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Bring Your Customers Back With Website Custom Audiences

Written by: Juliana Casale, Director of Marketing

The opportunity – and challenge – of social media advertising is its massive reach. As a performance marketer, you have millions of people to communicate with; what do you say, and who do you say it to?

We love Facebook for its huge user base (1.3 billion and counting) and the opportunity it represents for brands looking to boost user acquisition and re-engage current clients. The pool of potential customers is enormous, but it gets much less overwhelming when you pick a target audience that aligns directly with your business goals. Our Head of Product Marketing, Jeff, recently wrote up an intro to Website Custom Audiences – a wonderful tool for targeting visitors to your website via Facebook. In case you’re asking, “Why should I go after people who already landed on my site?” just think about this statistic:

For most websites, only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit.

Here are some specific ways that Website Custom Audiences can help you narrow your focus on people who have already expressed interest in your product – a natural fit for customer acquisition and cost reduction goals.

Sample Use Cases

As seen below, eCommerce and other mobile-focused companies are seeing huge lift from their WCA remarketing campaigns. According to Facebook for Business:

  • When 20Jeans used Website Custom Audiences to retarget people who abandoned a shopping cart, they saw a 3X reduction in CPA
  • When Shopify used lookalikes of their website visitors to generate new sales leads, they saw a 2X decrease in cost per lead
  • When Seeking Alpha targeted mobile app install ads to people who had previous visited the website, they saw average cost per install reduced by 28%

Defining Your Website Audiences

The chief advantage of Website Custom Audiences is automation. You can automatically build buckets in Facebook via a remarketing pixel that pulls in email lists, UIDs, phone numbers, or mobile advertiser IDs from visitors to your site and generates a list based on parameters that you define ahead of time (see below).

With Nanigans Ad Engine, you can create Website Custom Audience rules based around Domain, Path, and URL visits, as well as an “Event” rule type which can be custom defined. For example, you can use two different pixels to track new vs. return user logins to your site.

Word to the wise: Reporting only starts the day you add WCA information to your page, so start collecting data before you need need to act on it. Here are some steps for getting started:

  • Identify your key landing pages (like a search results page or checkout page) and create an audience for each
  • Combine everyone who visits any landing page on your site into one big audience
  • Take each piece of your marketing funnel (awareness, consideration, conversion, loyalty) and turn it into an audience

For eCommerce:

  • Put everyone who added something to a shopping cart – but didn’t buy – together
  • Place one-time buyers in their own group
  • Form a group around everyone who bought something
  • Target and re-engage purchasers from a particular time frame (ex: the past month)

Once you’ve run some campaigns around the aforementioned WCAs and identified top performing audiences, make sure to:

  • Exclude users who have already purchased the product in new iterations
  • Show buyers ads on complimentary products

Lookalike Audiences

Now it’s time for phase two. Identifying segments of people who tend to convert is its own reward, but a huge bonus to finding your marketing sweet spot is being able to then expand the radius of your campaigns to the people who share the same attributes as your best customers.


  • Your seed audience should be at least 5,000 users; Facebook recommends using at least 30,000 users. This number will provide you with sufficient data to find the best lookalikes.
  • Audiences optimized for similarity will contain 1-­2M people, while audiences optimized for greater reach will contain 8-9M people. These sizes will be consistent regardless of the seed audience size.

Lookalikes allow you to find people similar to your website visitors, mobile app customers, fans of your page and people you know, based on their behavior around similar products or services and interest in the same topic or category. Want to learn more? Read Jeff’s post, 7 Ways to Reach New Customers Using Lookalike Audiences.

Focus on Mobile

When you install an SDK into your mobile app, you can start retargeting users through mobile devices as well as desktop, leveraging Website Custom Audiences to inform your aim. For example, if you’re a retailer with a mobile app and your goal is to boost sales among existing customers, you can build a WCA from people who added to cart in-app without purchasing, and encourage them to return and complete the transaction through limited-time sales or loyalty discounts.

If you’re a travel company, visitors to your website are probably also interested in your travel app. Building a WCA out of people who have run a search, filled out dates, or clicked on vacation packages will allow you to target your app install ads to people who are most likely planning a trip. Capitalizing on intent is a great way to lower your average cost post install.

Tying it All Together

No matter how much intent your prospective and current customers have shown, your ads won’t perform well without creative that lures them back into the fold. Matching your copy and images to each Website Custom Audience is the best way to secure a high return on ad spend. For example, if you’re a movie ticketing company, make sure to separate horror/thriller landing page browsers from romantic comedy browsers, or you’re going to be frightening fans of Katherine Heigl.

Remember: Getting visitors to your site is only half the battle. Segmenting people based on their browsing behaviors through Website Custom Audiences, building out Lookalike groups, and serving both buckets highly relevant ads is your best weapon for closing the sales cycle and fostering repeat business.


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