Retail Analytics

How To Enhance Facebook Audience Targeting With PersonaLive

Lyden Foust


August 11, 2022

Facebook Audiences vs. PersonaLive Audiences

We are often asked, “Why is the PersonaLive audience solution better than Facebook’s native targeting capabilities?” This is a fair question because Facebook offers granular targeting tools. 

In short, PersonaLive audiences are not “better” than Facebook audiences. Rather, PersonaLive helps you pick the best top-of-funnel audiences with less trial and error. By using insights from your own customer data, PersonaLive audiences allow you to:

  1. Define top customer types. 
  2. Value leads to intelligently manage spend.
  3. Measure which segments perform well with which ad sets, and understand why.

We’ll walk you through each of these steps, but first, let’s briefly cover what you can and cannot achieve with Facebook Audiences.

Facebook Audience Targeting Tools

Facebook provides three primary tools for audience targeting

  • Core Audiences: Define an audience based on demographic criteria and interests.
  • Lookalike Audiences: Reach new people who look like your current CRM.
  • Custom Audiences: Retarget people who have engaged with your business.

Core and Lookalike Audiences are designed for top-of-funnel marketing, whereas Custom Audiences retarget people who have previously interacted with your brand (e.g. have made a purchase, visited your website, etc).

It has been our experience that audiences built on retargeting (mid-funnel) will almost always perform better than any top-of-funnel audience—including PersonaLive—since that audience has already shown strong intent.

Instead, PersonaLive audiences reduce the amount of time it takes to find a winning top-of-funnel audience. 

Limitations of Facebook Audiences

Let’s take a closer look at Facebook’s Core and Lookalike Audience tools and their limitations.

Facebook Core Audiences

Using your own intuition about your customers, you can target audiences based on demographics, interests, geography, and more. This is a fast and easy way to build a target audience.

Limitation: You may either be wrong in your assumptions about who your customers are, or there may be a customer group you are overlooking. Ideally, you know the exact demographics and interests of people who have bought from you.

Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Upload your customer list and let Facebook’s algorithm build an audience that looks similar to your existing customers. This is an easy way to find new potential customers.

Limitation: A lookalike audience puts all your customers into one box, when, in reality, your brand probably has multiple unique cohorts. This makes it difficult to measure ad performance as an ad may perform well for one cohort and badly for another, but you would only know that the overall audience’s performance was mediocre. In an ideal world, you’d have visibility into which cohorts your brand serves rather than lumping them into a single lookalike audience.

The Audience Value Problem

Both of these tools also miss out on one critical truth: some customer types spend more than others. Facebook’s tools don't take into consideration the brand value for converting different segments. 

For example, say you have two native Facebook audiences. ‘Audience A’ costs $0.47 to convert to a lead. ‘Audience B’ costs $0.68. What do you do? Drop the more expensive one, of course. But what if you knew the average ‘Audience A’ customer spends $452, and the average ‘Audience B’ customer spends $609? You’d plow your money into the more expensive audience all day.

Build Better Audiences With PersonaLive

So, how exactly can we leverage PersonaLive to overcome these limitations and build better audiences?

Step 1: Define Your Top Customers

PersonaLive segments your customers by their individual demographics, social media behavior, and cell-phone based retail visitation into 80 groups. Each of these groups has their own unique mindsets, interests, and attitudes. 

When you upload your customer list to the PersonaLive platform, you receive a report showing the percentage of customers that fall into each segment as well as the average spend per segment. 

This report reveals you who your customers actually are (i.e. their demographics and interests) and gives you granular control over your audience selection.

Step 2: Assign Dollar Values to Audiences

Since this report includes how much each segment spends, you can assign specific dollar values to them. Below is an excerpt of a report for an ecommerce retailer’s top 5 customer segments ranked by spend.

Indexes represent a segment’s spend vs. average customer spend (e.g. segment A01’s spend is $609.45, which is 42% higher than average). Base percent is the percent of the households in the nation falling into that segment. 

At a glance, we can see target segments by spend, and the percentage of customers they make up in our CRM. For example, A01 #MidasMight constitutes both a significant percentage of our customers (10.98%) and is a high spender (42% more than average). People in this audience are worth converting even if the audience has a higher CPC (cost per click).

Now that we know which audiences are most valuable to our brand, we can select the best top-of-funnel audiences and assign an estimated dollar value to conversions coming from each audience. To do this in the PersonaLive platform, navigate to the Activate page and send the desired audience to your Facebook account to begin running ads.

Step 3: Measure Audience Performance

With our audiences split by segment, we can watch how well each performs and edit our strategy on the fly.

  • J01 has the highest click through rate but is also the most expensive ($1.02 CPC).
  • A05 is the cheapest, we know they spend $452 on average.
  • A01 is more expensive than A05 but they spend $609 on average.

We’d likely take the money we are spending on J01 #PicturesqueProsperity and funnel that into the more valuable A01 #MidasMight segment, even though there are audiences with a higher CTR (click through rate) and cheaper CPC. We might even consider running tests on copy and imagery to get our CTR for A01 #MidasMight up.

Define. Value. Measure.

PersonaLive isn’t necessarily better or worse than Facebook's native audience solution. With enough experimentation and trial and error you’d eventually find strong top-of-funnel audiences. Rather, it allows you to use your own customer data to choose better audiences by defining top segments, putting a dollar value on what a contact is worth, and making it easy to measure the results.

Ready to build better audiences? Request a demo of PersonaLive to get started.

Want to see a case study in action? Check out Optimizing Facebook Campaigns With PersonaLive Segmentation.

How PersonaLive Segmentation System Works

Personalive segmentation uses social media, mobile foot traffic, online activity, and individual-level demographics to organize every US household into one of 80 behavioral segments. These segments provide visibility to the online and offline preferences of the customers visiting any US property.

01 Append

Draw a polygon around a property to identify the behavioral segment of every visitor.

02 Analyze

Rank the top customer types visiting a location. Then match retailers based on online and offline activities of visitors.

03 Activate

Demonstrate visitor brand affinity to close deals. Activate marketing campaigns to drive target segments to your location.

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