There’s something magical about how a well-crafted PPC ad makes people take actions that they weren’t planning on taking before they saw it. One minute you’re catching up on Facebook, and the next you’re buying those new designer sneakers you’d been obsessively reading about online.

Well, as you already know by now, there’s no arcane spells at play here, just a lot of technology with some good old ad strategy sprinkled on top. Whether it’s because of your interests, the pages you like, your online searches or the people you resemble there’s a logical reason that can explain why you’re seeing the ads that you see. And one of them is the audience type that some random campaign manager, or random algorithm, has decided you belong to.

In my two previous articles we talked about the steps you need to take to set up a scale up strategy and write compelling ad copy that promotes your eCommerce wares. But, not every potential customer you target should be handled the same way. While some have never heard of your brand, others have already visited your website, while still others are (hopefully) already satisfied customers that may (hopefully) buy more of your products. Each individual within these audience types can potentially click your ads and generate more revenue for you. However, each type also needs to be approached with a different campaign: different messages, different ad formats and different targeting strategies.

In this article we’ll discuss audience types, and the best way to create and target them using some of the tools available on Facebook’s advanced ad platform.

A Temperature-Driven Approach to Audience Types

Grouping your potential customers–and the campaigns that target them–according to their interaction history with your brand is a proven strategy for effective audience building. In fact, Facebook basically developed their entire ad platform around that concept. So how does it work? It basically divides your potential customers into three types that denote whether they know your brand, have interacted with your brand or have visited your website.

  • Cold Audiences. This group is by far the biggest one of the three. It contains anyone and everyone who has never heard or interacted with your brand, or at least not in a way that’s digitally trackable.
  • Warm Audiences. Warm audiences are those individuals that have already interacted with your brand on Facebook. There are many different ways to interact with your brand that include everything from liking, commenting or sharing a post, to visiting your page and filling out a lead form, all the way to watching at least three seconds of one of your videos. Whatever interaction it is, any one of them can bring someone out of the cold and turn them into the warm audience type.
  • Hot Audiences. This audience is filled up with potential customers who have shown real intent by visiting your website. Hot audiences can be further segmented based on the specific actions they take on your website. You can create a segment for audiences who visit a specific product page, for those that add products to the cart and for those who have completed a purchase. These audiences can later be targeted with different campaigns that are customized to reflect the action they took on the website. For example, you can create an ad promoting a 15% discount that targets audiences who added to their cart but didn’t complete the purchase. There’s a good chance that the extra discount will tip the balance in your favor and get them to finalize their purchase.

This way of grouping your audiences takes a sales funnel-like approach to audience types that frequently translates directly into ROAS; the further down the funnel they are i.e., the more they’ve interacted with your brand’s Facebook page and website, the more likely they are to convert from your ads.

Targeting Your Campaigns Based on Audience Types

Facebook’s targeting capabilities are second to none in the online advertising space, hands down. In essence, it gives you a set of different targeting tools that help you create campaigns that align perfectly with the audience types we just outlined above.

Basic Targeting Capabilities. Age, gender and location form the basis of the Prospecting Campaigns that target your cold audiences. Interest and behaviors add another layer of targeting on top of that. Your best bet for choosing the right parameters is by going back to your Customer Avatars. If you recall, these semi-fictional representations of your customers offer a glimpse into their demographics and interests. If you did your homework and built your Avatar according to real data–customer testimonials and reviews from both your and your competitors’ websites–you should already have the info you need for this.

Engagement-based Targeting Capabilities. This type of targeting focuses on the different ways that your potential customers have interacted with your brand on Facebook, making it perfect for your warm audiences. Interactions include video views, lead forms completions, brand page and event interactions. Using these targeting capabilities you can create a specific campaign that targets potential customers who have already seen one of your brand’s videos. This campaign will be super relevant as you can assume that whoever sees it already knows your brand. This is your chance to push them closer to a purchase with a discount or ad that leverages Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).

Custom Targeting Capabilities. The Holy Grail of Facebook’s ad platform, these more advanced targeting capabilities enable you to specifically target audiences that are more likely to convert than anyone else.

Custom Audiences are created from hot audiences, those that have already visited your website, or by using the data in your customer database. Facebook Pixel updates Facebook with the data on the customers that have visited your website, while your customer database is filled up by outbound marketing campaigns, leads from offline events or purchased lists.

There are two different ways to create and target Custom Audiences. The first is through campaigns that target them directly. For example, you create a Custom Audience based on customers who’ve purchased from your website and then target them with a retention campaign that gets them to purchase additional products.

The second way is to use Custom Audiences to create Lookalike Audiences. These audiences are based on individuals that have characteristics that are similar to those in your Custom Audience. Although by definition, they’re part of the cold audience type, Lookalike Audiences are more likely to convert than other cold audiences. For example, a Lookalike Audience based on a Custom Audience that has already completed a purchase will deliver more purchases than a Cold Audience based on your Avatar.

Before We Go

Creating campaigns based on the different ways your audiences interact with your brand on Facebook is a super effective way to build your ad strategy. Cold audiences campaigns AKA prospecting campaigns target audiences that have never interacted with your brand using demographic and behavioral or parameters, or lookalike audiences. Warm audience campaigns target audiences based on their previous interactions with your brand. Finally, hot audience campaigns use the Facebook Pixel to find audiences that have already visited your website.

By learning and using these audience building and targeting tactics you can quickly create a set of highly diversified, focused campaigns that can be customized according to the audience type.

Guy Rozman

Author Guy Rozman

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