Paul Hartford is a waiter who served many celebrities from Paris Hilton to Elton John throughout his career. In his book Waiter to the Rich and Shameless, he talks about how personalising wine recommendations to Johnny Depp’s taste made the difference between a modest tip and $ 2,500 tip.

It makes sense that the more personalized a recommendation is, the more on-point it will be. Marketers are looking at new ways to offer more personalized content and ads to their customers, so I did an experiment using FB Flexible interest targeting to personalize ads to a user.

In this article, I’ll share the case study of this experiment and and show you how you can achieve the same results.

The Data

AJ Mihrzad helps personal trainers scale their businesses by shifting from trading dollars for hours and instead focusing on results a client wish to achieve.

We had been running ads for a while that were promoting a webinar, and we arrived at a point where the cost per webinar registration became high, and the volume low.

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Time and time again, I have seen campaigns that did not convert well enough to be saved by personalizing the ad copy. I knew that it could make all the difference, so we changed things up and focused on personalization.

The screenshot below shows the results we got after personalizing both the ad copy and targeting, ensuring that the right messages would be seen by the right people. The average cost per optin went from $8.18 down to $4.67, while getting nearly 9 times more registrations. We got more results for less ad spend. It was a win.

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Some targeted business coaches converted at $5.30, while others converted at $1.18 per optin. Variation is normal in the ad process, the average cost per registration was much lower with personalization than without it.

How We Did It

We focused on creating a personalization effect, where we’d write targeted niche ad copy and use interested targeting to make sure it was shown to the right people.

Here’s an example of one version of ad copy that we used:

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We then based the targeting on an audience we knew would be most receptive to this ad. We used interested targeting, selecting both Daymond John/Shark Tank and Personal Trainer Development Center (almost anything relating to personal training would have worked) as an interest.

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The ad copy delivered an unspoken but effective message: not only am I sharing what I learned from famous entrepreneur Daymond John (who you follow and respect), but I’m showing you how to apply these teachings to the personal training industry we both work in.

We took this strategy, rinsed, and repeated. We created ads for each business coach that AJ had learned from. Another example is the ad below, which mentions Brendon Burchard. We used images of AJ with the coaches for added credibility and proof of authenticity.

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Using “AND Targeting” To Increase Audience Relevancy

Let’s say you’re targeting a B2B niche– this can seem more difficult to do than B2C, but not if you know where to look.

Let’s look at an example as if you were trying to target chiropractors.

Since Facebook isn’t quite LinkedIn, not all chiropractors will enter in their job title, even if some do. If you want to still reach a bigger audience, then broader interest targeting can be used to reach a larger number of your target audience.

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That said, broader interests may result in you targeting people who are not actually chiropractors.

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My go-to strategy is to layer different types of business-related interest targeting and behavior targeting to increase the likelihood that my ad is connecting with the exact audience I want.

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I work off the principle that someone who is working within an industry is much more likely to talk about it and use related keywords in their Facebook posts, chats, and more. Keywords used in posts play a big role in defining interests, so this can work in your favor.

A periodontist, for example, is more likely to use the word periodontists in their newsfeed than non-periodontists would; almost everyone else would say “dentist.”

Does it always work?

No targeting is ever exact, and there’s never a guarantee that 100% of the audience seeing the ads is definitely your target audience. Instead, this strategy focuses on maximizing the chances of reaching that audience.

Sometimes it’s more about running a test and letting the numbers speak. We did that, and it has worked well for us.

How to Tie Relevancy and Curiosity Together

Creating ads that pique curiosity and are still relevant to your brand will help you increase conversions. It’s all about understanding your audience and what they’re looking for, and you don’t need to have pictures with famous business coaches to accomplish this.

In this next example, I wrote ad text based on what appealed to my target audience most.

The following post was performing well with my fans on Facebook:

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At first, I started promoting it to a few audiences related to Facebook marketing. Then I thought about the fact that the post discussed how Thai cuisine and good Facebook marketing have a lot in common. I decided to promote it to people who liked both. One audience that I ended up creating was those who liked both Adweek and Thai Cuisine. I also created another ad campaign targeting Jon Loomer and Perry Marshall in place of Adweek.

The result was a cost per engagement that was between 3-4x cheaper, and the number of people that saved my post increased from 30 to 80. In the screenshot below, ad sets with the same number target the same audience, with and without Thai cuisine interest.

You can use this strategy for any topic. I also promoted a post featuring a story that discussed the TV show Impractical Jokers, and targeting people who people liked the show and had an interest in Facebook Marketing.

As another example, I was once promoting a blogging course, and the generic ad and landing page were turning up awful results. So I got more detailed. I made an ad about travel blogging, and one about cooking blogging, and so on. I sent these ads to a landing page with customized messages, and targeted relevant audience members. I saw conversions soar immediately.

Your turn

There’s typically one question I often ask marketers struggling with Facebook ads: Can you tell me the story of a specific niche that you’ve had good results with?

Stories are what will help your ad convert by capturing a user’s interest and making them curious enough to read. It’s much more attractive to a potential customer to read about how you helped a hotel get more clients via email marketing instead of just saying “get more clients with email.”

Creating detailed stories that will appeal to sections of your audience and then basing your ad targeting around that story will help your ads feel personalized and significantly help with conversions.

How can you apply this strategy to your business? Tell us in the comments below!