SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook has introduced new ways to help improve the ability of advertisers to target ads at consumers who have made previous purchases via offline channels, such as brick-and-mortar stores or call centres.

The social media giant announced in a blog post at the end of last week that advertisers can now build “custom audiences” to re-engage with customers who had made offline purchases in the past.

By way of example, this might include “a real estate company [that] can automatically show an ad with their latest house listings to people who have called to schedule an open house tour in the last 30 days,” the company explained.

In addition, advertisers can now create “lookalike audiences” to locate new potential customers who share similar characteristics with the best of their existing offline shoppers.

The Facebook blog also pointed to a range of options brands can use to connect their offline data to their digital campaigns, including manual spreadsheet uploads or connecting directly with Facebook Offline Conversions API.

According to Facebook, since launching last year, thousands of companies have used Facebook’s offline conversions tool to measure the impact of their campaigns on offline purchases, including in-store sales and phone bookings.

One of these included KFC, the quick service restaurant, which is reported to have increased footfall and spending per store over the course of its Facebook campaign.

“Some campaigns have shown a cost per store visit ranging from $0.50-$2.00,” said Steve Kelly, US director of media and digital at KFC. “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.”

As for the lookalike audiences tool, Tom Hassett, VP of media at Dick’s Sporting Goods, said: “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.”

Data sourced from Facebook; additional content by WARC staff