Towards the end of last month, Facebook launched a new targeting feature called ‘custom audience adverts’.
This new targeting ability sounds like an advertiser’s dream – companies can target groups of users using their own CRM database information such as email addresses, telephone numbers or Facebook IDs (although I suspect that not many collect this at the moment, so it may take some researching!).
Quite simply, an advertiser can upload a CSV or TXT file containing a list of email addresses, Facebook User IDs or Phone Numbers, upload it to Facebook who will encrypt that data using hashes and then look for matches against Facebook users.
At no point will Facebook save that data in any way – it is purely used to find matches and the number of successful links are added to a custom audience for the advertiser.
As an advertiser, I find this capability extremely exciting.
Let’s say I’m working with a ecommerce client who sells a large range of electrical products and before someone can buy anything from their site, they have to register, providing an email address and phone number for delivery. I could use a database of this information and upload it as a custom audience.
Imagine my database had 100,000 user details in – Facebook may find 40,000 matches against existing Facebook users and add all these into my custom audience. I now have a list of 40,000 users who I all know have been on my client’s site before and most likely purchased something in which to target with adverts to encourage to purchase again using offers, or to ‘like’ their Facebook page.
Another hypothetical situation where this could be used is in recruitment. A company may have identified a set number of individuals it would like to target for a particular role. If they were able to track those users down by searching for them on Facebook, they could acquire their Facebook user IDs and create a custom audience and campaign with the sole purpose of targeting them with finding a new job.
I’m sure you’ll agree, there could be many more scenarios and the potential is absolutely huge. The advertiser in me can’t wait to test it, but I suspect the wider public may see this as another step in the ‘big brother’ approach of online advertising, despite the reassurances over safety of data.
If you’ve begun using this feature already and have some feedback, I’d love to hear from you.