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Marketing with Facebook Custom Audiences

logo_facebookCustomAudienceRecently, Facebook unleashed the latest in the social media behemoth’s advertising arsenal – Facebook Custom Audiences. This new tool is a great way to leverage your existing email subscriber base for highly targeted cross-channel marketing. We’ll walk you through how it works and provide some Fishbowl best practices on how to harness the power of this new feature.

How does Facebook Custom Audiences work?

Facebook Custom Audiences allows you to import a list of your current guests’ email addresses (or phone numbers) and match them to a Facebook profile. You can then target off of the matched users’ profiles, exclude matched users from current Facebook ad campaigns, find “lookalikes” to broaden your reach or perform a combination of all three (see below for more on this). 

In tests we have done for Fishbowl clients, we have been able to successfully match a Facebook account with 50-60% of email lists, which is a solid base for re-targeting campaigns.

Note that Facebook has specific privacy requirements when it comes to Custom Audiences: According to their terms, “To the extent a data subject exercises such an opt-out after you have used data relating to that data subject to create a custom audience, you agree to remove that data subject from the custom audience.” Basically: if they unsubscribe from your mailing list you are responsible for removing them from your Custom Audiences lists as well.

Now, the fun stuff! What Can I Do With Facebook Custom Audiences?

Our team has tested the Facebook Custom Audiences tool and come up with several ways to effectively leverage it for restaurant marketing.  Here’s our top five:

  1. imagefor_facebookSupplement an Email Campaign via Social – Perhaps you are promoting your happy hour or upcoming prix fixe Valentine’s Day menu. In addition to a well-crafted email campaign, create a Facebook ad to extend your reach and heighten awareness across channels.
  2. Target Special Interests – No one knows your guests better than you do. Use this to your advantage. Segment your guests around specific interest of theirs to create personalized ads. Design a post for the 20-somethings and another one for your parents with children. Craft a steak-lover special and target those who have ordered a steak in the past. Smart data combined with a little imagination can wield wonderful results. Be creative!
  3. Use Lookalikes for New Guest Acquisition – Let’s face it, you have a target demographic.  Take advantage of Facebook’s demographic data to target lookalikes and intelligently acquire new guests that fit your desired specification. You can choose to optimize for similarity (e.g. focusing on the top 1% of Facebook users most like your current list) or broaden your targeting to maximize reach.
  4. Grow Your Fanbase – Having multiple communication channels with your guests is always a great thing. Take your email list and target members that you are not currently communicating with via Facebook. Build a campaign to have them “like” your page to establish another medium of communication.
  5. Intelligently Exclude Members – Be smart about whom you’re not targeting. Use your current list as a negative list to exclude current members from a promotion that you only want “new” members to see. This works well in tandem with lookalike targeting. Craft your campaigns accordingly and don’t waste money trying to acquire existing members.

Facebook Custom Audiences can be a great opportunity to spearhead both acquisition and engagement campaigns for your guests. Have you tried using Facebook Custom Audiences? Let us know in the comments!

Update: Facebook has added some changes to Custom Audiences to make it even more robust. Here’s the information you need to know:

  • Facebook can now target users who have downloaded a mobile application or who have visited your website on their mobile devices. 
  • For users who interact with a restaurant app, Facebook can differentiate them based on behavior.  For example, Facebook could enable you to target, say, someone who looked at a Valentine’s Day special online but didn’t make a reservation.  Or you could target based on duration since last visit or price range.
  • Facebook has added extra “call to action” buttons, such as suggesting users “shop now” or “learn more,” encouraging clicks and potentially new sales. 

Let us know in the comments if you’ve taken advantage of these new features.