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Social amplification: How to expand your audiences


Note: This is the first in a series of instructional posts that aim to identify and synthesize some of the tactics that we in the Vox Media Marketing department utilize or experiment with on a daily basis. The proficiency of these posts will range from beginner to expert, or somewhere in between. Below, Benjamin Fullon, our Director of Paid Media, shares some insight from our use of Facebook custom audiences and conversion tracking using Facebook's conversion pixel.

Expanding and diversifying the audience you reach

When publishing and promoting new content, reaching the most relevant audience with the most relevant messaging and assets is key. You want to ensure that you’re reaching the people that want to engage with your content, and you also want to ensure that you’re reaching them as efficiently as possible. Organically Vox Media properties reach an average 500 million users across social platforms like Facebook each month; these are people actively interacting with our posts and in many instances going on to view content on Vox Media properties.

However sometimes as a publisher or an advertiser you need to reach new audiences, beyond your endemic, who might not know your brand but, imaginably, if they did, would engage with what you have to say. Beyond organic publishing, Facebook offers a number of tools to help target the right sets of people both on and off their platform. Here is how Vox Media uses some of those tools to reach the right users, at the right time, with the right content.

Using website custom audiences

Facebook’s Website Custom Audiences allow you to slice and dice your website traffic into unique segments, providing a wide range of options when it comes to targeting a specific subset of people, such as:

  • Targeting users who have been to your website within a certain time frame.
  • Targeting users who have only visited certain URLs on your site.
  • Creating your own set of parameters, and including as many inclusions or exclusions you want.


Tracking engaged users once they leave Facebook

Facebook also provides the tools necessary to find and track the most engaged users on your website. Their conversion pixel allows you to track a variety of different behavioral metrics. By implementing a snippet of code on your site you can track a number of actions a Facebook user takes post-click such as email signups, purchases, and more.

For publishers, an important metric that a slightly-modified conversion pixel allows you to track is pageviews generated by an acquired click. By looking at the number of pages someone coming from your Facebook campaign has consumed post-click you can see just how engaged the audience you’re targeting is and how effectively your campaign is contributing to other important KPIs. This can help qualify your targeting theories, optimize parameters, and make more informed and cost-effective targeting decisions for future campaigns.

Using custom audiences and conversion pixels together

Another creative way to employ the tools provided by Facebook is to have them work in tandem with each other to track advanced site metrics for a specific subset of users. By using the conversion pixel to track pageviews on a Custom Audience campaign, you can isolate and track how engaged a particular group is. For example, you can test how many pages a 30 day look-back audience (users who have been to your site in the last 30 days) views vs your 100 day look-back audience. Doing so allows you to juxtapose the two and determine which of these audiences is the most engaged.

Facebook’s advanced tracking and audience building tools allows content marketers of all kinds to find their most valuable audiences in the most effective ways and to qualify them in the most efficient.