Pay to play
With organic reach for social marketing on the decline, creating a solid paid social strategy with targeted Facebook ads is the way forward.
However, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the new data protection regulations, implementing creative audience targeting strategies can be tricky.
There’s no denying that Facebook is a hot spot for B2C and B2B advertising; which means that in order to create strong, targeted ads, advertisers must adapt in order to survive.
In this brief guide, we’ll look at:
- Changes to Facebook’s targeting options
- Effective targeting strategies
- Implementing strong remarketing strategies
- No more third-party data
- Core Audiences
- Custom Audiences
- Lookalike Audiences
- Key Takeaways
- Let’s talk about your social media targeting techniques…
In March 2018, Facebook announced its intention to phase out the powerful ‘Partner Categories’ tool
from its ad targeting options.
Now, 7 months down the line, all third-party targeting capabilities – both private and public – have been removed.
While some marketers may have found it difficult to implement new audience-targeting strategies, we’ve embraced the opportunity to get creative with alternative targeting options.
Alternative targeting routes
Whether you’re looking to increase sales or boost brand recognition, one less targeting capability means that we advertisers must identify other effective ways for our paid Facebook ads to reach our desired markets, including:
- Core audiences
- Custom audiences
- Lookalike audiences
- Remarketing strategies
Now let’s look more closely into these methods…
Perhaps the simplest way to get your ads in front of potential prospects is through Facebook’s Core Audiences tool. This
allows you to target people based on dozens of options nested within these categories:
- Demographics: education, job title, age, gender etc.
- Interests: hobbies, entertainment preferences etc.
- Behaviours: device usage, purchasing behaviour etc.
- Location: countries, counties, postcodes etc.
Know your audience
Before you set your targeting parameters, do some research with Facebook’s Audience Insights tool. This is a great way to learn how your target audience behaves and
how you can define them, in order to successfully scale your campaign for well-targeted ads.
Similarly, Google Analytics can help you gain a better idea of what your audience s interested in and the circumstances under which they convert. Not only that, but by
tracking your Facebook ads with Google Analytics, you’re able to accurately track conversion paths, which will give you valuable insight for future campaigns.
Broad and/or specific
There was a time when Core Audiences limited you to X subcategory OR Y subcategory OR Z subcategory. But these days, you have the ability to narrow down your
audience with more precise “and” statements. Facebook boasts one of the largest collections of first-party data, so your targeting options are plentiful.
Ok, now let’s step it up a bit. Building custom audiences is a brilliant way to further boost the precision of your ad targeting.
The more specific you get with your parameters, the more effective your reach will be.
The best thing about custom audiences is that they’re made up of people who already have a relationship with your business, and you’ll be utilising data that you’ve
already captured – meaning your highly-tailored ads are more likely to succeed.
Depending on your goals, there are an infinite number of ways to define an audience on Facebook. But to make Custom Audiences really work for you, you have to be creative.
Here are some examples of custom audience targeting strategies:
- Audience exclusion: From a targeting perspective, exclusion can be just as important as inclusion, there’s no point putting spend behind users who are unlikely to convert. How you use the exclusion feature depends on your ultimate aim. For example, if you’re running an email lead generation campaign, your current list of subscribers can be uploaded and excluded from your audience so that you’re not wasting your money advertising to existing subscribers.
- Convert trials to sales: If your client offers free trials of their product/service, you can use custom audiences to create a campaign designed to turn trials into sales. Create an audience of the users who downloaded/signed up for free trials and advertise incentives directly to these users – ads that offer incentives have the power to nurture (and ultimately convert) your prospects. Target people who know what your product can do with the magic words “special offer” and hey presto – sales.
So whether you’re trying to generate leads, drive traffic to a site, increase online sales, or promote a brand – custom audiences help you to fine-tune your ads so that the right people see them.
With all this talk about sourcing new audiences, it’s important to remember those users who have already shown some
level of interest in a company’s product or service.
Using the custom audience feature to create remarketing ads is a super-effective way to increase both web traffic and sales. According to Facebook ad experts at
Connectio, remarketing ads are 76% more likely to get clicks than regular display ads.
The Facebook Pixel or Facebook SDK can provide you with all the data you need to create dynamic remarketing ads. A clever ad that targets ‘warm customers’ towards the bottom of your funnel can bring them back round to a conversion. In the image adjacent, you can see how remarketing might work for an eCommerce company.
Top tips for remarketing
- Segment your audiences: don’t use the same remarketing ad for all users who have visited your site in the past, remember that there are different categories of consumer intent. Segment your audiences and tailor your ads to match expectations.
- Increase your bids accordingly: your audience’s buying potential should influence your spend. If you’re targeting a site’s repeat visitors, this is a high-ROI audience that are more likely to purchase, so your bids should be more aggressive.
- A/B test different elements of your ad: create variant CTAs, offers, designs etc. to see which ads perform the best in terms of lick through rates (CTRs) and conversions.
Lookalike audiences are a game changer when it comes to ad targeting. They let you reach an entirely new pool of people
who share very similar characteristics with your pre-defined customer base – meaning they share a similar likelihood of
Using this highly effective method eliminates the guess work because Facebook works off of your existing parameters. By segmenting your audiences and narrowing them down with demographic qualifiers, you can be as relevant as possible.
Using Lookalike Audiences effectively – top tips:
- Use your best customers as your source audience: This might sound obvious, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant. A lookalike audience that closely resembles your existing selection of valued customers gives you more chance of hitting a home run with your ads. How you choose your source audience is up to you; you could base it on web traffic, video views, page likes, email subscribers, etc. As long as your source audience consists of valuable, high quality customers, you’re more likely to end up with a bountiful pool of new prospects.
- Don’t rush to increase your budget: A common mistake made by marketers is putting all ther budget behind a campaign based on a lookalike audience, before knowing for sure how well it will perform. Start small, then build your spend accordingly if and when you start seeing results.
- Don’t rush to increase your audience size: Your approach to audience size will be determined by various factors, including your budget. For specific targeting, a more conservative approach to audience size may be more beneficial in terms of relevance. Whereas a higher percentage tier will offer greater reach, but to a more generic audience. That’s why it’s important to be really clear about the best approach to achieve your goal.
Remember, by creating a new ad set aftereach change, it’s easier to track how thechanges affect the ad’s results.
Hopefully this guide has helped to inspire some creative audience targeting ideas. To summarise, here are some key
points to consider when you embark upon your next Facebook Ads campaign:
- Use Facebook’s Audience Insights tool to research your target audience, let these insights influence your targeting strategies for optimal reach and engagement.
- Don’t be afraid to be creative with your strategies, use the resources available to fine-tune your target audience and your ads.
- Assume nothing, test everything. From audiences, to CTAs, to design – track and test the effectiveness of your variant ads to gain valuable insight.
- Always consider your audience’s intent. Refer back to your marketing funnel to help you tailor ads in the most relevant and effective way.
- New ideas are what the digital marketing industry is built on – so be sure to branch out and test your new ideas on a range of audiences.
When executed correctly, a solid, well-thought-out social strategy can get your targeted ads in front of the right people in order to boost leads, lower CPA, and increase ROI.
At Coast Digital, we believe in providing strategic and measurable social media marketing services.
Check out one of our case studies and discover what success looks like to us.
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If you’re looking for advice or support with your social media campaigns, we can help.
Our advanced targeting tactics on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more, can help you reach your target audience in more places than ever.
To speak to someone about your social media marketing campaigns, get in touch today!