Principles Of Facebook Retargeting

“Retargeting” is the buzzword in social media right now, but what does it really mean? Is it hard to retarget people on Facebook? No, it’s (relatively) easy and effective – I’ll explain.

Article Difficulty Level – Beginner

Retargeting, simply defined, is the concept of displaying ads to people that have already seen or engaged with your ads before. For advanced users, it is the art of displaying specific ads to specific people who have viewed or engaged with your ads in a specific manner.

Ads on Facebook can be targeted in numerous ways, such as Interest Targeting (which was gutted this week), Lookalike Audiences, or Geographic Microtargeting. Each of these methods has their own unique usefulness and effectiveness, but each of them also have their flaws. The main flaw in each of these is that no matter how precise you set your targeting, you’ll always reach people that you aren’t intending to reach. This lowers your Click Through Rate (CTR) and raises your Cost Per Mille/Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM). This is why so much time and resources are devoted towards making these tactics as efficient as possible by the big multi-million dollar corporations and marketing agencies.

Retargeting solves this inaccuracy. By only targeting people who have already indicated an interest in your content, you can potentially raise your ad efficiency by a significant margin. But efficiency isn’t the only benefit of Retargeting.

Retargeting lets you run highly relevant ads to highly relevant audiences. Since you can actually run specific ads to people that have engaged with specific pieces of content in specific ways, you can write your copy very specifically. Sounds specific, doesn’t it? With most ads, you have to write your copy to appeal to everyone in your target audience – using very general language. With retargeted ads, you can speak directly to people, mentioning the specific actions they’ve taken in order to see that ad, or referencing specific things you know they’ve seen or done that put them in your targeting. You have to be careful not to be too specific, though, because Facebook will sometimes frown on that. Given the recent scrutiny, they don’t always like advertising to people just how specifically they are being targeted.

Retargeting also lets you capture valuable people and follow them around. If you know for an absolute, irrefutable fact that someone is in your target audience and is a likely customer, then you want to be in front of them every single day. With retargeting, you can capture people and put them in a totally separate targeting bucket with a separate budget and separate set of ad copy to ensure that your brand is in front of them consistently.

FOR EXAMPLE: Imagine you have a booth at a convention in Alabama. You’re selling, let’s say, vending equipment to elementary school principals. You’re at a convention center where 3,000 of those principals will be at over the next week. You’ve used my Geographic Microtargeting (GMT) tactics to set up a Saved Audience targeting everyone that is physically at that event. You snap a quick video of you standing in front of your booth: “Hey, y’all! I’m so excited to be at the Arthur Outlaw Convention Center here in Mobile* with you guys. If you’re in the main convention room for the sessions today, just take a right when you leave out the main door. I’m at booth #334, about halfway down on your left. I’m giving away FREE vending machines to help with your school fundraising, so come on by and ask me about that. Hope to talk to you soon!”

*This actually happened to me. I did this. It’s a real-world example. 

Video gives you the most retargeting options on Facebook. You can actually send specific ads to people that have not only watched specific videos of yours, but you can filter it by how much of that video they have watched. It’s quite incredible. With Geographic Microtargeting, you’ve narrowed your audience. With Lookalike Audiences, you can expand that audience. But with Retargeting, now you can attack that audience. If Interest Targeting is a shotgun, Lookalike Audiences are a biological weapon, Geographic Microtargeting is a nuke, and Retargeting… is a sniper rifle. Does that make sense? Since you’ve used GMT to narrow down your audience to only people physically inside the building, you are able to use the very specific text and language in the example above that forces them to stop, watch, read, and listen.  Once they’ve watched 3 seconds of your video, you’ve got them. Now, you can retarget them.

The convention is over. What happens? They keep seeing your ads! As soon as you close up shop and get back home, you hop on your desktop and set up your Retargeting. You create a Custom Audience targeting people that have watched 3 seconds of your video but less than 50% (I’ll write a post explaining how to do this in the future), and start running an ad to them: “Did we miss each other at the principal’s convention? I was the booth with the vending machines. In case you thought I was selling anything – I’m not! Our machines are totally free, and we do all the work every month.”

Because they engaged with your content in a specific way, you are able to run more specific content to them. Imagine how much more likely a principal that attended that conference is to stop and read your new ad versus a generic one targeting all principals in Alabama. Your click-through rate will skyrocket! This is great for lead generation, but it also has massive implications for e-commerce and other industries. I can see the wheels turning in your head right now… you’re excited at the potential, aren’t you?

The potential is limitless. Facebook allows you to retarget people using a wide variety of criteria. You can use video views, which are my favorite for building an audience in conjunction with GMT strategies. Or, you can upload an e-mail subscriber list. Or you can use a Pixel – a plug-in that Facebook has for your website that’ll track people on your site and let you retarget them. And that’s where it gets REALLY cool….

You can actually retarget people on Facebook based on specific actions that they take on your website. If someone adds an item to their cart but doesn’t check out, you can send them an ad reminding them to go check out. You can send people ads for specific products based on products they’ve already looked at on your website. And, since I know you are wondering… yes, THAT’S how Amazon does that. If you’ve ever gotten product ads for a site you’ve visited, and the products actually seem relevant to your browsing history – they are using Pixel retargeting.

Pixel retargeting is extremely complicated. You could literally take a college course on the topic and still not know everything. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything about it. There are e-commerce specialists out there that could run circles around me. Cat Howell has some fantastic courses and resources on this topic, as does Jon Loomer. I may develop my own some day, if I have the time and money. If you’re interested in learning more about this, or are struggling with implementing it, I’d recommend joining Facebook Ad Hacks or becoming a Patreon of this site.

I don’t have the space here to walk you through every part of Facebook retargeting. I wish I did. I wanted to talk about the basic principles behind it though, and stress how effective it can be. I’ll continue to write more on the topic in future days, so make sure you subscribe to this blog and follow me on Facebook if you don’t already. At the beginning of all of my posts on here, I like to state the difficulty level, so that people can spend time with the content most helpful to where they are at in life. Since this is a beginner-level article, I’ve tried to sheer away from getting too detailed. If you have specific questions though, feel free to ask – either in the comments section of wherever you saw this post shared (if I’m there), or in the comments on this blog article.

I sincerely hope this article has helped you. I’d appreciate any feedback you have, as always. Thanks for getting nerdy with me!

Always remember: Analyze, Test, Optimize, Implement. The strategy for success, on Facebook, and in the rest of life. 

 

You Can’t Rush Digital Success

Yesterday, I wrote an article for the digital marketing company I work for (Addison Technologies). It’s about a topic near to my heart that I don’t feel like is talked about enough.

We’ve all seen the videos of some social media “guru” standing in front of a fancy house and fancy car promising us the world if we just follow his super-special formula that only he knows, which you can learn about for a moderate fee. And if you’re a business owner, odds are, you’ve had some young-gun “social media expert” come along and give you a hard sell on their “viral marketing” services, or some such nonsense.

This is a rampant problem. The barrier of entry into social media marketing is virtually nonexistent, and this has led to a sharp rise in the number of fake-it-til-you-make-it “experts” and “agencies” – all willing to promise you the world at bargain prices as long as you sign their contract. I’m in online groups for digital marketing experts that are filled with these types. I’ll see dozens of posts a day from them – “I just landed my first client in [niche] – anybody got any good ideas?!” These people have bought the lie that digital marketing is quick and easy – and now they are selling it to you.

Success online takes time and hard work – just like success at anything else. The REAL experts know this, and they don’t try to sell you flash-in-the-pan strategies that burn out as soon as the ink on your contract dries. Addison Tech has been doing this for 18 years, and I’ve been doing it for 10. We know what it really takes.

In my article for Addison Tech, I talk in depth about the strategies these people use to trick you into giving them money, and how to avoid doing business with them. I’m not pitching anything myself, here – the odds of you being in Addison Tech’s target market are slim. I just want to share some tips that will hopefully help you avoid the traps set by these snake oil salesmen.

Read my full article here.

How Does The Facebook Algorithm Work?

What drives the content on your Facebook news feed? What types of content perform better? What can you do to improve your reach on Facebook? An expert explains.

Article Difficulty Level: Beginner.

When I’m consulting with or training a business on how to effectively use Facebook ads, one of the biggest issues I run into is that the person running the company’s social media presence usually has either a very low-level understanding of how the Facebook algorithm works, or they believe some popular misconceptions about it. In order to help educate the public and dispel some of these myths, I thought I’d take a stab at explaining what the Facebook algorithm is, how it works, and what that means for you.

You must understand how the Facebook algorithm works if you manage the social media presence for any business, including your own. Otherwise, your entire strategy is nothing more than a shot in the dark. If you’ve ever wondered why some people are able to post content that goes viral while your stuff remains motionless, that’s because those other people understand the Facebook algorithm and they are tailoring their content and strategy to take advantage of it. But first, what is the Facebook algorithm?

The content you see on Facebook is determined by an algorithm called Edgerank. Think of Edgerank as an artificially intelligent being. When Facebook first created it, it was a child – simple in thought and action. The posts on your news feed mostly appeared in chronological order. As time went on, engagement began to affect the content that you saw. Posts that got higher engagement reached more people. This change is what created the concept of viral content, and is what shapes almost everything we do online today.

As time went on, Edgerank grew up. It became more complex, capable of using a much wider range of factors to determine what content floated to the top. It developed a personality of sorts. Just like a teenager, the more unique it became, the easier it has become to predict it’s behavior. Right now, Edgerank is in the process of becoming an adult. It left home and was exposed to the world through the recent political scrutiny it has received. It’s been criticized by it’s elders that don’t understand how it thinks, and it is desperately trying to be “cool” in a world that wants to control its every move.

How does Edgerank work? Well, nobody really knows. But we know enough. When you’ve been using Facebook as a marketing tool as long as I have, you tend to see behind the curtain just by poking and prodding after a while. Just like you can observe a person’s behavior and come to conclusions about their personality and their thought processes, so can we guess at how Edgerank influences our world.

Facebook has explained Edgerank in general terms. Experts with far more experience and resources than I have done in-depth studies and reverse engineered enough so that we have a fairly good understanding of how the algorithm works and what it does. In simplest terms, it attempts to increase the reach of valuable content and decrease the reach of bad content. It defines “valuable” content as content that Facebook thinks people want to see more of, as determined by their past behavior. Facebook studies its users behavior in order to see what they like and don’t like, and Edgerank is adjusted to give preference to the type of content that users tend to prefer. So, if you want to succeed on Facebook, you need to understand what this content is and how to duplicate it.

Edgerank has changed recently. At any given point in time, this statement will be true – because it is always changing. However, it changed much more than normal this year (2018), so if you’ve studied it before, you need to go back and study it again. Reading this article is a good place to start.

Edgerank now has three main factors that it uses to determine what content you see. Each of these factors affects a single score that is assigned to every post that you might see, and that score is completely relative to you as an individual. Nobody else’s news feed will ever look exactly like yours, even if they have only the exact same friends as you and like only the pages that you like. The three factors that Edgerank uses to determine your unique score for every potential post in your news feed are:

  1. Affinity Score (Engagement/Relation)
  2. Edge Weight (Content Type)
  3. Time Decay. (Age)

Affinity Score measures two separate things. First, it measures how close the person generating the content (the “Edge”) is to you. This is why you see more posts from people that you are closest to, and less posts from the people on your friends list that you haven’t talked to in forever. We don’t know all of the ways that Facebook calculates this, but one of the biggest factors is how frequently you engage with that person.

Affinity Score also measures the engagement on that content (the “Edge”). As we all know, posts with more engagement reach more people. It weights each engagement separately too – comments are worth more than likes, shares are worth more than comments, etc. In addition, it also (supposedly) factors in the amount of time since that engagement occurred. If you’ve ever logged onto Facebook and most of the posts on your news feed are about stuff that happened three days ago, that is due to an error in this part of the algorithm.

Edge Weight is affected by the type of content that you are posting. I’ve used “Edge” to refer to pieces of content, but that content can be anything on your news feed – not just a post, but a “Trey Edwards liked this post” type of post that you will see often on Facebook. Each of those posts are considered “Edges.” Edge Weight is a measure of the weight of any given Edge type. So, for instance, when Facebook is rolling out a new feature, they will give it a boost in Edge Weight. Live video, for instance, gets a boost in reach inherently just because it is a type of content that Facebook wants to push. Right now, posts in Groups have the biggest Edge Weight bonus. This is why it is always smart to be one of the first people to use new features that Facebook rolls out.

Edge Weight is also altered on a per-user basis. In other words, your Edge Weight for a certain type of content (say, videos) may be different than someone else’s. If you tend to watch a lot of videos, then videos will receive a higher Edgerank score for you than other types of content.

Time Decay is pretty straightforward. It’s just a measure of how long it’s been since that Edge was created. The older a post is, the lower it’s Edgerank score will be.

All of these factors create a single score for every potential post in your news feed. Your news feed is then simply a list of all of those posts, sorted by highest Edgerank score to lowest. However, nobody actually knows what these scores are, or exactly what weight is given to each factor. Facebook keeps this a closely guarded secret. This is the algorithm that makes Facebook work the way it does, and it is what drives the site’s success. The better this algorithm becomes at predicting what content people want to see, the more time people will spend on the site.

Use this knowledge to your advantage. Study the experts. Go to pages that you know get a large amount of reach and engagement. See what kind of content they are posting and what they are saying and how they are saying it. All of these things are carefully tailored by social media experts in order to intentionally boost Edgerank scores and get content in front of as many people as possible. The only cost associated with this is the time you take to learn it.

There’s no silver bullet. I can’t tell you exactly what to do to succeed, because Edgerank is always changing. What is true today may not be true tomorrow. Today, live video and Groups are the best way to build reach and engagement. Tomorrow it may be something else. Stay on top of the trends and follow the experts. My blog is just getting started, but I’ve been doing Facebook for a long time, so you might start by following mine. I’d also suggest following Social Media Examiner, Mari Smith, Cat Howell, Ad Zombies, and Jon Loomer. All of these pages are no-nonsense, no-gimmick genuine experts. I’d also recommend joining the Facebook Ad Hacks group – a free-to-join group of about 70,000 Facebook marketers as of the date this article was published. It is run by Cat Howell, who I mentioned above. It can be a bit intense at times, but it is a great environment to learn in.

A word of caution – don’t get stuck in the weeds with the gimmicky marketers that run ads of themselves talking into a camera about how many thousands of dollars they make a day while driving fancy cars and living in a huge house… those are scams. Trust me. They rented that car and that house for the day so they could film that video. If they really made that much money with some secret formula no one had ever heard of before, the last thing they’d be doing is giving it out. Those are nothing more than modern-day snake oil salesmen. There is no secret sauce to making Facebook work for you. It takes a lot of study, hard work, and trial and error – just like everything else in life. Just don’t be afraid to try new things and take risks – sometimes you’ll be surprised at your results.

Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Hit me up in the comments section. 

Achieving Hyper-Relevance Through Geographic Microtargeting Of Facebook Ads

Can I target people on Facebook in one specific building? Can I show Facebook ads to people at a particular event? Yes! An expert explains:

Article Difficulty Level: Advanced

Ever wanted to run Facebook ads to people in one building, at a convention, or other event? Have you been told that’s impossible by so-called Facebook “experts” or “consultants?” It’s not. I do it all the time for my own businesses and my clients. It is easy and effective once you get the hang of it. Combine it with killer content and you’ll be on your way to success in no time.

Please note: The following article assumes an intermediate-level understanding of the Facebook Ads Manager. I will not be taking the time to explain beginner-level aspects step by step. However, even beginners will benefit from the strategies and tactics discussed below. 

Geographically microtargeted Facebook ads. Sounds like a complicated thing, doesn’t it? It sounds like it costs a lot. It sounds like you need some special third-party program that cost millions of dollars to develop and charges a high monthly premium. If you Google how to do this, you won’t find anything. 95% of the so-called Facebook “experts” charging hundreds of dollars an hour will tell you that it’s impossible. They are wrong. For me and the clients I assist and train, targeting very specific ads to people inside of single buildings or at a local event is a routine thing.

These ads are extremely effective. It’s not just the targeting that makes the difference. Your targeting allows you to run very specific messaging that you normally couldn’t get away with.

Imagine this: You have a booth at a large, important convention. You’ve paid hundreds of dollars to be there and are desperate to make the most out of your time. You take a quick 30-second video of you standing in front of your booth. “Hey guys! It’s awesome to be here at the convention with y’all. If you’re in the main event room, just turn right when leaving out the main door and I’m the fourth booth on the left. I’ve got some goodies to give away to anyone that mentions this video, so come on by!” Now what do you do with it? Armed with Geographic Microtargeting (“GMT”), you can then boost that video to ONLY people who are physically inside the convention center. Not just in their news feed, either. You can insert your video into the websites they are browsing (Audience Network), slide into their Messenger app, and pop into their Instagram. Imagine how effective that would be.

I’ve done this. I have a vending franchise that works with K-5 schools. I was at a convention with approximately 3,000 elementary school educators once. I did exactly what I described above, except it was a photo instead of a video. I had school principals walking up to me for a week during that convention saying “I’m not sure how you got onto my phone, but I’m interested in hearing what you have to say.” We’re talking about a product where my customer LTV exceeds $1,000, so that kind of interaction is invaluable. For approximately $150, I generated about a dozen leads during that convention that I knew for a fact were because of my Facebook ads. I had many more that I suspected were due in part to the ads I ran. Once I pulled that off, I began integrating the strategy into my training sessions with other business owners. I love seeing their eyes light up when they realize the potential!

The potential is incredible. People respond best to content that is hyper-relevant – content that forces them to stop scrolling. “We make great sandwiches!” Doesn’t make you stop. “Stuck at Helen Keller Hospital for lunch? We’ll deliver a delicious sandwich straight to your room.” Now, THAT makes someone stop. It makes you think, and it makes you react. It makes you wonder – how did they know?! If you don’t know how Geographic Microtargeting works, you are left with the assumption that this restaurant is running ads across your entire area that conveniently seem relevant to you and pretty much ONLY you. I guarantee you – whether you order lunch from that restaurant from that ad or not, you’ll remember them next time you’re in the area.

Screenshot from 2018-08-25 20-04-26

 

 

HOW DO YOU ACCOMPLISH THIS?

Now, I mentioned at the beginning of the article that I’m going to assume that you have an intermediate-level understanding of the Facebook Ads manager. Therefore, I am not going to waste time explaining how to create an ad. There are thousands of free tutorials out there for that. I’m here to talk about something unique. All I’m going to address is how to create an audience that is Geographically Microtargeted. I’ll also note that this is only accurate to an extent. By my rough measurement through trial and error, I estimate the accuracy to be somewhere from 100 feet to about 1/10th of a mile. So, you can’t target one house in the middle of a crowded neighborhood, or you’ll get the surrounding houses and roads as well. But it works great for a building the size of one city block or larger – like any convention center. The main goal is to get your radius FAR below the generally accepted minimum of 1 mile.

The concept is simple. We’re going to take some basic elements that most Facebook Ad managers know exist, and use them in an unexpected manner to deliver unprecedented results.

Let’s start by creating a Saved Audience. Go to your Audiences by clicking the menu in the top left hand corner of your Ads Manager. Click “Create Audiences” and “Saved Audience.” Now, ignore everything else and go straight to the geographic section.

You have a couple different options to start. If you know the address of where you are targeting, you can enter that as your target. However, if you are dealing with an extremely large facility, your pin may not be in the center of your target, which is not ideal. In that case, you can manually drop a pin on the map, which is what I generally do. Find your building, and drop a pin on the center. Set your radius to the minimum: 1 mile.

Now, we’re going to do something a bit different. Roughly guess the distance between your pin and the exterior wall of the building you are targeting, and drop another pin outside your radius by that exact amount. You can use a ruler if you aren’t good at eyeballing this type of stuff, but you can also edit it later so it’s not that big of a deal if you miss. Drop a number of these pins (at least 4) around your main pin, each one just as far outside your radius as your middle pin is from the outside of your target building. When you finish, you should have one pin with a 1-mile radius surrounded by a bunch of other pins with 1-mile radii around that pin, none of which should overlap the original pin.

Next, hover over one of your locations in the location list. You’ll see a little dropdown arrow appear. Click that, and select “Exclude location.” You can also accomplish this by clicking the pin on the map. Do this for all pins except your original one.

When you’re done, it should look like this:

Screenshot from 2018-08-25 20-20-28

 

WHAT DID YOU JUST DO?

Exclusion zones are a not-as-well-known feature of Facebook’s geographic targeting. It’s not used very often. For most people, it’s really only useful when you’re targeting a radius around a city but want to exclude other states or cities that your radius might overlap, due to the phrasing in your copy. What we are doing is creating a complex Venn Diagram consisting of exclusion and inclusion zones that ultimately result in only one single building being targeted. At first, this takes some time to set up. It takes a while to get used to, and it took me quite a while to get to the point where I was confident enough in the accuracy to get the distance around the building just right. But it works.

Is this accurate? I’ve had some people question whether or not this actually works. Trust me, it does. Facebook tracks your location using your cell signal, your GPS, and your Wi-fi. They have your location pinned down to within 30 feet. The potential inaccuracy up to 1/10th of a mile comes primarily from people that are moving – like in a car. It just takes a minute or so for Facebook to update your location, so you may see ads a little ways away from the facility if you just left it or drove by it. It may catch some people driving by as they briefly enter the radius, but it’s still pretty accurate. I explained this tactic to a group of clients once, and I saw their minds explode as they processed what I was saying. The very next day, one of those clients sent me an excited text with a screenshot of an ad very similar to the one I posted above. They were in the parking lot next to a building I was targeting and saw my ad mentioning the building. Since they knew I worked with that business and since I had just explained it to them the night before, they knew exactly what was happening for the first time, and they were absolutely thrilled to see it in action.

It’s not complicated. We are taking some very simple features of Facebook Ads and combining them in unusual ways, that’s it. I honestly didn’t think too much of it at first, I thought everyone knew how to do it. But as I began mentioning it to my clients and other people running Facebook Ads, I realized how few people know how to do it.

This has the ability to transform your business. Not just on the reach of these ads themselves, but through the use of Lookalike Audiences (LLAs). You can use GMT strategies to build extremely precise and well-filtered Custom Audiences (CA) to base your LLAs off of. I recently showed a boutique jewelry company owner how to use GMT to identify high-relevance potential customers at a convention and then use an LLA to dynamically expand that group to begin advertising to similar high-relevance potential customers nationwide. You should have seen the expression on her face – she knew the potential of what I was talking about. Interest targeting is better than nothing, but it’s nowhere near as effective as an LLA based on a high-relevance CA. You can target people who are interested in the topic Jewelry all day long, but nothing beats taking a group of well-established wholesale jewelry purchasers and creating an audience of everyone like them in the world – and ONLY people like them.

Don’t forget to subscribe – use the options on the right side of this site to sign up for future articles like this and follow me on social media!

What Is A Lookalike Audience (LLA)?

What is a Facebook Ads Lookalike Audience? How is this targeting option transforming the digital advertising landscape? How can you use it for your business? An expert explains. 

Article Difficulty Level: Intermediate

I do a lot of one-on-one Facebook Ad training sessions with business owners, and one of my favorite things to do is go over the ads that they have already run before they came to me. I have yet to see a single business owner using Lookalike Audiences  (also known as an “LLA”) when I first review their performance to date. I love seeing the gears turn and their eyes slowly widen as I explain what a Lookalike Audience is and what they can do with it.

Lookalike Audiences are a very complicated animal, but they can be explained fairly easily. Basically, you are taking a core group of people that you’ve generated through an online activity, and telling Facebook to find a certain percentage (between 1 and 10%) of all people in a specific country that are MOST similar to that core audience. Then, you can narrow that down further with other forms of targeting, such as geographic.

FOR EXAMPLE: You have a booth at a large convention. You use Geographic Microtargeting to target ONLY the people inside the convention with a short live video of you in front of your booth inviting them to come check you out. 200 people watch that video. Using Lookalike Audiences, you then begin to run ads to the 50,000 people in your state that are MOST similar to those 200 people. The best part? All of this happens automatically. No more guessing what your ideal demographic is.

How does this work? 

Facebook has an average of 10,000 data points on every single one of its users – including you. They don’t just have what you give them. They buy large amounts of data from third party groups – like credit card companies. They attach your info with those companies to your info on Facebook to build a comprehensive profile on you. Lookalike Audiences takes the common denominators in your core group, and finds everyone else in the country with those common denominators.

You can easily create Lookalike Audiences. Simply go to your Ads Manager on Facebook on your desktop by clicking the drop down menu on the top right of your page and selecting “Manage Ads”. If you’ve never run ads before, you’ll need to select “Create Ads” instead and go through some basic setup steps before being able to run ads. In order to keep this post as relevant as possible, I will be assuming that everyone reading this article has a basic understanding of how the Ads Manager works. In the top left corner of your Ads Manager, click the drop down menu and select Audiences. You’ll need to create a Custom Audience first – this is your core audience. Select “Create Audience” and “Custom Audience.” You should see this pop-up:

Screenshot from 2018-08-25 18-23-50

You have several options for creating a Custom Audience. You can use a customer file, website traffic using Pixel data, app activity, offline activity, and engagement. Most people will only ever use the customer file, website traffic, and engagement options. Offline activity is still being rolled out as of the publishing of this article, and app activity is only useful for developers. I’ll refrain from going through a detailed step-by-step instruction at this point, although I’ll try to come back and do that later when I have more time.

Once you’ve created your Custom Audience, go back to your Audiences section, select “Create Audiences” again, but this time select “Lookalike Audience.” In this screen, you’ll select the Custom Audience that you just created as the source, and pick your geographic area and how wide you want the audience to be. Always start off with a small number and exhaust that audience before expanding. You can always come back and create a larger audience later, so I recommend starting with 1% or 2% for your initial test run. However, the exception to this rule is this: if you plan to run your ads to a very small geographic area, you should raise this number higher. Otherwise, you may not have enough people in your target audience to have any significant impact

 

Screenshot from 2018-08-25 18-29-34

Don’t worry about the lack of detailed geographic targeting. You can still set that at the Ad Set level. Keep in mind though, that when you narrow your audience down geographically in the Ad Set level, or by creating a Saved Audience, this will select the people that are in your Lookalike Audience that are also in that geographic area. It will NOT select the 1% (or 2% or whatever you set it at) of people in that geographic area that share common denominators with your Custom Audience. I say this so that you won’t be confused when the numbers of people selected in that area are far larger or smaller than the percentage that you set in your Lookalike Audience relative to the number of people total in that geographic area.

FOR EXAMPLE: Let’s say that you have a well-established plumbing business with 2,000 customer e-mail addresses in your database. Now, assuming that all 2,000 of those have opted-in to receiving communications from you, you can upload that list to Facebook and create a lookalike audience off of them. Since you’re a local company, you set the LLA at 10%. You drop a pin on your business location and say you want to advertise to a 50-mile radius. Now, instead of 1,000,000 people, you are targeting the, say, 120,000 people who are most like your existing customers – without having to do any research into who those customers actually are. You can now run ads to those people without wasting any money on the rest of the population – only spending your resources where you know they’ll be the most effective.

Lookalike Audiences are powerful. They allow you to dynamically expand your current customer, engagement, or visitor base into a larger group of potential customers. This ensures that your digital advertising budget will be spent efficiently and that your engagement rates will be high – providing, of course, that your messaging is on point.

Questions? Feedback? Comment below. I’d love to hear from you. 

A Boring Introduction.

Hi, my name is Trey.

I’m a recovering political junkie with a passion for technology. I used to run campaigns for a living – I won over 40 non-incumbent campaigns in a 6-year period. Turns out, politics sucks. The clients suck, the drama sucks, the hours suck – it just sucks. I found myself spending 90% of my billable hours dealing with drama that affected nobody and accomplished nothing. After nearly dying from stress-related health problems in late 2016, I made some radical life changes and left that world forever. I quit politics and took an 8-5 job paying a fraction of what I was making. I’ve never regretted it for an instance.

Now, I’m a nerd. I’ve been doing Facebook Ads since before Pages even existed, and it’s kind of what I’ve become known for. I have been consulting on Facebook Ads and social media strategies with businesses, organizations, and politicians for the past eight years. I have an intimate knowledge of the underlying concepts behind the Facebook algorithm that has come from a decade of working alongside it as it has grown into the monster it is today. I have developed my own strategies that take advantage of the Facebook algorithm in unique ways to save money and increase Ad conversions.

Beyond Facebook, I’m also a nerd in almost every other aspect of my life. I currently work remotely in Alabama as the lead social media and SEO specialist for a marketing firm near Philadelphia – Addison Technologies. I’m about to go back to college to pursue a degree in Cybersecurity.

I am a lifelong student, entrepreneur, and workaholic. Every morning, I wake up at 5am and read or write on technical topics for an hour and a half. Currently, I’m reading a book on reverse engineering and writing this blog. I listen to financial and tech podcasts on my commute, study SEO and social media platform developments at work, listen to some more podcasts on the way home, and take online courses on programming and cybersecurity in the evening. Around all that, I run three companies – I run the finances and HR at my wife’s bakery/restaurant, I do remote training and consulting sessions on Facebook Ads with businesses, and I own a vending franchise. I hate politics with a passion, aside from a very small number of low-drama clients that I’ve worked with in the past that I’ll still occasionally do some stuff for. In case that wasn’t enough, I also operate as the Public Relations Manager for my local municipality a couple hours a week (it’s a very small town).

The purpose of this blog is simple: I like to write. I deleted my personal Facebook a few weeks ago because I could not escape the political world on there. Even after deleting over 1,200 friends, I was constantly inundated with messages and posts from my old life. My health could not bear the constant negativity associated with that crowd. Plus, I recently married the most amazing woman I’ve ever met – and she deserves the attention that I was devoting to silly social media drama. I still have a Facebook account, but it is solely used to manage pages and participate in my favorite group, Facebook Ad Hacks.

Follow me – or don’t. It’s totally up to you. I’m merely writing for the sake of writing. I am constantly learning new things and trying to think of creative ways to apply what I already know. I have found that writing about them is the best way for me to remember and process them.

If you are reading this, please leave a comment! Ask me challenging questions, please. Present me with a Facebook ad/algorithm problem you’ve been dealing with – I’ll be happy to help.

See you in another post.