You should read this article before you start working with CRM Ads. It contains a lot of information relating to this product that will help you make the right decisions when it comes to creating the right campaign for the right audience.
What is Facebook Ads?
Facebook Ads is the Facebook display advertising module, which lets you launch ads campaigns to contacts, as:
- A simple Facebook right-side ad, shown to the right of the news feed.
- As a Suggested Post / Sponsored Stories, shown in the news feed itself.
- As sponsored stories for the Facebook mobile app.
CRM Ads integrates with this so that you can match your Emarsys contacts with their Facebook profiles and create custom audiences in, so that you can target these micro-segments individually. These custom audiences are dynamic and, once created, are updated in real time.
Once the ads campaign is activated, neither you nor Emarsys play any further part in the campaign execution. Facebook will target the selected audience with the adverts you have created, according to its own algorithms, until your monthly budget limit has been reached or the campaign reaches its end.
See also: Creating Facebook Ads Campaigns.
Please note that Emarsys has no control over how and when Facebook displays your ads.
What are Facebook Custom Audiences?
Custom audiences are lists of Facebook users which correspond to the contact lists and segments that you create in Emarsys. Facebook creates these audiences for you by checking for user profiles associated with email addresses or mobile phone numbers (or both) stored in your contact database, depending on the settings you choose.
A Facebook audience must have a minimum of 100 contacts, officially.
Emarsys strongly recommends to have at least 1,000 contacts for Facebook to use it for ad targeting. Read more about audiences in the Facebook documentation.
Why is it so special?
There are a number of reasons why every Emarsys user who is also active on Facebook should be interested in CRM Ads:
- Like other Facebook integrations, you can use Facebook’s own data to refine your segments even further.
- Unlike other Facebook integrations, however, Emarsys can continuously synchronize your audiences with their source segments, so you don’t need to worry about manually updating them.
- Another innovation is using the Automation Center to fill audiences based on contact behavior (Automation Audiences) rather than just on contact properties. Here, you effectively let the audience build itself from the contacts who are sharing that particular customer journey, and can target them accordingly.
- You can create Facebook Lookalike audiences from your most valuable customer segments, and target new leads who share the characteristics that define those segments.
- When using CRM Ads in conjunction with email campaigns, you can extend your reach by up to three times by switching channel and targeting contacts on Facebook who did not respond to your email.
Filtering your audiences further with Facebook’s own data
When you create an Automation or a Segment audience, you can also choose to filter this audience further using Facebook’s own data. If you select this option, you can restrict the contacts that Facebook puts in the audience according to:
You can filter by one of: country, region or city (these refer to the Facebook profile, not your Emarsys contact properties). Within each option, multiple selection is possible.
Note: Facebook will only create a lookalike audience based on a single country. To target prospects in more than one country, you will have to create multiple lookalike audiences based on the same source audience.
These are the interests that Facebook users have included in their profiles. You can drill down through the hierarchy of categories offered by Facebook, and next to each category is the total number of Facebook users worldwide who share that interest.
About Google Customer Match
What is Google Customer Match?
Google Customer Match allows Emarsys to match your contacts to Google accounts. This ultimately provides targeting capabilities to specific customers that were previously unavailable.
Once the ads campaign is activated, neither you nor Emarsys play any further part in the campaign execution. Google will target the selected audience with the adverts you have created, according to its own algorithms, until your monthly budget limit has been reached or the campaign reaches its end.
Custom Match is available across three of Google’s largest products:
- Google Search
A Google audience must have a minimum of 1,000 contacts for Google to use it for ad targeting. Read more about audiences in the Google documentation.
Why is it so special?
There are a number of reasons why every Emarsys user who is also active on Google should be interested in CRM Ads:
- Activate current customers and former customers – Show display/paid Search ads to people you know and automate the process for a perfect customer journey.
- Keyword expansion – If you are selling Nike shoes, bidding for Nike shoes might not be very effective (since many other businesses bid for it). Now you can individually target (or increase the bid for) your CRM customers who have searched for this and who you know are much more likely to purchase from your brand.
- Acquire new customers – Run lookalike audiences acquisition campaigns from your best customer segments.
- Exclude current customers from acquisition campaigns – Running a promotion for new customers only? Exclude your own customers.
Please note that Emarsys has no control over how and when Google displays your ads.
What is an audience?
An audience is the name given to the user group in the network being targeted by your ad campaign. It is created after Emarsys sends the network a hashed list of email addresses or mobile phone numbers. The network checks these against its own database, and either creates an audience from the matches it finds, or generates a lookalike audience from profiles which share similar properties and interests to the source segment.
You can create up to 100 audiences per Emarsys account and an audience may contain a maximum of 20 million contacts. If you require more audiences than this, Emarsys Support can increase the limit for you.
Networks may have their own rules regarding audiences, for example a Facebook audience must have a minimum of 100 contacts, but Emarsys strongly recommends to have at least 1,000 contacts before it can be used for ad targeting. Google requires 1,000 contacts. Read more about audiences in the respective documentation:
Furthermore, you can sometimes refine an audience further in the network itself. For more information, see:
For more information on which audience to use for which type of marketing strategy, including examples, please see below: Which Audience Should I Use?
What kind of audiences does CRM Ads support?
CRM Ads supports different kinds of audiences:
- Automation Center audiences
- Segment audiences
- Smart audiences
- Lookalike audiences
Automation Center audiences
These start empty and can only be filled by contacts who arrive at a certain point in an Automation Center program. When a contact reaches the CRM Ads - add to audience node, they are sent to the network in real time and, if they match a user profile, that profile is added to the audience.
In the case of Facebook the audience must reach the minimum number of 100 users officially, but Emarsys strongly recommends to have at least 1,000 users before it will be used for display advertising. In the case of Google, this number is 1,000 contacts.
Contacts can also be removed from these audiences, by arriving at the CRM Ads - remove from audience node.
Summary: Automation Audiences enable orchestrated, multi-channel campaigns (e.g. email, followed by an ad) and recurring or event-based campaigns.
These are based directly on an Emarsys segment you create. The network will fill the audience with every user profile that matches one of the selected identifiers (email address or mobile phone number) in your segment.
Summary: Segment Audiences are a great way to make sure that you are reaching the right people with the right message, just like with email.
These are an Emarsys AI solution that automatically fills the audience and selectively targets customers who are unengaged or at high risk of becoming so, but with a likelihood to purchase. Smart audiences simultaneously take care of the following decisions:
- Who to target?
- When to send?
- How long should the campaign run?
- At what frequency to send?
Our algorithms constantly monitor the behavior of all your contacts, and execute scalable and scientific evergreen reactivation advertising campaigns, thereby maximizing the efficiency and ROAS of your media budgets. Contacts will be automatically removed from targeting once they have made a purchase.
The only prerequisites are to have Smart Insight enabled with purchases data for the past seven days and a working, connected Facebook Ads account or Google Ads account, or both.
Summary: Smart Audiences use machine learning to select inactive contacts with a likelihood to purchase.
Google lookalike audiences are deprecated and they are no longer supported by Google. On 1st August 2023, lookalike audiences will be fully removed from Google Ads.
These are new custom audiences that the network creates by itself, based on a custom audience that you provide (which is in turn based on a segment, e.g. Platinum Buyers). The networks use their own algorithms to find users who match the contacts in your audience, providing you with a great channel for acquiring new customers who share interests and/or friends with your existing customer base.
There is an option for Facebook Lookalike audiences to target people based on similarity or reach. Both similarity and reach are for acquisition. The only difference is that reach uses slightly looser criteria to bring a bigger audience - perhaps 5% or 10% from the entire country population - whereas the similarity brings only the top 1%.
For example, if you optimize for similarity in the US you will get around 2M contacts because there are around 200M Facebook users there.
Summary: Lookalike audiences are a great way to harness the technology and reach of social media to find new, high-value customers.
Which Audience Should I Use?
Each audience type is designed for specific marketing strategies. Below is a description of the advantages of each one and some examples of when and how to use them.
Using Automation Center audiences
Automation Center audiences are the easiest and most flexible way to use social media as part of a multi-channel customer engagement strategy. Because you can dynamically add and remove contacts from the audience via the respective Automation Center nodes, you can define exactly the window of opportunity for your highly targeted ads campaigns, ensuring that your social ads budget is spent in the most effective way possible.
To use an Automation Center audience, proceed as follows:
- Open your Automation Center program and place the CRM Ads - add to audience node at the point where you want your contacts to join the audience. This could be after a recurring daily filter, or a concrete action such as an email response or a data change.
- Double-click the node to open the settings and select an audience you created previously, or create a new one.
The Automation Center audiences you have created are all available for use in the Automation Center but, if needed, you can also create a new audience in the CRM Ads - add to audience node.
- Place the CRM Ads - remove from audience node at the point where you want your contacts to leave the audience. This will typically be after a Wait node of a few days, or again after a concrete action by the customer, such as a purchase.
Contacts are not removed from Automation Center audiences unless they pass through the removal node. So if you want to exclude contacts from your campaign after a while, make sure to also use the CRM Ads - remove from audience node in the program and select the same audiences there that you selected in the CRM Ads - add to audience node.
Once you activate the program, it will begin to add contacts to the audience according to your specifications. As soon as the audience has reached the minimum size defined by the network, those contacts will begin to be targeted by the ads campaign that you have launched to target this audience. Officially, a Facebook audience must have a minimum of 100 contacts, but Emarsys strongly recommends to have at least 1,000 contacts before it can be used for ad targeting. Google requires 1,000 contacts.
Below are some example of how to use Automation Center audiences.
Customer lifecycle marketing
In this image you can see three straightforward customer lifecycle programs that use CRM Ads to target customers on Facebook.
- In the first program, all new contacts in the Emarsys database are automatically added to a Lead nurturing audience. For the next three days they can be carefully targeted with incentives aimed at securing that first purchase. After the third day, if they haven’t already converted they probably won’t, so they are removed from the audience, keeping the audience compact and relevant and ensuring that you don’t use up too much of the budget for that campaign on any one lead.
- In the second program, one a first purchase has been recorded in the database, the application removes the contact from the Lead nurturing audience and adds them to the First-time buyers audience, where they can be introduced to loyalty schemes, or simply welcomed as a new customer. Again, after three days they are removed from the audience.
- In the third program, a filter checks every day for new contacts who fit your profile for churning customers (for example, as defined in your Smart Insight ERFM scoring model). After adding them to the Reactivation audience, you can target them with incentives aimed at winning them back.
Orchestrated multi-channel engagement campaigns
In this image you can see how a program can engage with new customers on three different channels, all triggered by a new contact entry in the Emarsys database. In this way you can take advantage of the strengths of each channel to send carefully targeted information and start your customer journey on the right foot.
In this image, a one-off promotional email campaign is followed up on Facebook according to the behavior of the recipients.
- Contacts who failed to respond at all are added to an audience which can be targeted with the same content as the email
- Contacts who clicked on a link in the Menswear section of the email are added to an audience which is targeted with offers in this category
- Contacts who clicked on a link in the Ladies Shoes section of the email are added to an audience which is targeted with offers in this category
A/B testing for Ads campaigns
In this image, you can see how easy it is to validate the benefits of a multi-channel approach.
By keeping 10% of your first-time buyers in a control group targeted with email only, you can compare their conversion results with the rest of the contacts who are targeted with a mix of email and CRM Ads.
Using Segment audiences
When you base a custom audience on one of your existing Emarsys segments, all contacts in the source segment whose email address matches a profile on the network are automatically added to the audience. The synchronization of the audience with its source segment depends on its usage in your ad campaigns. For more information on synchronization, see: Synchronizing audiences.
One-off, batch campaigns
The simplest version of this is a one-off CRM Ads campaign where you simply create an audience from a segment and launch the campaign from the network. Examples of such CRM Ads campaigns could be reactivation of inactive customers, seasonal offers or ‘back in stock’ campaigns, or a follow-up for everyone who showed an interest in a recent promotion. Such campaigns are typically of limited duration.
Brand awareness campaigns
You don’t always want to use a marketing campaign to sell products. Especially on social media, brand awareness campaigns are often better received and more successful than more commercially-oriented ones. For example, by segmenting for contacts who have responded to an email or visited your website in the last three days, you can keep a Facebook audience permanently filled with ‘hot’ contacts.
After no interaction for three days they are no longer in the source segment and therefore (as long as the synchronization is active) removed from the audience.
Using Smart audiences
Using Smart audiences is actually the easiest decision you have to make in CRM Ads. You simply set up a campaign for these audiences in each of your networks and then activate them in Emarsys. Your only decision is what images or incentives to use to win these contact back. You should constantly experiment with different strategies until you find one that works for you.
It is important to remember that you can only use one account on each network with Smart audiences at any one time.
Using Lookalike audiences
Lookalike audiences are created by the network based on the shared characteristics, rather than the contacts, in the source segment you choose. The network first creates an audience from your segment, then analyzes the preferences, browsing habits and purchase history of these people and finds similar profiles among its own database.
This is a great and very cost-effective way to acquire valuable new leads. Please note that lookalike audiences are static, not dynamic. That is, they are created once, from the combined characteristics of the contacts in an audience at that moment, and are not updated afterwards.
You should also be aware that although the networks will exclude any of their own contacts who were in your source audience, they have no way of knowing whether the other contacts it finds are also your customers. To avoid targeting existing customers with campaigns aimed specifically at leads, you should use the network’s own filtering to exclude any other audience you may already have.
Finding new ‘platinum’ leads
Your best customers all share some characteristics in common: high spenders with an affinity with your brand, a desire for your products, and the will to spend with you rather than your competitors. Create a segment from your most lucrative contacts and the network will fill a lookalike audience with similar people. Target them with selected offers and watch them convert to high-value customers.
Expand the reach of a promotional campaign
You know (or should know!) which of your contacts are most likely to react well to a particular promotional offer. So why not create an audience from them and extend this offer to their lookalikes? Or make an audience from the contacts who reacted well to a particular campaign and use the lookalike audience to find more of the same type of customer.