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Driving Paid Media ROAS Through Audience Activation

Learn how modern marketing teams can leverage existing customer lists to maximize return on ad spend.

Alec Haase.

Alec Haase

August 18, 2022

5 minutes

Driving Paid Media ROAS Through Audience Activation.

In times of economic pullback, marketing and advertising budgets are some of the first to be thrown under the magnifying glass of any organization - more often than not, leading to reduced campaign budgets.

Pair this pullback with in-accurate and incomplete marketing attribution due to changes in the broader web privacy landscape, and well, let's just say marketers aren't exactly stress-free coming home from work nowadays.

So how, in the current environment, can marketers ensure that they maximize their return on a limited advertising budget across ad channels - without relying on third-party data?

The answer is quite a bit easier than you think. First-party data activation.

Through activating their existing customer data, marketers can quickly and easily leverage suppression and lookalike audience strategies to drastically improve their return on advertising spend (ROAS) across paid media platforms like Facebook.

The Strategy

Let's say you work on the marketing team of a new streaming service trying to find new subscribers. You have scaled your social media marketing spend but are now being asked by your leadership to further optimize your campaigns due to recent budget constraints.

The first thing you want to ensure is that you aren’t wasting your ad spend on existing subscribers - the way to do this? Suppression Audiences.

Once you’re sure that your ad dollars aren’t going to waste, you can leverage the same customer data to build Lookalike Audiences - a way of targeting cold audiences of users with similar qualities to your ideal customers.

The Ultimate Guide to Paid Media Integrations

Read our whitepaper to learn why conversion APIs are replacing 3rd-party cookies.

Preview of The Ultimate Guide to Paid Media Integrations.
Preview of The Ultimate Guide to Paid Media Integrations.

To build both, teams need to sync their existing customer lists to their various paid media platforms. Syncing customer lists manually with CSV uploads takes away valuable time from marketers, and larger solutions like Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are rigid and expensive.

Instead, modern marketing teams are now turning to data activation platforms like Hightouch to seamlessly build & manage their audiences centrally using the vast amount of customer data already being stored in their data warehouse. The no-code UI breaks down the barriers of what historically has been a back-and-forth, ticket-filled process to simply make audiences available in tools like Facebook and Google.

diagram showing how you can get data out of your warehouse into Facebook custom audience for marketing

Let’s walk through how you can build Suppression and Lookalike audiences in under 10 minutes using Hightouch. Note that we will focus on Facebook in this post, but you can apply the same across paid media platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and more.

Audience Building

To define your active subscriber audience, you build a segment like the one below of any user who has completed an order in the last 90 days.

Using audience to select people that have completed an order within 90 days

Audience Activation

With your audience defined, you must create a sync to activate the customer list to various marketing platforms. In this case, we will sync the list to Facebook.

Rather than just syncing a list of email addresses, Hightouch allows you to use all of your available customer fields and handles the mapping to match what Facebook expects. Doing so can drastically increase your audience match rates, giving you a better seed audience to target from. Simply define the identifiers you want to leverage in the sync settings seen below:

mapping data to destination fields

To ensure that the list of customers is always up-to-date, you set your sync schedule for Hightouch to know when to check for any updates (additions and removals) before sending them back to Facebook. In the case below, we will pick every 30 minutes.

options for configure the sync schedule

With the sync mapped and scheduled, we can click finish and enable the sync, at which point Hightouch will query for all users who fit in the audience and sync that list to Facebook.

Facebook will then work to match as many of your audience members as possible to their Facebook profiles before then making them available to a custom audience.


Suppression Audiences

Once you populate the custom audience on Facebook, your customer list will be available to be leveraged for any campaign targeting needs. While retargeting is the most common audience use-case, exclusion audiences can be extremely beneficial to optimizing ad spend.

Using your subscriber list as an exclusion audience allows you to suppress existing customers across any/all campaigns.

Regardless of your targeting logic on Facebook, whether you are retargeting site visitors or using more generic broad targeting from Facebook, you are sure that you aren’t wasting ad dollars on users who already have a paid account or customers who aren’t your target audience for your marketing campaign.


Lookalike Audiences

Another powerful way to utilize your audiences created in Hightouch is to seed Facebook Lookalike audiences. Facebook generates Lookalike audiences that are compiled of users similar to the audience you “seed” them from.

In this case, using the existing subscriber audience that is being synced to Facebook via Hightouch, Facebook will create new larger audience that includes potential customers with similar attributes/characteristics to your current customers. Doing so supercharges your prospecting abilities as you will only be spending on customers similar to your existing ones and you’ll have a much bigger audience size to advertise to.

When using Lookalikes, Facebook will automatically exclude your seed audiences, so there isn’t a need to also add it as a suppression audience.


By activating existing first-party customer data to social media platforms like Facebook, marketing teams can utilize advanced audience targeting capabilities like Suppressions and Lookalike audiences. Doing so helps to ensure that only the best audiences see your ads - driving down wasted ad spend and maximizing return on ad dollars.

Thanks to Data Activation platforms like Hightouch, doing so has never been easier.

Want to learn more? Book a demo here and learn how marketers use Hightouch for managing both audiences and server-side conversions.

The Ultimate Guide to Paid Media Integrations

Read our whitepaper and learn why conversion APIs are replacing 3rd-party cookies.

  • The death of third-party cookies
  • Leveraging conversion signals to boost ROAS
  • Sending conversions events to ad platforms
Preview of The Ultimate Guide to Paid Media Integrations.
Preview of The Ultimate Guide to Paid Media Integrations.

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