How to Activate First-Party Segments on Social and Search

Every marketer knows that first-party data opens the opportunity to create highly personalized paid advertising campaigns that can target known customers. These lower funnel campaigns can be your most effective revenue drivers, but how can you use your first-party data to feed your top-funnel initiatives like awareness and acquisition?

The good news is that today marketers can leverage Facebook and Google’s predictive technology tools to create additional audiences that resemble the behaviors and characteristics of their first-party audiences. Here’s a quick look at some of the ways you can activate your first-party audiences across Facebook and Google to advance your marketing initiatives during the holidays and into 2020.

“Leveraging your first-party data is especially important during this time of year to focus on shoppers who already have a relationship with your brand,” says Casey Edwards, Senior Specialist at Tinuiti. “What many business owners don’t know is how valuable this data is in acquiring new customers.”

Segment Your CRM Lists First

Segmenting your customer lists based on different interactions with your brand is essential for delivering the best message to the right person across any ad platform. This means taking stock of all your first-party data across multiple channels and devices, and then creating segments based on specific behaviors for media activation.

Consider all of your first-party backed data points to divide segments by:

  • Loyal customers
  • High AOV customer
  • Recent purchasers
  • Last year’s customers
  • Active email subscribers
  • Inactive past purchasers
  • Inactive email subscribers

The more robust and defined your first-party segments, the more effective your paid ad campaigns will be for driving your holiday marketing and sales initiatives.

Are they a loyal customer that would enjoy a VIP discount? Are they likely to add more to their cart with a tiered purchase promotion? Do they prefer shopping in-store, on your app, or on a website? What categories or content have they shown interest in?

Target High-Value Segments with Customer Match and Custom Audiences

Both Facebook and Google’s ad platforms give you the ability to integrate your first-party CRM data with audience tools. By layering in these first-party audiences, you can create a seamless and highly-relevant advertising experience across multiple channels and devices.

Facebook Custom Audiences

Custom Audiences on Facebook allows you to target customers based on email lists, phone numbers, website visits, and even users who have previously engaged with your ads or business page.

“Custom audiences are a must-have tool for advertisers to target people who are already aware of the brand, meaning they are one step closer to a conversion,’ says Savannah Montgomery, Paid Social Strategist at Tinuiti.

In addition to creating custom audiences based off your CRM data, you can also target people based on specific events tracked by the Facebook Pixel, such as search queries, pages viewed, cart actions, checkout, and more from your website.

“Once a custom audience is plugged into Audience Insights, you can find customer demographics, interests and tons of other information. Knowing these identifiers allows you to have a better understanding of who you should be targeting in your prospecting efforts,” says Edwards.

Google Ads RLSAs & Customer Match

Google’s RLSA (remarketing lists for search ads) allow you to reach people that have engaged with your business by visiting your website or made a purchase. Remarketing lists can be used to create different warm audiences that can be activated across Google’s properties.

“Conversion rates are substantially higher for audiences that are familiar with your brand or have been to your site when compared to normal users,” says Nick Manessis, Senior Manager of Growth Media at Tinuiti

“If you want to focus on the users behind the searches and not just the keywords themselves — that’s where RLSA becomes valuable.”

One of the most powerful features of RLSAs is Customer Match, which allows you to integrate emails, home addresses, and phone numbers to create first-party audiences that you can target across Search as well as Shopping, Gmail, and YouTube.

With the right customer in mind, you can then deploy campaigns such as Responsive Search, Shopping, and Responsive Display that include personalized copy and promotions that compel them to convert.

Expand Your Customer Acquisition With Lookalike & Similar Audiences

First-party data isn’t just for retargeting and driving repeat purchasers, it can also be used to acquire new audiences that are similar to your top-performing segments. Google and Facebook have both developed predictive algorithms that allow advertisers to model similar audiences based off of your first-party audiences.

Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike audiences can be an incredibly powerful tool for building social audiences based on your first-party data. You can create Lookalikes from your Custom Audiences, Conversion Pixel, Facebook Page engagement, and Mobile Apps (with App Events).

“Your own consumer data can serve as a great resource modeling new audiences around the holiday season. CRM lists of prior year Black Friday purchasers can generate relevant audiences for targeting this year. If you have the data, don’t be afraid to go granular,” says Kevin Janson, Senior Specialist of Paid Social at Tinuiti.

For example, you can create dynamic ad campaigns that reach Facebook and Instagram users with similar category interests, page visits, or purchase decisions as your known customers. You can also layer in additional demographics on top, such as location and salary. With this feature, you’ll want to test the match percentage based on how your priorities and how close you want your lookalikes to mirror your known audiences.

“When setting it up, you have a range from 1-10%, one being the closest match and ten being the furthest. 1% will be a smaller number of people but is the closest group Facebook can find resembling the behaviors of those repeat purchasers,” says Sarah Sanchez, Senior Manager of Social Strategy at Tinuiti.

Google Similar Audiences

Google’s Similar Audiences feature allows you to create new audience segments based on those with similar behaviors as your target audience. These audiences can be based on search and site behaviors in addition to your RLSA segments, which can help drive traffic that will have a higher chance of converting on your website.

“Similar audiences are great for finding other audiences similar to your best-performing users. This helps hone down that broader audience to users who match our past buyers’ online personas,” says Adam Harms, Senior Retail Search Manager at Tinuiti.

Today’s most effective ad platforms offer great tools that allow you to leverage your first-party data to reach new and existing segments across social and search networks. Smart brands that make the most of the holiday gifting season will unify, segment, and then deploy their first-party data across multiple touchpoints and campaign types to build a compelling experience for customers and those that closely resemble their customers.

Originally published November 05, 2019

Greg Swan

Content Strategist

Greg Swan is a Content Strategist at Tinuiti, where he plans and creates digital marketing content for brand growth across Marketplaces, Search, Social Media, and more.

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