CRASH COURSE: Facebook Custom Audiences

CRASH COURSE: Facebook Custom Audiences

Getting Started With Facebook Custom Audiences

Leave no doubt, people are talking a lot about Facebook/Instagram advertising in 2020. They’re talking about the power that it has and the capabilities it has in targeting the right audience.

But how can you leverage your data for Facebook advertising? How can you leverage your company’s customer list(s) in order to target the right audience? Settle in, grab a coffee and read on. This blog is going to show you the power of Facebook custom audiences. 

To begin, open up your account in Facebook Business Manager and navigate to Ads Manager.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll see a lot of options at your disposal. At this point, you should be looking at the following menu.

It may seem overwhelming at first, but don’t worry you’re not alone! Once you’re here, click on the “Audiences” button under the “Assets” drop-down menu. This is where you can create all of your custom audiences.  Once you’ve done this, you can start creating an audience by simply clicking on “Create Audience” on the left of the page.

The option labelled “Special audiences” is for subjects such as employment or politics. There’s a lot more regulation for these types of audiences because of the pushback Facebook has received regarding privacy. For the purposes of this lesson, we’re going to be focusing on Custom Audiences.

An Intro To Facebook’s Custom Audiences

Perhaps the most useful type of audience for us digital marketers is Custom Audiences. This audience lets you can get granular in the type of audiences you’re serving ads to. When you click on create a Custom Audience you’ll be greeted by the screen below. 

From here you’ll find 8 different ways to build out custom audiences. Each of these methods have unique benefits to the marketer.


The first Facebook custom audience is called “Website”. This is perhaps the most important for digital marketers looking to target their website visitors.

How is this done? There’s a piece of code that you can place on your website called a “pixel”. You can get your pixel within the Facebook Business Manager, under the “Measure and Report” dropdown menu. 

This piece of code does allows you to create various powerful audiences of people who have visited your site. Surprisingly, most people browsing the internet are actually logged into Facebook.

With this piece of code, we’re automatically tagging people who have visited your website. As they then go back to browsing the internet, the cookie is collecting information on their interests, behaviours, and demographics.

We can use that user data collected by the pixel in the ad account so we can target the audience with relevant ads in the future. Other reasons you’d have the Facebook pixel on your site include conversion tracking and creating lookalike audiences.

Diving even deeper, you can go beyond targeting your website visitors. 

You can target people based on how long they have spent on your site and when they visited your site. For example, you can create audiences of people who triggered your pixel in the last 7, 30, 60, or even 180 days. 

Marketers use lookback windows since someone who visited your site 7 days ago would be a lot more engaged and inclined to buy than someone who visited your site 180 days ago. 

Additionally, you can also target people who visited specific pages on your site. 

For example, let’s say you’re an eCommerce clothing company. You just noticed a lot of traffic to your “Sweaters” page, but aren’t getting many purchases. With Custom Audiences you can get highly targeted with your advertising. 

You could actually build audiences for everyone who visited the “Sweaters” section of your site in the last 30 days, and then serve ads highlighting your sweaters to those people. 

Want to get even more targeted? You could also exclude people from this audience who DID make a sweater purchase recently. This way you can ensure your ads are highly relevant and are being served to the right people. Would you want to see an ad for a product you JUST bought? We wouldn’t. Maybe another product would be more enticing for a past purchaser!

Customer List

Next up is “Customer List”. With this custom audience, you are actually able to upload a list of people who engaged with your business in the past. You may have a list of current or past customers, a newsletter list or an employee list.

For the purposes of this lesson, let’s say you want to build a campaign targeting your current customers with ads for your latest sweater line. 

You are able to upload a list (if you have one) of your current and past customers and create a campaign to target them. Presumably, they would be highly qualified as this list is of past purchasers.

To do this, all you have to do is download the CSV template from Facebook, and ensure your list is organized in the right format.  If you use MailChimp, it will be even easier as you can import your list directly.

Once you upload the list, you match the fields in the file you uploaded. You’ll match your list with things like First name, Last name, Phone Number, Email Address, City, Country, etc. Facebook will then match any Facebook users with the data you provided.

Don’t expect every person on your list to appear in your new Facebook audience. Not everyone has Facebook!

Mobile App

If you run a mobile app company, this is the custom audience for you. You are able to set up the Facebook pixel on your app/mobile SDK. Then, you can create an audience of people who visited and use your mobile app. Think of this as the Website Custom Audience. 

You can build your audience of app users, then create campaigns targeting these users with your newest apps, or ads for your new in-game content to reel more people back to your mobile game. 

Offline Activity 

You may be wondering what the offline activity audience means. If you have a brick and mortar store, this is something that can really help you. 

This Custom Audience essentially allows you to track real-world events, like purchases at your store. It allows you to measure the effectiveness of your advertising.

You can measure things like the ROI on your ad spend. To do this you’ll need to create offline events like purchases at your store, coupons used, phone orders, etc. 

Then you can create the audience of people for your offline events. If someone saw your ad and made a purchase (or another offline event), it would reconcile that with their Facebook profile. It would be able to show you that Facebook user: For example, Bob clicked on your ad, then made a phone order and made a purchase. 

Facebook Source Audiences

Video Views:

If you upload a lot of videos on Facebook then this is for you. With this audience, you can create a list of people who watched your videos. 

You can get even more granular and make lists of people who watched at least 25, 50,75 or even 100% of your uploaded videos. Not only that, but you can also make lists of people who watched in the past 7, 15, 30, 60 or even 180 days. Make the most of your video data! Start targeting your most engaged viewers. 

Instagram Business:

To use this audience building method you must connect your Business Manager to your Instagram Business account. It will not work with a personal account. 

Once you’ve done this, you can create audiences of people who have engaged with your Instagram account in the past (just like the video views audiences). You can build audiences of people who have liked, commented or even viewed your profile. 

If you’re a small business you may want to target anyone who engaged with your Instagram profile. If you have a higher volume audience, you could make a list of anyone who saved your posts or ads and serve more ads to those people. Note this is only recommended for larger businesses as you need a minimum audience size for this to work. 

Facebook Lead Form:

Facebook lead forms allow a prospect to fill in details on a form without leaving the Facebook platform. These forms are basic lead forms that have only a couple of fields and are designed to prompt many opt-ins.

When you use this campaign type, you can then build audiences of those who have engaged with your form. You can build retargeting lists of everyone who opted in, which would result in high quality, HOT audiences that are likely to proceed further with the buying cycle. 

You can also build lists of anyone who viewed but didn’t submit the form, and you can even build a timeframe for these audiences (note a time frame limit is only 90 days).


Ever been browsing Facebook and seen, and or been invited to events? We’re sure you have and ignored a lot of them. Just go to your event section to see what we’re talking about. There are usually hundreds of events listed there from throughout the years. 

With that being said, the engagement is not as high. Now with Events Custom Audiences, there are still some benefits. Quite simply, with it, you can build audiences of people who have engaged with your Facebook events. 

You can make audiences of people who have responded to your event as “going” or “interested”. You can even make an audience of people who simply visited your events page. Looking to boost ticket sales? You can run refer ads to those marked “going” and give out special offers to those who refer their friends or family to your event. 

If you are an events company or run a club, this is the Facebook custom audience for you. 

Instant Experience:

An instant experience is essentially a mini landing page that you can build on Facebook. You can include video, images, attention-grabbing headlines and forms that work together to provide users with an instant experience with your brand!

It can be used with almost all ad formats including carousal and newsfeed. Using this instant experience, you can create audiences of people who have engaged with it in some capacity. 

Facebook Page: 

If someone has engaged with your Facebook page, such as commented, liked, visited or shared your content you should leverage that data. With this method, you can create Custom Audiences of these people and target them with ads. Please note when doing this to consider the timeframe. 

Someone who sent your page a message in the last 7 days may be very qualified, while someone who did this a year ago may have completely forgotten about your business.

Leave a Comment