If you’re working in the ad industry, there’s one question that’s even more intriguing than the last scene of "The Sopranos" -- just how will Facebook be able to grow revenue and send its stock price soaring?
In the recent past, Facebook launched several new advertising initiatives to make its platform more appealing to advertisers, and extended the scope of its Facebook Offers product by making it available on its mobile app. More recently, Facebook took its app install program out of beta for mobile app developers. And a few weeks ago, the company launched yet another product that got some attention, but deserves a lot more -- Facebook Custom Audience.
Custom Audience allows marketers to find their offline or email audience on Facebook. With Custom Audience, you can now take an email list or phone list of your current customers, prospects, loyalty club members, current or lapsed users and upload them to Facebook. Facebook hashes the user information (which means that it encrypts the data in a secure way that can’t be decrypted) to maintain user privacy.
Once you upload your email list, Facebook serves that audience targeted ads as they spend time on the social network. You can customize the message for different audiences. For example, you could offer lapsed users an irresistible discount to renew their relationship with your brand. At the same time, you can give current users of your product an entirely different offer to renew.
The initial results of the new ad offering are promising. E-commerce company Open Sky was one of the first brands to use Facebook Custom Audience. They reported that they were able to increase conversion rates by 34%. In addition, the Washington Post’s ad arm SocialLike reported that Custom Audience delivered a 15% lower Cost-per-Like and 87% higher Impression-to-Like rate.
Facebook Custom Audience is important for brands, as it helps them deepen engagement with their audience as they spend time on social networks. With Facebook’s user base at over one billion, it is highly likely that you can find your offline or email audience on Facebook. In addition, in the U.S., Facebook accounts for more than 50% of Internet time. Facebook Custom Ads enables you to reach your audience where they are spending most of their time, and send the message that is most relevant to them.
In addition, with Facebook Custom Audience brand marketers can extend the scope of their email marketing efforts. There has always been talk about the convergence of email and social media. Now with Facebook Custom Audience, that talk is a reality.
With Facebook Custom Audience, marketers have to think of adding an entirely new dimension to their social marketing efforts. To date, all they’ve had to do is focus their efforts on connecting with their audience on Facebook. Now, they have to also focus on growing their audience outside Facebook -- by using banner, search or signup advertising. They can then leverage the social network to deepen their engagement with that audience.
Improving advertising performance on Facebook has long been an issue for advertisers. With Custom Audience, the social network seems to have taken a positive step in assuaging their concerns. And that’s something to like.