Why Facebook’s Ad System is Really the World’s Biggest Email System in Disguise

Smart Facebook ads are no different than smart email marketing. The same principles of list building, segmentation, sequenced content delivery, and optimization all apply.

Smart Facebook ads are no different than smart email marketing.

The same principles of list building, segmentation, sequenced content delivery, and optimization all apply.


Did you know that you can now deliver a sequence of messages to users, where after they consume message 1, you then queue up message 2, and so forth?


This is not the same as carousel ads (formerly known as multi-product ads), where you can have up to 10 panes in the carousel.
Ad sequencing is just saying “marketing automation” and “autoresponder” without using email-tainted words. And being able to micro-target users by what they last clicked on, whether you have their email or not, is truly marketing automation.

  • Email custom audiences allow you to match your emails to Facebook.  Expect a 50% match rate there.  But whatever segmentation you have in email, you can replicate into Facebook, too, including delaying delivery by X days if the user did or did not do something.
  • Marketing automation systems are integrating with Facebook. Marketo and Mailchimp automatically allow you to connect these audiences. But it’s up to you to set up the flow chart logic. There is no visual drag-and-drop interface.
  • You can test and report the same way: Split testing (creative A versus creative B) and audience holdbacks (test audience vs control audience) help you measure lift. But you don’t get user-level conversion data from Facebook nor can you do a piggyback pixel for privacy reasons.
  • Ad sequencing is available in the API: Available only via the API for now, but expect that this will evolve into you being able to define funnels.
  • Email marketing is a subset of remarketing. After all, aren’t you just messaging a user based on them having given you (or Facebook) permission to reply back to as a result of an action you’ve taken? Who cares if the trigger is an email entry, keyword searched, web pixel firing, phone number collected, or otherwise. It’s all remarketing — an action in one place driving message delivery somewhere else.

Sundeep Kapur, who’s an expert at email marketing and referred to as the ’email yogi’, compares sequential email marketing to Facebook :

9cdf402cecd8f161e72a476d8fcaade51334346587_lIn the world of email, a welcome message sent in near real time can drive a 70 percent open rate, but if you connect messages by sending a message stream – you can carry more impact. So the first messages says welcome with a 70 percent open rate, the second one offers more insight on what the brand does with a 50 percent to 55 percent open rate, and the final one in the series can drive a 30 percent or higher open rate. This is the power of sequential marketing via email.

Three things can drive up the performance (interest, engagement, & consequent conversion) of the sequential email message. Timing, personalization, & your peer network.

A similarly sequenced message on Facebook can be delivered at the right time, richly personalized based on all the data that you have about that consumer, and it can come well endorsed by the consumers’ peer network (recommended by friends). This is much more powerful than the sequential marketing email message. More personalized, more impact, and endorsed by friends!

Then again, Facebook is not like email marketing:

  • Facebook lets you amplify what’s already working in email via lookalike audiences. The paid component lets you scale faster than purely organic by finding similar audiences to target. Google does the same with suggested keywords and placements. With email, you can’t message people not on your list unless you “rent,” sponsor, or outright spam.
  • You don’t truly own your audiences — you rent them. Of course, once you collect their email or they install your app, then it’s an owned audience. You can’t do appends like you can with email or physical addresses — user-level data goes just one way with Facebook.
  • Facebook userids don’t burn out like emails. Users typically have one Facebook user profile, but many emails. Unless you’re banned, odds are you keep that same Facebook account, to which you’ve associated a lot of information.
  • You can retarget into Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. You knew this was coming, but that Facebook would be careful with the rollout.tX8WCgRG8xmmabqNxW2EPIgRwg3plvBXU53OIjGnduw

Are you curious which ad products to use in what part of the funnel?

QSHlrTovJfgqEjo-Hz0AzhkxFExQOnPGLswwf_TyI_gAre you sequencing your Facebook ads like you would an email campaign?

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