Winter Is Coming (in Facebook): 3 Ways Advertisers Can Prepare

Winter is Coming. Not in Westeros and not in Atlanta, but in Facebook. It’s no secret that the future of Facebook for advertisers is a bit uncertain at the moment, with the potential of regulation, privacy policy updates, and data breaches bringing a dark draft of apprehension on the horizon.

Changes we’ve seen in Facebook

Up until this point, Facebook has given advertisers an ever-increasing number of targeting options, providing an unmatched level of hyper-targeting. If you wanted to target soccer moms considering a full-size SUV purchase in the next year, you could do that. If you wanted to target big-city moms who are employees of a company with 10-49 employees in the finance industry, you could do that. But now, third-party data providers are getting the cold shoulder from Facebook, as Facebook begins phasing out the use of these sources as targeting options. And we can reasonably assume that this is just the beginning. A new age of Facebook advertising is coming and we need to be ready for whatever that may mean.

Facebook categories

So, now what? How do you protect access to the targeting you’ve worked hard to refine & perfect once it becomes obsolete? We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve to ensure you’re taking advantage of what you have now in order to prepare yourself for what may come.

1. Lead Ads

Get some lead ads in rotation using the current targeting while it’s still available! Use a light call to action, maybe offer an exclusive discount or something free, to get a substantial amount of names and emails that you know are inside that hyper-targeted audience… You now have a whole list of people to cultivate. Take that list and create lookalike audiences from it. You already know that all the people from the original list came from the targeting you believed best for your business and now you’re building multiple lists of potential leads from that one effort.

2. Custom Audiences

If you haven’t checked out all the possibilities for Facebook custom audiences, you need to. You probably know the basics about creating a remarketing audience or a customer file audience, but the ones you may not be familiar with are all the engagement options. You can create audiences from people who have spent time watching your videos or interacted with your events or even if they opened up that new lead form you just made! Don’t sleep on these options because they give you the ability to target already engaged people who are much more likely to convert than cold contacts.

Facebook custom audience

3. Lookalike Audiences

Once you’ve got your custom audiences built, take it a step further. Build lookalikes from all your custom audiences – from website visitors and current customers to video viewers and page engagers. Experiment with different audience sizes for your lookalikes and find what works best.

Facebook lookalike audience

So no, we may not be able to target coupon-using moms who purchase dairy products in the future. Change is coming, but change is a good thing. It forces us to get out of our comfort zone, get creative, and do what we do best: produce strong, compelling content and find a way to get it in front of the right people. So build as many audiences as you can while the targeting is still available, and then use that as a foundation for discovering new audiences. Let’s not forget that Facebook is a powerful tool with a complex algorithm. When you give it the right audiences to work with, it’ll work with you.

Mary McPartlan