advertising – Stay N Alive

The Perfect Use of Custom Audiences Through Facebook Ads

Custom Audiences are a terrific way to build Facebook ads that convert and bring strong traffic back to a site. The way they work is this:

  • You have an email list
  • You import that email list into Facebook’s Power Editor
  • Facebook matches those emails with Facebook users that also use those emails
  • You target ads to that email list or exclude the people in that email list from your targeted ad campaigns
I’ve been encouraging my clients for awhile now to look inside their existing user databases and find ways to segment users to better target ads back towards those existing users to get new sales. One way to do that is to look at users that have not completed a full transaction, and remind them to do so through a simple non-intrusive Facebook ad. The potential for the completed sale goes up significantly when brands do this.
I saw this in action today as I went through the process of adding flower bulbs to my Shopping Cart at, but not completing the purchase. Within minutes, I was seeing ads on Facebook reminding me that I had not completed my purchase, and even offering a further discount to get me back.
Having worked at a few e-commerce companies in the past (my college minor was e-business), I can attest that it’s difficult to get customers all the way through the sales process. Previously there were few ways, without outright spamming them and driving them further away, to get those customers that never completed their purchase.
Now, with custom audiences on Facebook businesses can remind the user very quickly after-the-fact, when they’re still in purchasing mode, further increasing the likelihood of the sale. This, to me, is the perfect use of custom audiences on Facebook. Well done Brecks!
Wanna learn more about Facebook ads? I just finished a course you can take to learn about my own secrets to success with Facebook ads. I promise you’ll learn something new in this course. If not, let me know and I’ll refund your money, 100% – go get the course here!

Facebook is Not the Top Social Network in America, Yet

myspace-myads.jpgJust yesterday, MySpace announced the release of their myAds Beta self-serve Ads platform. As part of it, similar to Facebook’s self-serve Ads platform, they released an automatic statistics engine, now available to any user that goes through the motions of setting up an Ad. The new engine allows a glimpse into the MySpace userbase. What’s even more interesting is that you can do the same on Facebook, now allowing very accurate comparisons of the two platforms when determining where you should advertise or build an Application. Based on these comparisons, it would appear that, while Facebook traffic seems to be going up and MySpace traffic seems to be going down, Facebook still has far to go before catching up with MySpace in North America, at least in regards to number of users.

Here are the results I came up with – note that myAds only allows statistics for North America, so I was unable to do a comparison of the countries outside of the region. All these stats are North America-specific:

North America as a Whole:

Facebook: 33,3393,820 users
MySpace: 83,895,693 users


Facebook: 14,538,700 – 43.5% of total
MySpace: 37,653,707 – 44.88% of total


Facebook: 18,804,380 – 56.3% of total
MySpace: 46,241,986 – 55.11% of total

25+ Age Range:

Facebook: 12,649,720 – 37.88% of total
MySpace: 30,804,487 – 36.71% of total

24- Age Range:

Facebook: 20,722,540 – 62.05% of total
MySpace: 53,089,687 – 63.28% of total

Based on these statistics, as mentioned, MySpace dominates the North American market. Of the demographic break-up, the two sites seem neck-and-neck, so where you target your marketing and apps may really bring you over to MySpace first, and Facebook second. While minute, Facebook does seemingly have a stronger female to male ratio, as well as a ratio of those 25 and older. That would make sense considering Facebook reports their largest growing customer-base is the 25 and older generation.

What would be an even more interesting study would be why users come to each of the sites. Where Facebook seems to accommodate all businesses with their “Page” business profiles, MySpace seems to be targeting the Band and Movie genre. With categorized demographics, MySpace makes it easy to generate statistics based on these demographics, but Facebook doesn’t seem to make it very easy, relying mostly on keywords that pull from the Info section of a user’s profile. It would be hard to do a comparison in this area.

Now, if you compare actual traffic, it gets even more interesting. According to, Facebook has been increasing very steadily, while MySpace traffic is decreasing. It’s hard to tell if this is a reflection of the user-base, or of simple engagement within the site. If MySpace’s userbase has been growing, MySpace needs to do some serious consideration of how to increase traffic and PageViews within the site, because in this area in general, Facebook is about to overtake MySpace.

So while Facebook is hot on the tail of MySpace, it would appear that it still has far to go in North America. Facebook still needs to double in size in North America before they get even close. If I were to target Facebook I would target a more global audience for now.

A Little More Information Regarding Beacon…

facebook_pic.pngAfter posting my article yesterday, the beacon controversy seems to have come back with a vengence, with articles by Mashable, TechCrunch, and even Valleywag (I’m actually not much of a Fantasy Football Enthusiast, but they can certainly call me one), to name a few. Today I received communication from Facebook clarifying where Facebook stands on the matter, and I thought I’d share so all are clear.

Let’s start with what Beacon is – I believe all, even I, have been unclear as to what it is, since only a few partners were brought on when it launched. Per an e-mail I received from Facebook, “We don’t charge developers, users or sites for Beacon or Connect use. Neither product is at all associated with advertising — no participating sites pay nor are they required to be advertisers.”

I mentioned that Facebook never took down their text about how to sign up for Beacon. Nick O’Neill of further clarified this by stating that Fandango and Kongregate and others were still using Beacon, even after people stopped blogging about it. ComputerWorld also has a great article mentioning that fact. Facebook has clarified this with the following statement:

“Since late 2007, Beacon has been available on dozens of participating sites after we made a series of improvements to ensure that users have control over what information is shared to their friends on Facebook. We are not accepting new developers into the program, and this is not using Facebook Connect.”

So just to be clear, Beacon, according to Facebook, is considered part of the developer Platform, not their advertising program. In addition to that, as of this moment, no new developers are being accepted into the program. Facebook has still neglected to remove the option to request to be part of Beacon on their advertisers page however, so I am still a little unclear as to their future intentions for this. In a further communication from them to me they did mention they have no further plans to expand at the time being. Facebook also mentioned they have about 30 developers as part of their original program started in 2007, and that they have “continued to make improvements in the UI since then.”

As I mentioned, I still welcome the new options Beacon seems to be giving users. I’m now empowered as a user to decide if I want Beacon to send things to my Mini Feed on Facebook or not. It will be interesting to see if Facebook continues the program, or if it gets phased out as Facebook Connect emerges.

Beacon Makes a Comeback, With More Choices and Options

UPDATE: A Facebook Representative has clarified this a little further by saying Facebook Beacon is actually a free product. Per their statement, “We don’t charge developers, users or sites for Beacon or Connect use. Neither product is at all associated with advertising — no participating sites pay nor are they required to be advertisers.” I have corrected the article below to reflect that.

In addition, as Nick O’Neill of states (and I alluded to below), Beacon never really went away. Fandango and others have used and have been using Beacon even though people stopped blogging about it. Per a statement by Facebook they are not accepting any new users into the program however. See my follow up to this post here.

Picture 6.pngA message appeared from a top poster on the Facebook Developer Forums today which seems to indicate that beacon may be making a comeback. Facebook Developer, Tom Kincaid, noticed an interesting message when signing up for CBS Sportsline on Tuesday. After signing up, a popup appeared, mentioning, “ is sending this to your Facebook profile: Tom joined Free Fantasy Football – on Fantasy”. It then gave him the option to close the popup, decline the message, or mention it wasn’t him.

Sure enough, trying this myself, I was able to see it myself. You can verify by signing up for CBS Sportsline, and then signing up for a Fantasy Football team. The message stays up for about 5-10 seconds, then it minimizes to the bottom of the window with a little “show” button to make it re-appear. Oddly enough, it appears there is a bug with the “show” button, because clicking on it made the popup disappear forever.

Picture 7.png

Looking at the source reveals this code, confirming this is indeed the comeback of Beacon:

Picture 9.pngGoing back to Facebook, it appears that Facebook is now giving you the option to post it to your mini feed or not. If you select “okay”, it gets posted straight to your mini-feed for your friends to see. So it seems Facebook this time may be doing it right, making the users choose before a message goes back to their mini feed.

I’ve mentioned previously that Facebook has never removed the information about beacon for advertisers. Even today you can go to “Advertising“, then “More business solutions” at the bottom of the page, and then you will be given the option to e-mail Facebook about signing up for the service. I mentioned before that it was unclear if they were actually fulfilling these requests, but it appears they may just be doing so. The beacon message even appears to have a fresh new design to it.

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As it never really went anywhere, users can still go into their privacy settings and turn off beacon as they choose, but it defaults to on currently. With choice, maybe this isn’t so bad though.

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Facebook has mentioned before that they are approaching revolutionary new methods of advertising to better monetize their network. I believe this may just be the start of doing so. This is powerful, and important technology, and puts Facebook up just one above their competitors in the battle to become the social networking platform for all.

We talk about the beacon controversy in “I’m on Facebook–Now What???“. Purchase a copy to learn more about its controversial history and more.

Why You’re Seeing "Those" Facebook Ads

facebook_hot_gay_men.jpgYesterday I was checking Facebook and noticed an Advertisement on the left for a singles site targeting Homosexual Men. Well, maybe Facebook knows something I don’t, but I do have a wife, and yes, 4 kids – I am far from such! Not only that, but my Facebook Account specifically says I’m interested in WOMEN. I Twittered it and got responses from other people saying they had seen the same ads, and others as well that were definitely not targeted towards what they had entered on Facebook.

Valleywag (I skim it occasionally – yes, they do get some dirt occasionally that is actually news!) today posted an article about a similar situation. I also remember several times seeing an ad for wedding rings when it clearly says I’m married. So why are we seeing these non-targeted ads?

The reason is because there’s a flaw in Facebook’s advertising system. The ads you see on the left are only ads submitted by users, and they are submitted completely by users via a tool on Facebook called, “Social Ads“. So the ads are truly up to the users submitting them as to how targeted an audience they show to.

However, in some of these cases (like the Homosexual ads) I’m afraid it wasn’t the users’ fault the ads weren’t targeted correctly. Right now, when you sign up for a social ad, it gives you the option to filter by Location, Sex, Age, Keywords from your Activities, Favorite Music, Favorite Books, and About Me sections on your Profile, Education Status, Workplaces, and Relationship Status. As you can see there is no “Interested In” field in there. Note, there is no “Religion” field in there either, nor is there a political views field, or field for the IM networks you’re on. Because of this there is no way to target an ad only to homosexuals, or heterosexuals, or catholics, or christians, or Jews, or Muslims, or conservatives.

While Facebook gives great tools to target your advertising in ways you can’t through other venues, their advertising still has holes. To compete I anticipate these things will need to be made available to advertisers, or a better filtering system will have to be in place.

What do you think Facebook can do to improve this process?

(Image courtesy Valleywag)