FaceBook Website Custom Audience, and Why You Should Care About it…

For years we have been talking about wishing we knew who was visiting our website.  We knew how many were there through google analytics, but we didn’t know who they were.  We have always had a “sign up for our newsletter” opt in, but those haven’t proven effective for years.  Now with Facebook website custom audiences we know who a lot of those people are.

With website custom audiences we don’t get emails, which may not sound ideal because we don’t “own” the customers. And while there are certainly ways to obtain email addresses through the use of website custom audiences I also want you to consider the following Facebook stats…

  • Facebook has 1.65 billion monthly active users
  • 72% of all adults online visit Facebook at least once a month
  • The average time spent on Facebook per user per day is 21 minutes

So we know where they are and with a custom audience we know who they are.  Now all we have to do is show them something in context to remain engaged with them.

So what exactly is a Website Custom Audience?

In the simplest terms it’s a list of people that have visited your website.  While not everyone that visits your website will be matched, a large portion of them will.  Over a six month period with our brick and mortar businesses anything from a third to a half of all users matched to a Facebook profile.

You can’t see the names or profiles of the people that get matched, but you do get list size and once it is big enough you can start to get some data from that list and how your visitors compare to the average person.  You can get to this area by going to the tools tab in ads manager and select Audience Insights from the drop down list.  If your audience isn’t that big you will get a message for certain categories of data that says the audience is too small to show relevant data.

Here is where this gets really fun…

You can get as narrow as you want with this.  You can create a list of people that have been to any page on our website, a list of pages, or a single page.  (If you get really creative you can use the single page option combined with how recently they have visited to create a campaign that walks a visitor through a funnel!)  This means we can show our potential customers something that we know is relevant and in context because they have told us what part of our business they are interested based on their actions on our website.  So now we are only spending money on showing content to people we already know are interested!

I don’t think anyone is debating anymore whether you should or shouldn’t have a website for your business.  And if we can all agree that we should have a strong online presence in todays world then we can all agree that we should be doing what we can to get more traffic to our site.  Now we can continue to nurture those potential customers after they have left our site, even if they didn’t end up purchasing or sharing any of their information with us.  And we can do it in context in a social setting.  By using social media we can insert ourselves in the conversation with our customers in a way we know resonates with them based on their actions.conversation

Restaurants are great examples of how we can use this.

I often go to a restaruants website to get menu information or a phone number.  But I have not intentionally shared my information with them, so they have no way to reach back out to me.  By placing a Facebook pixel on their site a restaurant can see what I look at and have the ability to reach me through my newsfeed.  In this example we are talking about something that is inherently social, where to eat. So offering me a special offer at the right time can make all the difference.  I know that I am likely to be catching up on my Facebook friends on a Friday afternoon or evening so what better time to put your Friday special in front of me?  And you know I have already been to your website so I know who you are.  Boom! Trackable, targeted, timely, relevant and in context!  Does advertising get much better than that?  But wait, we can get super ninja and go even further…

You could track what coupons a person has downloaded and weight their offers to resemble the coupons they have already shown interest in.  If someone downloads a coupon for peperoni pizza why not show her another one for peperoni pizza?  If you go this route you may want to think about having the coupon emailed to them.  That way we can not only send them to a thank you page for that particular offer and add them to the custom audience that way, but we also get their email address. We understand this is starting to get a bit complex, and while we always recommend starting simple, we wanted to be sure to illustrate the possibilities with this technology.

This technology of showing ads and offers to people based on their purchase history isn’t a new concept.  Lots of big stores, like Target, have been doing it for a long time.  But it required lots of technology and a team dedicated to just that.  With Facebook custom audiences we can all access the power of behavioral advertising.  And you don’t need to hire a team to do it for you, just take some time to learn how to set it up and put a little elbow grease into tracking the results.  You also don’t need to spend a ton of money on the ads themselves.  We are talking about spending $10-$30 a day when you start to get your process down and see what works with your customers.  The best part is, you can track exactly what you are getting for your investment, and if you do something that doesn’t work you can either tweak it or turn it off.

Somkeys to a good ade of you are probably saying “Bill, you can do all of this with google remarketing, right?”  While the two are similar, they are far from the same.  Both show ads to people who have visited a certain website, but Facebook ads in the newsfeed are designed to be engaging and in context where google display ads are designed more for branding and awareness.  We use remarketing through google and love it.  It works really well to make sure our name stays out there and in front of our potential customers that have visited our website.  But the ads are more on the interruption side of things, they don’t tend to be as contextual with what the user is currently doing.  And they don’t put us right in the conversation with the user.

The reach of Facebook is undeniable and when you couple it with the targeting ability you get the benefits of a huge potential audience with incredibly narrow targeting that has completely trackable ROI.  It doesn’t get much better than that in our opinion.  Even if you don’t implement using a Facebook Custom Audience now, we would recommend that you at least install the pixel on your website so you can start using it at sometime in the future.  If you add the pixel you can create all the different audiences you want later, but you can’t go back to before the pixel was in place.  The sooner you get the pixel on your page the better, even if you don’t start using it right away.  And besides, it’s free to install!

In our opinion this sort of marketing technology is becoming a necessity for small business owners, much like just having a website.  We recommend that you embrace this option for retargeting your customers.

Good Luck and keep us posted on your results!

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