Regardless of how often you log into Facebook, chances are you’ve been “creeped out” by at least one post or advertisement that has been shown on your news feed. How did Travelocity know I was looking up hotels in San Francisco this morning? Why does Amazon.com keep showing me sales for products I regularly purchase? Many Facebook advertisers can answer these questions easily, but the majority of users are likely unaware about why they are being served a particular advertisement. To answer the question of “why am I seeing this ad”, it is important to understand the following: there are thousands of different ways a user can be targeted on Facebook and not all of them are based on your profile information. I bring up the fact that targeting isn’t just inclusive of your Facebook profile because this used to be the only way you could be targeted. However, over the past couple of years, Facebook has significantly revamped their advertising offerings by partnering with a bunch of different 3rd parties and expanding their own functionality. The next time you see a Facebook advertisement and aren’t sure why, it could be due to one of the below ad options.
Retargeting isn’t unique to Facebook. It exists practically everywhere on the web due to Google and other display companies offering it as an advertising option. Specific to Facebook, it’s based on your browsing behavior on an advertiser’s website. If you take the “desired action” on the company’s website, you might see a retargeting advertisement the next time you log into Facebook. A lot of e-commerce businesses will use this as an opportunity to try and get you to you purchase product. Say, for example, you add a product to Amazon.com’s shopping cart, but do not end up completing the transaction. Amazon.com might serve you an advertisement for an additional 10% off of that product the next time you log into Facebook to try and get you to complete your purchase. These ad units are not actually run on Facebook’s ad platform, but through 3rd party platforms that have a partnership with Facebook’s Exchange product.
Facebook has partnered with Axiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon to allow advertisers to reach users through behavioral targeting methods. This is based on various data points including loyalty card data, transactional data, the U.S. Census, the DMV, and more. With Facebook’s behavioral targeting, you’re not reaching people based on what pages they “like”, but based on their actual purchasing / offline behavior. If you own a store in NYC selling vitamins and other health products, for example, originally you might promote to new customers on Facebook by targeting users who are in NYC who “like” pages related to health and wellness. With behavioral targeting, you can now target users who are in NYC that actually buy health and wellness products above the national average.
Custom audiences allow advertisers to upload a list of emails, phone numbers, or Facebook user IDs to Facebook. Facebook will then match up that data to people on Facebook to create a custom audience. If you have a list of 400,000 e-mails, for example, and upload it to the network; Facebook will create a custom audience list for you to target as long as those individuals are using the same e-mail address to access Facebook. If you are a frequent customer of a brand, you might see an advertisement for a new product on Facebook because that brand created a custom audience list of their most loyal customers. Custom audiences can also be created based on website traffic and Facebook app activity.
Look-A-Like audiences are a list of Facebook users who are similar to a Custom Audience that you have uploaded to Facebook. If you upload a list of your most loyal customers’ e-mail addresses to Facebook, for example, Look-A-Like audiences can generate a list of the top 1% of users who are similar to these customers based on their likes and interests. If advertisers want to expand their reach, they can generate a list of the top 10% of users who are similar to these customers.
-Post by guest blogger David Neuman-
David Neuman, Guest Blogger
David is the Director of Social Media Services at Prime Visibility. He has been with Prime Visibility for over 7 years and has over 9 years’ experience in Digital Marketing. He manages Social Media initiatives for the company where he creates and executes Social Media strategies for the agency’s clients. David was also the recipient of two LISTNet awards for developing an algorithm to measure the virality of Social Media campaigns and has appeared on CNBC and WSJ Live.