Don’t listen to your kids: Facebook advertising isn’t just for moms in the 35- to 40-year-old age range. Thanks to its retargeting and similar audiences features, Facebook has become a powerful tool for B2B advertisers seeking new customers who are similar to their existing customer base. Today, you can effectively “follow” individuals that visit your website on Facebook and utilize all the information Facebook knows about those people—age, job, location, pages visited, etc.—to identify similar people on Facebook and then reach out to these potential new customers with targeted advertising. It’s a game changer.



How it works

Customers who are a good fit for your company and are interested in what you do visit your web page. These visitors then return to Facebook at some point, in the normal course of their day. Facebook knows a great deal about these individuals—analytics that include everything from age, marital status, location and job to favorite TV shows, movies, music, and so much more. Users not only fill out general personal information but also share hundreds of keyword laden posts, visit various pages, and fill out numerous quizzes that provide insights. As an advertiser, you can take advantage of this knowledge in two ways, using Facebook’s “retargeting” and “similar audiences” features.



Retargeting is pretty straightforward. Potential customers who visit your website might need a few reminders to go back and take action. Facebook allows you to advertise to these prospects to keep you top-of-mind, motivating them to purchase or re-order. We’ve all had similar experiences. You’re searching for something online, have some idea of what you want, then get re-tasked or distracted and don’t complete the job. A helpful reminder ad is sometimes all it takes to refresh your memory and encourage you to complete the sale.

Similar audiences, on the other hand, will follow the users who visited your website and those you identify as customers and then find other individuals on Facebook who are like them in terms of their personal preferences and analytics. Then, Facebook will show your ads to these similar customers and, almost like magic, you have just uncovered an entirely new group of potential customers who are much more likely to be interested in your business or product than the average, random prospect.



The Facebook pixel

So how does Facebook know who visits your website? While you can easily target ads to your Facebook fans or share and target individuals on your customer email lists, Facebook also employs a “pixel” you place within the code on your home and/or other web pages. The pixel is just a simple line of code. It allows Facebook to track your web visitors who have Facebook pages and “follow” them from your page back to Facebook. When you create a “custom audience” to advertise in Facebook, you can select these “people visiting specific pages” to reach your website visitors via targeted Facebook advertising.



Leveraging Facebook data

One very impressive and powerful piece of Facebook’s advertising takes the “custom audience” one step further by offering “similar audiences.” This is where it gets very interesting. Not only can you target your website visitors, but you can effectively reach hundreds or thousands of people just like them thanks to the power of similar, or lookalike, audiences. Here, Facebook takes advantage of the massive amount of data they have compiled about its users to identify new potential customers for you that are just like your current web visitors and customers. This is a game-changing feature that allows you to target new customer groups with a few clicks.



What next?

Social media services like Facebook are only getting more and more sophisticated at capturing user data and related preferences. Going forward, features like similar audiences will continue to grow more powerful and diverse. Learning how to leverage this technology to benefit your business is a smart tactic that can put you ahead of the game. Many B2B companies have ignored Facebook, but smart companies are catching on to the power this unique approach offers.