How to Create Cold Audiences to Target Inside of the Facebook Platform

There are a lot of different Facebook ad strategies that we can use to grow your business. In this blog post, we will focus on creating cold audiences. What are cold audiences? They are people who have never interacted with your brand before. A cold audience is one that has not been interacted with by your business before – they are complete strangers. By targeting them with Facebook Ads, we can introduce them to your business and convince them to become customers. This can be a great way to target people who are interested in what you have to offer but haven’t yet taken the time to learn more about your company. 

Cold audiences are one of the hardest audiences because they literally know nothing about you. Sometimes these audiences are called TOF or Top of the funnel. AIDA Model in Digital Marketing That’s because they are at the very top of your marketing funnel.  Yes, everyone has a funnel and we discussed marketing funnels in a previous blog.  If we are not constantly adding new cold audiences to your funnel then we will dry up with potential new clients. 

Once this audience has been introduced to your brand it’s important to ensure that we have a strong funnel from your warm audiences for remarketing. This flow from cold audiences to warm audiences is what truly makes Facebook ads work. Today we’re going to talk about how to expand that warm audience and get to people who are NOT familiar with your brand.

So let’s talk about all the different types of cold audiences.

The Facebook Pixel

The Facebook pixel is super important to building cold audiences.  The pixel is a piece of code that is added to the website and gathers information about thoseCold Audiences Facebook ads who have interacted with your website.  While it has been diminished with recent changes in the third-party cookies it still has a lot of power built into it. There are also a lot of steps that we take as an agency to ensure that we are able to collect as much data as we possibly can.  So while it may seem it’s diminished there are action steps that your marketing agency can take. 

The pixel is time sensitive in that it only gathers information from when it is installed so it’s important to get this set up as soon as possible. 

Without the pixel we would be very limited in lookalike audiences we can build. The pixel allows us to build the lookalike audiences of website visitors and those that interact with our audiences in certain ways.  For instance, someone has been clicking on a button that we desire.  

We can also create audiences of those who have visited certain sections of our website.  Perhaps we want to target those sections of the website by services.  This would allow us to market to one audience who is familar with one service and market to them about another service of yours.

Lookalike Audiences

We spent all that time building those warm audiences – where Facebook has already gathered demographic information on your warm audience. These warm audiences allow Facebook to build lookalikes for those audiences.  When creating these audiences, we can optimize using source, similarity, and reach.

  • The minimum source needs to be at least 100 people. That way Facebook has enough demographic information in order to make an accurate lookalike audience. We do recommend that it’s actually more than 100, but 100 is a good place to start. So if you have an email list that is less than 100, we can’t use it.  In reality, it will have to be much larger so that Facebook can match emails to your list. 
  • The next thing to look at is similarity. This is where we determine how similar based on % we want your lookalike audience to be to your existing audience.  There’s a gauge on the bottom of audience size and we can select anywhere from zero to ten percent. Zero or one would indicate the closest in similarity to your existing audience. The larger the number the less likely it’s going to be similar to your audience. We tend to always stick with one and test past that.
  • The other item is the reach. With regard to location, the smallest we can choose are countries. So if you’re in the United States, we would choose the United States. Don’t worry though we are not targeting the entire United States if you don’t want us to.  When we go to do your geographical targeting for your Facebook ad we will choose the desired area and layer on top of this lookalike audience. 

Facebook and Instagram Audience Research in the Facebook Ads Manager

While lookalike audiences use Facebook machine learning to create audiences based on your existing audiences.  You might not have existing data that allows us to build solid lookalike audiences.  Your audiences might also be trained with bad incoming traffic and/or an old list from clients that are not active.  There are a lot of reasons why it might not be the best source so this is where audience research comes in to build more cold audiences.

Facebook and Instagram Competitor Research

Another place that we would look at is competitor research.Cold Audiences Facebook ads competitor audiences

First, we go and like all the pages of your competitors. We would go to their websites so that we’re inside of their remarketing audiences. Once we have done that, then we might possibly start to see their ad. When we do see their ads If we select the three dots in the upper right-hand corner and then select “Why am I seeing this ad,” we will start to see some information on who they are possibly targeting. This is a great way to get some audiences that they are using as well.

Outside of seeing their audience targeting, we can also see their actual ads live and not live Facebook ads.  You can see this by visiting any competitor page and selecting  “page transparency”.

Let’s go see what data Facebook has on your potential audience.

Facebook and Instagram Audience Insights

Facebook is already gathering information on your existing audience.

Audience Insights pull highlights of people, demographic information; age range, gender, Top cities they are from, and top pages they are interacting with.  We can even get the estimated audience that you will have to market to. This gives us a great place to start to get some information about those already following your page. 

Google Analytics

We will also check your Google Analytics as well because you’ve got information in there that can be used in conjunction with Audience Insights. Google Analytics is also gathering some basic information on demographics and interests.  Although they might use different terms to describe audiences it gives us a good cross-reference to keep all the tech platforms in check.   This can also spark more creativity in finding more audiences outside of these the platforms are already collecting.

The Facebook Ads Manager

Facebook has a variety of different ways to target your cold audiences so let’s talk through what we can gather. While we are going to list below what can currently be seen in the Facebook ads manager, this list is always evolving.  There are some taken away and some added all the time.  There are even some not available depending on what industry you are in like real estate or if you are targeting employment.  There are also even hidden targeting that can only be discovered by “suggestions”.  Once you start to get a seed audience you can learn about the hidden options.  When we first get started with someone we like to explore and save as many audiences as possible.  This is just another reason why ads cannot be set and forget it. 

  • Demographics
    • Education
      • Education level
      • Fields of study
      • Schools
      • Undergrad years
    • Financial
      • Income
        • Top % of zip codes
    • Live events
      • Anniversary
      • Away from family
      • Away from hometown
      • Birthday
      • Friends of
      • New job
      • New relationship
      • Newly engaged
      • Newlywed
      • Recently moved
    • Parents
      • Ceratin age group parents
    • Relationship
      • Civil Union
      • Complicated
      • Divorced
      • Domestic partnership
      • Engaged
      • In a relationship
      • Married
      • Other relationships
      • Separated
      • Single
      • Unspecified
      • Widow
  • Work
    • Employers
    • Industries
      • Job titles
  • Interest
    • Business Industry
    • Entertainment
    • Family and relationships
    • Fitness and wellness
    • Food and drink
    • Hobbies and activities
    • Shopping and fashion
    • Sports and Outdoors
    • Technology
  • Behaviors
    • Anniversary 
      • Within 61-90 days
    • Consumer classification
      • People who prefer high-value goods in (Insert country)
      • People who prefer mid and high-value goods in (Insert country)
    • Digital activities
      • New Business (insert # of months)
      • Operating system
      • Game consoles
      • Facebook payment users
      • Facebook page admins
      • Internet browser
    • Small business owners
    • Technology early adopters
    • Expats
      • Formally lived in
    • Mobile device user
    • Purchase behavior
    • Interested in upcoming events
    • Soccer
    • Travel
      • Frequent traveler

As you can see from above there are a lot of ways to build and research your cold audiences to target on the Facebook ads platform.  It might seem with recent rumblings that there is less targeting which might be true in some aspects, but there is still plenty of data out there.  Many of which have been going on and will go on for years to come.  Once you’ve built out your audiences, it’s time to start creating your ads. You’ll want to focus on creating ads that are relevant to the interests of your audience. Remember, you’re trying to reach people who have never heard of your brand before. This means that you’ll need to create compelling ad copy and imagery that will grab their attention. If you are ready to get started with Facebook ads come see why we have won some marketing awards!

Want to listen?

Ep #46 – Tips for Creating Cold Audiences in the Facebook Ad Platform

Listen to “Ep #46 – Tips for Creating Cold Audiences in the Facebook Ad Platform” on Spreaker.

This week, the digital marketing team talks about creating cold audiences in Facebook Ads. There are many ways to do so, follow along to learn about the endless possibilities when creating cold audiences. There are different research tactics and strategies to find the right cold audiences – listen to learn more!

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