Exploring Facebook Custom and Lookalike Audiences | Travel Research Online


Exploring Facebook Custom and Lookalike Audiences

Facebook’s Custom Audience feature  is one of the more interesting innovations the social media platform has introduced. If you are willing to summon the courage to upload your client list to Facebook, the Custom Audience system will match your clients with their own user list. You can then create ads to reach only the Custom Audience intersecting the two lists. Facebook indicates your list will be hashed and encrypted prior to the upload process so, in theory, your actual data is not transferred to Facebook. However, Facebook can then match the hashed data against their own lists to build your Custom Audience.

If your travel business Page is not getting the attention it deserves, a Custom Audience tactic is a worthwhile consideration for your marketing strategy.

OK, I’m Impressed


dv229001I have not always been Facebook’s biggest supporter, and indeed I’m still a bit sore about my inability to organically reach the people who have Liked my page but who never see my ads without pitching a few pennies at the Facebook coffers. (Like a bad breakup, I may never get over that one). However, Custom Audiences opens up new possibilities.

It is an almost certainty many of your clients are on Facebook but have not yet Liked your page. Perhaps they have not seen your ads or your brand simply has not been top of mind. Facebook’s Custom Audience allows you to reach out and touch those clients for which you have an email address matching an address in Facebook’s database.

Once you have a Customer Audience, you can also create a Lookalike Audience. The Lookalike Audience algorithm extracts key demographic information from your Custom Audience and find similar characteristics from other Facebook participants not in your Custom Audience, allowing you to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to your existing customers.

Keep in mind that your lookalike audience can only include people from one country at a time.

 Better ROI through Retargeting

In many ways, the Custom Audience feature allows for a self-serve retargeting of existing clients. Because existing clients are more likely to respond to your brand, the Custom Audience and Lookalike audience features should allow for better ROI.  Because you can segment your client list and create multiple Custom Audiences you can very precisely target your ads to display in front of the right clients.  A client who has taken your Costa Rica tour might just respond to your Machu Picchu program.

Not every client thinks to return to your threshold despite your good marketing efforts or their best intentions.  Using tools like Adroll, retargeting has been gaining great favor in marketing circles to remind visitors to our websites of our brand once more. Custom Audiences offers a variation on the same opportunity and is worth serious consideration. My own use of the methodology has been very effective.

These tactics are not for the novice marketer.  You must have a well-honed marketing sensibility and know how to generate advertising that actually works. If you do, however, both you and Facebook may have a real winner on your hands.

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