Target Ads Using Smart Data

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify the difference between first-, second-, and third-party data.
  • Create lookalike audiences.
  • Discover new audience segments using Einstein Segmentation.

What Do You Know About Your Customer?

AI can be used by marketers to improve the who, what, and where of ad campaigns. We’ve covered the what and where—now let’s cover the who of the ad equation. 71% of consumers prefer personalized ads, but getting the information you need to personalize those ads takes smart marketing. Data is at the heart of meeting the expectations of today’s connected customers. And while your existing customers might have shared personal information with you (known as explicit data), what do you know about new customers you are trying to reach? AI is here to help—by filling in your data gaps. AI gathers and sorts a vast amount of behavioral and demographic data (known as implicit data) and then makes predictions, based on that data. 



Want to learn more about implicit and explicit data? Check out the module  Personalized Email Marketing.

AI eliminates the need for human guesswork about unknown customers by using science—not magic—to process many different types of data. Data science organizes data into categories: customer relationship management (CRM) data, online data, and demographic data. Data can be further broken down into three buckets based on whether you own it, access it, or can purchase it. So, what kind of data do you have? Let’s review.

First-Party Data: Your Data

First-party data is the valuable data you have already collected about your customers that you own and manage. This data is found in Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud, collected from your website, and so on. 

Second-Party Data: Someone Else’s Data

Second-party data is data you can purchase from another company or source. 

Third-Party Data: A Collection of Data

Third-party data is gathered from many sources and is often behavioral or demographic data. 

Advertising Tools in Marketing Cloud

So much data! Marketing Cloud has tools to help manage your data and then use that data to advertise to new audiences. In fact, there are two tools—Advertising Studio and Audience Studio—that can help you create a lookalike audience (an audience that has similar attributes, such as demographics or interests that look like your existing customers). Think of lookalike audiences as your customer’s doppelgangers—they are extremely helpful to advertisers. Let’s review both of these tools and how they can help you find new advertising audiences. 

Advertising Studio
Audience Studio
  • Build audiences using your Marketing Cloud Data.
  • Create first-party lookalike audiences.
  • Create ad campaigns directly in Journey Builder.
  • Manage data from various channels.
  • Create lookalike audiences from your data.
  • Identify new audiences using Einstein Segmentation.
  • Export audience segments to create ads outside of Audience Studio (in Advertising Studio, for example).


To use an Audience Studio segment in Advertising Studio, be sure to configure Audience Studio as an onboarding partner in Advertising Studio. Learn more about setup in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Implementation Guide.  

Using First-Party Data in Advertising Studio

First-party data helps you understand your existing customers and find new customers who share similar characteristics. Using Marketing Cloud’s Advertising Studio, you can create Facebook lookalike audiences based on the existing customer information that you store in Marketing Cloud. If you have a data extension that stores info about your most loyal customers and biggest spenders, you can create a Facebook audience directly in Advertising Studio. You can even build your ad audiences and campaigns right in Journey Builder. 



Learn more about Advertising Studio and Facebook lookalike audiences in the module, Advertising Studio Implementation.

Advertising Studio is great for using first-party data, but how can an advertiser use both known and unknown data about customers to find new audiences? Let’s find out.

Manage Data with Audience Studio

Introducing Audience Studio, Salesforce’s data management platform (DMP). Audience Studio helps businesses import data, find new audiences, and manage existing data (even second- and third-party data). It also helps advertisers determine: 

  • Who to target
  • What messages to share
  • Which channels, platforms, and sites to use

Let’s watch a video to learn more. 

Reveal Customer Identity with AI

So how does Audience Studio sort through all that data to determine who is who? The answer: Einstein Cross Device Identity Management (CDIM) connects devices and data to identify a specific customer. In other words, it helps solve the puzzle of customer identity. Which is important to make sure you’re messaging the right individual with the right information. CDIM goes beyond matching on individual attributes (like an email address or phone number). It uses an AI algorithm to identify the same person across devices and platforms through characteristics like IP address, location over time, and purchasing habits. This identification is a win-win for advertisers—you spend less money targeting the same person and your existing customers are not  receiving the same message over and over on different devices and platforms.



When dealing with data, it is important to understand data protection laws. Check out the trail Learn Privacy and Data Protection Law.

Find Lookalike Audiences in Audience Studio

Once a customer is identified across advertising, web, and email marketing channels, you can focus on finding even more advertising audiences. Using Audience Studio, you can use all your available data to find lookalike audiences. Let’s learn how.

In this module, we assume you have Audience Studio and the proper permissions to create a lookalike audience. If not, that’s OK. Read along to learn how to take the steps in a production org. Don’t try to follow these steps in your Trailhead Playground. Marketing Cloud isn’t available in the Trailhead Playground.

Northern Trail Outfitters (NTO), a camping and hiking retailer, wants to create a lookalike audience based on customers who have purchased tents. They have a brand new tent line that they want to begin promoting in digital ads and customer journeys. Let’s follow along with digital manager, Isabelle as she creates a lookalike audience in Audience Studio.  

  1. In Audience Studio, Isabelle navigates to Segments.
  2. She locates Email Engaged - Tent Customers, the segment she wants to use for her lookalike audience. Audience Studio Manage Segments screen with cog icon being selected next to chosen segment, Tent Customers.
  3. Isabelle clicks the gear Settingsnext to her chosen segment and selects Lookalike from the settings dropdown. Settings dropdown with Lookalike selected.
  4. Isabelle has a target population of around 50 million—so she enters her target number into the Requested Lookalike Population field. (You can also use the slide bar to input your desired population number).


The slide bar shows the population and similarity level. Move left to create audiences who are smaller and more similar. Move right to create larger audiences who are only slightly similar.

Lookalike screen showing the requested lookalike population field of 50 million, along with the slide bar set at 50 million.

     5. Once done, she clicks Create Lookalike.

Once created, Isabelle can use this new lookalike audience to build a campaign in Advertising Studio or export the audience for use in another advertising platform, such as Google Ads. 

Segment with Einstein

In addition to lookalikes, you can use AI to find new audiences in Audience Studio using Einstein Segmentation. Einstein Segmentation creates machine-generated personas based on a combination of your first-party segments and third-party user attributes. These personas are created using data points you might never have considered—because, let’s face it, none of us churn through billions of data points in our spare time. That work is best left to Einstein. 

Now let’s check back in with Isabelle at NTO to see how she’s using Einstein’s personas. In Salesforce Audience Studio, Isabelle navigates to Einstein Segmentation under Insights

Audience Studio home page with Einstein Segmentation selected from the Insights dropdown menu.

From the Einstein Segmentation page, Isabelle toggles between the suggested personas. Under Persona 1, she sees a recommended persona that uses a mixture of her first-party data (hiking customers and customers who are engaged with email) along with third-party data (motorcycle owners).  

NTO persona data that includes 1st and 3rd party data with a reach of 351,000 devices.Isabelle thinks this segment could be valuable for NTO’s campaigns, so she chooses that segment from the list of personas, clicks the settings icon and selects Create Segment. Once the segment has been created, it will show up on NTO's manage segments page.

For Isabelle, the third-party data helped identify motorcycle owners as potential hiking customers, which she never considered. AI helps make this connection quickly and lets her focus on the content. Maybe she needs to hire a freelancer to photograph a motorcycle parked next to a tent? Or perhaps she can advertise on a motorcycle enthusiast website? Once these audiences have been created, Isabelle can use this segment to build ad campaigns in her preferred channels. 

It’s important to remember that these audience segments can be utilized for advertising purposes, but can’t be used for email sending without proper permissions. Be sure to consult with your legal team and follow all local laws, regulations, and CAN-SPAM compliance

Now that you have new audiences to advertise to, it’s time to track your performance. See you in the next unit. 

Rights of ALBERT EINSTEIN are used with permission of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Represented exclusively by Greenlight.


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