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How to Filter Through Crazy Big Audiences with Facebook Ads

I have a client who uses Facebook ads to sell her services, but not in the way that you’d think.

She sells psychic readings, over the phone and over email.

The strategy we’ve employed has been so successful that we’ve had to pause the campaign multiple times because too many purchases comes in.

Alex B. Post 2.1

To understand how we did it, you first need to understand interest-based targeting.

Facebook will tell you there are 700,000 targetable people in the US who are interested in “Psychic Reading.”

Wow, perfect! That’s a lot of people and they must all want to buy from my client. Right?

Not so fast. Just because Facebook tells us they’re interested in the exact thing we’re selling, doesn’t mean that all, or any, are our potential customers. There are plenty of factors that could dissuade them.

  • Price
  • It’s not in person
  • My client doesn’t wear enough beads and smell of incense
  • Facebook mistakenly tagged them as interested
  • They’re no longer interested
  • …the list goes on and on.

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uncomfortable lunch with a psychic and a medium

We’re also making one BIG assumption– that Facebook’s ”Psychic Reading” audience is actually comprised of people who are interested in psychic readings. I’ve had loads of campaigns where I thought I found the holy grail of cold audience targeting, and it turns out to be a bust.

Approach everything Facebook tells you with a healthy amount of skepticism. If you want to see what I mean, check out what Facebook has decided you’re “interested” in by clicking here. I’ve listed some of mine below.

On the whole, the 185 interests they’ve tagged me with are actually pretty accurate.

For now, let’s assume our customers are properly tagged and are in that “Psychic Reading” audience somewhere.

How can we filter through such a huge audience to find our customers without losing money in the end?

The answer is content, and here’s why.

  1. Facebook prioritizes content because that keeps its users happy. Engagement with your ad and many other factors results result in your Relevance Score. The better the score, the less you’re paying for distribution, and content scores wonderfully.
  2. Content is more shareable. Know what’s nice about shares on ads? You don’t pay for any resulting clicks or impressions. V-V-V-V-VIRAL
  3. People are less resistant to clicking it. Engagement rates and CPC are almost always lower for content. Usually much lower.
  4. You don’t need to capture email addresses or make the sale on first engagement anymore, thanks to your Facebook Pixel and retargeting. That means that getting people to view your content is like waving a big net in the air.

“But I share content all the time and it’s not raking in customers!”

Just because you’re dancing doesn’t mean it’s going to rain.


For this to work, you need the right headline and the right topic that will attract exactly the right people.

Introducing ‘The Content Net.’

This is an add-on technique that precedes what’s known as a ‘Content Upgrade.’ I’ll tell you more about those in another example below. They freakin’ rock.

Let’s review the situation with my client.

First she needs to filter through 700,000 people to isolate potential customers, then she needs to make the sale– all while maintaining a positive ROI.

The right headline and topic all in one.

She wrote a blog post called ‘5 Reasons to Walk Out on a Psychic Reading.’

The genius of this post is that it immediately appealing only to people who pay for or are considering paying for psychic readings. What’s more, it also sets her up as someone who understands the gimmicks that psychics can pull and sets her apart as someone who is trustworthy; it’s perfect and very multidimensional.

image 2

And once they click? Boom! Just like that she’s created a new subset of that audience (i.e. her exact audience) for much less money. And thanks to her Facebook Pixel, she doesn’t even need to collect their email address. They’re now targetable as part of her Website Custom Audience, and she’s able to retarget them with an offer for a psychic reading.

image 3

She books so many of them that we have to stop the campaign so she can catch up with the work.

Let’s go through it again, but this time with the goal of gathering leads instead of sales.

In order to capitalize on the cheaper costs of less salesy ads, you need to develop what’s called a ‘Content Upgrade.’ Basically, this is when you offer a lead magnet (or service as you saw above) that’s super relevant to the blog post the user is reading, instead of something generic.

If you want to learn more about ‘Content Upgrades,’ here are some great blog posts:

Using this strategy, it’s not uncommon to see conversion rates upwards of 10% or more.

Take a look at an example from my blog.

Target audience: People I want on my list are either interested in using Facebook ads but don’t feel they know enough yet, or have used Facebook ads but weren’t happy with their results.

Both of these groups need help with the basics of setting up a campaign, and some proven strategies for getting good results so they don’t feel like they’re wasting money. I landed on the headline ‘Don’t even spend $1 on Facebook ads until you do these 3 things’ to address their spending concerns and position my information as the solid starting place they’re looking for.

Instead of relying on a pop-up or sidebar form, I put a couple of forms throughout the blog post where, in exchange for an email address, I offer access to a step-by-step PDF detailing the process of running a cold audience campaign. Without the PDF you have to figure out those finer points yourself.

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Next, I followed my own advice in ‘The Kickass Guide to Facebook Ads’ to drive Facebook ad traffic to the blog post.

It’s always recommended that you make a seamless transition (aka ad scent) between your ad and landing page. In the copy, focus on benefits and give people a reason to click. You can also overcome hesitations to clicking by saying specifically that it’s a blog post or article. I mention it twice here.

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The campaign went on for about a month, and I was paying $0.21 for clicks and $1.56 for leads with a 13.46% conversion rate. The relevance score teetered between a 9 and 10, which was a good indication that my targeting and ad were a strong match.

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After the first few days, it was running on autopilot. I sat back and watched my list grow throughout August (and a little in September).

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Next time you’re writing content, keep this all in mind.

Think about your target audience and try to create a piece of content that is irresistible to them. Then, if list building is your goal, develop a content upgrade on top of that blog post and try promoting it with Facebook ads.

I bet you’ll have an automatic list-building sales machine running in no time.

Want to have some fun? In the comments below, list the strangest interest Facebook as tagged you with.

Alex Broderick-Forster Give him one good reason to find a stable, well-paying job and he’ll give you four potentially short-sighted reasons why it’s simply not an option for him. One– he founded his own Facebook Advertising consultancy and named it Earn Enough to reflect his anti-abundance lifestyle. Two– he works entirely remotely and has been featured by Inc. Magazine as one of 6 Masters of the Remote Working Universe. Three– he recently taught workshops alongside industry legends at Chris Guillebeau’s Pioneer Nation 2015. Four– he’s been earning passive income for over a year after designing a course on Udemy and being identified as a top instructor. Keep track of his digital working lifestyle on Instagram.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • According to FB, I’m a very liberal, polyamorous, newlywed with some interest in Cedar Rapids IA.

    Not all of the above are true. But many other things in my profile are correct.

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