I hate to admit this but having awesome copy isn’t enough to guarantee success when you advertise on Facebook. That’s because there are two other vital factors you can’t afford to ignore before you hit the launch button.
The first of these is your offer. Do you have a product that people want to buy – at a price that makes it a no-brainer for prospects to say “yes”? If so, you’re off to a great start.
But even that’s not enough, if you get factor number 3 wrong…
The final piece of the Facebook Ads puzzle is of course your audience targeting. It’s essential to get your audience targeting right, because that’s how you get your amazing offer and messaging in front of people who are most likely to buy.
When it comes to audience targeting on Facebook, there are 3 broad categories:
- Saved audiences – these can be based on interests, behaviours, income levels, locations and other demographic characteristics.
- Custom audiences – this audience type involves targeting people who are already familiar with your business. They may be people who have interacted with your social media/email content or visited your website in the past.
- Lookalike audiences – the final type of audience uses your custom audience as a base, and searches for other people who share similar characteristics to people in that audience. For example, Facebook can uncover users who share traits with your email subscribers – or your most loyal customers.
Let’s take a look at each of these audience categories in turn – so you understand how and when to use them to boost your conversions.
Saved audiences are the most commonly-used audiences by Facebook advertisers. They’re great for running ads to audiences who’ve never heard of you before, which is why they’re so popular for cold traffic campaigns.
When you work with saved audiences you can filter Facebook users by their age, location, interests, income level etc. It’s up to you how narrow you want to make your audience. For example, you may choose to target UK mothers, aged 28-40. That would give you a broad audience to target. It would mean you have the potential to reach a much wider range of prospects but with that you risk targeting less qualified leads.
The good news is you can make your audience targeting as granular or as broad as you like. So, using the previous example, you might choose to narrow your focus to UK mothers, aged 28-40, who have a masters degree.
Another powerful way to create saved audiences is to target by interest.
By that I mean, Facebook will deliver your ads to users who show an interest in specific topics, niches, books, celebrities, films, hobbies etc.
One thing worth noting is that Facebook historically gathered a lot of its user data by tracking your online activity outside of the Facebook platform. In other words, Facebook used to have the ability to follow your movement around the internet and take note of any websites you visited.
It then took that data and used it to build detailed profiles – containing tens of thousands of data points – about each of its users. Creepy? Yes! But it was great news for advertisers who could take advantage of those insights to reach their best prospects.
Here’s the bad news…
Over the last few months, Facebook has lost access to much of the data it relied on to build accurate user profiles. This happened as a result of Apple’s recent iOS update. Long story short, Apple blocked Facebook’s access to user data gathered from its operating system – so Facebook advertisers have seen a huge dip in ad performance when using interest-based targeting.
But it’s not all bad news. There are still ways to target good leads despite this loss of data. Many of these workarounds rely on the second type of Facebook Ad audience.
Custom audiences are a great way to avoid the iOS data blackout. That’s because they let you target prospects based on data gathered inside the Facebook platform. This data can help you deliver targeted ads to prospects who…
- Liked your page
- Commented on your organic posts or previous Facebook ads
- Watched your videos
- Clicked a link/button in your ad
- Sent you a DM etc…
You can also run ads to email subscribers or anyone who has visited your website in the past. (Although this type of audience targeting has also become less effective since the iOS update). Custom audiences are great for re-targeting smaller, warmer audiences – and giving potential buyers an extra nudge to buy.
Of course these audiences are much more limited in size, and rely on you having access to historical data from your website…plus some organic interactions with followers on Facebook or Instagram. If your organic audience is small, or traffic to your website is low – this kind of targeting can be quite limited. Which is where the final audience type comes in.
Lookalike audiences let you take data gathered from your warmer, custom audiences (i.e. organic followers, email subscribers, website visitors) – and expand your reach to new leads who share similar characteristics.In other words Facebook’s algorithm searches for cold prospects who most closely match those who have already shown an interest in your products.
Don’t forget! Although lookalike audiences are based on your warm audiences, it’s important to remember that these prospects are cold. In other words – they don’t know who you are. So you should address lookalike audiences the same way you would address interest-based or demographics-based audiences.
As with Saved audiences and Custom audiences, I have a few words of warning. In the past Lookalike audiences were extremely powerful and had a higher chance of converting than interest-based or demographic targeting. Unfortunately, they’ve lost some of their power thanks to the iOS update (thanks Apple).
That said, some Facebook advertisers report that their Lookalike audiences are still performing – so what have you got to lose by trying?
When it comes to audience targeting there are hundreds (if not thousands) of ways to reach your ideal prospects. In fact, there are too many to explore in a single blog post. But once you understand the 3 broad categories – and when to use them – it won’t be long before you’re able to dive in and leverage more advanced Facebook Ad audience targeting.
When you combine the right targeting with attention-grabbing creatives and an irresistible offer – you’ll have power to turn your business into a money-printing machine.
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