Facebook Custom Audience Update: New Advanced Ways to Retarget

Facebook announced this week that they are rolling out advanced Custom Audience options that will expand the number of ways marketers can retarget their own website visitors. Before we dive into the new changes, let’s take a quick look back at the evolution of Facebook pixels.

The Old Conversion Pixel

The original conversion pixel had extremely limited functionality, but it was enough to get the job done three years ago when Facebook made their first foray into conversion tracking. The original conversion pixel performed only one function: tracking a specific, unique conversion on a page. because it could not track audiences to facilitate retargeting, it was used strictly for measurement purposes. Tracking has now taken a giant leap forward, rendering the old conversion pixel obsolete. Facebook will be decommissioning this pixel in the second half of 2016 in favor of its new unified pixel.

The New Facebook Unified Pixel

A year ago, Facebook recognized that the original conversion pixel was limited and created a new pixel that could both measure results and track audience pools. When initially launched, this new pixel was able to track specific events from an advertiser’s site such as page views, add-to-carts, purchases, etc. It was also able to build website retargeting lists based on the pages users were visiting. While these new features were leaps and bounds ahead of the old conversion pixel, there were still many untapped opportunities that could make the pixel an even more powerful marketing tool. On May 11th, Facebook announced the release of some of these new pixel features, which will help marketers target more accurately and subsequently see better results.

Facebook Unified Pixel Updates

The latest pixel updates address the fact that not all website visitors are created equal. Certain users are more valuable than others, and being able to identify those high-value users enables better retargeting as well as more qualified lookalike audience modeling. Here are the top three new updates that are most important for marketers and a brief explanation of how each update will help brands identify their most valuable users:

  • Frequency of Visits: Allows marketers to target users based on how many times they visit a certain sub-section of pages or the website.
    • Users who visit more pages are likely more interested in a specific product, meaning there’s an increased likelihood that they will convert.
  • Purchase Value: Gives marketers the ability to target users based on how much they have spent on-site in a given timeframe.
    • Breaking users down into different revenue segments helps you separate your highest spenders from your low spenders, enabling the option of sending coupons to specific users and/or maxing out on those who may contribute to the highest AOV or have the highest LTV, before spending on other subsegments.
  • Time Spent: Perhaps one of the most requested features, this gives marketers the ability to target people based on the duration of page visits.
    • Targeting users who have been on-site for more than 10 seconds could potentially allow for smaller audience pools, but ones comprised of more qualified users who did not drop immediately due to accidental clicks.

How Can Brands Help?

Brands who know the behavior of their site visitors can help marketers create some of these advanced Custom Audiences by sharing their internal learnings. For example, if a brand knows that users who visit 5 pages are more likely to buy than users who only visit 2 pages, we can bucket those two sets of users and message them in different but very specifically relevant ways. Conversely, if a brand knows that users who visit the site less frequently are less likely to convert, marketers could segment those users out and send them special offers in order to entice a purchase without driving them to the site an extra 3 times.

These exciting new developments to the Facebook pixel will help brands capitalize even more on one of their most valuable audiences, their website visitors. As Facebook continues to develop more advanced targeting options, brands will have the tools they need to increase the relevancy and personalization of ads. In addition to optimizing performance, the added relevancy and personalization will also likely help increase consumers’ acceptance of having direct response ads injected into their personal news feeds.