Reach ANY billionaire, celebrity (or average Joe) on Facebook with individualized ads: How-to guide


In the space of a few days, Mark Zuckerberg has seen my ad 7 times. Marissa Meyer, Yahoo’s CEO has seen another ad of mine 39 times. This has cost me nothing. Zero dollars, zero cents.

That’s an excerpt from my new book, The Social Media Side Door: How to Bypass the Gatekeepers to Gain Greater Access and Influence. When I learned the technique I’m about to share with you (via Mike Merrill and Dennis Yu), I really didn’t believe it. But I tried it anyway, and proved that it works in several different tests (as detailed in Chapter 10). Just in case you haven’t quite fathomed the potential of this extremely well-kept secret trick, it’s the ability to reach anyone with an eye-catching, hyper-personalized Facebook ad with 100% accuracy. If someone is on Facebook, you can reach that person. Private profile? You can reach that person.

Instead of just walking you through how to do it, I’m going to show you how to reach me. Ready? (Set up your FB ads account if you haven’t, then come right back).

1. Find my profile.

I actually have two. Long story. Use either one.

2. Grab my UID.

A UID is a Facebook user id. Even if a profile is private, you can use a simple trick to get the UID–and it’s not hacking. Just take the URL my profile, remove “http://www.” and replace it with “graph.” You’ll be taken here. It should look like this:


3. Create a Custom Audience

Open up an Excel doc and paste my UID into cell A-1. Save it as a CSV file. Go back to your Facebook Ads Manager. Open up Power Editor. Click “Create Audience.” Upload the CSV you saved, filling in whatever you want for the “Audience Name” and “Description” fields. Make sure you choose “UIDs” under Type. It should look something like this:


4. Create the ad. 

Using Google image search, find an image of me and save it to your computer. Head back to the ads manager. Click “Create an Ad.” Enter the URL to your LinkedIn profile or Twitter profile. Use whatever you want for the headline and body text. If you want the ad to show up in my feed and not just on the sidebar, connect it to your Facebook page. Don’t worry, your other fans won’t see it since I’m the only one in your target audience. Here’s an example I used for my webinar with Vocus:


5. Choose me.

The only thing you’re going to touch in the targeting options is under “custom audiences.”  Just check the selection that matches the name of the audience you created. Ignore the yellow warning message about impressions; it doesn’t apply to what we’re doing.

6. Bid. 
Name your campaign whatever you want. Run your campaign continuously. To make sure I see it, optimize for Impressions. Enter a big dollar amount in your daily budget; at least $20. Make sure your lifetime budget is at least 3 times that amount. Don’t worry that it will actually cost you $20, since that’s the price per 1,000 impressions and I’ll probably only see it once or twice. Click “Place Order” !

7. Wait for my signal. 
If all goes according to plan and I see your ad, I’ll send you a tweet or LinkedIn invite.

Buy The Social Media Side Door here!

Ian Greenleigh
Author | Turning data into stories | Sr Mgr, Content & Social Strategy, Bazaarvoice | Former baby
  • http://www.mikemerrill.com Mike D. Merrill

    Thanks for the mention Ian. Now I’m curious how many folks will test this. Please let me know.

  • Vinyl@TitanRE.com

    Great tip!

  • http://tatumweb.com/blog/ Rich Tatum

    This is brilliant! I’m trying it out, as suggested in the Vocus webinar today. We’ll see if it works. (Though the ad indicated it “needed to be approved” and it couldn’t load my bid range. Not sure if those will be problematic.)

  • MonkeyKing

    Hi Ian – am I doing something wrong, but my attempts at running targeted 1 to 1 ads don’t seem to be accepted by Facebook. I’ve seen elsewhere that custom audiences need at least 20 people. What’s the go?

  • http://blog.forkyoo.com NiCK MYERS

    Hey Ian – Your book is excellent, and made a perfect companion to Alistair Croll’s Lean Analytics. I initially read it so that I could round out my hunches and weak spots for my “little patch of dirt”. Ultimately, I ended up finding philosophical resonance to an extent greater than expected. Thank you for that!
    As an aside and as of this comment, I am finding that when I attempt to implement custom audiences of one, the ad is flagged as having too less than 20 people.

    • http://blog.forkyoo.com NiCK MYERS

      Great news. I believe I have found a work-around. After I test and streamline it, I’ll post it to my blog.

      • http://daretocomment.com/ Ian Greenleigh

        Can’t wait to see it. Please ping me on Twitter when it’s up: @be3d

    • http://daretocomment.com/ Ian Greenleigh

      That’s great to hear! Thanks so much for reading :-)