Facebook’s Website Custom Audiences: High hopes or heavy hype?

Facebook’s Website Custom Audiences: High hopes or heavy hype?

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Facebook first announced a new kind of custom audience for Facebook Ads, last October. It’s called Website Custom Audiences (WCA), and it’s going to be big. This changes things, and may even be a tad overwhelming for some.

Allow me to help clarify things a bit. This article will dive right into this very new, very cool, tool. I’ll tell you how it works, how to integrate it into your Facebook Ad and your website, and give you a quick synopsis of five ways WCA can be used for business.

Let’s break it down.

Facebook Website Custom Audiences and how it works

You know what custom audiences are, yeah? The imported email list of your merchants or contacts which Facebook translates into their corresponding Facebook users? And then you can target your existing contacts with a Facebook Ad designed specifically for them?

Well what if you could create a list of people who visited your business’ website (coming from anywhere) over the course of 30 days, or 15 days, or 180 days? And what if you could target a Facebook Ad at them based on where they trafficked to within your site?

Now you can. Ad Parlor gives a good illustration of this:

As yet, I’ve only seen WCA within Power Editor (a Google Chrome plugin which you should absolutely get if you don’t have it), and you may not even have it there yet. But, provided your business has between 100 and 10,000 Facebook Fans, you will soon.

This is what it might look like on your own Facebook page:

So basically (if any of you have used the Facebook conversion tracking pixel you’ll notice some similarities here), Facebook gives you a bit of code. You place that bit of code within the code of your website. You then tell Facebook which page you want to see the traffic for, and anytime that page receives web traffic that traffic triggers the code. It pings to Facebook, saying ‘hey, James Scherer triggered me!’. Then James Scherer and anybody else who triggers your bit of code is compiled into an audience that you can target with a Facebook Ad.

The difference between this and a conversion tracking pixel is that this bit of code doesn’t just ping when someone traffics from Facebook to your site – it pings whenever anybody traffics to your site whatsoever! And then Facebook goes and finds the corresponding Facebook profile for that traffic.

How to create Website Custom Audience ads for yourself:

Within Power Editor, you head to the audiences page (one of the options along the left-side toolbar). By the way, you’ll be familiar with many of these steps if you’ve ever created a conversion tracking pixel or worked with custom audience targeting.

1. Click ‘Create Audience’ and you should see (if you don’t, you will in the next few weeks) the option ‘Website Custom Audience’

2. Choose a name for your WCA, like ‘landing page traffic’ ‘home page traffic’ or ‘pricing page traffic’ – make it something descriptive, so when you have multiple WCA’s down the line you know which is which

3. The ‘Contains’ box is the important one, as it tells Facebook which page within your website to collect the traffic from. For instance, if you wanted to collect traffic from your pricing page, you’d put whatever part of that page’s url that comes after the ‘dot com’ (for Wishpond, it’d be “/pricing-plans/”)

4. You can also choose ‘And’, which allows you to capture traffic from multiple pages for the same WCA

5. If you simply put a “/” (like the image above) the pixel will capture all your website traffic

6. Duration is exactly what you think it is – the amount of time this pixel will capture traffic to your page. The duration you leave your pixel active for will depend on how much traffic your website (or the page) receives in any given period.

7. Once you’ve filled in these boxes, click ‘View Code’ and copy it between the <body> and </body> tags of your website’s code.

8. Once that’s done, you can head back to Power Editor and click ‘Create Remarketing Audience’ and it’ll start compiling your website traffic!

Top Tip: In order to re-target lapsed customers or (for instance) someone who bought from you more than 3 months ago, consider creating a website custom audience going back 180 days (obviously this strategy won’t work for a while) and then another going back 160 days – then target the 180 day audience while excluding the 160 day audience. Yes, these are some sneaky, sneaky advertising techniques.

How to use WCA with your Facebook Ad

Those of you who have used Facebook custom audiences will know how this works. When targeting your Facebook Ad, simply choose ‘Target by Website Custom Audience’, then choose the relevant compilation of traffic from your site. Depending on your website traffic, you’ll have to wait anywhere between a couple hours and a few weeks to see enough traffic that your Facebook Ad ROI will make sense.

Jon Loomer, who was one of the first to test this audience targeting strategy, saw a 9% click-through-rate on his first advertisement targeted at a WCA. He targeted around 1,200 Facebook users with the ad, earning himself 108 click-throughs to his site.

I recommend you wait until you have at least 1,000 people in your WCA before you target them with a Facebook Ad.

5 ways Website Custom Audiences can be used for your business

I really think this tool will have a huge influence on how we advertise on Facebook. For the longest time this kind of technology was exclusively available to people using 3rd party re-targeting tools like AdRoll and PerfectAudience. Now, however, it’s available to small businesses, making the increasing Facebook click-through-rates (they’ve increased 275% since 2011) even more competitive.

Here are the 5 main ways I see it being used:

1. Re-Targeting from the Pricing Page

Create an WCA from the traffic to your business’ pricing page. If they didn’t click-through to a sale, perhaps they were concerned by the prices you’re offering. A Facebook Ad targeted at this group, offering a month’s free-trial, could see some awesome results.

2. Re-Targeting for Lead Generation

Create a WCA from the traffic to your business’ entire site. Then target that audience with an ad that promotes an email-gated ebook or offer – meaning, in order to get access to the valuable content you’ve created, they have to provide an email address. You can then use this email address for your email marketing strategy or further Facebook Ad targeting by custom audience.

3. Re-Targeting from a Product Page

Create a WCA from the traffic to your business’ specific product pages, and target them with a Facebook Ad offering a free one-on-one demo of your products with a sales associate. No obligation, just a casual conversation in which they can ask any questions they might have.



4. Re-Targeting Lapsed Customers

Create a long-term WCA from your business’ checkout stage. This will give you the entire list of Facebook users who have bought from your business. Then, employ the top tip I gave you above, in which you target the entire WCA from the past 180 days, and then exclude the past 160. This will give you the people who bought from you 6 months ago, but haven’t returned. Target them with a ‘We’ve missed you!’ Facebook Ad, offering a sale or discount code exclusive to them.

5. Re-Targeting for a Facebook Like

Create a WCA from your website’s entire traffic. Use it to generate Facebook Likes.

Facebook Likes are far more than a vanity metric. They open a 24-7, free, line of communication with people interested in your business. Because a WCA is made up of people who may or may not already be your Facebook Page’s Fans, you can target them with a ‘Like-Gated’ contest. I’d recommend you exclude your Page’s current fans when you target this audience, as otherwise you’re wasting paid reach.

Facebook’s Website Custom Audiences in conclusion

Hopefully I haven’t overloaded you with all this. Basically it comes down to this:

Facebook’s Website Custom Audiences allow you to incorporate your site’s traffic with your Facebook strategy. They’ll increase your ad’s click-through-rates (as people are guaranteed to already be familiar with your brand) and allow you to, essentially, segment your Facebook Ads by where someone is within your sales funnel.

Believe me, they’re going to be big.

Main image credit: HipGenius.com