Will Custom Audiences Replace Fans in Facebook Advertising?

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By Terry Sheridan Digital Advertisers, with some minor deviations, mostly understand the Facebook conversion funnel as a four step process:

1. Grow fan base.

2. Promote a genuine interest in your community and product.

3. Host contests and giveaways to excite, surprise, and delight

4. Drive traffic to your website to convert.

The goal is that the money you put into steps one, two, and three, totals less than the return you get with step four. Fans are expensive, there is no doubt about it. If you want one hundred thousand fans and you are hitting $0.50 per Like, then simple arithmetic says you will have to spend $50,000 to acquire these fans.

Cookies and pixels have been around for many years, and Facebook has had Lookalike Audiences since March of 2013. Recently, with new Website Custom Audiences, advertisers can put every website visitor into a Custom Audience automatically, without any email address linking the user.

Without getting too deep into the jargon of these tools, suspicions are rising that Fan Growth might not be the best route to take in terms of ROI. However, the old adage translated into Facebook language,“Ten thousand fans who are highly engaged with your content and are loyal brand advocates will always be better than one million fans who have heard about your product” still applies.

These relatively new Facebook tools are designed to help you reach people who are similar to people who have already interacted with your brand in some way. They add to the tool box, not subtract. While they could take some of the guess work and ingenuity that comes behind creating a campaign, they also allow you to scale your campaign greatly if you don’t already have a strong social media or digital presence.

So do these advanced advertising tools replace the tried and true fan base? Not in the least! Your fan base will always be your most engaged community, and growing this can only help your brand and your conversion rate.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!