Facebook announced today that it is extending the Custom Audience product to allow for direct targeting of users who have visited websites or used mobile applications. Prior to this, Custom Audience targeting required site visitors to have registered and sent advertisers either their email address, phone number, or Facebook user identifier. With this new release, advertisers will be able to target users directly after just visiting specific pages in their site.
While this is similar to the type of retargeting offered by Facebook Exchange (FBX), this new capability will be available to all users of Facebook’s ad management tools, and their Ads API. Now advertisers will be able to market to their existing user base without going through third-party agencies.
Facebook takes care to mention that FBX still provides more robust segmentation and dynamic creative functionality, making it more appropriate for campaigns with a large number of retargeting options. For example, sites with an extensive product catalog, retargeting users with product-specific ads, will probably want to use FBX in lieu of these new Custom Audiences. But for more simplified conversion funnels, this new tool offers simplified implementation and management, keeping all Facebook marketing consolidated inside a single toolset.
Facebook gives few details on implementation, or capabilities, so we don’t know exactly how this will work. But we can speculate that there will be some sort of tracking pixel used to add or remove users from Custom Audiences. It’s possible there will be some targeting limitations, restricting certain features (like View Tags, for example) from ads utilizing these new audiences. Until technical documentation on this new feature is updated, we wont know for sure.
As CEO of a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer company, I consider this one of the most welcomed releases of the year. Offering clients a unified social marketing service that includes retargeting amplifies our offering. While FBX vendors have built powerful trading desks to traffic Facebook inventory, PMDs have years of experience working with Facebook creatives and targeting. Leveraging that knowledge and experience on retargeting efforts, and managing it all from a single dashboard will pay big dividends to our clients.