Better the Devil You Know: The Two Best (and Cheapest) Facebook Audiences

Opinion: If I had just $100, I’d put it all on Facebook custom audiences

Last year, my company spent more than $3.5 million on Facebook ads, for a range of different companies and campaigns. We’ve targeted audiences by demographic, interests, household income and education level. We ran video ads, image carousels, hyper-targeted geographic locations and more.

After experimenting with a variety of sophisticated ad formats and targeting tools, I can tell you that if I had just $100, I’d put it all on Facebook custom audiences.

For new businesses with restricted budgets, it’s better to start by going after the people that you already know are interested, rather than trying to get in front of strangers and seducing them. CMO reported that retargeting can boost ad responses by up to 400 percent, and marketers are 15 percent more likely to acquire new customers using these ad tactics.

Facebook Ads Manager makes getting instant results from retargeting these audiences fast and simple. With just a few lines of basic code, you can install a pixel in less than one minute and begin to capture users that visit your site, or even similar sites, as well as using your own customer-relationship-management data.

Here are some smart ways of harnessing these audiences to maximize your lead conversions and generate real return on investment:

Retarget your CRM and create ‘the Amazon effect’

Facebook’s custom audiences allows businesses to tap into their own data and find leads and potential sales through targeted, tailored ads.

Start with your own CRM. This is a database of treasures that includes your email subscribers, phone numbers or even your LinkedIn business followers whose interests you’ve already captured. This provides you with an advertising sweet spot, and you probably won’t find more receptive leads anywhere else.

The second audience you’ll find by installing a Facebook tracking pixel onto your website. Just a few lines of code produce “the Amazon effect,” enabling you to identify browsing shoppers and find them later on Facebook.

We’ve all been there, checking out the latest iPhone model only to be reminded shortly afterward with lingering images tempting you in your News Feed. By specifying URLs or a string contained within that URL, such as “property” or “renting,” you can easily separate users by intent.

You can build a custom audience with those two groups, along with the people who like your Facebook page. After this, use DriftRock to sync that audience as it continues to grow. Or alternatively, break it down to build more niche targets.

Create segments based on when and where you found these people by specifying the URL—for instance, your testimonials page or a client referral—and tailor your messaging to suit their proven interests and catch their attention again.

Capture lookalike audiences from other places

If you’re starting off with a relatively small pool to retarget, you can bolster this group through exploring Facebook’s lookalike audiences. The lookalike tool lets advertisers target people who, unsurprisingly, look like your audience.

After creating your custom audience, Facebook then looks to find people who resemble those people, exhibiting similar interests and behaviors. Users simply select their desired audience size and Facebook does the leg work.

Facebook is pretty guarded about how it defines and collects your new audience. Most people know that the content a user likes and interacts with builds a unique audience profile with defined tastes. However, Facebook also uses browsing behaviors outside of the Facebook domain, looking at the other sites a person has visited to build a better idea of their interests.

Using these capabilities, companies can scale their advertising campaigns but still target relevant users rather than blindly spending ad dollars.

So now that you have your new, larger-than-life audience, what next?

Seal the deal with relevant ad messaging

No need to wine and dine these guys: Retargeting your custom audiences and lookalikes gives you the luxury of being able to cut to the chase. You can be more aggressive with your messaging, as you know exactly what these people are looking for.

You may want to target prospective clients that enjoy watching videos, or perhaps customers who never open your emails, or even target recent customers with a referral program. This form of ad targeting means that you can use data to craft your message, use dynamic ads to target tailored messages in real-time and get creative.

We had great results when we targeted the ad, “We’re not stalking you, we just want to talk,” linked to calendar program ScheduleOnce for a one-on-one sales demo, to our “sweet spot.” I’d never advise running something so direct on a broad audience, but targeting known leads, and even acknowledging this, it worked wonders.

You could also combine known audience details and targeting tricks to help tailor your ads further. If you know your customer is looking for homes in South Carolina under a certain price, include this in the ad. Use time of day and all those other great enhancers, and finely tune your campaign as you go.

For new businesses starting out on Facebook, the range of tools can be daunting. Start with a small bucket of funds, target this wisely with these two audiences and, as you begin to see the returns, reinvest a portion back into exploring new tactics and tools.

You’ll be more likely to succeed targeting the devil you know, rather than approaching the devil you don’t, blindly spending your ad dollars in hope of stumbling on new prospects.

Chris Smith is co-founder of Facebook ad system Curaytor and author of USA Today best-seller The Conversion Code.

Image courtesy of Aquir/iStock.