7 Tactics to Maximize the Value of Facebook Custom AudiencesImagine if you owned a shop and you could follow up everyone who walked into your shop with an advertisement.

You could even change your ad based on what aisles they visited…

…the products they picked up

…the part of the shop they visited

…which cash register they went to

….or didn’t go to.



Facebook custom audiences are this and much more.

Some ideas are coming that will help you consider the potential of this functionality.

So let’s clear up what is a custom audience before we talk about what you can do.

What are Facebook custom audiences?

The custom audience minimum size is 20.  You import a list or access part of a list created by Facebook and you then run ads to this list.

You access this option from the tools section of your ads manager (the menu item at the top).  This is the first screen you’ll see:

Facebook custom audience list
The options for a Facebook custom audience

Customer list

You can import a list of emails, Facebook user IDs, phone numbers or mobile advertiser IDs into Facebook and create an audience based on this.

  • Emails – Facebook integrates directly with MailChimp so you can point it to your MailChimp account and automatically import your emails.  Or you can copy and paste a list of emails in or upload a file.
  • Facebook user IDs – It’s outside of terms of services to upload Facebook user IDs for other page, groups etc (it’s also a problem with data protection).  You are only meant to use this for importing Facebook user IDs for your mobile apps.
  • Mobile advertiser IDs – If you have an Android or an iPhone app, you can specify the ID associated with this app and then target users of the app.
  • Phone numbers: If you have a list of customer phone numbers, you can import this list.  Facebook will try to match the phone numbers with numbers it has stored on user profiles.  When it provides a match, it adds this to the audience list.

Website traffic

You can install a tracking code onto your website from Facebook and it will start tracking visitors to your website.

You can then create an audience list of all visitors to your website or visitors to certain pages of your website.

The audience list is for 30 days by default but you can build an audience list of 180 days.


App activity

If you have an app on Facebook, you can create an audience based on specific actions they have taken or not taken!

Setting up tracking on Facebook

If you want to build a custom audience based on people visiting your website, you need add a piece of code from Facebook to your website (a Facebook tracking pixel).

To do this, read this article, which talks about setting up the code and setting up conversion tracking – Facebook conversion tracking for smart marketers.

7 Ways to Take Advantage of Custom Audiences

1. Someone visits your ‘buy now’ page but doesn’t buy

Imagine you were selling consultancy and someone clicks on a button to book an hour with you, but then they give up after filling out part of the credit card form.  After the credit card form, they would have been brought to a thank-you page for the order.

But you can tell from your Analytics that they didn’t reach that thank-you page.

Create a custom audience based on people who visit the purchase page but who don’t reach the thank-you page.  Then, you retarget them with ads on Facebook!

Website custom audience
Visited one page but didn’t visit another


2. Inactive users on your email list

It’s great having an email list but, if people are not opening your emails, it’s damaging to you.

The service provider delivering the emails is tracking your open rates, so very low open rates indicates that you have a poor-quality list.

To reactivate those users, how about uploading a list of inactive users to Facebook and targeting them with an ad for something really valuable?  You get them engaged again and they are no longer on your inactive user list.

3. Your Customer List

You can import a list of customers and create an audience based on this.  You could then target your customers with additional valuable content, promotions, upsells etc.

4. Advertise to a list of prospects before you ring them

Imagine if you had a list of phone numbers of people who did or didn’t do business with you in the past.  What if you were going to ring them up to encourage them to do business with you?

Before ringing, you could create a custom audience for them and share some videos promoting your services. For example, share some videos of testimonials from your customers.  It’s going to be a lot easier to sell if they’ve seen the testimonial videos before you ring!

5. Create lookalike audiences

As we all know, Facebook is very good at tracking what we read, interact with and follow, and it also knows a lot about us.

Based on any audience you have created, you can create a lookalike audience.  Facebook will try to find a group of people with similar interests/profile to your audience and then you can start targeting this audience with your ads.

6. Target your LInkedIn Connections

The people you are connected to on LinkedIn are most likely professional contacts who you could create specific custom audiences to target on Facebook.  Knowing that this audience may be made up of B2B connections, colleagues, influencers and potential partners, you can target your Facebook ads specifically to this audience and really attract their attention.

To do this, export your LinkedIn contacts as a CSV file, then upload it as a custom audience in Facebook.

7. Target new email subscribers

When someone joins your email list you want to create a good impression.  You don’t want to bombard them with emails while you are still building that relationship, so using Facebook ads can be a great way of maintaining a connection without overwhelming your new subscribers.

Utilize Facebook custom audiences to build strong relationships with your subscribers.  You can make use of existing Facebook ad campaigns or, if you really want to make an impression, create targeted ads especially for your newer subscribers.

Note:  If you’ve got a development team you can also create custom audiences using Facebook’s API (i..e programmatically create these audiences).


Facebook custom audiences are an effective way to reach your blog readers and business contacts in a targeted way.

Which of the tactics above are you going to use?  Have you tried any in the past?


Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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