When you create a Website Custom Audience, you must indicate a duration…
As the helpful tooltip says, this is “the number of days people will remain in your audience after they visit your website. People will be removed from your audience after the set time period unless they visit your website again.”
In this tip, let’s dive into what that means, how it was used for my experiment and how you can use it, too!
An Overview of Duration
When you create a Website Custom Audience, Facebook will generate a dynamic list of people you can target based on the page(s) of your website they have visited between 1 and 180 days.
Let’s say, for example, that you set duration to 1 day. That means that the audience will first start building for 24 hours before it’s “full.” It updates in real time, so after that 24 hours, people will continue to be added while others — who haven’t been back within 24 hours — will drop off.
Now the obvious: The longer the duration, the bigger and less relevant the audience. You have more opportunities to reach people, but it’s also less likely they’ll have a close connection to you. They may not remember visiting your website, for example.
The shorter the duration, the smaller and more relevant the audience. You can do some pretty amazing things when you target people who visited your website today. You are fresh on their minds. But it’s also likely that this audience will be very small.
Luckily, there are plenty of options between 1 and 180 days to choose from to find that perfect combination!
My Experiment: Durations Overview
First, I created many WCAs based on various durations for my experiment. The reason for that is that you never know when you’re going to need a particular audience, so I create them just in case.
For each new tip, I create a WCA for the following:
- 180 Days
- 14 Days
- 7 Days
- 6 Days
- 5 Days
- 4 Days
- 3 Days
- 2 Days
- 1 Day
I never ended up using many of these, but it’s smart planning to have them just in case. Otherwise, if you decide you need a WCA you don’t have, you need to create it and then wait the entire duration until it’s complete (you can use it in the meantime, though it will do limited backdating).
What I mean by backdating is that there is an option to “Include Past Traffic” when you create a WCA. In my experience, this does get some people, but it’s far from a complete list.
My Experiment: 180 Days
I used the 180 days duration many times throughout my experiment. In almost all cases, it was to exclude a group of people.
The WCA above was for anyone who visited the Tip 6 page or the second opt-out page during the prior 180 days. In both cases, I wanted the duration to be as long as possible so that there was no chance I’d target these people in the case of promoting Tip #6.
My Experiment: 14 Days
I also used a 14 day duration repeatedly in my experiment. It was what kept everything moving along.
The example above is the targeting for the promotion of this tip (Tip #6). In this case, I was targeting anyone who read Tip #5 during the prior 14 days while excluding my Tip #6 Exclusions WCA (those who read Tip #6 or visited the second opt-out page).
Why 14 days? Well, for a couple of reasons.
First, I didn’t want to spend money forever showing you an ad if you weren’t going to click on it.
That said, even though I did all I could to show every ad to everyone who wanted to see it, I couldn’t guarantee it would happen quickly — or at all. Many people saw their ads immediately. Some complained that they never saw them.
So I figured the happy medium here was 14 days. If after 14 days you still hadn’t clicked my ad, I stopped paying to show it to you. And if you still hadn’t seen it after 14 days, I basically gave up on showing it to you — and you likely gave up, too!
My Experiment: 1 Day
Now, there’s one more way I considered using durations in this experiment, but I chose against it. It would have required the use of a 1-day duration WCA.
I considered spacing out the surfacing of tips more. I know that some people told me they’d immediately see Tip #2 after viewing Tip #1. And some had said they’d then seen three or more tips in a day.
On one hand, that could be kind of cool. On the other, it may have been better to space it out a bit.
So I could have decided to exclude any of the following when creating the Tip #6 Exclusions WCA:
- Viewed Tip #6 (180 Days)
- Viewed Second Opt-Out (180 Days)
- Viewed Tip #5 (1 Day)
So in this case, my ad for Tip #6 wouldn’t reach anyone who already viewed it, opted out, or viewed Tip #5 within the prior day. Once it had been more than 24 hours since they’d viewed Tip #5, though, they might see it.
The main reason I didn’t do this was that I worried about people who went back and read a tip again. That would restart the clock for them, and they may have then been stuck in a perpetual waiting pattern.
Everyday Usage of Duration
Two of my favorite durations are 1 day and 30 days.
First, there is nothing more relevant than targeting people who visited my website today. I’ll create Page Like ads that say, “You see this ad because you visited my website today. Want to see how I did it?” Or I’ll create abandoned shopping cart ads for people who visited a product landing page and didn’t convert, asking if they have questions about the product.
Those can be hugely effective, but they also target small audiences. So you can’t expect to spend much on those groups.
The duration I use most frequently is 30 days. I’ll promote a blog post, run a page likes campaign, promote an opt-in or promote a product, and one of the main groups I’ll target is anyone who visited my website during the past 30 days.
Why 30 days? Well, it’s just a nice, round number, I guess. It’s the default duration that Facebook creates. It gives me a large number of people I can target. And I also assume that 30 days is recent enough where you should remember who I am.
For you, it depends on how much money you want to spend and how much traffic you get. I could very reasonably lower my duration to 14 days for the things I just described — and I might — because I get the traffic to support it and my budget isn’t ridiculously high.