facebook custom audience

How to Use a Facebook Custom Audience in Your Marketing

Marketing on Facebook allows you to reach a huge audience, but when it comes down to it, the Facebook users who are interested in or have a need for your products are the only ones who matter. Why bother marketing women’s sun dresses to a mostly male audience, or marketing software solutions aimed at retailers to people who don’t run a retail business?

Fortunately, it has become very easy to build a relevant audience using Facebook Custom Audience Targeting. The tool allows you to target ads to potential customers that you’ve already gathered some data on. You can target these people using any of the following:

  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Facebook User ID
  • App user IDs (for people who use your mobile app)
  • Apple’s Advertising Identifier
  • Android’s Advertising ID

One of the primary benefits of Custom Audience Targeting is the ability to focus on leads who have already interacted with your business in some way, whether that was through signing up for your newsletter, downloading your mobile app, or even just browsing your website. Because these people are already aware of your brand, they are farther along in the marketing funnel and may be more prepared to actually make a purchase than someone who has never interacted with your business.

Custom Audience Targeting is also a great way to encourage relevant web users to take a specific action while your business is still fresh in their mind. For instance, if someone recently read your blog, you could create a Custom post that encourages them to ‘Like’ your Facebook page to get the latest blog updates or quick tips distilled from your blog posts. If someone visited the Power Tools category page of your online home improvement store, you might create a Custom ad featuring the latest special deals on your power tools.

Create a Facebook Custom Audience Using the Ads Manager Tool

Now that you know a few of the good reasons you should be using Facebook’s Custom Audience tool, let’s go over how to implement it. There are two different methods to set up Custom Audience Targeting: you can either use Power Editor or the Ads Manager Tool. Fortunately, both processes are fairly straightforward and similar.

If you’ve never added a Custom Audience to your Facebook ad account, you’ll need to start out by using the Ads Manager tool.

  1. Determine what data you want to use to create your audience. If you’re going to be using a customer list that you’ve already gathered, you’ll need to make a .CSV Excel file with a single column of data. You can also choose to use an email list from MailChimp.
  2. Log into your Facebook advertising account and go to ‘Ads Manager’.
  3. Click ‘Audiences’ in the left side bar and then click the ‘Create Audience’ button.
  4. Choose to upload a Custom Audience through your data file or MailChimp. You will also have the option to create an audience based on your website visitors.

From this point forward, the process will be the same as Steps 6 to 9 in Power Editor.

Create a Custom Audience Using Power Editor

    1. As with Ads Manager, you can choose to create your own custom list using phone numbers, email addresses, Facebook user IDs, or app user IDs. Just create a one-column .CSV Excel file or (in the case of email addresses) use an existing email list from MailChimp.
    2. Log into your Facebook advertising account and go to ‘Power Editor’.


  1. Select ‘Audiences’ from the left drop down menu.


  1. Then, go to the ‘Create Audience’ drop down menu, and select ‘Custom Audience’.


  1. Choose the type of audience you want to create.

Fanelli_PowerEditor_Step5_Select Audience Type

  1. Enter a custom audience name and description that will allow you to easily identify it. For example, if you’re creating a custom audience based on email subscribers, you could just call it ‘Newsletter Subscribers’. You may have to wait up to 30 minutes for the audience to load.

Fanelli_PowerEditor_Step6_Name Audience

  1. If you want to create a custom audience consisting of people who have visited certain pages on your website, you’ll be able to set the parameters in the ‘Create a Custom Audience from Your Website’ box.  First, you’ll be prompted to install a ‘Custom Audience pixel’ on your site. This is simply a bit of code that you need to add between the <head> and </head> tags on your website. Then you can create an audience of anyone who visited your site, or you can narrow it down to just people who visited specific web pages, certain web pages but not others, or who visited your website in the past 180 days but haven’t been back.
  2. Adjust the duration by changing the number after ‘In the Last’ to anywhere from 1 to 180 days. You can use this to help target people who have visited your website very recently or who may have visited your website months ago.

Fanelli_PowerEditor_Step8_Audience Who Visited

  1. You can create multiple audiences and test them to see which performs better.


Make Multiple Custom Audiences

You can easily create multiple custom audiences in order to target different content to different groups of people. Simply follow the above steps to create each list, and when you create a new Facebook ad, you’ll have the option to select the Custom Audience you want to target.

Custom Audience Targeting on Facebook can be a huge boon for your business, as long as you’re strategic about aligning your ad content with the type of audience member and the actions they’ve already taken in relation to your business. Try setting different parameters for different audiences in order to figure out what’s most effective for you.

4 thoughts on “How to Use a Facebook Custom Audience in Your Marketing”

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  3. Pingback: Facebook Lookalike Audience Targeting Tips

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