Senior Content Manager at Shoutlet, Kira Sparks, joins us for a guest post. Shoutlet is a leading global, enterprise-level social relationship platform and partner of Kenshoo. Today, Kira discusses the power of social data and provides an example of how to leverage social insights to target relevant audiences on Facebook.

These days, gathering social data isn’t the primary challenge for marketers. The challenge is using it in a meaningful way that moves your marketing forward.

Last October, Facebook released Custom Audiences, allowing advertisers to use their own lists to build targeted ads on Facebook. Suddenly advertisers had a way to take some of the social data they’d gathered – whether that was email addresses from a campaign or a list of people who had engaged on their website – and use this to create targeted ads relevant to these specific groups. Marketers quickly touted the benefits of this new feature for everything from raising the ROI of events to increasing click-through on mobile ads.

This March, Facebook presented another gift to advertisers, launching a smart little tool called Lookalike Audiences. And, it has huge potential to help marketers reach new customers.

What’s a Lookalike Audience?

Let’s turn to the source. Facebook says, “Lookalike audiences let you reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to a customer list you care about.”

More specifically, when advertisers upload a custom audience, they can now ask Facebook to identify users who share these same characteristics. The beauty of it is: these are likely folks who’ve never engaged with you before. It’s a brand new audience, which due to their interests, behaviors, demographics or previous brand engagements, have a higher likelihood of engaging with you. 

Lookalike-in-Action: One Restaurant’s Success Story

Umami, a Ramen & Dumpling restaurant, had little success running Facebook ad campaigns in the past. But, the prospect of using social data to fuel engagement with lookalike audiences drove the team to work with Shoutlet on a new campaign. The goal: optimize their Weekend Brunch campaign with a cost-effective Facebook ad buy. 

The first step was to export the brand’s Shoutlet Profiles data, which revealed a segment of fans that have actively engaged with its Page in the past. Then, the team uploaded this data into Facebook’s ad platform and waited as it identified this segment’s doppelgangers.

Form Entry

The ad, targeting the lookalike group, ran for four days. Upon click, users could fill out a customized form on Umami’s website to get notified about the launch of brunch and get entered to win a gift certificate. The social data gained from this form flowed back into their profiles – creating a brand-new pool of users the restaurant can engage with in the future.

In the week following the targeted Facebook ad, the Umami team noticed a 112% increase in traffic to the website and a 40% increase in restaurant revenue. Umami analyzed the results and discovered increased engagement compared to similar past campaigns not optimized with Shoutlet Profiles data. The ad resulted in a 40% increase in click through rate, 90% increase in email sign up conversion, and an overall 100% increase in click conversion when compared to past efforts.

Four Tips for Achieving Lookalike Success 

  1. Start with the right custom audience. Lookalike audiences are only as powerful as the data you feed them. Use a list of users who’ve engaged previously to ensure you’re targeting people most likely to care about your brand and convert on click.
  2. Give it time. It can take Facebook a little while to crank out that lookalike audience. They say 6-24 hours, but it all depends on the size of your list, so plan ahead  And give it time.
  3. Determine the importance of precision versus reach. Facebook offers several ways to optimize your lookalike audience. You can optimize for similarity, which will include the top 1% of people in the selected country who are most similar to your custom segment. Or, you can optimize for reach, which will include the top 5%. Split-test your ad group to understand which option drives the best results over time.
  4. Collect new user data. Use the ad campaign as an opportunity to gain new data. Just as Umami collected names, email addresses and insights on user preferences, think about what you’d like to learn about your new audience that you can funnel back into your social CRM for future marketing programs.

For more insights into how Umami used lookalike audiences to apply social data for increased engagement, check out Shoutlet’s case study.  To learn more about how Kenshoo Social and Shoutlet partner to deliver holistic social media marketing, click here.