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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

facebook-custom-audience-newsfeed-launch-ad

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.

facebook-ads-interest-based-custom-audience-segmentation

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:

facebook-custom-audience-exclusion-list

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!

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

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.

sorting-vs-filtering-facebook-ads

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

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.

filtering-data-in-adwords

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.

filtering-conversion-data-in-adwords

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.

What is a Facebook Dark Post? (And How to Create Your First One)


Wondering what ‘dark posts‘ are on Facebook? A dark post is also known as an unpublished page post. Think about ‘dark posts’ as posts on your fanpage that are only viewable to people you’re targeting in ads. The only way to see a dark post or unpublished page post is to get targeted by an ad with a dark post attached to it.

To simplify that explanation: A dark post looks the exact same as a normal fanpage post or newsfeed ad, it’s simply unpublished from public view. Think about fanpage updates like photos, statuses, offers, events, etc., dark posts are just private versions of these same post types.

What’s the Point of Dark Posts?

There are several…

The most common use is for split testing newsfeed ads. Lets say you want to test 5 different styles of newsfeed creative but don’t want to clog up your fanpage timeline with all the different variations. Publishing each variation as a dark post lets you create & test all 5 variations without alienating or annoying your existing fanbase and adding a bunch of the same content to your fanpage.

The other use for dark posts is if you only want certain people to see the newsfeed ad. For example if you have a special offer for fans that live in California you can create a dark post and target people who are connected to your page that live in California. That way only people that meet the targeting criteria will see the ad and fans from other states will have no idea you’re running the promotion.

How do I Create a Dark Post?

Dark posts can be created in Facebook’s Power Editor.

Step 1: When creating an ad in Power Editor, click the “+” symbol next to your fanpage name:

dark-posts-facebook-power-editor

Step 2: Choose which type of dark post you want to create.

You can create a few types of dark posts on your fanpage:

  • Page Post Link
  • Page Post Photo
  • Page Post Video
  • Page Post Status
  • Page Post Offer

types-of-dark-posts-facebook-power-editor

[highlight background=”#333″ color=”#fff”]Remember:[/highlight] these will look the exact same as normal page posts, they just won’t be visible to normal fanpage visitors.

Step 3: Fill in the required fields amd click “Create Post

Step 4: Push your campaigns using the green “Upload Changes” button.

upload-changes-facebook-power-editor

Andddd that’s all there is to creating dark posts on Facebook 🙂

6 Out of the Box Ways to Mine Precise Interests for Facebook Ad Targeting


Sometimes finding the right ad targets on Facebook can be tricky. Half the time the fanpage you want to target isn’t available as a precise interest or the audience is so small the campaign will never scale.

I’ve tested all kinds of precise interests on Facebook…seriously just about anything you can imagine. I used to spend hours and hours researching and brainstorming new precise interests to target. I was probably spending more time looking for solid ad targets than I was managing or setting up the ad campaigns…

From all of my trial & error with Facebook ads I’ve found a few ways to mine precise interests for ad targeting that I come back to time and time again. These are the quickest ways I’ve found to find new ad targets for Facebook that will both convert well and scale at the same time.

Lateral Competitors

Before you do any type of ad campaigns you need to have a good pulse on your competition. There are two types of competitors: literal and lateral. Lateral competitors are businesses that compete in the same space or industry, but sell a different product or service. What that means is that you share a demographic with the competitor, but you’re not competing with them directly for the same business.

Lets say for example you’re trying to sell an analytics tool like KISSMetrics. A few lateral competitors you can try targeting might be UserTesting.com, WhatRunsWhere, Qualaroo, and Hubspot. Same demographic, different offering.

Lateral competitors are one of my favorite types of ad targets to use because you know the demographic lines up so they’re usually a homerun.  I recommend creating a spreadsheet to track both literal and lateral competitors – they’ll come in handy not only on Facebook but other ad platforms like Adwords as well for things like Funbox targeting.

Literal Competitors

Literal competitors are directly competing with you for the same business. Going back to the KISSMetrics example, some literal competitors would be Google Analytics, MixPanel, GetClicky, and WebTrends. This is where it gets a little cut throat…

Here’s what you do…

Target your literal competitors and give their fans a reason to join forces with you. What advantage do you have over the competitor? Are you more affordable? More feature rich? Easier to use? Do you have better customer service? Make sure in your creative you highlight these advantages and you’ll be blown away by the results.

There’s virtually no such thing as brand loyalty on the Internet – if you can offer a better solution, you win.

Google related: search

When I start running out of ideas I turn to Google related searches. Start with running a related search for your website then branch out to the lateral and literal competitors you put together.

Going back to the KISSMetrics example again running a search for “related:http://kissmetrics.com” (without quotes) gives me some great ideas for different websites/businesses I can target.

Try this for all of your literal/lateral competitors and any other websites your demographic might frequent like forums, blogs, and social networks.

how-to-find-facebook-precise-interests-google-related-search

Facebook Graph Search

Facebook graph search is such an amazing tool, especially for finding Facebook ad targets. I like to compare it to the Google Keyword Tool in terms of how useful it is for research. If you haven’t had a chance to experiment with Graph Search yet check out my Facebook Graph Search Cheat Sheet here and get your hands dirty. The utility of Graph Search is practically endless but you’ll find it extremely useful for finding fresh ad targets.

Amazon Search

Remember that precise interest targeting isn’t limited to just fanpages and businesses, you can target virtually anything people add as an interest to their profile. For that reason, I love using Amazon to find books that my target demographic might read. This usually works extremely well because if someone has both:

a.) read a book about a topic and
b.) liked it enough to add it to their profile

they’re probably a good candidate for whatever you’re trying to sell.

Head over to Amazon.com and search for the niche/industry/vertical you’re creating ads for. Lets say I’m trying to advertise a sales CRM like SalesForce on Facebook. I would go to Amazon, search ‘sales’ and filter my campaign by ‘Books’ then sort by ‘most reviewed.’ Why most reviewed? Well, there’s usually a direct correlation between the popularity of a book on Amazon (number of reviews)
and how many people are in the audience on Facebook when entered as a precise interest.

how-to-find-facebook-precise-interests-amazon

Add all of the top books to your precise interest list and search for more related topics/keywords.

Google Top 10 Lists

To round off this post I’m going to give you another one of my favorite Google tricks for mining ad targets: top lists.

Head over to google and search “[keyword] top 10 list” or “top 10 [keyword]” replacing [keyword] with a topic related to your niche.

how-to-find-facebook-precise-interests-google-top-lists

If you’re creative you can squeeze a ton of precise interests out of this one method alone. Try searching all kinds of combinations like:

  • Top 10 [keyword] blogs
  • Top 10 [keyword] books
  • Top 10 [keyword] tools

Those are 6 of my favorite ways to mine precise interests for Facebook ad campaigns. What are yours?

Facebook Ads Wishlist: 6 Facebook Ads Features I Can’t Live Without Any Longer


Facebook ads is by far one of my favorite ad platforms for generating brand awareness and direct response conversions. The ad targeting options are completely unprecedented. You can target people based on demographics (age, location, gender), psychographics (likes, interests, desires) and now with partner targeting based on behavior and habits.

No other ad platform has this much raw power in its targeting capabilities. You can filter down to your most ideal customer by comboing together all of these targeting options.

With that said, Facebook ads still leaves a lot to be desired. Despite their recent efforts to improve and optimize the ad platform there’s still some “no brainer” missing features…

Frequency Capping

How often you show your ads to your audience is known as campaign frequency. For some products, you might need 30 views per person to make a sale, where others might only need 3. This is something that you should test but currently you have no control over the maximum number of times your ad is displayed to each unique user per day. Frequency capping gives you control over how often people are exposed to your ads. In some cases you might need to be extremely aggressive, where in other cases more than one or two impressions per user per day might upset your audience.

Dayparting

Optimizing ad campaigns usually comes down to making small, strategic tweaks that make your ads more relevant or timely. Dayparting is a standard feature on many other ad platforms, like Google AdWords, but is still missing as a Facebook advertising tool. There are software solutions available that will let you setup a dayparting schedule but Facebook should offer this natively instead of making me use a 3rd party tool.

If you aren’t familiar, dayparting is the process of setting a schedule to tell the ad platform when your ads should show up. For example, lets say you run a brick-and-mortar store that operates and services customers from 9-5 Monday – Friday. You wouldn’t want your ads to show up on the weekends or after hours, right? In this scenario a dayparting schedule that turns your ads off on Saturday, Sunday and between 6PM – 9AM would be the most optimal schedule.

Dayparting isn’t just for physical stores though, here are a few other scenarios where it can, and should, be used:

  • If you sell more products during a certain part of the week (i.e. right before the weekend).
  • If you tend to sell more products during a certain time of the month. If you’re B2C keep in mind people typically get paid on the 1st and/or 15th.
  • If you have better lead quality at a certain time of the week.

Precise Interest ANDing

why-or-doesnt-work-for-precise-interestsI’ve wrote about it more than once. If you ever talk to me about Facebook Ads you’ve probably heard me complain about precise interest ANDing. If Facebook made one tiny tweak to the way precise interest targeting works Facebook Ads would instantly become a much more powerful and profitable traffic source.

When you create an ad, if you use more than one precise interest Facebook targets anyone that likes interest A or interest B. Digital marketing (and PPC more specifically) is most effective at an extremely granular level.

Lets say you want to target people who are likely entrepreneurs and copywriters. If you enter entrepreneurship and copywriting as precise interests Facebook will target anybody who likes entrepreneurship or copywriting, making your audience larger instead of smaller.

Making the audience larger is almost never going to give you better results.

Facebook – PLEASE, I am begging you, give us the option to AND interests together so I can spend exponentially more money with you.

Ad Rotation Options

Facebook still hasn’t developed a reliable algorithm for rotating ads in an ad set.

Right now, if you put a group of 3-4 ads you want to test into an ad set you’ll notice that one will get impression priority WAY too quickly. Basically, your other ads will never see the light of day.

In my opinion Facebook should have several rotation options similar to AdWords that let you rotate ad variations based on:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Conversions
  • Rotate evenly
  • Rotate indefinitely

In the mean time, a good workaround for this is putting each ad in its own ad set with its own budget. It’s a little bit more work to setup but you can be sure that your ads are getting even amounts impressions.

Precise Interest & Category Breakout Reporting

The new reporting manager in Facebook Ads is significantly improved over the old reporting but still leaves a lot to be desired. (sorry Facebook)

Currently, you can breakout campaigns in the reporting manager by:

  • Campaign
  • Ad set
  • Ad
  • Ad Objective
  • Country
  • Gender
  • Placement
  • Destination

But you know what you can’t do? You can’t see which precise interest or category target the conversion is responsible for. This is another reason (aside from the lack of precise interest ANDing) I only use one precise interest per ad. There’s no other way to know which one worked.

T0 sum up my complaining: unless you’re using one precise interest per ad, you have no way of knowing which is generating conversions.

For now, only use one category or precise interest target per ad.

Precise Interest Freshness

This one would be a serious game changer for advertisers. The problem with precise interest targeting is that as time goes on, people “like” more and more pages, often times without really “liking” the product or business. The average number of likes per profile is increasing every day since people don’t actively unlike pages.

If someone “liked” the Los Angeles Lakers page 3 years ago, do they still like them? Have they changed their allegiance to a different team that’s performing better? Did they only like them because they had a phenomenal season or a star player they follow?

If Facebook added a ‘freshness’ feature that lets you choose how recently the person liked a page, we can be more confident in answering some of these questions.

If I can choose to target people who liked the Los Angeles Lakers within the last week or month I can make some assumptions about whether they like the team right now.

Another example…

Lets say you want to promote your health book about the Paleo diet by targeting Paleo related pages. If you can target people that have liked “Paleo” within the last month you can assume they’re just getting started and encourage them to hit the ground running.

____________________________________

What Facebook Ads feature(s) are you waiting for?

5 New Ways to Use Facebook Custom Audiences You Never Thought Of

5-new-ways-to-use-custom-audiences

Custom audiences are one of the many Facebook marketing tools I use to do thoughtful analysis that makes a real impact. With a custom audience you can target your entire list or specific segments of your list on Facebook but the practical application of custom audiences goes far beyond that.

marketo-custom-audiences

To create a custom audience, prepare your list (or segment) as a single column .csv and download Facebook’s Power Editor plugin. There are several options for custom audiences: email addresses, phone numbers, user IDs, and app user IDs.

custom-audiences-howtocustom-audiences-howto

Keep in mind that you can upload different list segments to use with any of these methods – the level of granularity is up to you. Uploading your entire list can work for ad targeting but think about trying segments like:

  • Customers who have purchased
  • Frequent and reoccurring customers
  • Hot leads and report opt-ins
  • Webinar attendees
  • Conference/speaking engagement attendees
  • Customers who came from specific traffic sources (SEM, Facebook ads, display ads, YouTube, etc.)
  • Unsubscribe list (gray hat)
  • SMS text messaging list
  • Get creative – the possibilities really are endless

Alright, Tom. I’ve got my custom audiences uploaded to Facebook and I’m ready to do this thing, now what?

Here are 5 out of the box ways to use Facebook custom audiences:

1. Analysis against social interests

With custom audiences you can determine the affinity between your product or service and another interest or brand. Some useful applications for this type of analysis:

  • What other products or services do your customers like?
  • What interests do they commonly have?
  • What are some of the things they don’t like?
  • What related hobbies do they have?

How to do it: create an ad targeting only your custom audience, then apply the corresponding precise interest filter in Power Editor. For example: if you want to know how many of your fans also “like” a competitor setup an ad targeting your custom audience then type in the competitor as a precise interest. The audience size you end up with is the overlap between your audience and theirs. (think about it like the middle of a venn diagram)

social-affinity-analysis-custom-audiences

2. Determine how social your list is

After uploading your custom audience to Facebook you can find out exactly what percentage of your customer base is on the social network. This can be extremely useful for determining how social customers are and in some cases help determine if marketing your brand on social media channels will be effective.

3. Demographic breakdown of segments

Did you know you can also do demographic breakouts of a custom audience the same way you pull ad counts for precise interests? How much of the list is men? Women? What states and regions are they from? How old are they? This type of information can free up 80-90% of wasted ad spend and help create a better ad targeting strategy.

demographic-breakdown-custom-audiences

Lets say you upload your hot prospect list which only contains leads that have opted-in for a free white paper and clicked one of your ads within the last 30 days (these types of segments are possible with marketing automation software like Infusionsoft). You might find that 85% of the list is women, 50% live in California, and 100% of the list is between ages 20 and 35. Knowing this you can target exclusively women that live in California between the ages of 20 and 35. This isn’t only useful for Facebook either, you can use this type of demographic insight on other channels as well.

Some eye opening uses for this type of analysis:

  • Determining gender skew
  • Finding which age brackets account for your core customer base
  • Finding the most common geographic locations of customers
  • Using partner targeting you can determine average income level of your customers

4. Lookalike audiences

Another feature many marketers ignore on Facebook is the use of lookalike audiences. How it works: upload your list as a custom audience and Facebook will automatically match the demographic and psychographic qualities of your list with similar users.

lookalike-audiences-similarity-and-reach

This helps get your brand in front of new prospects that are similar to your existing audience. There are 2 options for lookalike audiences: reach and similarity. Reach will give you a larger list of people to target but similarity will match the interest and demographic profile of your list as closely as possible. Both are worth testing!

5. Lead nurturing

rhs-facebook-ads-lead-nurturing-socialHow well rounded is your lead nurturing program? Sales funnels, especially for high ticket items are generally not going to be two steps. You need to provide value up front, then provide more value and thought leadership, then nurture your leads by staying on their radar until they trust you enough to do business with you. I don’t care what business you’re in, nurturing your leads is going to make your marketing more effective.

Then, when the time is right figure out how you can help them and do it. If you’re only sending a plain “thanks for signing up” email you need to rethink your strategy. Use marketing automation to regularly rotate in fresh prospects once the existing leads are lower in the funnel from your nurturing efforts.

Did this post give you some ideas? You don’t have to use these tools “as is” – think of creative uses to maximize your output, make your targeting more effective or more granular, and most importantly drive measurable ROI. If you think of any other uses for custom audiences I didn’t mention let me know in the comments!

Don’t Make This Facebook Sponsored Story Mistake Unless You Want to Waste 50% of Your Ad Budget


Most people that are new to paid acquisition and optimization in general are always under the impression there’s a trove of secrets to building effective campaigns. The truth is that long-term scalable PPC campaigns are built through iterative optimization, lots of testing, and fine tuning.

Facebook sponsored stories are one of my favorite types of ad units to run on social. If you’re not familiar with how they work, sponsored stories allow you to leverage word-of-mouth marketing by promoting any of your posts that fans have interacted with to friend of those fans. For example, if I “like” a post from a blog like Search Engine Land and they’re running a sponsored story to that post, all of my friends are eligible to see that I interacted with that post.

facebook-sponsored-story-fail-victorias-secret

Why are sponsored stories and word-of-mouth on Facebook so powerful? Most people are friends with people who do similar work – at least half of my friends on Facebook are marketers, entrepreneurs, paid acquisition specialists, PPC account managers, or some type of Internet business person. When they see that I interacted with Search Engine Land I’m basically endorsing that content and making a powerful recommendation.

Targeting everyone that’s a friend of a fan can be dangerous and costly, though. It’s easy to lose your shirt fast and squander the effectiveness of sponsored stories if you aren’t careful with who you’re targeting.

Here’s an example that popped up in my mobile feed last week. This is a sponsored story from Victoria’s Secret that a friend of mine on Facebook interacted with. The big mistake here is that Victoria’s Secret didn’t limit the sponsored story exposure to women only – they’re also targeting men, effectively wasting half of their sponsored story budget.

You can make the argument that maybe men will “claim” this offer for their girlfriend or significant other but I’d to gamble that less than 10% of their sales from this campaign are generated from men. In that scenario you’d be spending 50% of your budget for 10% of your sales – ouch.

The lesson here: always be thinking about who you’re targeting and what makes the most sense for the greatest sales impact. One simple tweak to this campaign would have without a doubt increased ROI significantly and maybe even turned the campaign from a loser into a winner.

 

Facebook’s Public Rollout of Custom Audiences and What It Really Means


Over the last several weeks Facebook rolled out custom audiences to all users with a Facebook advertising account. The new set of changes also allows advertisers to create custom audiences outside of Power Editor in the Facebook ads manager making using them even easier.

The pilot program Facebook launched to test custom audiences was clearly a smash hit and custom audiences proved to be an extremely effective tactic for advertisers. The capabilities have quickly grown from allowing solely email address to the addition of other customer identifiers like phone numbers, PID’s, and mobile app user ID’s. With the breadth of custom audiences options now available you can get extremely creative with the way you use them and their application.

If you’re familiar with Power Editor then you’ve probably noticed the “Audiences” tab or are already using custom audiences in your ad campaigns.

Facebook’s intentions with the new custom audience feature is pretty obvious: make it easier for less sophisticated businesses & business owners to leverage custom audiences in their Facebook marketing. This is the same reason the “boost post” button exists.

This update is another stride Facebook is taking towards making complex advertising options more viable for small businesses.

If you look at some of the more notable changes to Facebook this year from a marketing perspective you can clearly see this is what Facebook is trying to achieve: 

  • Introducing the “boost post” option on fanpages (more exposure at the push of a button)
  • Simplifying ad units and available placements on Facebook (less complicated and easier to launch a campaign quickly)
  • Objective based ad buying (instead of using the tools available to craft your own strategy, let Facebook do it for you)
  • Making custom audiences available to everyone in the ads manager (Don’t know what Power Editor is? No problem! Facebook’s got your back)

new-facebook-audiences-ad-managerThe new “Audiences” tab can be found in the left hand column of the ads manager.

Facebook will keep moving towards making ads management so brain-dead simple that any small business with the ability to setup a fanpage will be able to run ads. With 875 million daily active users Facebook has a lot of ad inventory to sell and by making advertising easier, they’ll do just that.

To drive this point home Facebook took this a step further by allowing you to import custom audience directly from MailChimp with the click of a button. Now you don’t even need to know how to create a single column csv file to upload a custom audience – you can simply click a button and import your list.

mailchimp-facebook-custom-audiences

I can’t blame Facebook for adopting this strategy and I’m sure this will work in their favor for now, but eventually there will be a quality problem. If anyone can throw up an ad without clear campaign objectives and some digital marketing experience, there’s going to be a flood of ineffective low quality marketing that will likely be perceived as spam.

I’m going to make a prediction that within the next 8-12 months Facebook will adopt some type of quality score similar to Google. The first step is making it easy for anyone to advertise, the second step is keeping user experience intact and adopting some type of quality measurement to reward marketers that take the time to do things correctly.

What do you think about these changes?

Facebook: Please Give Us Precise Interest ANDing


The addition of one simple boolean operator to the ads platform is all that it would take for Facebook to instantly make advertising even more effective and open a new dimension of micro targeting possibilities. Currently, you have the ability to use AND/OR when targeting different category targets but not so for precise interests.
category-targeting

With all of the changes Facebook rolled out over the last year, the rapidly increasing number of hours spent on Facebook, and the continued growth of the social network it’s getting more difficult for marketers to get in front of exactly the right people.

The fact of the matter is that people “like” things they don’t actually like more and more every day. A fanpage might give away an iPad or a free account or a coupon in exchange for you “liking” their page. It’s quickly becoming common practice for Facebook users to like away in exchange for just about anything – increasing the number of interest in their profile and diluting targeting efficiency. This is a problem with ad targeting because your interest targets might be things that people liked or put on their profile for reasons other than actually liking it.

us-targeting-facebook

As of today there are 180,000,000 targetable users in the U.S. alone on Facebook and an average of 4.5 billion (with a b) likes per day. The precision and efficiency of existing ad targeting options is slowly declining.

There is hope though – with one small tweak to the way precise interest targeting works Facebook can fix this problem while simultaneously increasing ad relevancy to the end user and ad efficiency to the advertiser. It’s really a win-win-win. What is this magic tweak you speak of, Tom? Simple. Give advertisers the option to AND together interests instead of only allowing OR.

To put this into laymen’s terms, right now when you enter 2 different interests in the precise interest targeting field Facebook will allow you to target anyone who likes either interest: so for example cats OR dogs.

precise-interests-facebook-ads

This serves little value from a micro-targeting perspective (and we all know that’s the key to ROI from any type of marketing) because each additional interest you enter increases the audience size and number of people the ad will potentially be shown to. In most cases, that’s the exact opposite of what you want to do – especially if you’re trying to nail down your customer personas.

why-or-doesnt-work-for-precise-interests

Lets say I wanted to find people that really like animals – if precise interests ANDing was an option in the ad manager I could do something like this:

precise-interest-anding-example

(this is a mockup and not actually available as of this post being written)
 

In this scenario I know that the 42,000 people in the audience are much more likely to be animal lovers than interested in just dogs or cats or horses.

See the difference? 

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Stats source: http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-17-amazing-facebook-stats/
 
 

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