Facebook’s Custom Audiences Advertising Options: The Next Big Thing?

Facebook took its biggest leap yet to connect brands with their ideal customers with its new custom audiences option.

Imagine as a customer you walk into your neighborhood grocery store. You check-in using Facebook and automatically you’re offered deals, coupons, and more just because the store knows you’re there. No spam ads for weekend getaways, lawyer services, or electronic gadgets – you get exactly what you want. A retina scan for your Facebook ID, if you will.

This Minority Report world isn’t far off with Facebook’s new targeted messaging option. Using email addresses and profile information in an Excel/CSV file, brands can deliver incredibly relevant and interesting ads directly to their audiences.

This article in TechCrunch explains how the system works. Taking that a step further, we’ve examined how and why this is such an important move for businesses on Facebook:

  • It allows businesses to target other businesses: It’s great for B2B services that want to target specific business with special deals. They can take the emails of said company’s appropriate decision makers, input them for a targeted ad, and send them an offer where they would have never expected and actually drive results. Company to company relations has a massive opportunity to use Facebook ads to make sales and build/strengthen relationships.
  • It allows brands to be truly relevant: This is the key advantage of Custom Audience. The current ad options leave most campaigns in a 50/50 place; half the targets are somewhat relevant, but definitely not pinpointed. The other half are random; a sort of spray and pray that you’re in front of the right people. Using Custom Audience, a restaurant can give the people who added emails to their list during a wine convention 50 percent off a bottle during their next meal or get new fans by showcasing a unique bottle carried.
  • Follow-up is now social: Car dealerships that sold 400 people a brand new truck in 2006 can now go back and entice them via a loyalty based offering. Being remembered creates loyalty between a customer and a business.
  • Data becomes valuable: All of those carefully organized email lists and phone numbers collected through contests, events, reward programs, and any other kind of crowdsourcing opportunities has purpose outside of newsletters and email blasts. For example, if you’re a casino in Nevada with email lists from club members, you can convert them into online gamblers by specifically targeting your fan base with their favorite game. You can use those ads to drive users to online gaming sites. The lists are suddenly more useful than sending show ticket discounts.
  • Saves time and produces synergy: Companies have spent significant time and effort building segmented email lists for prospects from all sorts of inbound campaigns and customers by product, click-through, birthday and all sorts of demo graphic information. They can now present a reinforcing ad in conjunction with a Facebook ad that increases response and engagement rates.
  • It strengthens consumer relations: Customers, especially existing ones, are finally seeing what THEY want from brands. Giving them what they want enables your customer to show a much more open and supportive side – they’re going to love you for catering to them. This in turn allows for your sales team to inject the customers into your sales funnel.

By using the new Custom Audience Facebook ad options, brands can extend their email marketing into the online space and launch ads that are the most relevant to the appropriate audiences. Because this system has potential to be so effective, it should change the way brands think about and invest in their Facebook outreach. It just might result in a significantly higher conversion rate and much happier customer.

This column first appeared on AllFacebook.com.