Facebook’s Newest Custom Audience Offerings

Just a few months into 2017, social media has been headlining major digital ad changes as we recapped in February. Facebook has recently kicked it up a notch — expanding their targeting capabilities with new Custom Audiences that focus strictly on engagement. Before we dive into the new engagement offerings, let’s quickly answer what many readers might be thinking: what exactly are Custom Audiences?

Simply put, Custom Audiences are additional targeting options for Facebook and Instagram advertising on top of the basic options — such as interest-based or demographic targeting. Custom Audiences allow an advertiser to personalize their strategy and messaging to users who have already experienced a touch point with the brand. Developed from data that the advertiser has provided, or from information generated within Facebook, Custom Audiences can include:

  • Customer Files: importing an organization’s email database directly to Facebook Ads Manager to create an audience of existing customers, users who have subscribed to your newsletter, etc.
  • Website Traffic: remarketing to users who have visited your website, specific webpages, etc. This is also critical for creating an audience of users who have already converted, such as visiting a unique thank you page, to ensure exclusions are in place.
  • App Activity: creating an audience of users who have taken specific actions within your brand’s mobile app.
  • Engagement on Facebook: this is the newest segment, which is further detailed below. Here you can create an audience of users who have interacted with your brand’s Facebook Page or content.

Facebook Custom Audiences Types

Engagement on Facebook

Using information generated by Facebook, advertisers can now create segmented audiences to target users who have performed the following actions:

  • Spent time watching your videos on Facebook: Different quantities can be set, such as users who have watched 50% or 100% of your brand’s video content. Bonus – you can also select which video content to include within this audience.
  • Opened or completed your Lead Generation ad form on Facebook: Lead Generation is a specific ad product on Facebook that allows you to capture user data, such as a user signing up for your brand’s online newsletter.
  • Opened your Canvas post on Facebook: Similar to Lead Generation above, Facebook Canvas is a specific product, though it’s available through both paid and organic.
  • Interacted with your Page on Facebook: Since brands may have limited video content or may have never used Lead Generation or Canvas products, this will likely be the most popular engagement audience to create. Within this segment, you can create an audience of users who have:
    • Visited your brand’s Facebook Page
    • Engaged with a post or ad from your brand
    • Clicked your brand’s call-to-action button
    • Sent your brand a Facebook message
    • Saved any of your brand’s content

    Unlike other Custom Audiences on Facebook, which are limited to 180-day duration when capturing users, engagement audiences capture users over a full 365-day maximum. For brands with a smaller social following, having a full year of maximum duration is helpful in extending reach.

    Source: AdParlor

    Before we wrap up, here are a few pro tips when setting up your Custom Audiences:

    • Within the Asset Library in Facebook Ads Manager, create all variations of Custom Audiences you see fit to have handy for future campaigns and testing (i.e. website visitors, newsletter subscribers, email database, Facebook engagements, etc.).
    • If a specific audience that you built out seems to be a bit limited in reach, add a Lookalike Audience segment from the same Asset Library interface. Facebook will take a specific Custom Audience of your choosing and find people who are similar in profile. This will help extend your reach.
    • A/B test your new Custom Audiences against other interest or demographic-based ad sets you may be running to see what is driving your primary KPI more effectively. Facebook’s Show Audience Overlap tool is super helpful in discovering which Custom Audiences you can merge into one Ad Set versus which ones should be segmented into Ad Sets.

    As Facebook and Instagram continue to develop their offerings with new ad products and targeting capabilities, be sure to stay informed by following along on our social channels and registering for our newsletter!

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