Average ads aren’t ideal. No one’s happy with sloppy creative.
But on Facebook, they’re not a deal killer.
Instead, your targeting is.
It’s the beginning and the end. The single biggest determining factor that influences results.
Which then includes what you’re going to pay, too.
Here are 7 behavioral targeting tricks to use with your Facebook ad campaigns.
But first, a quick primer on the types of behavior we’re going to target.
A Behavioral Targeting Primer: Explicit vs. Implicit Intent
Behavioral targeting is exactly what it sounds like.
Campaigns, emails, or ads are triggered based on a customer’s action.
That could be on your site, or away from it. On Facebook, or off of it.
The trick is the funnel. It’s knowing where someone is and what they’re trying to do so that you can organize, trigger, and target appropriately.
Like marketing automation.
Someone downloads an eBook. Then you slowly start emailing them information about your services.
If they download that information, you use qualifying questions (like Annual Revenue, the number of users, etc.) to filter out those who might be ready for a sales call.
At each step, someone is taking a hard action. They’re filling in their email address and hitting Enter. They’re filling out a Quote Request form. Or they’re entering their credit card information and buying now.
In other words, they’re explicitly telling you what they want. When they want it. Which makes your life incredibly simple.
The problem is twofold.
The first issue is that the number of people explicitly telling you something is always going to be small. It’s like the 1% rule. Your eBook might be awesome, but site conversions will be low. Which means you risk not being able to get enough volume in the middle or bottom of your funnel.
The solution tthis problem is to use implicit information. Or all of the ‘soft’ stuff people do that doesn’t show up as a Goal inside your analytics.
For example, lead scoring. You can assign points to form conversions (because that’s explicit and obvious). But you can also assign points based on page views or blog posts read or the number of times someone has visited your site in the past thirty days (which is less obvious).
Someone is telling you that they’re interested in a certain thing. That they’re at a certain point and are probably ready for a specific message or campaign.
But you just have to know where to look.
The second potential issue is the technology. You know, the uber-nerdy ‘marketing stack’ stuff peeps love to obsess over. Being able to use a simple, affordable tool to do this complex, sophisticated stuff isn’t always possible.
Thankfully, there’s an exception.
Facebook’s massive ecosystem solves the first pain point. While a handy little sexy tool solves the second.
Plus you get the added bonus of lower costs + more conversions when you leverage more behavioral targeting, too.
Here are 7 examples to start with.
Behavior #1. Facebook Page Engagement
The first step is always the same.
You need attention. More of it. There’s never enough.
The reason – beyond narcissism – is math. If bottom-line-boosting sales are gonna happen, you need enough people flowing throughout your funnel. And based on low online conversions, continually need more people coming into the top.
Interest targeting is usually the first step. But it’s an imprecise science at best. You’re guessing. And you’re throwing a bunch of stuff up to see what sticks.
Instead, the faster you get to custom audiences, the better.
You used to have to rely on website views for one of your first custom audiences. The problem, once again, is math. (No wonder everyone hated it in school.)
Take B2B. Customers are worth thousands (or hundreds of thousands). Which means you don’t need many. Which means not everyone’s a good fit. Which means your website traffic is notoriously low.
Not enough traffic = too small of an audience in order to make custom audiences work.
Facebook’s introduction of Page engagement changes that, though.
Getting a post view or engagement on Facebook is 1,000x* easier.
*That’s a made up stat. But you get the point. People share stuff to their friends. Others then serendipitously come across their view. And now you can rack up a perfectly tailored audience for those who might be interested in hearing more about who you are and what you do,
That means content.
Interesting stuff. Creative stuff. Stuff that gets attention.
Behavior #2. Video Views
Remember that whole EdgeRank thing?
The early Facebook algorithm that determined what gets through to people. It was kinda like PageRank before RankBrain. (WTF is with these geeky names?)
Post types were weighted differently. Video reigned supreme, being preferred to images which were preferred over straight text.
Well, check this out.
Here’s how ‘successful’ Facebook posts with a link have been over the past ~two years.
Not so much. Now contrast that with video.
TL;DR? Post more videos son!
Custom audiences need at least ~1,000 peeps to be worth it. And that’s only going to set you back $10-20 with video views according to both experts.
So we’re talking fractions of a penny per view. Better still, you can control the audience quality by determining the exact video view length. (Longer for better, shorter for more.)
Aaaaaannnndddd you can combine hacks by creating lookalike audiences based on those super-duper cheap video views you’re racking up.
Think about the possibilities. Creating a massive, highly targeted, top of the funnel list is going to cost you less than the office coffee budget.
Behavior #3. Specific Website Page Visits
Creating a top of the funnel custom audience based on website visits alone is helpful.
To a point. It shows people are somewhat interested. They (hopefully) will remember who you are.
But you can also go deeper.
Using specific website page visits can tell you (more or less) what someone is specifically interested in.
The first example includes what blog posts they might be reading. If they’re looking at content about SEO, advertising, and/or content marketing, we can assume they’re interested in GROWTH.
They want more website traffic. So now I know exactly which ads to show them. The exact eBook that might appeal to them with messaging that’s focused on getting them more website traffic, etc.
You can also do some fancy multi-channel stuff if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. Tie links in an email back to aforementioned blog topics and watch what they click on. Then add those people to a new list and a new custom audience.
Exclusions are also powerful here.
If someone visits your Pricing page, you know they’re interested. They’re evaluating. They’re checking out what you’ve got to offer.
BUT. If they don’t take the next step (like visiting your Sign Up or Join Now page), it means they’re holding back for some reason.
Maybe they’re just looking. Maybe they’re not ready to fully commit. Maybe the pricing doesn’t work for them right now.
Whatever the case, you know they’re on the fence. So instead of sending them a blog post (which is like a step backward in the funnel), you can update ad messaging to focus on what makes your product shine.
You can send them customer case studies. ROI calculators. Or just a simple discount.
Behavior #4. Frequent Website Visitors
One-off visits are fine.
People checked the site out. But didn’t really do much else. So you can try to get them back with content or get them into specific pages.
Moz found that one-off visitors who converted usually churned faster. While those who visited 8+ times had the highest LTV. That’s no coincidence.
Frequent website visitors are showing extreme (implicit) interest.
Marketing automation tools will quickly reveal this info. For example, here are the actions one person has taken over the past few months.
They’ve visited the site many, many times. Over 11 just in June alone!
A few ways to target people like this is with middle-of-the-funnel offers to turn them into leads.
The easiest option is the “Most Time Spent on Your Website” feature. Pending availability and rollout (so you may not see it).
Otherwise, create a new list in your marketing automation tool based on the criteria we just set (people who’ve been to your website 8+ times).
This should be a ‘smart,’ not static list. So it continually updates as more people meet that criteria.
Then you can use the awesome data sync feature to create a custom audience from this list of contacts in your CRM.
Now go fishing. Send these people more compelling, interesting, escalated offers to get them to bite.
Behavior #5. Lead Ad Opens
Facebook’s Lead Ads generate explicit interest. They ask for someone to turn over their information in exchange for something.
They’re similar to a form submission but without the extra hassle. Which is why they excel on mobile.
Facebook currently will integrate natively with MailChimp. Meaning you can send this new lead information there automatically. But not many others.
So the data sync feature will do the work for you, sending new successful leads from lead ads into your favorite CRM of choice. (Because who has time to manually have to export and import .CSV files.)
What happens if someone doesn’t convert on your lead ad? What happens if they viewed it, they opened it, but then pulled back?
This is similar to the earlier Pricing page example. They expressed some intent. There was a little bit of interest. But they need further nurturing before they’re ready.
Thankfully you can now target those who open (but don’t convert) on lead ads.
Then you can follow up with secondary offers.
So they’re not ready for a free trial yet? Not ready for a sales conversation? No problem. You still know lots about them. You know what their pain points are and what they’re trying to accomplish.
You just need to try a new, less intensive offer. One that asks for less of a commitment (so it poses less of a threat).
But that can still get them closer to solving their problem. And getting you the lead at the end of the day.
Like a webinar.
Behavior #6. Webinar Registrations
Webinars are time-consuming.
For both you and the people sitting on them.
Webinars are classic middle of the funnel offers. Which means these people are interested. They’re close to the finish line.
You just need to get them over the hump.
First, create an audience for those who’ve visited both the webinar landing page and the thank you confirmation page. Or the funnel within the funnel. (In order to rule out randoms who saw one but not the other.)
If you want to get fancy, you can create a list in your marketing automation tool for new webinar registrations. And then use the data sync feature again to create the custom audience inside Facebook.
The goal now is to transform their implicit commercial intent into action. Specifically, some kind of purchase.
Not a huge one obviously. They’re not ready to splash out hundreds just yet.
So test a tripwire. A too-good-to-be-true offering that they can’t pass up.
Behavior #7. Previous Product Views
Dynamic Product Ads are amazing.
They allow you to create ads that perfectly match what someone was just doing on your site. Specifically, they products they were just viewing (or even adding to their shopping cart).
They’re pretty cool alright…
… if you can get the damn things set up properly.
First, there was the pixel problem. Getting it setup properly with your product catalog to create a feed that will be used to power the right ad based on the product someone just viewed.
Fortunately, this ain’t a problem no mo’ with Pixel Caffeine.
And with Facebook’s growing list of native integrations, including the best in the business like Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, and now even WooCommerce.
Mercifully, they’ve even created step-by-step walkthroughs for each popular platform. (Complete with videos, too.) So getting a product catalog + data feed created is slightly less of a nightmare.
Ok, cool. One issue down.
Unfortunately, a few more to go.
Dynamic product ads personalize an ad template. Details are pulled in based on a user’s previous site actions.
That means a few things. For starts, you’re gonna need to upload a vast list of products. Lots of ‘em. Which means you’re gonna need a vast list of high-quality product shots. Lots of ‘em.
That’s because product images reign supreme. 67% of consumers rate them as more important than product information, descriptions, past customer ratings, etc.
So you’re gonna need to multiply your product assets to test which work best for each individual product. (BigCommerce to the rescue with one awesome guide on creating eCommerce product photography on the cheap in your own little DIY studio.)
You can kinda shortcut some of this by using Carousels to feature multiple products within an ad set (so you’re targeting category or interest as opposed to individual product).
And then reverse-engineer product success based on interactions to determine which to test or invest more time behind optimizing.
“Behavioral targeting” is a trend. Jargon, sure.
But it’s also a legitimate way to increase results. And on Facebook, that means lower costs, too.
Sometimes it’s easy. People explicitly tell you what they want, when they want it, by completing some ‘hard’ goal on your site.
But more often than not, you’re going to have to dig a bit deeper. You’re going to have to look at the implicit actions happening. And pre-determine how you should respond next.
That’s not always practical. There are limitations depending on where or how you’re trying to do it.
But fortunately, you can do it successfully with Facebook ads because of their ubiquitous reach.
And AdEspresso. 🙂