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Facebook recently released its “Custom Audiences” feature, which allows digital markets to run advertising campaigns targeted specifically to certain customers and prospects. With nearly 83 percent of marketers using Facebook, what can marketers actually do with this new tool?

This is a huge development, transforming Facebook advertising and enabling marketers to now target customers based on the behavioral actions they take outside of Facebook. They can upload a spreadsheet of customer email addresses or phone numbers and run campaigns that will only be viewed by these individuals. To ensure data security, Facebook hashes this information when matching against customer data and then discards your original upload list. It also allows marketers to better target segments of existing customers.

But let’s get more specific. Here are six ways marketers can use the new features:

Target customers and prospects on Facebook according to how they interact with your brand outside of Facebook. For example, business-to-business marketers can now run an ad campaign targeted to prospects that have recently downloaded a case study on its website. This marketing campaign encourages prospects to continue engaging with the company by signing up for a product demonstration or talking to a salesperson.

Online retailers can also run Facebook ad campaigns that recommend products to customers who recently made similar purchases. For example, a sporting goods retailer can run ads for golf shoes to customers that have recently purchased golf clubs on its website.

Increase the effectiveness of your “customer nurture” programs. Custom Audiences allows you to run ads on Facebook that complement your nurture emails, or emails that try to keep the target interested. For example, if you send the prospective buyer an email inviting him to download your latest case study, but he doesn’t open the email, you could then run a Facebook ad inviting him, and others like him, to view customer testimonials on your Facebook page. These multiple touch points are key, and when you consider how often folks visit their inboxes and Facebook pages on a given day, the synergy here is a no-brainer.

Target friends of customers. Previously, Facebook only let marketers target friends of people who “liked” your page. Now, you can run ad campaigns targeted to friends of your actual customers. Instead of pushing golf shoes to people who bought golf clubs or similar items, you can promote golf shoes to all of the friends of customers that purchased golf clubs. They might be joining your current customer at tee-time.

While targeting based off of likes is important, paying attention to the friends of those customers who have interacted with the company more deeply than a “like” is also useful.

Increase your ROI from events. If your company is sponsoring or exhibiting at a local event, you can upload a list of your local customers, prospects, or attendees to Facebook and run an ad campaign encouraging these customers to visit your booth. Or, if you want to use behavioral marketing to increase your return on investment, create a custom audience of only customers who recently interacted with your brand at events, with your sales team, or online.

Retarget. When your customers put items in their shopping carts but don’t make a purchase, or view a sign-up form but don’t submit it, you can use Custom Audiences to re-target these users on Facebook. This goes back to having multiple touch points, meaning, you have to follow the customer around to their various sites and places of online activity to urge them to complete the form. Customer Audiences recognizes this.

Drive in-store purchases with mobile ads. If you’re brand operates physical locations, you can increase repeat customer visits by running Facebook ads for your in-store specials. Upload a list of email addresses or phone numbers for customers who joined your loyalty program. Then, run a Facebook mobile ad campaign, which will reach customers only when they view Facebook on their mobile phone. You can get even more targeted by running the ad campaign only with customers that live in cities where you have locations.

While Custom Audiences provides more ways for digital marketers to get specific and make the more money, let’s not forget—it’s also great for Facebook, a company that is still figuring out how to monetize its service and users. By helping marketers with their ROI, Facebook is making itself indispensable. This puts them in a better position to attract more marketing dollars. On top of that, consumers end up getting much more relevant marketing messages and ads.

What are some other ways we can use Custom Audiences?

Before he joined Silverpop, Adam Steinberg was the co-founder and CEO of PlacePunch, a location-based marketing platform that leveraged Facebook and foursquare data to serve more personalized marketing messages to end-users. PlacePunch was acquired by Silverpop in 2011. He’s an expert on social media and on the way marketers can use Facebook, specifically, in campaigns.

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