Facebook Ads // Custom Audiences 101

SMPerth // 03rd January 2017

A custom audience is a group that has a pre-existing relationship with your brand, as customers or contacts.

Build an audience of just these people and deliver your ads to them direct.

Custom audiences help to further refine the demographic pool from which you segment. For instance, once you select or create a custom audience you can then go ahead and continue to filter that audience further still, based on location, demographics, interests, and behaviours.

Once you’ve created an audience, check the box at the bottom of the audience settings to name and save it for use next time.

Saved, custom audience lists appear at the top of the audience setting page and can be accessed for future campaigns.

If you want to create a new custom audience, you can do so by: Customer List, Website Traffic or App Activity – or the newest audience based on engagement.


Customer list

‘Custom Audiences’ let you use ads to reach customers you already know on Facebook.

Create a custom audience using email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook user IDs (from mobile apps only) or mobile advertiser IDs.

Facebook also integrates directly with MailChimp, so you can pull from your existing MailChimp lists to create a custom audience.

It is worth noting that custom audiences must have at least 20 people in them.


Website Traffic

Creating custom audiences from your website lets you reach the people who have already visited your site, on Facebook. You can start creating these audiences by placing the Facebook pixel across your site.

A custom audience from a website can include customers or prospective customers that you’d like to reach with targeted Facebook ads. For example, you can run a campaign to reach people who visited a product page but didn’t complete a purchase to encourage them to go back to the website to do so.

Here you have the options to choose a timeframe for the traffic as well as segment by:

  • Anyone who visits your site
  • People who have seen particular pages
  • People who have seen particular pages but not other pages
  • People who haven’t visited for awhile


App Activity

You select one of your connected Facebook apps and segment based on activity within the app.



An Engagement Custom Audience is a Custom Audience made up of people who have engaged with your content on Facebook. “Engagement” refers to actions like spending time viewing your videos, or opening your lead form or Canvas. Using Engagement Custom Audiences, you can retarget ads to people who have taken these actions.

You can also use it as a source for a Lookalike Audience, which will let you find people who “look like” people who have engaged with content on Facebook.

Here are the engagement types available, broken down Engagement Custom Audience type:

  • Video: 3 seconds viewed, 10 seconds viewed, 25% viewed, 50% viewed, 75% viewed, and 95% viewed
  • Lead ads: opened form, opened form but didn’t submit (otherwise known as a “drop-off”), opened and submitted form
  • Canvas ads: opened, opened and clicked on link

Engagement Custom Audiences are different than Custom Audiences from your website. While both do take actions into account, Engagement Custom Audiences use actions taken on Facebook, whereas Custom Audiences draw from website action as tracked by a pixel (otherwise known as “events”).

When you create an Engagement Custom Audience, define the period for collecting engagement data. Anyone new who engages within the “go-back period” will be added to the audience. This means that the audience is constantly being refreshed, so you don’t need to edit or create a new Engagement Custom Audience unless you want to change the go-back period or the type of engagement.


Lookalike Audiences

‘Lookalike Audiences’ are a way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they have a similar profile to existing customers or customers you are interested in.

A lookalike audience targets people who are similar to one of your existing custom audience lists and is great for fan acquisition, website registration, off-Facebook purchases, coupon claims and brand awareness.

Create a lookalike audience from the Audiences section; nestled under Assets > Audience.

Firstly select a source with which Facebook can compare, for example, an existing custom audience, traffic from a pixel or fans from a Page.

Once you’ve selected the main source, go on to select a country.

Finally, set audience size by dragging the slide bar between 1% and 10% of the selected country’s residents for Facebook comparison.


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