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Epic Facebook Custom Audiences Update: Dissecting 3 New Tools

Published: July 15, 2016

Author: Kendra Pennington

Facebook Custom Audience creation just got a major facelift, and we couldn’t be happier. The updates allow for better leveraging of your CRM lists by way of match rate improvement. This means better seed audiences and better lookalikes. What else is new? Data Sets, which we are interpreting as Custom Audiences on steroids, and Engagement Audiences, which allow you to retarget to people who have viewed your video ad or lead ad.

So why does this matter?  By now, everyone is using custom audiences and lookalike audiences.  What’s really going to set advertisers apart is how they are slicing and dicing those audiences, as well as re-engaging Facebook users in a more sophisticated way than straightforward remarketing.

In this post, we’ll jump into Facebook’s wealth of new updates – and how they help smart marketers accomplish just that.

Awesome Custom Audience Update #1: Improved Customer Matching


What’s new: Facebook now has even more ways to match your custom audience with Facebook users.

What this means: Improved match rate, especially for B2B companies whose lists are primarily comprised of work email addresses.

Why it matters: Good quality seed audiences are the bread and butter for engaging existing customers as well as for creating top-performing lookalike audiences.

Additional tip: Download the template that Facebook provides on this link to show your client or in-house team the best format for the custom audience file. The snapshot above shows a list of all the attributes Facebook can match. Use one, use them all…the more attributes you can upload, the better the match rate!

Additional (additional) tip: Compare your custom audiences to each other (as well as comparing lookalikes to each other) using the audience overlap tool.  If there’s a fair amount of overlap, throw them in the same ad set; if there’s not a lot of overlap, use separate ad sets.

Awesome Custom Audience Update #2: Target Users Who Have Engaged with Your Video or Lead Gen Ad



What’s new: You can now create custom audiences of people who have viewed your video (and segment them by engagement level depending on how long or what percentage of the video they viewed).  You can also create custom audiences of people who interacted with your lead gen ads.

What this means: This is essentially retargeting users who engaged with your content but may not have clicked or fully converted.

Why it matters: We can assume that if someone interacts with your ad (watches the video or fills out a lead form), they are at least somewhat interested in your offer.

  • The video custom audience is essentially the “view” audience; they’ve been served a video ad but haven’t necessarily clicked (so you couldn’t create a UTM click-based or event-based custom audience).
  • Being able to retarget to folks who have interacted with your lead gen form takes the responsibility OFF the marketer to go in to their fan page, download the lead form submissions, hand them over to the sales team, and then have the sales team follow up (assuming you haven’t integrated this ad type with the client’s CRM).  I don’t know about you, but to me that feels super clunky. This new feature puts the digital marketers back in control of engaging those users.  Yay!

Additional tip: I recommend adding some sort of exclusion audience to ad sets that are targeting these custom audiences to make sure you aren’t hitting users who have already converted (e.g. exclude an up-to-date customer list OR create a website custom audience with your thank-you page URL and exclude it).  I also recommend serving unique creative to each segmentation depending on engagement level.

Awesome Custom Audience Update #3: Add Qualification Attributes to Custom Audiences

What’s new: Data sets are CRM lists on steroids, IMO. The feature takes user data and also adds some qualification metric, i.e. how valuable that user is.  You can also create rules based on these attributes.

What this means: Qualifiers allow you to really go after the users who are most engaged with your product, app, or brand.

Why it matters: This is especially important if marketers are interested in metrics that happen after an initial conversion and are really looking for long-term, high-quality audiences.  In the past, we used to have to ask clients to parse out qualification and have unique files for each audience, e.g. high, medium, and low quality. The Data Sets feature allows us to have one robust file, upload it, and then parse it out directly within the UI (as long as it contains columns with qualification information).

Additional tip: Attributes can be updated that will overwrite or extend existing attributes in the data set. Up-to-date, quality data is key to long-term success of audiences.

Happy audience creation!

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