You’ve got a great restaurant.  Customers love your food.  You just need more people to give you a try.

Advertising!  You’ll just run a local ad.

You’ve heard a lot about the power of Facebook ads.  Great targeting capabilities.  More impressions and less cost than print.

So you put the ad together.  Great offer.  Nice image of your food.

You spend a couple hundred bucks on the ad then sit back and get ready for the droves of new customers.

But, two weeks later … you feel disappointed.   The crowds never came.

So what happened?

We know what happened.

We’ve been there.  We have been asked many times to deliver great ad results for restaurants over the years.  And the same things happened to us.  Over and over.

We took advantage of the Facebook targeting tools.

  • We used current client email lists and analyzed the list with audience insights.
  • We created lookalike audiences from the same lists.
  • We targeted specific interests and behaviors based on our analysis.

But we learned… Running a one-time local ad based on interests, lookalike audiences, and insights is a waste of money.

The target audience is still too cold.

“Cold” targeting looks like the image below.  Local target audiences based on vague connections like interests, lookalike and insights.  The connections are not strong enough to produce the results you’re looking for.

Facebook Audience - Cold

Cold audiences don’t work.  You need to start with a warmer interested audience. You need to find the people locally know that your business exists, considered eating there before, or perhaps have been there in the past.

Warmer interested audiences are the difference.  That’s how you go from crappy ad results to great ad results.

Let’s see how it’s done…

Who is this “Warm” Audience and How Do You Find Them?

In all business there is the 80/20 rule.  20% of your customers represent 80% of your business.  They’re your “loyal customers”.

But think about it.  That means 80% of your customers have eaten there before but they’re not “loyal” to your restaurant.  Certainly the 80% is a  warm audience and is a good target for your ad.

  • Did you connect somehow with the 80%?  Email list, phone number, online order?  Did they visit your website?
  • What about your loyal customers, certainly they have told friends about you.  Did their friends check out your website?
  • What about people just searching for where to eat?  They’ve driven by, heard about you, or saw you on Yelp.  Did they check out your website?
  • What about that local article people read about your restaurant? Did they check out your website?

Everyone that looks at your website is warm.

Everyone that has eaten at your restaurant in the past and not been there in awhile is warm.

Everyone you can get to look at your website because of your ad is warm.

And the best part… you can target all of these warm people with your ad.

With the right tracking in place your cold local audience can look something like this:

Facebook Audience - Targeted

But notice… they’re not only warm – you know what they have looked at on your website. So you also know what interested them.

What menu did they look at – breakfast, lunch, or dinner?

You’re way ahead of me.  You know where I’m going with that…

Maybe you wanted to increase your lunch business.  Who do you think is the best audience to target with a lunch promotion?  People that looked at your lunch menu?  Absolutely!

How Do You Capture “Interested” Target Facebook Audiences?

Here’s what you do:

  1. Upload every customer list you have with email addresses or phone numbers and have Facebook match them to current Facebook members.
  2. Install the Facebook pixel on every page of your website.
  3. Install your Facebook pixel on the online ordering pages hosted by your online ordering vendor.
  4. Install your Facebook pixel on every coupon or landing page you advertise online or email to your customers.

Now the best part…  Once your pixel is installed building your interested audiences is automatic.

Every time you get someone to look at your website people are automatically added to your targeted audiences.  Just check your audience insights and watch your target audiences grow.

Most businesses are amazed at the amount of traffic they get to their website.  All you have to do is capture the traffic to build interested audiences.

How to Build Your Interested Facebook Audiences Faster?

Once your pixel is installed on your website it takes time to build your audiences.

You can build audiences faster by running Facebook ads.  Make sure every ad drops the customer on a landing page that includes your Facebook ad pixel and the page clearly identifies the specific interest of the customer.

Ads run over a long period of time will identify all of the people locally interested in your restaurant and also capture their specific interests.

Our experience has shown that one-time ads are a waste of money.  That is true of virtually every advertising medium.  Advertising works because of repetition and targeting.  You’ve got to keep your message in front of your target audience on a regular basis.

TV, radio, and print cannot build audiences of people that you know watched, listened or read your ad.

Facebook ads can:

  • Tell you what people looked at
  • Tell you what interested them
  • Put them into audiences you can target with future ads.

Regularly running ads on Facebook continually builds audiences of local people interested in your business.

How Interested Facebook Audiences Save Ad Dollars?

Every ad we run for our clients is split between two ads – the “Interested” audience and the “New” audience.  The Interested Audience targets only people we have identified as interested in your business.  The new audience includes only people that we have been unable to identify any interest to date.

Typically we budget 25% of the total ad spend to target the interested audience.  Yet the interested audience will outperform the new audience every time.  Ads to interested audiences get higher Facebook ad relevance scores and lower cost per conversion than ads to new audiences.

Ads to new audiences are still important in order to identify people locally that are interested in your business.  This is especially true when you just start building your audiences.  As soon as your Facebook ad gets people to look at your pixeled landing page that person is automatically moved to your interested audience.

How About Ads Targeting Only the Interested Facebook Audience?

That is very possible to do.  Here is an example…

For one client we built a sizable interested audience of people that have visited and/or placed an online order at their 21 locations.  The pixel had been tracking customer visits to online ordering for over twelve months.

We ran several ads for online order only offers.  In the beginning we targeted both interested and new audiences.

The ad results data was an eye opener.  The cost per conversion for the new audience was five times the cost for the interested audience ($20 cost per conversion vs $4 cost per conversion).

We decided to eliminate the ads to the new audience and cut our overall ad costs by 50% while still getting comparable or better ad results just from the ads targeting the interested audience.

How Do You Get Started Building Facebook Interested Audiences?

  1. Get started today and get your Facebook ad pixel installed on every page of your website.  Even if the site is not structured to give you specific interest, get the pixel installed.  Just knowing a person has looked at your website is more information about interest than you have today.
  2. Ask your online ordering provider to add your pixel to your online ordering pages.  If they cannot do it consider another online ordering provider.  Building this audience is too important not to capture customer interest in online ordering.
  3. Add your pixel to your coupons you feature in your email marketing blasts or in your Facebook page offers.
  4. With the pixel installed create your audiences in your Facebook ad account.  Look at your web pages and see if you can identify specific customer interest based on the web page they visit.
  5. Start running Facebook ads.  Create compelling offers and ads to get interested customers to view your landing page.  Make sure your landing page includes your Facebook pixel and it is directly related to your ad and offer.
  6. Finally, take the time to reevaluate your current website.  Make sure that it is structured to capture specific customer interest.  For example, if lunch and dinner are two different menus, then have different landing pages for each of the menus. If you redo your website make sure your web designer creates the pages that will capture the specific customer interest that is important to your business.

Should You Use a Firm to Get Your Facebook Audiences Setup?

If your company experience with Facebook ads is:

  1. Never run a Facebook ad
  2. Run only boosted Facebook posts.
  3. The Facebook pixel is not installed.
  4. No audiences are currently setup.

You should consider engaging a company to set everything up for you.  You can get more information about our company by visiting Facebook Ad Services.  We would be happy to help.

Dave Gonynor

CEO at That's Biz
That’s Biz has been providing digital marketing and advertising solutions to restaurants since 2007. That’s Biz combines digital coupons with the email marketing platform of your choice and Facebook advertising to allow restaurants to target the right audience with the right message at the right time. Spend less on advertising and get results tracked directly to in-store visits.