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Let the CAT out of the bag!

Published: January 10, 2013

Author: Dennis Yu


I consider this the biggest secret in Facebook ads, but almost nobody is talking about it.  By the end of this post, you’ll be nodding your head vigorously. Take notes:
Custom Audience Targeting.  
There, I said it.
custom audience targeting
You can upload lists of userids, emails, and phone numbers directly as targets. There are some restrictions here on who you can upload, but you can read the fine print when you accept this feature. It’s only in Power Editor, by the way.
custom audiences facebook
You can use a custom audience as a negative target, too. Meaning that if you have an email acquisition campaign, you can exclude your existing list from seeing the message. Why waste impressions?
If you’re really a pro, you can place all your competitors in a CAT, then exclude them from your ad campaigns, making it harder to spy on you.
block competitor research
Combine CAT with other forms of targeting. For example, run search ads (called sponsored results) on the top 50 most popular terms, but also include CAT. Who cares if they’re looking for SpongeBob if they’re someone you want to reach? Learn the tactics here. This is secret retargeting, folks!
 
Start using CAT in sequence so you can hit people at different points in the funnel. Maybe you use Marketo for your marketing automation. Have you considered tying people to stages in the funnel so your messages reach them there?
How about segmenting CAT by customer value – different lists for different tiers? If you’re an airline, you’d have lists by status, then further segment by home city.
What about your most frequent purchasers if you’re a direct marketer? If they bought during Valentine’s Day last year, assign that CAT to your V-Day posts and see if you can increase the lifetime value of your existing customers.
Some companies are setting up dynamic lists – triggers for when people are checking in, complaining, buying stuff, whatever. Let’s say you just bought something at a retailer. Wouldn’t it be nice (or creepy) to cross-sell them within minutes of when they bought? Or at least get them to promote your brand while it’s still hot in their minds.
custom audience filtering
Okay, do you agree with me now?  Have we let the CAT out of the bag?
If you’re thinking this is cool, but that it takes some technical integration, you’re right. You’re going to have to make a long-term investment to get all your data in once place so you can apply rules to your marketing activities no matter where they come from.  That will require some magic in your Salesforce.com, Marketo, Zoho, or whatever systems you use.
In the meantime, you can manually upload lists to play for now, then automate. Dear readers, what do you think?
– Dennis Yu


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