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Rapid User Acquisition

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How to jumpstart user acquisition for your startup or brand

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Facebook has quickly become the most effective way for brands large and small to acquire new customers. The platforms combination of audience (over 2B monthly active users according to Statista), targeting products, and ad user experience gives advertisers everything they need reach and engage the right audience.


Despite the promise that Facebook offers, startups and new brands may experience disappointing ROAS in their initial campaigns. This is due to what we call the “cold start” problem and applies to consumer brands, apps and startups in every vertical.


What is the “cold start” problem?

Facebook lookalike audiences are possibly the most powerful tool in the Facebook advertising tool belt. The challenges for new brands and startups is that it relies on a quality seed audience to model from. If you don’t have a rich and diverse user base, or if you suspect that your acquisition efforts have left out relevant segments that you should be growing, you need to complement lookalike audiences with interest audiences.


Build the perfect Facebook Interest Audience

The best way to make sure every dollar you invest in reaching new customers is used as effectively as possible is to target the right people to begin with. Although marketers and entrepreneurs that find themselves in a “cold start” situation have to hold off on using lookalike audiences, Facebook interest targeting can be incredibly effective if used correctly.


Every one of the 2 billion+ people using Facebook has a rich and diverse interest profile that is continuously evolving and being added to. In fact, Appnique has indexed over 600,000 interests from the Facebook platform at last count and that number continues to grow every single day. As a result, the right combination of interests  can deliver audience segments with almost unlimited scale. Even with a satisfactory seed audience, pairing interest audiences with lookalikesis an effective way to grow you business fast.


To jumpstart you customer acquisition on Facebook and build a quality seed audience for a lookalike audience, you have to be strategic. A guess-and-go approach to selecting interests is seldom better than running a lookalike audience with an insufficient seed audience. Use these tips to craft an audience that will make the most of every dollar you spend:


Target personas

Ideally, you thinking holistically about your targeting and creative. In doing so, you will want to build each audience segment in a way that sets your creative up for success. A common mistake advertisers make is adding all possibly-relevant interests into a single interest collection for targeting. It’s the job of targeting to get in from of the right people and it’s the job of the creative and messaging you use to inspire an action. When targeting is generic, so is creative and that doesn’t inspire anyone.


Instead of one monolithic audience, build audience segments by interest categories. The more discrete the audience segment is, the more specific and relevant your message and creative will be.


Gather Intelligence

The best way to build targeting, creative and messaging is glean insight into what your target audience is experiencing. What does their newsfeed look like? How are other brands advertising to them? What apps, brands and startups are they already engaging with? If you can answer these questions, you have a big leg-up on the competition and are on your way to building an end-to-end experience that will make new customers fall in love with your brand.


There are a few ways to gather competitive intel without breaking the bank or having the exercise become a big time-suck. You may already be looking for nuggets using SEO research on sites like MOZ or SpyFu. These are great for understanding what intent-based signals exist, but don’t necessarily map well to interests.


App stores are another great resource for insight. If you already know who your competition is, or have a good sense of which apps map to a particular type of interest, take notes on how those brands represent themselves in the app store. Everything from messaging, to creative, to keywords used can provide insight into who they are targeting and how they are advertising to your target audience.


Appnique is a great tool for understanding what brands people are engaging with across app stores. We use big data to uncover correlations in usage between apps by listening to signals from the app stores and social media and then map them back to Facebook interests so that you can use the information to target those very users.


Optimize as you go

Within days, you can see which interests are delivering the right audiences and which ones aren’t. Facebook doesn’t provide granular reporting per interest which has led some marketers to build a separate ad set for every interest. That is a big headache, especially when multiple interests roll up to a single persona and set of ad creative.


Tools like Appnique’s Facebook Interest Diagnostics not only provides performance data on every interest you run ads against, it suggests similar interests so you can expand on what’s working.

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