A Facebook Custom Audience is one of the most powerful Facebook Ad targeting options available on their platform.
Facebook Custom Audiences launched in 2012, and in the early days, David Fischer (Chief Revenue Officer at Facebook), would frequently say that "Custom Audiences are like butter." They make everything better and are a foundational part of scaling your ads 🍞.
Granular targeting is one of Facebook's core strengths and why businesses from SMBs to huge enterprises run Facebook Ads. You can reach nearly any audience niches you'd like to target, thanks to their massive global population of over 1.5M Daily Active Users.
On top of targeting, the recipe for a successful ad depends on multiple factors, such as your creative, messaging, call-to-action, and optimizing the landing page destination where you send people.
But if you're not able to laser in on reaching people who are interested in your products and services, optimizing all other parts of your Facebook Ads can only get you so far.
So let's dive in to everything you need to know about a Facebook Custom Audience! Including:
A Facebook Custom Audience is an advertising targeting tool that lets you create a segment of people using data you already have, and reach them with ads if they're on Facebook.
The custom audience list can be made up of any combination of people from your CRM as well as people who visited your website, downloaded your app, made purchases in your retail store, and more. And you can use it for inclusion and/or exclusion targeting, or even create a Lookalike Audience to find new customers similar to your best ones.
There are 10 different types of Facebook Custom Audiences you can create, using your own sources or Facebook sources. They're constantly expanding as Facebook increases their ad and platform offerings. Note: Each ad account can create up to 500 Custom Audiences.
The 4 different types of Facebook Custom Audiences from your own sources:
The 6 different types of Engagement Custom Audiences from Facebook sources:
All of these audiences are based on people who've engaged with your content from Facebook's family of apps in the past 365 days.
To create a Facebook Custom Audience, follow these 6 easy steps.
💥 Pro tip: You can also skip all these steps and get help from Needls, a unique 24/7 RoboAgency we love, who takes care of all your Facebook and Instagram advertising (without the agency prices 😉).
Now, you're ready to choose from any of 10 different types of Facebook Custom Audiences.
Learn how to set each of them up, plus key tips in the next few how-to sections!
Once you've selected a source and created your Custom Audience, from your Audiences tab, you'll find the list of all your Facebook Custom Audiences. This includes their name, size (only available for custom audiences created from customer lists), availability and more.
The availability "Ready" state means you can start using that custom audience in your ads.
There's 2 ways you can create an ad from a Custom Audience.
Option 1: From the Audiences tab, simply click on the Custom Audience name, and in the window that appears, select Actions at the top-right and then "Create Ad".
Option 2: Return to your Ads Manager tab, then click the green plus icon + on the left and select "Create Campaign"
From there, just setup the rest of your Ad Set and Ad details, and launch your new ad! 🚀
Now we'll give you a look into how to setup each of the different Custom Audience types.
Website Custom Audiences are the basis for all the retargeting ads you may see when you visit a website and then get targeted not long afterwards with their ads 😉.
As a pre-requisite, you'll need to have the Facebook Pixel installed across your webpages so you can track your website activity, conversions and other important events (e.g. completed registration, add to cart, signup).
You can created targeted segments, such as:
It's then easy to mix and match them like we do, such as retargeting people who visited our pricing page but excluding those who haven't yet signed up.
💪 Pro tips
Note: Ensure you own the data from the lists, and are following GDPR legal guidelines when uploading data from people living in the EU.
The definition an identifier from Facebook: "An identifier is used to match your customers to people on Facebook. To improve your potential match rate, include as many identifiers as possible as columns in your file. Data will be hashed prior to upload and we will not store it after the upload is finished."
There are currently 15 different identifiers you can use:
Then, upload your file in a CSV or TXT format, give it an easy to remember name, and create it.
💪 Pro tips
As a pre-requisite for running Facebook App Ads, you'll need to have the Facebook SDK installed in your iOS or Android app so you can track and optimize actions taken in your mobile apps.
There are 4 different types of engagement you can target (up to 180 days ago):
Once you've selected your engagement rules, name your audience and then create it!
Creating Offline Custom Audiences is similar to a Customer List, except that you'd upload a list of customer activity that happens, you guessed it - offline.
You can then target them based on their offline activity, such as an in-store purchase or booking.
Note: to automatically send Facebook your offline conversion events data, you can use their Offline Conversions API.
You can select multiple events they've taken offline (as far back as 720 days), to better segment the audience you're targeting.
On top of that, you can refine your data based on the value of the custom value or aggregated value. For example, if you set your offline event based on purchase, you can add an aggregated value where the frequency is "2" meaning they purchased at least 2 times, or based on a minimum value of $20, meaning they had purchases of least $20.
First, start by selecting any of the 6 Facebook sources for your custom audience.
We'll give you a snapshot of what you can do when using each of the Facebook sources below.
You can create an audience based on how long they've viewed your video (in seconds), or how much of your video they've seen (as a percentage).
Since people tend to drop off after the first 3 seconds of watching a video, you can start with a shorter viewing audience to capture a larger number of people. But also experiment with people who are more fully engaged with your videos and likely to be more responsive to your ads.
💥 Pro tip: Get some video ads inspiration from the top B2B Facebook Video Ads here.
You can create an audience based on people who've met any or all of the criteria based on their interaction with your Instagram business profile.
💥 Pro tip: Learn how to retarget people who've clicked on your Instagram bio link.
If you're running Facebook Ads for Lead Generation, you can target people who've taken any or all actions on your lead gen forms.
If you've created a Facebook Event for an in-person event, conference, or even an online webinar, you can target people and segment them based on any or all activity they've taken on your event page - from people who've RSVP'd to people who've purchased tickets.
Instant Experiences (IX) are ads that open up a full-screen experience promoting your products or services. So this gives you the ability to target people who've engaged with any of your Instant Experiences, including people who opened your IX or clicked on any product links in it.
Targeting people who've interacted with your Facebook Page is another way to re-engage people that've actively taken the step to follow or engage with your business.
You can choose any Page actions, from people who simply went to your Page and didn't take any specific actions, to people who engaged with a post (which shows they're highly engaged), to people who sent a message to your Page (another high engagement signal) and more.
Here are 4 major benefits of creating a Facebook Custom Audience.
From our own experiences, and those of others in the industry, retargeting simply works. ComScore found that with retargeting, 26% of people who are retargeted are more likely to complete a purchase, and 70% of people are more likely to convert.
If you aren't already creating retargeting ads, you may be missing out on opportunities to convert people who already expressed some interest in your products and services, but may have left and forgotten about them.
💥 Pro tip: Test special offers or tailor your messages to people who visited key pages on your website, to more effectively entice them to come back and signup or complete a purchase.
If Facebook Custom Audiences are the king of retargeting and reaching existing leads and customers, then Lookalike Audiences are the king of new customer acquisition 👑.
Lookalike Audiences are a highly effective tool in your acquisition toolkit, as you can reach people who look similar to your best customers in just a few clicks, without having to creatively find ways to reach your ideal audience.
The basis for a Lookalike Audience is your Custom Audience. And as you saw earlier, you have lots of different ways to create engaging Custom Audiences. So it's easy to then turn any existing Custom Audience into a Lookalike Audience.
💥 Pro tip: Learn all about how to create a Lookalike Audience in this guide .
The end goal for any business is ultimately revenue from happy and retained customers.
To get there, you can use Custom Audiences as a way to upsell your customer base on additional features by showcasing them in ads. Or even promote success stories about people in higher plans and the tangible benefits they've seen.
It's also a great way to announce new product launches or company news, and stay top of mind when your customers are active on Facebook.
Running online ads as a whole are a great way to A/B test your creative, content, value props, messaging, and more.
So Custom Audiences give you a great playground to get immediate feedback from existing customers. For example, when you're launching a new product, you can test different benefits, creative (videos vs. images), and more to see what resonates best.
You can also use this to tweak and optimize your acquisition ads, and how you message and promote your products in marketing materials to brand new customers.
As a bonus benefit of why Facebook Custom Audiences are so powerful, is that they give you an edge on others through link retargeting.
It's a newer retargeting technology we built that lets you embed a Facebook pixel (or any advertising pixels) into short links you share. You can then automatically build a Website Custom Audience from people who clicked on them, and retarget them.
So when you share links to PR articles, send people to your YouTube videos, encourage people to download your iOS or Android apps, or simply curate and share 3rd party content - those clicks are no longer going to waste 🎉.
💥 Pro tip: Follow our step-by-step Facebook link retargeting guide here.
Facebook is known for their famous mantra "Move fast and break things". At an F8 Developer conference in 2014, they embraced an updated version: "Move fast with stable infra." They committed to still moving quickly, but fixing all major bugs within 48 hours.
Though this was in the context of technical product launches, the same can be applied when launching and A/B testing your ads, to ensure you have a stable foundation for measuring and optimizing them for a high ROI.
So we'll end with key tools that help you do marketing attribution, and let you see which ads and channels work best so you get the most out of your budgets 🚀.
Want to automatically track the ROI from your Facebook Ads? Try PixelMe for free 🎉. Or just message us from the blue chat icon in the bottom-right corner with any questions! 💬
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