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Facebook Audiences & Interest Targeting

Facebook Audiences & Interest Targeting

by Marco Bigatton, 11 October, 2016

As a Facebook advertiser, you need to define an audience for your ads, meaning who’s gonna see them. Facebook lets you target 3 distinct kind of audiences:

  • Core Audiences
  • Custom Audiences
  • Lookalike Audiences

Core Audiences include the ability to target by location, age, gender, interests, behaviour, connections, etc. So, when you target by interests you’re using core audiences. Example: If you sell shoes, you may want to target people interested in shoes. Quite basic, but still it makes sense. Interest targeting is a good targeting option, as long as you understand how its built and its limits.

Facebook uses various metrics to decide whether someone is interested in something specific. It all started by looking into people’s page likes: If you enjoyed this post and had to like my page Marco’s Digital Marketing, Facebook would probably assume that you’re interested in digital marketing. As this approach has clear limits, Facebook started to add new metrics to the mix, such as the ads that you clicked on, the apps that you used and the content that you shared on Facebook.

Interest targeting sounds quite appealing, but as you look into it, challenges emerge. I spotted 3 main things that highlight potential weakness:

  • Accuracy
  • Intent

Accuracy. Facebook interest targeting is not necessary so accurate. You can discover what Facebook thinks that you’re interested in by visiting your Advert Preferences. You’ll probably spot things that you don’t really care much about. Example: Facebook believes that I’m interested in Cosmetics, but that’s simply because I still work in the beauty industry and I monitor key industry players by liking their pages and clicking on their ads. Facebook also believes that I’m interested in Football. Despite being Italian, I swear that there’s nothing I do care less than football. You’ll probably also discover things that interested you in the past, but that aren’t necessary your focus anymore. Our interests may change quicker than what Facebook takes to update your Advert Preferences.

Intent. As we said interest targeting is not necessary accurate, nor relevant, which means that by using this targeting option you could end up targeting people that lack intent, or in other words, people not necessary interested in buying in the short term what you’re advertising. Even supposing that I’m interested in cosmetics, that wouldn’t mean at all that I am interested in buying cosmetics anytime soon.

Interests targeting is not something to avoid, simply be conscious that more precise options exist. Interests may work well if you’re running broad campaigns; think of Niki running a brand awareness campaign aiming to reach people interested in tennis, baseball, outdoor sports and similar activities. Niki could definitely start by using interests, but as long as people move down their campaign funnel, it would be smart to run specific ads based on custom audiences and lookalikes. This approach would help Niki to focus its efforts on those people that shown higher interest in their campaign.

Want to discover what interests Facebook associates to your profile? Go to your Advert Preferences

Facebook Lead Ads: Improve the quality of your leads?

Facebook Lead Ads: Improve the quality of your leads?

Facebook Lead Ads: How to improve leads quality

by Marco Bigatton, 23 September, 2016

Facebook marketing is getting more exciting every day. I’m having a great time playing around with Facebook ad formats to test what’s possible to do, what results I can achieve and what’s the best way to operate. I’m running a lead campaign for an international brand, selling yummy chips! I’m not interested in emails for Facebook retargeting – email & phone custom audiences – but rather in people’s main email.

Lead Ads are great, because they prefill forms pulling data from users’ profiles. Point is that lots of people still use a secondary email to log into The Social Network. If you’re looking for people’s main email, you should keep reading this post.

I was wondering whether it is really an advantage to prefill strategic fields of Lead Ads forms with information pulled from Facebook.

What would be the best way to capture people’s main email? A prefilled form, hoping that they would edit their email, if not the primary one? Or let them enter the field manually?

Options: Login Email vs Business Email vs Question

I made a test. I created a traditional Lead Ad. But instead of using a single form, I created a duplicate in which I changed the way I was going to collect emails.

First option I looked into was to use the field named Business Email, which in most cases should appear empty, because most of my target audience probably don’t even have one! I immediately discarded this option, because Business and Bold Chips don’t fit so well together. As a second option, I considered using a Question, specifically What’s your email? Nice, but this choice comes at a risk: If a person types in something that isn’t an email, Facebook wouldn’t be able to recognize it.

Ultimately, what I do love about Lead Ads is how quick and smooth they are. Even if users had to manually fill in their info, Lead Ads would still be great, so I decided to move on and test the latter option. If it really had to work terribly, I would just kill it.

Get people’s attention: Disclaimer

I like to play around with ad formats and settings, sometimes even using specific features in an improper way. When I thought about an additional way to improve my leads, Lead Ads’ Disclaimers came to my mind.

Why not using a disclaimer to raise attention among participants about the importance of submitting their main email? My lead campaign was about giving away a yummy prize each day, during weeks, so I decided to use a disclaimer to reinforce the message that winners would have been contacted by email and that providing real information would have been critical to claim the prize.

Disclaimer looked like this:

Be smart: Sync Facebook Lead Ads to a CRM

If you want to be able to follow up quickly with your prospects, and to test the quality of your leads and be able to optimize your Lead Ads, you’ll need to sync your leads to your Email Marketing Service or CRM. The app that I use and recommend is LeadsBridge.

Idea was to push my leads to an EMS to trigger an automatic welcome email. The EMS that I use is ActiveCampaign.

Having previously created 2 Lead Ad forms, I also created 2 ActiveCampaign lists, in order to keep emails separated and be able to verify which list activity resulted in more opened emails and less bounces. This is why I decided to create an automatic welcome email with ActiveCampaign, so that I could measure results and understand whether I was actually collecting emails that people were actively using.

Boost your Lead Ads! Go Organic 😉

Facebook promotes Lead Ads as a paid tool, but ways to leverage it organically actually exist, and they provide sweet results. As I had the chance to run this campaign, I wanted to take advantage to test and optimize at best, both for my personal understanding and to reduce spending for my client. They call it win-win. What I wanted to achieve was to drive traffic to lead ad forms either organically or by using existing Page Post Engagement Campaigns, at no incremental cost. Think about it as when you add a tag to an existing TV commercial. I spotted some ways to do so, and results are nicely coming in. More to share, soon.

Lead Ads Campaign results. Receive your copy

If you’re interested in receiving the results of this test and get notified about my upcoming blog posts, submit your (main) email here below. Don’t worry, I am pretty busy and I have no time to spam! 🙂 Results should be available as of end October. You will receive a copy by email.

Problems with Facebook Locations? 5 reasons why your application was rejected

Problems with Facebook Locations? 5 reasons why your application was rejected

Last May I published a blog post about the benefits of using Facebook Locations. Several people reached out to me asking for help, because their applications got rejected. Actually, an American entrepreneur, founder of a sushi restaurant chain even gave me access to its Facebook Business Manager. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to help him, which kinda annoyed me, so I spent 2 days playing around to try to understand why my applications to Facebook Locations usually get accepted, while others are struggling so much. Below I sum up my learnings and a couple of recommendations that you may want to read before to apply for Locations.

What follows is a series of suggestions, based on some common patterns identified across the pages on which I could successfully claim Locations.

Don’t play around with the application form

Apply only when you’re sure that your Page meets the requirements that follow. I may be wrong, but I have a feeling that getting it right at first may help. So, do not play around with the application form, take your time and be patient.

Claim your username

My successful applications were related to Pages that previously claimed a username. In order to be eligible for a username, your Page must have at least 100 fans. You can discover if you already claimed a username by visiting About > Username, as page admin.

Publish your Page

Before to apply for Facebook Locations, make sure that your Page is published. If your Page is unpublished, publish it and submit your application. Once Locations is active, you can unpublish your Page again, if desired.

Get some fans

If your Page is brand new, calm down your desire to list multiple locations on your Facebook Page. All my applications for new Pages with 0 to 300 Likes, got immediately rejected.

Choose the proper Page category

I’d like to test this further, but so far I could activate Locations on Pages categorized as Local Business or Place / Company, Organization or Institution / Brand or Product. Others did not work well for me.

Should you claim your Page in Business Manager prior to apply for Facebook multiple locations? Not really, in my experience it made no difference.

In addition, be aware that all my Pages are connected to an Ad Account, used to run advertisement campaigns.


Some of my Pages, including Locations, are listed below. Others are not listed, as I never implemented Locations following the activation, which was done purely for this test.

L’occitane En Provence, Colors & Senses20/Vin, DoritosL’Ebeniste, Bourjois, CareerHub, Lay’s

Facebook Retargeting: How to keep your Email Custom Audiences Sync

Facebook Retargeting: How to keep your Email Custom Audiences Sync

Getting leads is important, but if you don’t exploit them at best, the effort you put in lead generation may not be justified. If you do advanced facebook marketing, you’re probably using your leads to create email custom audiences for facebook retargeting and audience exclusions.

Email custom audiences are created by manually uploading to facebook your lists of email. As your lists grow up, so should do your email custom audiences, but unfortunately that’s not the case, at least you update them all manually, which may take lots of time, everyday. First you need to manually download leads from your email marketing service, then you must sync each of your email custom audiences by uploading the most updated email lists. Personally, I prefer to automate these kind of annoying tasks to free up time to dedicate to valuable things, or to go to the beach: God bless Mauritius!

I use to Sync2CRM to sync my custom audiences with my MailChimp lists. I admit it, their landing isn’t sexy at all, but I loved the service. In fact, I loved it so much that I emailed the founder, Kim Snider, to tell her to get Sync2CRM a landing page that makes justice to the application! She’s a smart lady, we exchanged some emails and she appreciated my interest actually.

Sync2CRM is simple to setup and speed and reliability are optimal. That’s what I do appreciate about this application. I hope new features are coming soon. The video below shows how I synced one of my custom audiences to a MailChimp list, using Sync2CRM.

How to sync Facebook Custom Audiences with CRMSync Facebook Custom Audiences with CRM >

Posted by Marco’s Digital Marketing on Saturday, July 23, 2016

Below you can find other services that I considered and eventually tried. Based on my specific case, below I explain what didn’t work for me:

Driftrock. I discovered the service thanks to Jon Loomer, but it wasn’t necessary for me to try it. It seems to be a powerful service, but entry price is far away from what I am looking for. Minimum monthly fee is £200.

AdEspresso. AdEspresso is a quite interesting application. It is designed to help you easily optimize facebook ads and it recently added custom audience sync as part of its monthly plan, starting at $49.

SyncSumo. Service may be good, but I personally disliked the interface and how data is displayed. Pricing is good and they offer a free trial, so give it a look eventually.

LeadsBridge. This is another one that I didn’t had to try. Service seems to be fresh and cool. Pricing is competitive. Unfortunately, the free trial last 7 days only, and requires credit card. It is then your responsibility to opt-out within 7 days if you do not want to be charged $348*! Well, that’s because LeadsBridge works on an annual subscription.

* I do need to manage more than 3 facebook ad accounts, which requires Hero plan. In case you have one facebook ad account only, annual subscription is $156.

Zapier. This is another cool service. Unfortunately, it only allows you to sync lead ads to your email marketing services, but I cannot see any solution to sync facebook custom audiences. Maybe coming soon.

And you, do you sync your custom audiences? What app have you tried?

Messenger: Codes to chat? Give me more, Facebook!

Messenger: Codes to chat? Give me more, Facebook!

Facebook Messenger Codes

I am thrilled about Messenger Codes. In April, the chat service by facebook started to roll out 2 interesting features, Messenger Links and Messenger Codes.

Links: Messenger Links allows you to create a link that opens a conversation on Messenger, either with a person or a business page of your choice. It is super simple: Use this link, but replace “username” with the one of the person or business you’d like people to chat with. My personal username is @marcobigatton, so feel free to test the link by dropping me a note to say that you visited my blog!

Needs help to find your username? Read this guide (soon available)

Codes: Messenger Codes thrilled me! The purpose is the same – help people to start a chat with a person or a business – but the potential is huge! You may have noticed a bizarre drawing surrounding your profile photo in Messenger mobile app. Well, that’s your code. For business pages, you can download an high resolution version for traditional marketing supports. As page Admin, visit your page on a desktop computer, go to the Messages tab, click on the info icon on the left hand corner of your inbox and download the code.

messenger links and codes1

Now open the Messenger app, go to the People tab and tap on Scan Code. You can scan people or businesses’ codes printed or displayed on any support, included someone else’s mobile phone.

Why does Messenger Codes thrill me?

Well, to be honest I am not so thrilled about scanning codes to open chats! That’s clearly a great feature, but does not excite me that much. What thrilled me is how facebook is starting to give signs of what’s may come next. The idea of using codes is not new, QR codes exist from years. But Facebook can solve what prevented QR codes to fly. The issue is that QR codes (A) Needs specific apps to be scanned (B) Can direct users only to webpages, and (C) They look tremendously horrible! If you’d be a brand, would you like to be represented by a QU code? Come on, let’s be serious!

(A) Facebook has a huge scale instead. Approximately a billion people use Messenger, so the app is in their phones already. If you think about the facebook app, active users should be even higher. (B) In my opinion Facebook marketing is still at early stages, the potential is huge. Instead of sending people to webpages only, facebook has the potential to natively do much more interesting things. Think about being able to claim multiple codes for your business, and use them to collect leads or subscribe someone to your newsletter or take a questionnaire. Still we are scraping the surface. Codes could be used in product packaging to provide information, suggest apps, and virtually anything you may think. (C) Compared to QR codes, Messenger Codes are quite nice and colorful. Profile picture or business brand image positioned in the center lets it clear who you are going to connect with. And the Messenger branding may build trust and help consumers to feel safe while using the code.

If it happens, facebook would position itself in a unique position. I mean, if you can get people to scan product codes for any reason, you can get tons of information to profile them with laser precision. People are happy and get new useful services, Facebook keeps growing its database of information and Brands can spend money targeting people more accurately. Now a day Facebook Marketing happens online and stay online. Codes excite me because they have the potential to smoothly create a bridge between digital and traditional marketing.

And you, what do you think about Messenger Codes? Leave a comment


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