Have You Leveraged These Unique Birthday-Targeting Features?

December 26, 2017
 Facebook Birthday Targeting Features

By Edwin Plotts, Senior Growth Strategist, Ladder.io

Including great options to avoid discount offer incentives

If you’re in the B2C space, whether it’s E-commerce, Saas, or Brick-And-Mortar — birthdays are a great opportunity for customer activation. It’s a special time in your customers’ lives that comes once a year, and tossing an offer, a gift, or some other interesting benefit their way can help you reap benefits on both the brand recognition and revenue side of your business.

So how would you be able to leverage this activation opportunity?

A few strategic ideas immediately come to mind:

  • Reactivate past purchasers with a birthday offer
  • Acquire new customers via a birthday offer to those who have a birthday this week/month
  • Retarget website visitors who have a birthday this week/month with a special offer
  • Acquire new customers by prospecting to those who have friends with birthdays approaching

Here’s a direct example from my work at Ladder.io, a growth technology and services company based in New York and London. For one of my E-commerce clients in the UK luxury apparel industry, I noticed an interesting insight from our search engine marketing campaigns. It turned out that much of the converting search intent was around gifts!

Search queries around “gifts for [men, women, professions]”, “gifts that are [fill in the blank]”, etc. saw higher conversion rates as compared to direct product or category-based search intent.

I doubled-down on this juicy insight by using Facebook Ads to target close friends of men/women with birthdays 7–30 days away. The idea behind this campaign was to hit the Facebook feeds of people whose close friends are about to have a birthday, prompting them to buy the perfect gift.

The performance goal for the campaign was to open additional revenue from paid Facebook traffic while maintaining a purchase customer acquisition cost below £100.

To execute the test, I built a 1% lookalike audience of our Newsletter subscriber list and narrowed the audience to ‘Close friends of men with birthdays 7–30 days away’. 

Note that as part of this audience, I layered the birthday targeting option on top of a lookalike audience because the client’s brand is rather niche — the hypothesis being that those who resonate with the brand’s aesthetic and mission are more likely to purchase from the shop for their close friends. (i.e. “I love X brand, so I’m more likely to gift X brand to my best friend.”)

The ad creative hit the following points:

  • Leverage best performing image from the top prospecting campaigns that we were actively running
  • Leverage best performing copy structure and phrasing from the same top prospecting campaigns
  • Call out the gift problem we’re solving (i.e. “Unique Gifts He’ll Love,” “Handcrafted [product], perfect for a unique birthday gift,” etc.), driving home the niche uniqueness of the brand and its product lines
  • Direct CTA: “Shop Now”

*I wish I could show you the actual ad, but out of respect for my client’s privacy I must refrain.

I also created a ‘close friends of women with birthdays’ campaign version to compare performance of the two segments. It followed the exact same patterns as the above campaign, but geared towards women’s fashion items. Splitting out the campaign in this way helped to independently control cost, create custom copy and imagery, and track performance.

So how did it perform? It‘s looking like a great success!

After spending just a bit over £200 on each segment, ‘close friends of men with birthdays’ are bringing in AddToCarts at £8.24 CPA, and Purchases at £16.50 CAC! That’s way below our ideal of £100.

Interestingly enough, the ‘close friends of women’ is not seeing the same traction, with £50 AddToCarts and only one purchase. But we’ll keep that test running a bit longer to see whether performance will increase with some optimization.


Getting in front of close friends of people with upcoming birthdays is a strong tactic to find revenue from Facebook — without needing to use a discount!

This is a particularly helpful option for those businesses that refrain from using discounts out of fear of devaluing their brand.

If you’re in the B2C space, birthday targeting is 100% worth testing. And Facebook offers really interesting targeting options for creative approaches.

Target by birthday month:

Target by upcoming birthdays within one week:

Target by close friends of people with birthdays within 7 days, in 7–30 days, a week away, and/or a month away:

Try it for yourself and let me know if you found similar traction!

Ed was the marketing lead in launching two successful eCommerce brands (Jarware & SuzieQ), AND a Startup Institute NYC alum. Now he's a senior member of the product and growth strategy team at Ladder.io.