Custom audiences are great. There… I said it. The ability to upload customer/user/lead data as a method for targeting, exclusion or to create a lookalike (similar) audience has been a game changer for the digital advertising industry. Great as custom audiences may be, there is – and always has been – a draw back. Match rates. You upload a list of email addresses or phone numbers, but Facebook tells you they only matched X% to known users. Boo! I want all of them!
Facebook has made strides to improve match rates with Advanced Matching. Facebook was 1st to market with custom audiences, so it only makes sense that they’d drive the industry forward with the latest innovation. What exactly is Advanced Matching? In short, you can now include more data than just email addresses or phone numbers. By doing so, you give Facebook more information to scrub against their user database, thus improving match rates.
What data can you include?
- Email Address
- Phone Number (include country code)
- First Name
- Last Name
- Date of Birth
- Mobile Advertiser ID
- Facebook App User ID
For our part here at Clix, we are still discovering how this change impacts match rates across our client base. This change (like so many others in our industry!) has forced us to educate our clients on what this change means, and many of them now have to adjust their internal processes to change how they pull custom audience lists or in some cases change how they collect data in the first place.
We did have one instance where we saw the improvement in match rates in clear relief. The custom audience was a customer list with over 30,000 rows of data. When uploaded with email addresses only, match rate was just over 50%. When uploaded with phone number, first name, last name, email, city, state and zip – the match rate increased to just shy of 80%. Works for me!!!
Who benefits most from this change? Well, everybody. Advertisers can now feel more confident that the lists they upload will be useful at scale. Facebook users should experience an improvement in relevancy – 1) not seeing ads from brands where they are already a customer or lead and 2) seeing ads that are directly relevant to them.
Going a bit deeper, I believe that B2B advertisers will likely benefit the most here. Why? When leveraging email addresses or phone numbers for custom audiences, this is 100% reliant on the end-user using the very same email address or phone number in their user profile. If you use a business email and phone number at work and personal email and phone number for everything else… you may not be matched! Now that Facebook can see these 12 additional data points about a given user, they can draw conclusions about the user’s identity and thereby include them as a match in your custom audience. Some might say creepy. I saw awesome.
UPDATE: Looks like Facebook’s ownership of WhatsApp may assist in match rate boosts on custom audiences as well. Despite early assertions of keeping WhatsApp user data private, that will be changing. WhatsApp will be sharing user phone numbers with Facebook. Interesting…