‘Custom Audience’ targeting now available to all Power Editor users, API partners

All Power Editor users and Ads API partners are now eligible to use Facebook’s “Custom Audience” feature to retarget consumers by email address, phone number or user IDs.

The option was previously only available to advertisers with managed accounts through a Facebook representative. Now we’ve seen it live in our own Power Editor account and heard from Facebook partners that it is available for them to implement. TechCrunch confirmed with Facebook that AdParlor, Alchemy Social, GraphEffect, Kenshoo, Nanigans, Social Moov and Optimal already offer custom audience targeting. This is in addition to Salesforce Buddy Media, which announced the capability at its Dreamforce conference on Thursday.

There is no minimum spend required to use custom audiences, but advertisers must have access to Power Editor or work with a third-party vendor. The option is not available from the main self-serve ad tool.

When we first discovered the new targeting opportunity, we could not view the terms of service. They are now available here. Advertisers must agree they have consent from the data subjects whose data they are using and agree to remove a person’s data from the custom audience if they later opt-out of having their data used for commercial or promotional purposes.

Marketers can upload CSV or TXT files to Facebook, which hashes the data so users’ identities and information are protected. Facebook then runs this list against its own hashed database to find matches that can be targeted with ads. When this is done, the data is discarded, neither side collects more information about users. Hashed data cannot be decrypted.

Just as with other Facebook ads, the estimated reach can not be fewer than 20 users, so a company will not be able to serve ads to an individual user by email address, phone number or user ID. Some users have added backup email addresses to Facebook or listed a number of addresses on their profile over the years. Facebook will try to find a match among any of these.

After the advertiser’s and Facebook’s hashed data is compared, ads will be targeted to matches that fit the advertiser’s overall targeting criteria. Advertisers will be able to see what percentage of their audience they reached, but if they want to run additional campaigns, they’ll have to upload and hash their data again since it is discarded each time for security. Advertisers cannot use data they gain from custom audience campaigns for any purpose outside of Facebook.

Related Story:
Email, phone number and user ID targeting: how Facebook is helping businesses reach the right audiences