Use Facebook's Own Data To Personalize & Enrich Your List

By Brennan Dunn

Marketers have come to love how powerful Facebook’s ad targeting is.

In the old days, if a company wanted to get their product in front of physically active people, they’d probably advertise during the X Games on ESPN.

Now, in just minutes, they can target 18-40 year old CrossFit aficionados who are into Paleo with relative ease.

We largely self-select the ads we see:

  • I “like” CrossFit.
  • I “like” a big Paleo blog.
  • I tell Facebook I’m a 33-year-old man from Virginia.

It should be no surprise that I’m now seeing ads for caveman bone broth powders.

While it’s relatively easy to target a particular demographic or interest on Facebook, it’s not so easy to get that data back out.

For example, analyzing your list or website traffic in their Audience Insights tool will give you an idea of the type of people who make up your audience, but it’s all anonymized.

But what if you could easily get that data out of Facebook?

What if you could use that data to make your website hyper-specific to the person who clicked through?

And what if you could attribute the individuals in your audience with the data Facebook gives you?

Step 1: Focus your retargeting

You probably know what retargeting is, and there’s a good chance you’ve done it yourself.

By either uploading your list to a Facebook custom audience or installing a Facebook tracking pixel on your website, you can push ads into the newsfeeds of people on your list and who visit your website.

Most people who retarget create a few ads and push it in front of their subscribers or recent site traffic.

But the Facebook campaign editor allows you to drill down to specific segments from a source audience (e.g., your email list.)

I could upload my list of freelancers and create an ad for one of my courses.

And instead of just creating a single ad that targets everyone on my list who hasn’t bought, I could split it into a handful of distinct ad campaigns that target interests of theirs on Facebook:

  • Subscribers who like A List Apart, Hongkiat, etc (Design Blogs)
  • Subscribers who like Smashing Magazine, SitePoint, etc (Developer Blogs)
  • Subscribers who like WordPress, WPEngine, FlyWheel, etc (WordPress Developers)
  • Subscribers who like Moz, Neil Patel, Digital Marketer, etc (Marketers)
  • Subscribers who like Copyhackers, Copyblogger, etc (Copywriters)

This makes sense for me because I’m selling to freelancers and agencies who have different technical proficiencies.

But if I was selling a health supplement or something more consumer-focused, I might be more interested in targeting demographics:

  • Site visitors who are 18 to 30 year old men
  • Site visitors who are 18 to 30 year old women
  • Site visitors who are 31-50 year old men
  • Site visitors who are 31-50 year old women
  • Site visitors who are 50+ year old men
  • Site visitors who are 50+ year old women

If I wanted to, I could change up the ad creative and copy for each of these campaigns. (This would work well, as I’ll explain in the next step).

But I could also just use the same ad and clone it for each segment I target.

Step 2: Personalize the on-site experience of your traffic cohorts

Facebook’s not going to send over the complete interest list or demographic breakdown of traffic that clicks on one of my ads.

However, we can include details about who we’re targeting in the clickthrough URL we attach to each ad.

For example, when promoting my course to followers of major marketing blogs and figureheads, I could attach to the end of the clickthrough URL:


Or for 18-30 year old women:


And within RightMessage, I could add to my “marketer” segment anyone who has the query string parameter of “interest” set to “marketers”.


That segment also includes anyone tagged as a marketer in my email marketing app or who originally arrived from a marketing blog. And while it’s not a perfect science, it’s pretty safe to assume that anyone who clicked on the ad targeting marketers or came from a website for marketers has some interest in marketing.

Great! Now we just need to think about what we’d change on the course’s landing page:

  • The headline should speak to how this course helps marketers
  • Any usage of freelancer now becomes “freelance marketer”
  • Show testimonials from other marketers

And if we were targeting by demographic, the easiest thing to do would be to show testimonials and case studies from people just like the person visiting.

We want to see ourselves in the testimonials of the products we’re looking for.

Step 3:  Sync this data back up to your list

RightMessage is going to remember the demographic data you send to your website from Facebook for as long as the visitor’s cookies exist in their browser.

But you should aim to provide a continuity of messaging across all mediums:

  • Facebook (targeted, relevant ads)
  • Your website (targeted, relevant website copy and content)
  • Your emails (targeted, relevant emails)

To do this, you’re going to want to your email list to be your single source of authority.

So when the anonymous, retargeted website visitor now opts-in to your email list or buys a product from you, you should sync the data sent over from Facebook up to your database.

The best way to do this is to add hidden fields to your opt-in forms that get associated with your new subscriber.

But if you’re using one of RightMessage’s email marketing apps that support two-way sync, we’ll soon automatically sync this data up to new and existing subscribers — with zero need for you to set anything up.

Facebook advertising that links people back to your site is a seriously effective tool.

Not only is it cheaper to run ads to audiences you control (your list or your site traffic), these audiences generally trust you somewhat.

So by selectively pulling out piecemeal data about who someone is and what they’re interested in by using annotated URLs, you’ll not only be able to deliver them a better on-site experience, but the relationship you have with them will be all the better since you’ll be able to always deliver the right message to them — regardless of the medium.