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February 23, 2016
Marketing  |  3 min read

2 Powerful Ways to Target New Customers with Facebook Ads

By Matt Broderick

Facebook ads are as effective as you make them; if you want to connect with new potential customers for your small business, you can, but without the right attract strategy, you can also waste money reaching out to the wrong people. In this post, I’ll highlight two ways you can increase the effectiveness of your ad campaigns and reach the right audience. For both of these options, you will need to download Facebook’s Power Editor, a more advanced toolset available only in the Chrome browser.

1. Lookalike Audiences

The Facebook Power Editor gives advertisers the option to create custom audiences by uploading contact lists and matching those contacts to existing Facebook users. This is great if you want to target current leads and customers through Facebook, but what if you want to find new leads or customers? That’s when Lookalike Audiences come in. Lookalike Audiences are just that: a group of users that are similar to your current leads or customers, so you will need to create a custom audience before you can create a Lookalike Audience. To create a Lookalike Audience, all you need to do is open the Power Editor, click Audiences on the left side menu and select (or create) a custom audience. Then, click Create Lookalike Audience.  From there, you will need to choose a desired country to target and decide how you want to optimize your results. I recommend optimizing for similarity. It takes some time for Facebook to run the search, but when it’s done, you will have a completely new audience you can reach with ads. Facebook is cryptic about how it defines “similarity,” so you will want to try a few ads and determine if your lookalike audience is really worth pursuing. InsideFacebook reported that by using lookalike audiences, an online travel site reduced their cost per action (CPA) by 70 percent and an online shopping site reduced their CPA by 56 percent, so lookalike audiences may be able to do the same for your business, but the only way to know is to test.

2. Partner Categories

In the normal ads manager, you can target users based on general Facebook categories. These are based on what users have shared on their profile and actions they've taken on Facebook. For example, if someone likes a page about cooking and subscribes to an interest list about chefs, they may be included in the broad category called “Food and Dining.” Likes and actions are great, but what if you want to target users based on their actual purchase behaviors? It’s time to use the Power Editor’s Partner categories. Partner categories allow you to target Facebook users based on information that Facebook’s data partners (Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon) have collected about things people do off of Facebook. Most of these categories are more specific than Facebook’s generic options. For example, with Partner categories you can show your ads to people who have a history of purchasing “green cleaners and supplies.” To use Partner categories, all you need to do is create a new ad in the Power Editor, and under the Audience section of the ad process, make your selections.

Obviously not every consumer category is represented, but Partner categories are another versatile option in your targeting arsenal. Effectively targeted ads save money and generate better results, so take some time and become familiar with the Power Editor and explore lookalike audiences and partner categories. 

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