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Facebook Custom Audiences Has a Chance To Revolutionize Digital Advertising

October 25, 2012

Recently Facebook rolled out a new target marketing program called Custom Audiences which as it is now, has great potential for advertisers but with just a little tweeking could sky rocket advertising ROI.  When I first read about this on the Facebook site it immediately reminded me of the now defunct Polk Dealer Marketing Manager.

What are Facebook Custom Audiences

Custom audiences allows marketers to find their offline audiences among Facebook users. Using email addresses, phone numbers or Facebook user IDs to make the match, dealerships can now find the exact people they want to talk to, in custom audiences that are defined by what you already know.

This means that in addition to targeting the types of people you want to reach among the Facebook population, you can now also reach segments of specific people based on information you have about your own, offline audiences.

What can marketers do with Custom Audiences?

You can create a custom audience representing any group of customers or prospect list that you’d like to reach with targeted Facebook Ads. For example, you could run a campaign to get more likes for your Page, targeted at your current customers who have not yet liked your Page. Then when you publish to them, you’ll know you are reaching people who are already engaged with your brand.

You can also use custom audiences for objectives off Facebook. If you have a loyalty program or frequent customer list, you might want to reach those people with a special offer or sale.

How Facebook could make Custom Audiences a more powerful tool

Here’s the challenge – How much do you really know about the clients in your database.  Regardless of your answer I can tell you 100% certainty you know less about them than Facebook does.  For example can you separate your client data by fan type.  No! But, what if you knew exactly who the people in your database were that were golf, football, basketball, or baseball fans.  Facebook knows who they are.

What if you knew exactly which women in your CMS subscribed to Oprahs Facebook fan page.  Facebook knows them by name.  Automotive dealers could offer a free $10 subscription to O Magazine to existing female customers, who currently own a vehicle 5 years old or older, to come in and test the new version of their existing vehicle?

What if a real-estate broker knew which of her clients had recently liked the fan page of a new residential development.  Could should she run a Facebook ad just to that group reminding them competing listings in her portfolio.

No brainers – right?

The right message to the right person

This was the power of Polks Dealer Marketing Manager back in the early 2000’s, and is the real potential power in Facebooks Custom Audiences.  Offer Mrs. Jones a free subscription to O Magazine because you already know she subscribes to Oprah’s fan page.  Dealer Marketing Manager was way ahead of its time and dealers nor their ad agencies really knew back then how to take full advantage of it so Polk killed it.

Facebook should offer ‘super segmenting’ and ‘micro-targeting’ with Custom Audiences

  1. Allow advertisers to upload a hashed email addresses and phone numbers (what they do now)
  2. Tell advertisers what they, Facebook, know about these users.  For example what fan pages they belong to, do they follow particular sports teams, etc
  3. Provide an interface that the dealer or their agency can sort and manipulate this information

I call this super-segmenting.  Now that the list is super segmented ads can be published on Facebook and be micro-targeted dramatically increasing the chances of a favorable response to message.


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