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6 Ways Digital Marketers Can Use Custom Audiences with Facebook Ads

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by: Adam Steinberg (@adams472)
29 October 2012

Facebook recently announced that digital marketers can now use its “Custom Audiences” features to run advertising campaigns targeted specifically to certain customers and prospects. By uploading a spreadsheet of specific customer email addresses or phone numbers, marketers can run campaigns that will only be viewed by these specific individuals. (To ensure data security, Facebook hashes this information when matching against customer data and then discards your original upload list.)

Facebook's Custom Audiences transforms Facebook advertising and enables marketers to now target customers based on behavioral actions they take outside of Facebook. Here are six ways marketers can use Facebook's Custom Audiences to reach customers in dramatically more relevant ways.

1) Target customers and prospects on Facebook according to how they interact with your brand outside of Facebook. For example, B2B marketers can now run an ad campaign targeted to prospects that have recently downloaded a case study on the company website. This marketing campaign could encourage these prospects to continue engaging with the company by signing up for a product demonstration or engaging with a salesperson. Online retailers can now run Facebook ad campaigns that recommend products to customers that have recently made similar purchases. For example, a sporting goods retailer can run ads for golf shoes to customers that have recently purchased golf clubs on its website.

2) Increase the effectiveness of your customer nurture programs. Running an automated email nurture program to educate prospects on the value of your products? With Custom Audiences, you can now run ads on Facebook to complement your nurture emails. For example, if you send a prospect an email inviting them to download your latest case study, but the prospect doesn't open the email, you could then run a Facebook ad inviting your prospects to view customer testimonials on your Facebook page.

3) Target friends of customers. Previously, Facebook only enabled marketers to target friends of people that have liked your page. Now, you can run ad campaigns targeted to friends of your actual customers. Tying into the previous example, you can run a promotion on golf shoes to all of the friends of customers that have purchased golf clubs.

4) Increase your ROI from events. Sponsoring or exhibiting at a local event? Upload a list of your local customers, prospects or attendees to Facebook and run an ad campaign encouraging these customers to visit you. Want to use behavioral marketing to increase your ROI? Create a custom audience of only customers that have recently interacted with your brand at events, on your website or with your sales team.

5) Retarget. When your customers put items in their shopping carts but don't make a purchase — or view a sign-up form but don't submit it — use Custom Audiences to retarget these users within Facebook and encourage them to complete their transaction.

6) Drive in-store purchases with mobile ads. If you're a retailer, restaurant or other brand that operates physical locations, you can increase repeat customer visits by running Facebook ads for your in-store specials. Simply upload a list of email addresses or phone numbers for customers that have joined your loyalty program. Then, run a Facebook ad campaign targeted to mobile devices, which will reach customers only when they view Facebook on their mobile phone. You can get even more targeted by running the ad campaign only with customers that live in cities where you have locations.

Facebook Custom Audiences is a great opportunity for digital marketers to increase the ROI of their online marketing investments — whether it's email, social or mobile. What are some ways you'll be using Facebook's Custom Audiences?

Related Resources:
1) Tip Sheet: “8 Tips for Turning Facebook ‘Likes’ into Customers
2) Blog: “How to Set Up a Site Retargeting Campaign: 5 Simple Steps
3) Blog: “4 Ways a Customer Form Builder Can Help You Realize Your Facebook Marketing Goals

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