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


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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?

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