Targeting Facebook Ads at Website Visitors and Mailing Lists

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March 31, 2014

Growing your Facebook followers isn’t always easy. There’s tons of posts out there on how you can increase your Facebook likes, and there’s also a load of services which allow you to buy Facebook likes. My advice – avoid buying likes at all costs.

When you really think about it, what’s the point? The whole idea around building your Facebook following is so that you can build an audience of relevant and engaged users that will want to share and talk about your content. Fake followers will never do this – you can’t convert a fake account.

If it’s vanity that you’re after then go buy spend that on some Facebook ads targeting some real people instead. Not only do fake followers add no value to you, but they can often skew your analysis, especially when it comes to understanding who your followers really are.

Think about it, if you buy 1,000 Facebook likes, how will you separate those accounts from your real accounts within Facebook Insights, or any other social media analysis tool (for example, Sprout Social)? The answer is, you can’t. The results that you’re likely to get is that 1,000 of your followers are from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, aged between 16-65… great, you win at Facebook!

Instead of going out and buying some crappy fake followers, why not take my advice and target the people that are most likely to engage with you. These are the ones that have actually interacted with your website or brand in one way or another. Doing this, I get an average CTR on my ads of around 10%. Not bad considering the average CTR on Facebook ads is 0.2%.

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Targeting Facebook Ads at Your Website Visitors

This is a fairly new feature within Facebook and it’s something that I’ve been very excited about. Facebook now allows you to display Facebook ads to users who have recently visited your website. This is done by installing a tracking pixel on your site and it takes around 2 minutes to implement.

The advantage of displaying ads to people who have actually visited your site is that they have already been exposed to your brand. They’re familiar with you which means they’re much more likely to engage with you. From my own testing, I’ve seen huge increases in the click-through rates of my ads.

Here’s how you can set it up yourself:

1. Go to Facebook adverts manager and click on Audiences in the left-hand column.

Facebook custom audiences

2. Click on the green Create Audience button in the top-right of the screen. This will cause a pop-up window to appear. Click on the fourth option titled, Custom Audience from your website.

Creating a custom audience

3. Click the tickbox that says you agree to Facebook’s terms and conditions and then press Create Audience.

Accept Facebook's terms and conditions and then press Create Audience

4. Add an Audience Name. This can just be something like My Website Visitors. Then you can optionally add a description for the audience (this is for your own benefit only). Finally, click on the bullet point that says People visiting specific pages and select Domain from the first column drop-down. Add your domain name here (see below). This will track visitors across your whole domain. If you want to target specific pages within your site then you can type the full URL instead of just the domain.

Setting up tracking across your domain

5. Finally, copy and paste the Remarketing pixel code into your website. This should be between the opening <head> tag and the closing </head> tag. Make sure it’s site-wide. If you use WordPress, this will usually be within the header.php file.

The code successfully installled

Now that the remarketing pixel is successfully installed across your website, you’ll start to see that over the next few days, the size of your custom audience will grow, giving you a larger pool of users to target your ads with.

To actually display ads to these users, you can simply select your custom audience when you’re asked for it within the new advert wizard, as is shown below:

Select your custom audience when you create a new advert

Your advert will now be displayed to anyone who has visited your website.

Targeting Facebook Ads at Your Mailing List

Similarly to targeting website visitors, displaying Facebook ads to members of your mailing list can result in significantly higher CTR. On top of this, they’re much more likely to go on and like your Facebook page if they’ve already agreed to get your newsletter updates. This is a great way to make sure that you’re getting your content in front of the people that care about it.

This process is even quicker than setting up the website visitor audience, and if you use MailChimp to manage your email subscribers (like I do) then the process becomes even easier. Here’s how you do it if you use MaiilChimp:

1. Navigate to Facebook adverts manager and click on Audiences in the left-hand column.

Facebook custom audiences

2. Click on the green Create Audience button in the top-right of the screen. This will cause a pop-up window to appear. Click on the second option titled, MailChimp Custom Audience.

Create an audience from your MailChimp newsletter

3. A pop-up window will appear asking you to log-in to your MailChimp account, click the button and log-in with your MailChimp account details.

Log in to MailChimp with your account details

4. Select your MailChimp list and click Create Audience. You’ve now successfully synced up your MailChimp list and it will auto-update each time a new subscriber is added.

Select your list from MailChimp

Adding Your Mailing List from Other Email Services

It seems that Facebook only supports MailChimp integration at the moment, but if you’re using another email service like Aweber, Campaign Monitor, etc. then you’ll need to use a slightly different process. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Download all of your email subscribers from your email client into a .csv or .txt file.

2. Select Create Audience from the Facebook Adverts Manager > Audiences.

3. Add a name from your custom audience, for example, Newsletter subscribers. Optionally, you can add a description (this is for your own benefit only) and then you’ll need to select Emails from the Data Type drop-down list.

Importing your email list to Facebook ads

4. Click on Choose File and upload your .txt or .csv file. When you’re finished, click Create Audience. You’ve now successfully imported your list of emails to a custom audience. If they have any Facebook accounts associated with them, you’ll be able to display your ads directly within their Facebook feeds. Note: You’ll need to manually add new subscribers to this audience in the future.

TL;DR

  • Don’t waste time and money on buying Facebook likes.
  • Retmarket to your website visitors within Facebook.
  • Display ads within Facebook directly to your email subscribers.
  • Dramatically increase your ads’ CTR by targeting engaged users.

Extra Reading

http://www.jonloomer.com/2014/03/31/facebook-lookalike-audiences-wca-fans-conversions/

http://godofseo.co/tutorial/facebook-ads-trick/

http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tutorials/facebook-advertising-lead-generation/

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About Matthew Barby

Matt is a digital marketing consultant from the UK. He is the Digital Strategist at Wyatt International and has a passion for all things digital. He also runs a number of blogs, including his travel blog and pescetarian food blog. You can get in touch with Matt on Twitter or through Google+.

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  • victorpan

    Any tips on Facebook ad fatigue? Innovative ways to discover more ways to target?

    Solid tutorial as always. People totally underestimate remarketing.

    • http://www.matthewbarby.com/ Matthew Barby

      Hey Victor, I think it’s really important to have a variety of different imagery that you’re displaying to different user groups. If you’re targeting website visitors, display something that they’re familiar with. Likewise, targeting your newsletter subscribers – you can mention this in the ad copy “you’re subscribed to the newsletter, why not follow us on Facebook too?”. Also, change things up and test as much as possible.

  • Henley Wing

    Great tutorial, Matthew. Though I’ve always heard of FB retargeting, this is the first article I’ve read that really explains it simply. I sort of think this is about the only effective way to buy FB ads.

  • Guest

    Great blog post, but I got lost at your sentence “To actually display ads to these users, you can simply select your custom audience when you’re asked for it within the new advert wizard, as is shown below:” When I create a new audience, my module doesnt ask for location and age, can you be more specific on how you start that process?

  • Michael Volkin

    So this takes website visitors and matches them up with their facebook profile? How is that connection made?