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
Some 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!