This is the subhead for the blog post

custom audience targetingBy now, you’ve probably heard a bunch about Custom Audience Targeting. Well, fine.

Even if you have, this feature is cool enough — and effective enough — to warrant a run-down of its best features and uses. You might even find an under-the-radar tip or two.

First, as you probably know, Custom Audiences are assembled using emails, phone numbers, or Facebook user IDs. Since emails and phone numbers may have come from outside the Facebook ecosystem, you get access to all sorts of customers you wouldn’t be able to reach with other targeting types. Because of this, you can:

– find offline customers

– target audiences of current fans, prospective fans, or a mix of the two

– create as many custom audiences as you want

– create highly targeted ad copy (existing customers? Give ’em a loyalty discount!)

– eliminate privacy concerns that are all the rage (literally) these days by targeting people who have already established a relationship with your brand

– find existing customers who haven’t liked your page yet and introduce new deals, products, signups, etc. (this is a quick and extremely high-converting way to build your audience base)

exclude certain fans (on a like campaign? Exclude your existing fans)

– use all the other targeting goodies (demographics, interests, etc.) in conjunction with Custom Audiences to create hyper-targeted campaigns

– use Custom Audiences in conjunction (new feature)!) with things like broad category targets and partner categories (we’ll have a whole post on that in the coming days)

Bowled over yet? One more thing.

With Custom Audience comes the bonus option of Lookalike Audiences, which is just like it sounds: it’s a Facebook-produced audience of people you don’t know who have similar attributes to your Custom Audiences. Basically, it’s free expansion.

Lookalike Audiences come in two varieties: Similar and Reach. “Similar” provides the top 1% of most similar matches to your Custom Audience; “Reach” matches the top 5%, meaning that the audience is five times bigger but much less precise. Similar is better for conversion rate, of course, while Reach rules for…well, reach.

We’re starting to hear stories (and build examples) of really high-performing Custom Audience campaigns. Share yours in the comments!