Digital advertising is rapidly shifting toward audience-driven strategies. Brands can now focus on the audience they want to reach instead of blasting out ads and hoping they land on the right people. Social platforms are making it easy, with multiple ways to create an audience for each ad. But measuring audience effectiveness in terms of ROI is not always easy. According to marketing statistics by the DMA, measuring ROI from social media marketing ranked as the top challenge marketers faced in 2016. And it hasn’t gotten any easier in 2017, with Facebook plagued by measurement problems that overcharged marketers and eroded trust in its math.
Creating audiences based on website traffic is popular on Facebook, letting you target ads to Facebook users who visited your site and even looked at specific pages. It’s quick and easy because you don’t have to track web visitors on your end. But the easy road is often not the most effective. Strategies like these don’t take into account where each visitor is in the customer journey. A more effective – and more measurable – strategy is to develop your own custom audiences based on data regarding not just who’s been on your site, but exactly what they did there and what they’ve done before. Using people-based attributes and metrics that add insight about each customer’s interests and stage in the journey will result in higher levels of return on investment.
Think about it this way. Different customers are worth different levels of marketing investment. High value buyers who are stalling in their customer journey may be worthy of a higher ad spend, but low value buyers may not be. Or they might not be worth including at all. The point is, by finely carving consumers into smaller audiences based on worth will allow you to bid differently (and appropriately) on ad spending.
Your biggest advertising opportunity is leveraging your own data
With the right service provider actively managing your audiences, you can easily target audiences based on data including: 1) Who’s been on your website, 2) When they were there, 3) What they looked at, 4) What they purchased, 5) What they looked at and purchased in the past, and 6) Who’s engaging with your emails and who’s not. This can all be done in real time, so that as a customer interacts with your brand, the audiences are dynamically updated (i.e. the customer may get moved from one audience to another based on real time activity). You can also easily measure the effectiveness of each audience by using a percentage of that audience as a control group that receives no ads.
This will help you:
- Control ad spending by creating audiences based on different levels of potential conversion. This lets you spend more on the audiences with the greatest potential and less on those with less potential. Spending the same amount on everyone will lower your overall ROI.
- Determine content by creating audiences based on interests. An audience of consumers expressing interest in sports apparel will be most productive if the ads served feature sports apparel.
- Target customers by creating audiences based on where they fall in the customer journey. For example:
- Customers who created a cart will have the highest conversions – especially if you can serve product or category specific ads.
- Cart abandoners you can identify by email address but can’t email (they either haven’t opted into your list or they opted out) are ripe candidates for Facebook ads because there are limited other ways to reach them – so you may want to bid higher on these consumers.
- Any website visitors who previously opted-out of your emails are also likely worth a higher ad spend, since you can’t reach them by email.
- Customers who were once high AOV customers but lately have unengaged are good targets – but perhaps at a lower cost.
- Customers who were recently on your site multiple times but did not make a purchase are prime candidates for an incentive offer.
Using proven strategies for audience targeting on social media will leave your ad audiences calling for an encore!