Jon Loomer on the Basics of Facebook’s Custom Audiences, Lookalike Audiences

Facebook marketing expert Jon Loomer shared tips for advertisers looking to enter the world of custom audiences and lookalike audiences in a post on the Facebook for Business page.

JonLoomer650Facebook marketing expert Jon Loomer shared tips for advertisers looking to enter the world of custom audiences and lookalike audiences in a post on the Facebook for Business page.

Loomer wrote:

Reach people who already know you: Too many businesses, when they’re just getting started on Facebook, start trying to find audiences based on interest. That’s not a bad thing to do, but it completely neglects the most important group of all: the people who already know your business and your services.

That’s why a feature like custom audiences is so important, because it lets you use your existing databases, like email lists, to find your existing customers on Facebook. These are the people who have already bought from you, so they would be the people who most likely want to hear from you. Custom audiences is also the foundation for lookalike audiences, which lets you find more people like your existing fans and customers.

Get the most out of your data: It’s really important to make separate lists from your data before you create your custom audiences. An example of this would be having one list for your newsletter subscribers and another list of people who have actually bought your product. This will allow you to send different messages to each audience.

And be as specific as possible when naming your lists, as well as noting when it’s being uploaded. This will come handy in later when you’re targeting ads to these audiences. If you don’t yet have an email list, make sure you’re making an effort to build one that’s well segmented from the outset. This is going to impact your efforts not only on Facebook, but your email marketing later. Using a third-party service to gather email addresses will allow you to legally and easily build segmented lists right from the start.

Deliver relevant messages to an interested audience: One of the ways I use custom audiences is to build out my audience on Facebook. To do this, I first create a custom audience from my list of email subscribers. I then build a Facebook ad that says, “You’re on my email list, so why don’t you keep in touch with me on Facebook?” I then target that ad to my email subscribers who are on Facebook. This resonates really well, and always gets me great results.

A company that sells a product could do something similar. For example, if it had a list of everyone who bought Widget 1.0, it could build a custom audience out of that list. Then, when Widget 2.0 comes out, it could deliver ads crafted specifically for people who bought the first product.

Reach your website visitors on Facebook: Using website custom audiences to reach people on Facebook who you know have taken an action on your website is really powerful. If you’re just getting started, and you sell directly from your website, you should have a website custom audience for each sales confirmation page on your website. This way you can do two things: Target people who have visited your website to sell them something, and exclude anyone who’s already bought the product.

Find new customers by expanding your reach: Once you’ve created custom audiences from your email list, website visitors and your page fans — and then targeted ads to those audiences — you’ll want to start expanding your reach and finding new fans and customers. This is where lookalike audiences can help.

Using lookalike audiences, you can find people on Facebook who are similar to the people you’ve been finding via your custom audiences. These are new audiences who aren’t familiar with your product, but who will be receptive to what you’re saying or offering. It’s basically Facebook automating the process of you having to sit down and figure out the commonalities of the people who like your page: What are their interests, how old they are, etc. Facebook’s basically done the hard part for you.

Readers: Anything to add? David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.