Facebook lets brands target ads based on offline behavior

New tools from Facebook allow advertisers to target messaging based on offline behavior.

Facebook has introduced more ways to help marketers re-engage offline audiences.

According to a blog post, since launching last year, thousands of companies have used Facebook’s offline conversions tool to measure the impact their campaigns have on offline purchases. Now, these advertisers, which include Macy’s, KFC and Dick’s Sporting Goods, can build custom audiences from their offline conversion event sets comprised of consumers who have previously purchased offline.

Facebook said these new types of audiences allow brands to re-engage customers based on their interactions through offline channels like stores or call centers. Brands can also create lookalike audiences to find new consumers that share characteristics with their best customers that shop offline.

Advertisers also have a number of options to connect offline data to digital campaigns, including manual uploads, the Facebook Offline Conversions API and integrations from partners.

In addition, Facebook’s store visits reporting is an estimated metric based on data from consumers with location services enabled on their phones. This, in turn, allows businesses in more than a dozen countries to understand the impact of their ads on foot traffic.

“Facebook’s store visits reporting helped us show an increase in restaurant traffic and higher sales during our Facebook campaign,” said Steve Kelly, US director of media and digital at KFC, in a statement. “Some campaigns have shown a cost per store visit ranging from $0.50-$2.00. Understanding the impact of our Facebook ads on foot traffic is putting us ahead of the curve from others in the industry in terms of proving ROI.”

Advertisers that are eligible for store visits reporting can also create custom audiences of consumers who have recently visited their stores, which allows those brands to re-engage in-store audiences with more relevant campaigns, as well as to create lookalike audiences, Facebook said.

“Now with store visits custom audiences, we re-engaged customers who had visited one of our stores with a targeted Facebook ad at a profitable Omni-ROAS,” said Tom Hassett, vice president of media at Dick's Sporting Goods, in the blog post. “And, using lookalike audiences, created from people similar to those who visited our store, opened up a broader audience of new customers for us to reach, driving incremental foot traffic and sales.”

According to figures cited by Facebook, 90% of sales still take place in stores. And, the platform noted, nearly two-thirds of people are more likely to shop with a retailer that remembers their previous interactions and purchases across all channels.

"Businesses have long desired ways to understand how their digital ads can drive more offline value—where most sales happen. With these products, businesses can get more from digital by re-engaging their offline shoppers with more relevant and meaningful campaigns on Facebook,” added Gabriel Francis, product marketing manager at Facebook, in a statement.

The move makes good on a promise made by chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. In a recent interview with The Drum, she said: “The more we can look at ad spend and what actually happens at the end of the day in terms of sales, the better off we will be, and we’re increasingly focusing there. All those marketers really care about, is does it ring the cash register?

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