can’t afford to be lazy about.

Going back to the previous example, here’s exactly how I would setup the funnel for the workout program:

3d_funnel (1)

Two important notes about this type of a funnel:

  • Whatever you give away in exchange for an email address should pre-qualify the prospect as the type of customer you want. For example, if someone is opting-in for a report on fat loss it’s safe to assume they’re interested in learning how to lose fat.
  • The key is to provide value at each stage of the relationship – focus on the value you provide and the money will follow.

The more specific you are with the squeeze page offer the more tightly you can dial in your messaging. Fat loss is pretty vague so if this were a real client I would look for a more unique and specific angle. Lets say the program requires no weights and can be done from anywhere, a good squeeze page offer (lead magnet) might be:

5 fat blasting exercises that can be done from anywhere, with no gym and no equipment

If someone enters their email address to claim this report, you can assume:

  1. They’re interested in the core product you’re selling.
  2. They’re interested in the bodyweight aspect that can be done from anywhere.

Now that you have their email address you can re-engage with them through email while nurturing them with retargeting ads to get your 7-13 touches in before they eventually become a customer.

With a 3D funnel you’re in control. You set the pace and can advance prospects down the funnel however you see fit. You’re also going to be able to capture A LOT more high quality leads using a 3D funnel.

Always be thinking about your funnel and how you can improve it. With your funnel you should be:

  • Maximizing the value of each customer.
  • Creating as many “touches” as possible with different channels (email, social, retargeting, etc.).
  • Providing massive value at each stage of the relationship.

How “3 dimensional” is your funnel?


PPC Tip: The Difference Between Sorting and Filtering

Time for another PPC quick tip…

Use Sorting and Filtering Aggressively to Make PPC Reports Actionable

Sorting & filtering are two powerful tools for preventing data paralysis and turning mounds of data into actionable insights. Today’s PPC platforms give you access to so much data that if you aren’t using sorting and filtering it’s virtually impossible to get any value out of reporting.

Do you know the difference between sorting and filtering? They seem similar on the surface but they actually work very differently and are useful in different scenarios.

Here’s a quick rundown of both and how to use them in your PPC reporting…


Sorting takes a set of data and sorts it by a chosen metric or letter. The most important difference is that sorting does not remove entries from the data set. Sorting only puts the data into a new order.

For example, if you want to see which of your ads generated the most conversions you can sort by the ‘Conversions‘ column.

Or if you want to see which ad is eating up the most budget you can sort by the ‘Spend‘ column.

You can also sort by other useful metrics like:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • CTR (click-through rate)

Sorting is a powerful way to look at all the data in an ad group or campaign without feeling paralyzed by the amount of information. Using sorting you can quickly make optimizations to your ads account and find out what is or isn’t working based on your success criteria (clicks, conversions, CTR, etc.)

In the screenshot below the Facebook ads report is broken out by placement and sorted by Spend meaning it will show the placements that spent the most money first. This lets me quickly see if any placements are eating up too much budget for the conversions they’re driving.


facebook-cost-per-lead-reportScrolling further right in this report shows me that there’s a CPA difference of 31% between mobile and desktop devices. If $2.32 were above my CPA threshold I would then know to pause the mobile ads and reallocate the budget to desktop only.


Filtering on the other hand is useful in a different way.

While sorting will give you the option of choosing which metric you want to prioritize, filtering actually removes data that’s irrelevant to your analysis.

For example…

Lets say you’re working on an AdWords account that has 20 paid search campaign and they’re all a total mess. It has tons of keywords, match types, different ad variations, landing pages, the whole shebang. Most AdWords accounts are mangled and mashed like this so knowing how to filter your data the right way is crucial.

One filter I would run on an account with this type of setup is this:

Filter data by:

  • Cost > $100
  • Conversions > 5

This filter will remove any campaigns that haven’t spent at least $100 and generated at least 5 conversions.


This helps me prioritize which campaigns to focus on.

If a campaign hasn’t gained any traction at all and there’s not much data to look at it’s just going to get in the way. Since I filtered the data down to ONLY campaigns that have spent at least $100 and generated at least 5 conversions I know I have something to work with.


The sky is the limit with filtering though – get creative with it and remember the goal of a solid filter is to remove any data that’s irrelevant to making your campaign convert better or become more profitable.

You can filter by…

  • The type of ad
  • The name of the campaign or ad group
  • Ads that started or ended on a certain date
  • Where the ad ran (placements and websites)
  • Ads above or below a certain number of impressions
  • Ads above or below a certain CTR (click-through rate)
  • Ads above or below a certain number of clicks
  • Ads above or below a certain position
  • Ads that ran in specific geo-targets (city, state, country)
  • Ads that ran on a specific network (google search vs. google partners)

One last pro tip: don’t forget you can filter AND sort at the same time. Using both together is extremely useful for accounts with lots of spend and/or campaigns running.

Having trouble figuring out how to use these in your PPC accounts? Ask yourself what the most logical sorting and filtering combos would be for what you want to accomplish with the campaign. It’s pretty simple when you think about it that way.

Well…That’s all there is to sorting & filtering – hopefully you have a better understanding of each and know how to use them next time you’re doing analysis.


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