How Do You Improve Your Audience Planning on Facebook? Our 3 Favorite Targeting Tips

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With more pressure being placed on marketers to deliver personalized advertisements, there’s never been a more important time to ensure you’re targeting in a fluid, focused and pertinent way on social platforms.

But how do you do that on platforms that offer a seemingly infinite number of targeting options? How do you get started? What data should you include and what can you just ignore? What techniques will best help achieve your objectives?

I’ve been running Facebook® campaigns for over four years now. Here are three of my favorite targeting tips:

Start with a solid customer database

Whether you’re planning for branding or direct response, in order to get the most out your Facebook audiences, it’s critical to start with a robust target list of customer or subscriber data that helps you understand them better. For example, a CSV file containing a list of the e-mails, phone numbers or Facebook IDs of existing customers are the types of lists that Facebook and Twitter accept (Custom Audiences for Facebook and Tailored Audiences for Twitter).

Remember, the more robust in quality of information on your existing base the easier it will be for Facebook to choose other people that are most similar to your base target parameters for your brand. Facebook matches email addresses of your customers to it’s own data with close to a 60% match rate, helping you more accurately find people who are most likely to engage with your brand.

Focus on smart ways to segment

Organize the data as much as possible when creating new audiences or breaking down your existing database.  Segmenting your customers into groups according to their interests, preferences, and behavior is a more precise way to send targeted communications that convert.

While the pace of change isn’t slowing and there will always be new targeting techniques, here are a few specific segmenting groups that we’re using right now:

  • Purchases:

Purchased-based targeting allows you to reach people with Facebook ads based on the things they buy away from Facebook. This can be extremely helpful when looking to tailor your message to a specific behavior or interest. For example, I recently worked with a large retailer to segment customers into group based on the types of clothes purchased such as dresses, shoes, pants in the past 6 months From here, the brand developed unique messages for each segment and distributed ads directly related to their respective interest categories. By targeting in this manner, we saw a 67% uplift in conversion rate (from click to purchase), as well as a 75% increase in ROI.

Tip: For these segments, consider offering a VIP deal specifically for their category to show consumers how much they mean to you.

  • High Spenders:
    These are your crème de la crème. These are the people who keep your business afloat and keep coming back for more. Why wouldn’t you want to find more of them? So whether the size of this audience is large or small, I strongly encourage that you break this segment out. Not only can you use this segment to create lookalike audiences that match, but they are also great for testing new offerings and price points. 

Tip: This group already loves you and you don’t need a hard sell. Keep this in mind when developing creative to ensure a softer messaging approach.

  • Lapsed Customers:

Identifying and segmenting lapsed customers is the first step to re-engaging those who have not been active for a period of time. For example, if you have an email list and can see that there are customers who haven’t opened an email in over 6 months, you can target this audience with a great offer or a new product release encouraging them to buy again. When working on your messaging, be conscious that there may be a reason this audience hasn’t purchased again – i.e. a faulty purchase, delayed shipment, poor customer service, and brainstorm various ways to message this audience to charm them back.

Tip: Exclude this audience if your KPI is to convert people during a finite period of time to increase efficiency. Test various calls to actions to see which one resonates the most with this audience.

Hypothesis, test, iterate, learn, repeat

Like all campaigns, there will need to be a test and learn period. I recommend bringing all parties involved in for a brainstorm before launching Custom Audiences and lookalikes. If you have a data management platform, an agency who handles your media spend, a creative agency and a PMD that runs your social media ads, get them involved first thing! This will ensure that not only is there a clear understanding of how the data should be segmented, but also how the segmentations will align with the KPIs, ad formats and messaging. Having a roadmap for this testing and learning phase is key to setting achievable goals.

In addition to breaking out a roadmap with your partners, I would encourage you to speak to Facebook and Twitter about how best to utilize custom audiences to solve a business issue. For example, are your email open rates low? There are research studies (depending on spend levels) showing how Facebook affects your email marketing using your custom audiences. So, if someone sees a FB ad first, are they more or less likely to open your emails?

These are just a few ways to segment custom audiences, but there are many other successful techniques that we use every day – what are some of your favorites? Are there any specific targeting techniques you’d like us to feature next?

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