At the end of the day, the reason for companies to communicate is to make money. However, when doing Facebook advertising (and social media advertising in general), companies communicate on platforms where consumers are not necessarily ready to make a purchase immediately after seeing an ad. In other words: the road from first impression to purchase can be quite long.
This is why it is important to optimize your ad spend by making sure that you always reach the audiences most likely to convert.
Above the sales funnel you have the large, broadly defined audience of potential new customers. This can be as many as approximately 2 billion Facebook users, but of course, you will narrow it down based on not only geographic location, but also age, gender, interests, and so on.
1) Interaction is the easiest kind of engagement to obtain. It covers everything from people clicking on your photo (to make it bigger, for instance), comments, reactions to watching a video, interacting with a lead and canvas ad.
You can reach people interacting with your brand by creating custom audiences on your ad account. Depending on the type of interaction, people will be part of your audience from 90 days and up to 365 days.
2) Sending people to your website is for many advertisers the first real step towards a conversion since conversions rarely take place on Facebook. When a user visits your website and you have installed the Facebook Pixel, you can create website custom audiences based on the people who have visited your webpage. Getting people to visit your website is more difficult than making them interact with your content and it is, therefore, safe to assume that website visitors are more likely to convert than people interacting with your brand.
3) Page fans. Back in the good ol’ days, Facebook encouraged us all to attract fans - because it was free to reach them. Those days are long gone, but fans are still very important audiences - if your fans are there for the right reason. If you grow your fan base by creating relevant content which will raise real interest in your brand among people then your fans are also some of your most likely buyers. If you, on the other hand, lure them in with a chance to win an iPad, you might as well forget them. Everyone wants a new iPad for free. Not everyone wants to buy your product or service.
Last, but not least, your fan audiences do not have an expiry date like your custom audiences: you can reach people until they decide to unfollow your page again.
4) Email addresses. The most difficult kind of data to obtain and thus, the lowest level of the sales funnel is email addresses. Emails can, like website visits and interactions, be used to create custom audiences on your Facebook ad account enabling you to target the users connected to the emails that Facebook recognize. Of course, you can just send people an email, but you don’t necessarily have the required permission from them and they would still have to open the email to see it.
To sum up: the Facebook Sales Funnel shows you the various sets of data you can work with when targeting content on Facebook. It is worth noting that the various levels in the sales funnel are actual people you can target, but they are more than that: each level also represents a willingness to convert - a willingness increasing as you move down the sales funnel:
The Facebook user interaction with an ad is less likely to convert, on average, than the person who visits your website. And the user who decides to like your page is more likely to convert than the one who has only visited the website.
An important point with the sales funnel is also to draw attention to the fact that your core audience is more that only your fans. People don’t like Facebook pages as willingly as they did earlier. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in your brand.
By only focusing on creating content for fans and branding yourself at the top of the funnel - to potentially new customers - you leave out a very big part of the Facebook users who are actually interested in your brand and who interact with you in one way or the other.