First impressions matter. When we see someone for the first time we make all sorts of snap judgements about them. They may not be accurate or fair but we make them all the same.
We know about first impressions. That’s why we brush our hair and pick the cat hairs off ourselves before we go to a meeting (or is that just me). So why do we forget about that when we try and sell on Facebook?
The biggest mistake I see businesses make with Facebook ads is trying to sell on the first impression. Trying to sell to ‘cold audiences’. We’ll talk cold, warm and piping hot Facebook ad audiences and why it matters below.
Facebook ad audiences – the cold, the warm and the piping hot
This is part 3 in a series on getting better results on Facebook:
Part 1: Blowing Hot & Cold: How To Use Facebook Ads To Build Warm Audiences That Convert
Part 2: It’s Not Facebook, It’s You – Should You Give Up On Facebook Marketing? – With Louise McDonnell
Facebook has a shed load of data on us. They seem to know us better than we even know ourselves. Like many business owners, I used to be mad about their interest targeting. Although it is effective at one thing, reaching new people within your target audience, they often fail to sell.
Why is this?
If you go to a networking event and get the hard sell from someone you’ve never met you’ll want to run in the opposite direction. The same goes for marketing your business online. If the first message you see from me is trying to sell you something at best you’ll ignore it, at worst you’ll make a snap judgement on my hard sell and mark me as a spammer.
That’s where blogging comes in. We can use our blog posts and other content to attract new people, to show them that we are trustworthy, to help them get to know us and then target them with sales ads.
And that’s it, the biggest thing that businesses do wrong is target cold audiences with sales.
The 2 coldest audiences
Most Facebook ad newbies create ads on the fly within the ad manager interface but there’s a smarter way to do this.
Facebook has a tool called ‘Audience Insights‘ that lets you create interest based audiences in advance. But it does so much more than that too. It lets you dissect your proposed audience. You’ll be able to see what types of pages they like, what types of jobs they have, their family and relationship status and more importantly, how likely they are to engage on Facebook and click ads.
I’ll talk about warm and hot audiences shortly but there’s another type of cold audience you can create based on warm audiences.
Lookalike audiences are groups of people that Facebook matches with an existing audiences. For example, if you have an audience of people who have engaged with content on your Facebook page you can ask Facebook to find people who are similar to those people.
When you have that audience you can narrow this audience down with interest targeting at the ad creation stage.
I’ve found lookalike audiences perform much better than standard saved audiences even when I add no or little interest targeting.
You’ve introduced yourself to your cold audience and shaken their hand. They’re warming up, they are beginning to get to know you and trust you.
Now they know you they are more likely to buy from you so you can start sending them sales or lead generation ads.
Facebook gives us lots of options for creating warm audiences and they all fall under the ‘Custom Audience’ tab on your Facebook ad account.
Select ‘Custom audience’ to create warm audiences.
Types of Warm Audience
The Facebook pixel is a piece of code that you add to your website that:
- Collects an audience of Facebook users who visit your site
- Measures conversions (form fills and sales)
It’s that first part that is important for building audiences.
It sounds complicated but it’s actually quite straightforward to add the pixel to your site.
But don’t panic if you don’t have it yet. There are still some pretty cool audiences you can create without it. Let’s look at those first.
No Pixel Required
Facebook Engagement audiences
If you haven’t got the pixel installed but you have an active Facebook audience this audience is a no-brainer for you. It’s made up of the people who have engaged with your page in the last year.
You can target everyone who has engaged, just the people who engaged with posts or ads (but you can’t target people by individual post) or people who have taken other actions on your page. Although you can target everyone from the last year I suggest compressing this to 30 or 60 days for a warmer audience. Someone who clicked a post you shared a year ago is unlikely to remember you.
Video view audiences
This is the fastest way to build a warm audience. If you have a video uploaded to your page you’ll be able to get a reasonably sized audience with organic reach and €10 of ad spend.
Then you can create a custom audience from these video viewers.
Choose from 3 second, 10 second, 25%, 50%, 75% or 9% viewers. Of course, the audience size diminishes the longer they watch for but the heat of the audience also rises.
Your mailing list
If you are building an email list you can ask Facebook to match your subscribers with Facebook profiles (watch your GDPR on this one). It won’t be able to match everyone as people tend to use a different email for Facebook than they do for other things but if you have a large list this is going to be one of your hottest audiences.
If you’ve got the pixel up and running on your site Facebook will be collecting an audience for you. This is called a ‘Website Custom Audience’ (WCA).
You can target all your website visitors with ads but as bloggers we have an advantage.
Instead of targeting all your website visitors you can send ads just to people who visited specific pages. If you have a series of blog posts related to what you are selling (and if you don’t it’s time to get writing) you can target just the people who visited those.
To get hyper-specific you can narrow these audiences with interest targeting when you get to the ad creation phase.
Red hot audiences:
The easiest people to convert are those who have already visited your sales pages but didn’t buy.
Maybe they were out and couldn’t buy then and there, perhaps they needed time to think about it, perhaps they needed to rearrange their diary, were distracted or needed to wait until they got paid.
There are a tonne of reasons why they didn’t click the buy button.
Facebook lets us create an audience of people who visited a specific page but it also lets us exclude people who visited another.
If you have a ‘Thank you for buying’ page, set up an audience of people who visited your sales page and exclude people who visited the thank you page. Now you’ve got a red hot audience you can retarget with ads.
Email is the best
Facebook ads are great, they will help you warm up your audience and encourage them to buy but there’s one thing that out performs them by far and that’s your email list.
I’m not talking about using them as an audience (although as I said above this is a good audience to create). I’m talking about sending them sales emails from time to time.
I always get more sales from email than any other channel so maybe, instead of using Facebook ads to sell, use them to build a valuable targeted mailing list. It could result in more sales, more frequently than social ads alone.
Warm up your audience before you sell to them. You’ll build a loyal audience who are more likely to buy and tell others about you.
When you set up a Facebook campaign think of it in at least two phases
- Building a warm audience with soft content
- Selling to the warm audiences
And don’t forget your email list.