Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Valuable SEO Advice That Fulfilled One Contest Winner’s Dream

The Valuable SEO Advice That Fulfilled One Contest Winner’s Dream was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

This post comes from one of our international partner offices, Bruce Clay India, which Bruce visited this month to meet with the team and deliver his SEO Training course.

On 12th February 2018, Dhananjay Kumar from Max Life Insurance​ fulfilled his five-year long dream of meeting Bruce Clay in person. Dhananjay, who was the lucky winner of Bruce Clay India’s SEO Contest, arrived at BCI’s Gurgaon office to claim his prize — an exclusive 30-minute Q&A session with the Father of SEO, Bruce Clay.

Bruce Clay with contest winner Dhananjay Kumar

Contest winner Dhananjay Kumar with Bruce Clay at the BCI office in Gurgaon

Dhananjay, who calls himself a big fan of Bruce Clay, is passionate about SEO. With an eager clasp of hands and the words “can’t wait to get started,”  he shot off questions for Bruce, which the SEO guru answered with his characteristic composure and just the right dose of humor!

The excerpt below contains Bruce’s SEO advice on issues from overcoming compliance restrictions to press releases, voice search, local market confusion, PWAs and more.

Dhananjay: Being an insurance firm, we cannot use words like Best, Top and other superlatives. How do we rank for such superlative terms?

Bruce: You have a compliance issue. Therefore you cannot use the terms “Best Insurance Company” or “Top Insurance Policy” anywhere on your website or ads. We have the same problem in US with Banking and Insurance companies where you can’t use words like cheap, best, etc. You need to check with your compliance team on what else should you not use.

If you remember linear distribution from the SEO Training, you can use the word ‘best’, but not to describe your business or product. Get the two words ‘your business’ and ‘best’ in proximity without violating the compliance. It can be done by saying things like, “Many insurance companies claim to be best but not us.” It can be used in the schema description, meta title and meta description of the page.

Also check with your compliance team if using the ‘taboo’ words (Best, Cheap, Top, etc.) in meta titles, meta descriptions and meta keywords violates compliance in India or not, and act accordingly.

Dhananjay: Can we rank on our competitors’ brand queries?

Bruce: You can, but it’s unethical and ill advised. You cannot use a person’s brand against them. If you do, they can take legal action against you.

If you want rank for your competitors’ keywords legally, you can use your competitors’ brand names in a review. But you can’t sell anything on that page or even try. Also, you might be obligated to link to the competitor’s website.

Dhananjay: How effective are press releases?

Bruce: Press releases are an awareness tool to create buzz about a product, a company or even a keyword. For example, your company creates a new type of insurance. A press release will encourage some people to go online and search for it on Google. If you are the only one with that type of insurance, it will help you get more traffic. Social media and press releases are mechanisms that excite people to make them search. Once they search, your PPC and organic handles the rest.

Dhananjay: Google hasn’t given any recommendations for voice search, so how do we leverage voice search? What could be the best SEO strategy for voice search?

Bruce: First of all, search for your product by voice. Sometimes, accents also make a problem for voice search. The phone can’t understand certain words in different accents. Voice search may not work best internationally. Hows, Whats, and Wheres — use long-tail, question-based, 4+ word queries. Ensure that you answer the Hows and Whats of your product within your content.

Mobile, voice and local are the big three focus points. Google’s search index is now mobile-first, so that’s very important. We know voice search is important as the top three products sold last Christmas were all voice products. Local is important because it helps Google make money. Remember that local helps national, so strengthen your local first. So focus on all the three areas for best results.

Dhananjay: A fraud site with a similar domain name as ours used to rank in our place. We set that right with the help of legal. However, they claimed 70% of our local listings, and I am unable to fix it.

Bruce: Your lawyers can indicate that there is “Market Confusion” (it’s the proper term) over the domain name and make them surrender their product.

If you find that a company with a similar domain name is taking away your traffic, you can claim that domain. For local listings, you can indicate to Google that your local addresses/listings have been hijacked. A Google representative should be able to help you with getting the domains/listings back. You can also file a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint with Google, a form that is easily available online. All you have to do is give Google your copyright number or your trademark number to file the DMCA (just to be on the safe side).

Dhananjay: How does PWA (Progressive Web Apps) fit into our SEO strategy?

Bruce: PWA is still changing. There are two types of design decisions you can make, as I mentioned in the Masterclass — Appy or Webby. The general feeling is Webby. The general way in which PWA works is this: when someone opens a website for the first time, it’s installed. It installs an envelope and loads the content in the envelope. The next time Google will know it’s a PWA and will load the content. The content will still be responsive.

To learn more about PWAs, type “site:google.com Progressive Web Apps” on Google.

 

Dhananjay looked thrilled after his interaction with Bruce and receiving his valuable SEO advice. And why not? After all, how many people have the privilege of meeting the most well known proponent of SEO on the planet!

If your company is stuck with how to do SEO or digital marketing, or is facing compliance issues, you can drop the Bruce Clay India team a note at sales-in@bruceclay.com.

Siddharth Lal is the managing director of Bruce Clay India, established in 2009 and based in Gurgaon, India.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Your Facebook Page Organic Reach is Dropping (But Not Really)

Today, Facebook announced an update to Facebook page organic reach reporting that will result in numbers that will be up to 20-percent lower than what is normally reported.

Before you freak out, let’s be clear: Nothing is really changing.

Organic Reach Reporting Change

Back in November of 2017, Facebook announced the following change to Facebook page organic reach reporting:

Reach counts will now be based on viewable impressions. On Pages, we’ve historically defined reach as a person refreshing their News Feed and the post being placed in their feed. For paid ads reports, we’ve moved to a stricter definition that only counts reach once the post enters the person’s screen (“viewable impressions”).

First, this change hasn’t been implemented yet. It goes into effect on Monday, February 12.

Second, advertisers may be confused by this change since this is already the way that paid reach is recorded for ad reporting. The difference in standards for organic and paid reach is odd — so, it’s a good thing that this is changing to make them consistent.

What does this mean? It means that nothing actually changes. The way Facebook reports organic reach will change. You should expect those numbers to drop. But the number of people who actually see and engage with your content should not change.

Of course, it’s likely that most page admins won’t be aware of this update, and they’ll be startled by the drop in reported organic reach. And since so many marketers obsess over this metric, it’s imperative that Facebook make this change very clear.

For the next few months, Facebook will be providing both metrics (“previous organic reach” and “new organic reach”) to help with the transition.

Facebook New Organic Reach

The Problem with Organic Reach

Organic reach has always been my least favorite topic and the typical marketer’s favorite gripe. This latest update highlights my issue with it.

Actions are easy to confirm. Facebook says 10 people commented on a post? I can count that. There were 20 purchases? I’ll check my records (though there are some holes here). Clicks and landing page views, while your records won’t match up 100%, can at least be checked against some verifiable form of reality.

But reach? You have to take Facebook’s word for it. And how they define it can significantly change how it’s reported.

For example, you can reach a single user both organically and with an ad. But as soon as that person is reached with the paid version of the post, the organic reach is no longer counted. The result is a deflated perception of organic reach.

And we’re dealing with the other example now. Do you reach a user when their news feed loads your post or when that post is actually within view? And does the post need to be partially in view or fully in view?

These numbers can easily be manipulated to alter perception. And it’s close to impossible for a page admin to confirm accuracy.

That’s why I don’t care about reach. Yes, I know, reach matters. If you don’t reach anyone, no one can engage with your content. But this extreme example misses the point.

How Facebook reports on the number of people who “saw” your post does not change the number of people who acted (reacted, commented, shared, clicked, converted) on it. These actions are what matter most. They are what you should be focused on.

Update to Mobile Page App

Today’s announcement also includes an update to the Facebook page insights within the mobile app.

Facebook Page Insights Mobile

Insights will be redesigned to surface some of the most important information at the top on the mobile app.

  • General metrics (likes, reach, and engagement)
  • Results of actions recently taken on posts
  • Preview of new Page engagement (demographic information of new followers)

Your Turn

What are your thoughts on this latest update to reach reporting?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Your Facebook Page Organic Reach is Dropping (But Not Really) appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Monday, January 29, 2018

7 Mobile-Friendly Navigation Best Practices

7 Mobile-Friendly Navigation Best Practices was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

It’s now 2018, and we are officially living in a mobile-first world. In fact, Google has begun the switch to a mobile-first index — which means Google will rank your website based on your mobile content, relevance and UX.

Your mobile navigation (menus and internal links) contribute to all three.

Good mobile navigation makes it easy for people to find what they need, without bogging down page speed or cluttering the screen. It also needs to keep PageRank flowing to the important pages that you want to rank well in search.

Site navigations historically included everything on a site in huge, multi-tiered lists. On mobile, that approach doesn’t work. It looks cluttered. It requires scrolling. And it causes your visitors to bounce away.

Here I’ll lay out seven mobile-friendly navigation best practices that make life easier for people visiting your business site on a mobile device:

  1. Keep mobile navigation short and sweet.
  2. List the most important pages first.
  3. Think of search as part of your navigation.
  4. Make your navigation intuitive.
  5. Be thoughtful about fonts and contrast.
  6. Design for touch.
  7. Design for the multi-screen mobile user.

Note: All of the mobile navigation tips mentioned in this article are equally applicable to separate mobile sites, responsive design sites, and sites that dynamically serve web pages. If you’re not sure what that means, or which mobile platform is best for you, read our Cheat Sheet for Mobile Design.

7 Mobile Navigation Best Practices for UX & SEO

1. Keep Mobile Navigation Short and Sweet

Many mobile phone screens are only 720 pixels wide in portrait mode.

Designing mobile navigation means designing for a small screen size. With limited real estate available, there’s no room for clutter. Get right to the point then cut the fat.

Ask yourself, what links need to be included to help your user complete priority tasks? What elements from the desktop navigation aren’t relevant in the mobile environment?

To save your user from decision paralysis, we recommend you limit your mobile navigation to four to eight items on the top level. Your mobile navigation menu is not the place to link to every page in your site.

To keep it short and sweet, you may even consider adding a top-of-page logo that navigates to the homepage and leaving the Home button out of your navigation all together (as on the BCI website, below).

BCI's desktop and mobile navigation

Comparison of BCI’s desktop and mobile navigation

Some mobile navigations require multi-level navigation to aid user experience. This is more common with ecommerce websites. If you must go there, keep it as simple as possible. Don’t add more than one sublevel of dropdown functionality.

If your navigation must include more items, a vertically oriented navigation activated from a menu icon is the best option.

If your mobile user’s typical needs are very limited, consider using a static navigation that runs across the top of your design, like we see on the GameStop mobile site:

GameStop mobile view icons

GameStop uses static navigation across the top of its mobile-friendly view.

A navigation that requires horizontal scrolling probably won’t be mobile-friendly. Some sites have the resources to design a sleek image-based carousel type of interface, such as what Google uses for certain search results. That might be an exception, but consider your audience.

2. List the Most Important Pages First

Your website users don’t have a lot of time — or patience. How can you help them get to the right place faster?

To design your mobile site navigation, first think about:

  • What are your most important pages?
  • What are the top category pages outlined in your siloing strategy?
  • What are the most common actions taken by site visitors using smartphones?
  • What pages of your website most effectively satisfy a mobile user’s needs?

The answers to these questions influence not just which items go in your main menu, but also which links and calls to action you should put on each page.

You’ll want to keep your main navigation menu consistent throughout the site. It should point to the top four to eight landing pages (such as main category pages).

A short-and-sweet mobile nav is a win-win for SEO and your users. It preserves the flow of link equity to your most important pages while also helping users get around.

Once users arrive on a page, contextual links can move them to wherever makes sense. These links can be added within the body content of each page in a comfortable way.

For instance, a long blog post may have multiple sections and thousands of words. Have mercy on your mobile users — don’t make them scroll to find what may be pertinent to them. Some ideas:

  • Show a TL;DR summary at the top of a long article. If readers want more detail, they’ll scroll down.
  • Give anchor links at the top that jump a reader to the different sections below (as I did at the top of this article).
  • Include useful calls to action and links to related pages within the body copy where they make sense.

The mobile navigation model I’m describing — a short, consistent main menu coupled with contextual links that vary per page — actually supports siloing better than the massive structured menus of old. A parent only links to its children, maintaining a clear hierarchy and intuitive flow. Internal links allow PageRank to flow to topically related pages naturally.

When it comes to mobile users, quicker is always better! It will take some work for you to make each page deliver the most appropriate navigation options. But you’ll improve user experience and no doubt your ROI by giving visitors a more direct path to what they need.

While we’re on the topic of “quicker,” remember that fast mobile pages make for a better user experience. Google announced that page load speed can factor into your Google search rankings, so a streamlined navigation helps with mobile SEO.

You can test your mobile page speed with Google’s mobile speed test (or use our SEOToolSet™).

3. Think of Search as Part of Your Navigation

Mobile users look at search as navigation, and you should too.

Consider Amazon.com. On mobile, Amazon doesn’t even bother with the category dropdown (although it’s there under “Departments” if someone wants it). What’s prominent at the top of the mobile view is a simple “Search” box.

Even with its massive catalog, Amazon doesn’t expect users to navigate through menus to find what they need. Most of the time, customers just type in a product name and go directly to buy it.

Amazon search box

The Search box is Amazon’s most mobile-friendly navigation option.

On mobile, your search box is often the most direct route to what a user needs.

Set it up and make sure it works well!

4. Make your Navigation Intuitive

Your customers work hard enough; navigating your site should not be work.

To make your navigation intuitive, menu language should always be written in a way that lets the user know what to expect. It should be clear what the item does if it’s a dropdown, and exactly where it goes if it’s a link.

If you are using symbols to convey information to your users, make sure they are clear, conventional symbols. For instance, if your menu items drop down, use an intuitive symbol like a plus sign (+) or an arrow (>) to let your users know a click will reveal more options.

Another best practice example would be using a magnifying glass to indicate a search feature.

If you are using a toggle menu, use three stacked lines — the icon highlighted in the example below — to help the user locate and access your main nav.

REI mobile site menu icon

REI’s menu opens from a hamburger icon.

TIP: A hamburger-style menu icon like this often gets more clicks if it also has the word “menu” below it (according to A/B testing. If your design has room, you might test this to see if it makes your mobile site more intuitive and increases clicks/conversions.

The goal is for your mobile navigation to make life easier by limiting thinking, scrolling and clicking.

About Breadcrumbs in SERPs
It’s worth noting that since 2015, Google has displayed URLs in its mobile search results differently than it does in desktop SERPs. The change replaces a web page’s URL with a description of the page’s location in a breadcrumbs-like format. If this doesn’t scream of the importance of siloing and clear hierarchy, nothing does!

Now, rather than showing a page URL, Google’s mobile search results display a breadcrumb path beneath each title.

For example, mobile search results for “history of Google” include a Wikipedia result showing how the URL appeared in the past versus the current breadcrumb style:

Before and after URLs in Google mobile search

How Google’s mobile search result URLs have changed

TIP: You can control how your breadcrumb URLs appear if you add schema markup to the HTML on your pages. Refer to Schema.org’s breadcrumbs structured data for details and Google’s help file on breadcrumbs. (For more on this update and what it means, see our post Google’s New Mobile Breadcrumb URLs: Making the Most of Your Site Name & URL Structure.)

5. Be Thoughtful about Fonts and Contrast

Your website users shouldn’t have to zoom to read any of the text on your mobile website, including the text within your navigation.

Tiny text that requires zooming creates a bad user experience, and neither your website users nor Google or Bing like poor user experiences.

All of the text on your mobile site needs to be large enough to be read on a variety of devices without zooming. This principle needs to be a top priority that you consider as you build your mobile-friendly CSS (cascading style sheets) to control the appearance of text on various devices.

To make your navigation text easy to read, choose a font that naturally adds enough space to distinguish between letters and is tall enough to be clearly read in a menu.

Your font size and style also depend on your brand’s style guide and what fits your unique demographic. For instance, a young audience may not struggle with smaller or condensed fonts as much as an older demographic would. The way you handle formatting such as bullet styles, capitalization, margins, captioning, and so on should also reflect what’s attractive to your audience and comfortable for them to read.

Once you decide, set up your CSS and create a written style guide to keep your content consistent.

For designing the look of your mobile navigation, best practices can’t give you a one-size-fits-all recommendation. What’s important is that every word on your mobile site can be read easily without zooming. I recommend you perform user testing to see first-hand whether your font is tripping up users.

Also, make sure there’s sufficient contrast between your text and its background. WebAIM guidelines offer rules for color contrast (recommending a minimum ratio of 4.5 to 1). You can try their contrast checker tool to see how your text treatment measures up.

Google gives a few examples of what different contrast ratios look like:

Examples of text-to-background contrast ratios

Text needs contrast against the background for readability on a phone. (Per Google)

In addition, Google points out that “classic readability theory suggests that an ideal column should contain 70 to 80 characters per line (about 8 to 10 words in English). Thus, each time the width of a text block grows past about 10 words, consider adding a breakpoint.”

This tip applies to body text; consider a shorter maximum length for your menu options.

Not sure if your text is easy to read? Run your site through Google’s Mobile Friendly Test tool.

6. Design for Touch

Tablet and smartphone users rely on touchscreens to get them around websites. While a pointy mouse arrow allows users to precisely select items in tight spaces, the average finger requires a larger target to press. Many users don’t hit a touchscreen exactly where they are aiming.

Google recommends building mobile pages with a minimum touch target size of 48 pixels with a properly set viewport (more on that later). And touch targets should be spaced about 32 pixels apart, both horizontally and vertically.

Mobile touch target diagram

Buttons and touch targets should be big enough to be mobile friendly. (Per Google)

Build navigation buttons with a target smaller than 40 pixels and your user experience plummets. Visitors end up sloppily navigating to the category above or below the one they want.

Don’t frustrate your users!

Since people are so bad at hitting their tap mark much of the time, it can also help to incorporate touch feedback into your navigation. Your feedback could be a color change, a blink of color, a font change or another visual cue.

Even if it’s subtle, this feedback can improve user experience by helping to reassure users that they’ve selected the right item. Take a look at the example below from Search Engine Land:

SearchEngineLand.com's color-change touch feedback

Color changes show which menu item is touched on SearchEngineLand.com.

If you are using multi-tier navigation, it’s also important that you make sure your dropdowns are activated by touch — not mouse over. Clearly, hover navigations work just fine in the desktop experience, where hovering is a possibility, but they leave mobile users stuck.

Another touch-friendly option is to design a supplementary navigation that uses images and exaggerated graphic buttons. This type of navigation can be a great homepage asset that gets your visitor headed in the right direction quickly.

Graphic buttons example

Vintage clothing site RustyZipper.com uses large graphic “button” with text labels for mobile-friendly navigation.

It’s important to note that graphic buttons like these should only be a supplemental option used alongside a toggle navigation or a static top navigation. You need to have a consistent navigation that the user can access at the top of every page.

While you may be able to include this graphic navigation at the bottom of your mobile pages, it’s not optimal or practical to use these big graphic buttons as your primary navigation. And always consider the load-time performance impact of images and buttons.

Be Careful with Popups
You also want to avoid intrusive interstitials — those popups that monopolize the screen when a visitor clicks through from a search result. In January 2017, Google rolled out an intrusive interstitial penalty for mobile search.

Per Google, “Since screen real-estate on mobile devices is limited, any interstitial negatively impacts the user’s experience.”

intrusive interstitial popup example

Example of an intrusive interstitial popup (credit: Google)

Be careful to use interactive forms and popups courteously. Some best practices for these include:

  • Apply a delay or time interval between views so you don’t annoy your visitors.
  • Reduce the amount of screen space your element covers.
  • Try a bar or box that scrolls in from the bottom or side.
  • Avoid covering the middle of the mobile screen or obstructing your navigation elements at the top.
  • Let no be no. If a user closes a form, don’t display it again within a reasonable period of time (perhaps a week later).

7. Design for the Multi-Screen Mobile User

Chances are good that interested website visitors come to your website using multiple devices over a short period of time.

To help them feel confident they’re in the right place, it’s smart to give your mobile and desktop sites a consistent visual theme.

Your mobile and desktop navigation, however, do not have to be — and sometimes should not be — identical twins.

While the colors, fonts and themes you use for your mobile and desktop navigation need to be consistent to reinforce your branding, the similarity may end there.

Your mobile navigation needs to help users navigate around your website and accomplish tasks. Consider the content your smartphone users need and the tasks they are looking to accomplish, and then build your mobile navigation specifically for a smartphone user.

  • What mobile-specific calls to action need to be built into your navigation to aid user experience?
  • Does it make sense to include a “Call” button or a store locator?
  • Can a mobile user easily find essential information like your address, directions, phone number, hours of operation, or other facts?

Remember: Space is limited, mobile needs are unique, and on-the-go patience is minimal.

Because website visitors will use a variety of devices and screen sizes, specify a viewport using the viewport meta tag.

Meta viewport mistake on mobile screens

Websites need a scalable meta viewport for correct display on smartphones.

Common mobile mistakes include having a fixed-width viewport that doesn’t scale for all devices, or assuming too wide of a viewport, which forces users on small screens to scroll horizontally.

Mobile-Friendly is Customer-Friendly

Creating a mobile-friendly navigation means creating a customer-friendly navigation that gets your personas moving in the right direction right away.

If you build an intuitive navigation that is easy to use, your website users will be headed toward conversion happiness in no time. Build a navigation that is frustrating or confusing, and they’ll be headed back to the search results and straight toward someone else’s website.

To keep your inbound visitors smiling, follow these best practices to make your mobile-friendly navigation:

✔ Short and sweet whenever possible
✔ Easy to read
✔ Task-oriented
✔ Prioritized with what’s most important listed first
✔ Accessible and placed consistently across all pages
✔ Clear, straightforward and expected
✔ Vertical if scrolling is required (never use horizontal scrolling!)
✔ Easy on the eyes
✔ Finger-friendly
✔ Fast

Be a leader — share this post with friends or colleagues who are as interested in UX as you are. For more resources like this one, subscribe to our blog.

Editor’s note: This article is based on an earlier post written by Chelsea Adams for the Bruce Clay Blog.

mobile-seo-and-design-checklist

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Facebook Ads Guide: 55 Custom Audiences to Target People Ready to Act

Multiple factors contribute to whether your Facebook advertising campaigns succeed or fail. Copy, imagery, optimization, bidding, placement, and countless other factors all matter. But nothing matters more than targeting.

In order to have this consistent, dependable success, you need to graduate beyond interests, which is best for top-of-the-funnel targeting. For sustained middle and bottom-of-the-funnel results, it’s imperative that you master warm targeting with Facebook Custom Audiences.

Custom Audiences began as a simple concept, launching with the ability to target current customers by email address in 2012. It’s nearly six years later, and advertisers have a cupboard full of ways to target customers and those who engage with them — both on and off of Facebook.

Below is a close-to-complete guide of the ways that you can use Custom Audiences to target warm audiences of people who are ready to act. It’s close-to-complete for a couple of reasons:

1. There are nearly limitless variations you can create based on variables
2. Facebook is constantly adding to these options

But consider this list a starting point. Many of these options are buried, and you’re bound to be exposed to a few for the first time. I encourage you to read through and experiment with the audiences that you can leverage.

[NOTE: I will provide step-by-step background, set-up, and strategy instructions in my Advanced Custom Audience Targeting training course, occurring first on Jan. 30 and Feb. 1.]

Customer File

It’s the granddaddy of Custom Audiences. Originally, this type of audience and “Custom Audiences” were used interchangeably.

Facebook Customer File Custom Audience

With this method, advertisers upload a customer list to Facebook with up to 15 identifiers. Facebook then searches out those same people on the platform. Typically, you can expect anywhere from 30-70% of your list to match up to Facebook users. When you’re done, you can use this to target or exclude users on Facebook.

The primary advantage of creating Customer File Custom Audiences is that those on that list are a customer at some level. They either provided an email address or made a purchase from you. As a result, this will be a valuable list for targeting that can be used for all purposes.

Of course, there are some inherent weaknesses with this method.

First, uploading a customer file results in a one-time, static audience. What that means is that as your customer list updates, your audience doesn’t — at least, it doesn’t without the help of a third party tool. If you don’t update it some way, the audience will be outdated and lose its effectiveness.

Another weakness is that the identifiers that a customer provides to you may not be the same information they provide to Facebook in their profile. Notably, a customer may provide you a different email address than what they publish for their friends. This will make the match rate less successful.

BASIC SPECS

Up to 15 identifiers:

  • Email
  • Phone Number
  • Mobile Advertiser ID
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • ZIP/Postal Code
  • City
  • State/Province
  • Country
  • Date of Birth
  • Year of Birth
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Facebook App User ID
  • Facebook Page User ID

1. Upload, Copy/Paste, or Import

Using this first method, advertisers can provide Facebook with a customer file consisting of up to 15 identifiers by uploading…

Facebook Customer File Custom Audience

…copying and pasting…

Facebook Customer File Custom Audience

…or importing via MailChimp integration.

Facebook Customer File Custom Audience

2. Lifetime Value Lookalikes

The thought here is that you first upload an entire customer list with up to 15 identifiers, as you would above. But you then include a column for Lifetime Value for each customer.

Facebook Customer File Custom Audience

This list wouldn’t be used for targeting, but instead becomes a source so that Facebook can generate a Lookalike Audience of people similar to your most valuable customers. More on Lookalikes at the bottom.

Website Custom Audiences

And now it gets good. Real good.

Website Custom Audiences allow advertisers to create audiences based on actions performed on the pages of their own website. This is thanks to the Facebook pixel, which is a snippet of code added to your website.

The granularity of the audiences you can create depends partly on the amount of traffic as well as your diligence creating detailed pixel events.

What’s nice about WCAs is that they update in real time, and the match-up rate is high. Below is a sampling of the powerful audiences that you can create.

BASIC SPECS
  • Source: Selected owned pixel
  • Duration: 1 – 180 days

3. All Website Visitors

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

4. Visitors by Device

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

5. Visitors by Frequency

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

6. People Who Visited Specific Web Pages

You can include an entire URL, partial URL, or multiple URLs or keywords. There are a million and one uses for this type of audience.

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

7. Visitors by Time Spent

Not all website visitors are created equal. Focusing on those who spent the most time — though a smaller audience — can lead to amazing results.

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

8. From Your Events: Page View

Assuming you have the Facebook pixel installed on your website with events, the applicable events that have fired will appear for you…

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

The PageView event is one example.

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

9. From Your Events: Purchases

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

10. From Your Events: Registrations

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

11. From Your Events: Adds-to-Cart

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

12. From Your Events: Searches

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

13. From Your Events: By Search String Parameter

In the example above, you can create an audience of people who performed any search on your website. But you can also focus on searches by specific keywords.

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

14. From Your Events: By User Agent Parameter

What operating system and software were people using when they visited your website?

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

15. From Your Events: By Language Parameter

The language setting on someone’s browser can help you surface content to the right people in the proper language.

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

16. From Your Events: By Referrer Parameter

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

17. From Your Events: By UTM Parameter

UTM parameters are tracking codes you can add to the end of links broken down into campaign source, medium, name, term, sq, and content. At minimum, you need to include a source. Here’s an example of such a link…

https://jonloomer.com/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=example_campaign

You can create an audience based on any of these UTM parameters…

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

Using the example link above, we could create the following audience for the “email” medium.

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

18. From Your Events: By Value Parameter

You can create audiences based on the value of purchases made on your website, assuming you’re using the value parameter with your Facebook pixel event code.

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

19. From Your Events: By Currency Parameter

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

20. From Your Events: By Content Name Parameter

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

21. From Your Events: By Content ID Parameter

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

22. From Your Events: By Aggregated Value

Earlier, you saw how you could create audiences based on a single purchase. But you can also do so based on all purchases someone made in aggregate.

Facebook Website Custom Audiences

App Activity

If you have an app (mobile or web) utilizing the Facebook SDK, you can create audiences of people based on their activity within that app. This can be a great opportunity for re-engaging and pushing people further along the funnel.

BASIC SPECS
  • Source: Selected owned app
  • Duration: 1 – 180 days

23. Anyone Who Opened the App

Facebook App Activity Custom Audiences

24. Most Active Users

Facebook App Activity Custom Audiences

25. Users by Purchase Amount

Facebook App Activity Custom Audiences

26. Users by Segment

Segments will be defined by you…

Facebook App Activity Custom Audiences

Offline Activity

Back in 2016, Facebook launched Offline Event Sets, allowing advertisers to provide Facebook with offline data that could then help show whether such sales were influenced by your ads. This was extremely valuable for brick and mortar stores, in particular, who struggled to show the impact of their ads.

About a year later, Facebook followed that up with Offline Event Custom Audiences, allowing you to create audiences of those who purchased something offline.

BASIC SPECS
  • Source: Selected owned event set
  • Duration: 1 – 90 days

27. People Who Interacted Offline

Facebook Offline Event Custom Audiences

28. From Your Events

When you send Facebook your offline data, you include a column that indicates the event performed. This can then be used to refine your offline event audience.

Facebook Offline Event Custom Audiences

Engagement: Video

Facebook Video Views Custom Audience

A great top-of-the-funnel audience is anyone who engaged with a video (or multiple videos) you’ve published. Someone can view your video — with or without sound — and automatically be added to an audience for you to target later.

BASIC SPECS
  • Source: Single or multiple engagements
  • Source: Single or multiple videos
  • Duration: 1 – 365 days

29. People who watched at least 3 seconds of your video

Facebook Video Views Custom Audiences

Clearly, a 3-second view would be the lowest quality but result in the largest audience.

Other options (though all are set up identically otherwise)…

30. People who watched at least 10 seconds of your video

Facebook Video Views Custom Audiences

31. People who watched at least 25% of your video

Facebook Video Views Custom Audiences

32. People who watched at least 50% of your video

Facebook Video Views Custom Audiences

33. People who watched at least 75% of your video

Facebook Video Views Custom Audiences

34. People who watched at least 95% of your video

Engagement: Lead Form

Facebook Lead Ads allow advertisers to collect leads (email addresses and other contact info) without sending a user away from Facebook. Thanks to this Engagement Custom Audience, those who engage with the form can be added to one of three different audiences for targeting and exclusion purposes.

Advertisers can create audiences based on the interaction with one, multiple, or all forms you have during a given time period.

Facebook Lead Form Custom Audiences

BASIC SPECS
  • Source: 0 (all), 1 or multiple lead forms
  • Duration: 1 – 90 days

35. People who opened your form

Facebook Lead Form Custom Audiences

This includes everyone who opened the form, whether they submitted it or not.

36. People who opened but didn’t submit your form

Facebook Lead Form Custom Audiences

37. People who opened and submitted your form

Facebook Lead Form Custom Audiences

Engagement: Fullscreen Experience

Facebook launched Facebook Canvas in its continued attempts to keep people on Facebook and improve the user experience. Canvas presents an immersive mobile experience for users who can view videos, images, product feeds, text, and more in one view.

For publishers, the one issue with this was losing the traffic and potential targeting power that goes along with sending someone to your website. This was changed with the launch of Fullscreen Experience Custom Audiences. You can create audiences of people who engaged with any Canvas, or one or more specific Canvases.

BASIC SPECS
  • Source: 0 (all), 1 or multiple canvases
  • Duration: 1 – 365 days

38. People who opened your canvas

Facebook Fullscreen Experience Custom Audience

39. People who clicked any links in your canvas

You can provide links within your Canvas, though they don’t need to go to your website. That’s where creating these audiences can be helpful. Think, for example, about a Canvas promoting a product with a button that sends users to an Amazon page.

Facebook Fullscreen Experience Custom Audience

Engagement: Facebook Page

The Facebook Page Engagement Custom Audience is a sneaky effective audience to target. You may assume that those who visit your website will be more effective than those who interact with you on Facebook, but that is not always the case.

In fact, it makes sense. Interacting with you on your website doesn’t mean they’ll interact with your ad on Facebook. And if someone has engaged with you on Facebook before, they’re likely to do it again.

BASIC SPECS
  • Source: Selected owned page
  • Duration: 1 – 365 days

40. People who engaged with your page

This is the broadest audience of all people who engaged with your page in any manner…

Facebook Page Engagement Custom Audiences

41. People who visited your page

Facebook Page Engagement Custom Audiences

42. People who engaged with any post or ad

This can be particulary effective when looking for an audience to target with your ads…

Facebook Page Engagement Custom Audiences

43. People who clicked any call-to-action button

Facebook Page Engagement Custom Audiences

44. People who sent a message to your page

A small audience, but potentially very valuable…

Facebook Page Engagement Custom Audiences

45. People who saved your page or any post

Facebook Page Engagement Custom Audiences

Engagement: Instagram Business Profile

Is your business on Instagram? If so, you can create an audience of those people who engage with your profile there — in nearly identical ways as with your Facebook page above.

Your Instagram profile will need to be a business profile, and you’ll need to connect it to your Business Manager in order to access this feature.

BASIC SPECS
  • Source: Selected Instagram business profile
  • Duration: 1 – 365 days

46. People who engaged with your business on Instagram

Instagram Business Profile Custom Audiences

47. People who visited your Instagram profile

Instagram Business Profile Custom Audiences

48. People who engaged with any post or ad

Instagram Business Profile Custom Audiences

49. People who sent a message to your Instagram profile

Instagram Business Profile Custom Audiences

50. People who saved any post or ad

Instagram Business Profile Custom Audiences

Engagement: Event

It’s an old school feature, but many marketers still run Facebook Events. I’m not talking about the pixel events this time, but the posts on Facebook that alert people of an upcoming party or other activity.

Thanks to this Engagement Custom Audience, you can create audiences of people based on their specific activity with any event or specific events.

Facebook Event Custom Audiences

BASIC SPECS
  • Source: 0 (all), 1 or multiple Events
  • Duration: 1 – 365 days

51. People who responded Going or Interested

Facebook Event Custom Audiences

52. People who responded Going

Facebook Event Custom Audiences

53. People who responded Interested

Facebook Event Custom Audiences

Lookalike Audiences

It may be cheating a little bit to include Lookalike Audiences because these aren’t people who are connected to your business in any way, but this is — at least loosely — part of the Custom Audience family.

Lookalike Audiences allow you to target those who are similar to people who are already connected to or interacting with you. Facebook does this by looking at a source audience (your Facebook Page or a Custom Audience), finding the similarities among those people, and finding a larger group of people who are similar to them.

This is particularly useful when your source audiences are small and you need to start somewhere.

BASIC SPECS
  • Source: Selected owned Custom Audience or Page
  • Location: One or multiple countries or regions
  • Audience Size: 1-10% of selected Facebook country population

54. Based on a Page

Facebook Lookalike Audiences

55. Based on a Custom Audience

Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Your Turn

I’ll cover these audiences in much more detail in my Advanced Custom Audience Targeting Training Program, but this is a good list to get you started.

Any other audiences I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Ads Guide: 55 Custom Audiences to Target People Ready to Act appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.