Want to know how to use Facebook custom audiences to maximize your return on ad spend?

Here`s my take on this…

I truly believe that custom audiences are one of the gems inside Facebook`s advertising platform.

So why is it important to leverage these audiences?

As you`ll see in this post, the main reason is to create warm audiences that you can retarget later and move people down the next step of the customer journey.

If you don`t know what retargeting is, by the way, it`s when you go to a website and then you log in to Facebook and you see an ad from that same company.
It`s basically stalking people throughout the web! 🤨

In this post, I`m going to show you how to create these audiences inside Ads Manager and what they`re meant for.

We`re also going to cover Lookalike Audiences, as well as how to create Saved Audiences.

Let`s kick things off…


Creating Facebook Custom Audiences

To get access to your audiences, inside Ads Manager, there`s a tab called precisely “Audiences”, you can click.


facebook custom audiences


As you go in there, you`ll find another dashboard with options to create custom audiences and lookalike audiences.
You can see the audiences I`ve created in the first column.


facebook custom audiences


By clicking “custom audiences”, you have the opportunity to select which type you want to create.

We`re going to break down each audience type later but for now, be aware that you can create audiences based off of:

  • Customer files (email list)
  • Website traffic
  • App activity
  • Offline activity
  • Lead forms
  • Instant experiences
  • Facebook page engagement
  • Events
  • Instagram profiles
  • Video engagement (one of the most powerful)


facebook custom audiences



Types Of Facebook Custom Audiences

Now that you know where to create your custom audiences, we`re going to go over the different ones you can deploy in your campaigns.

Note that Facebook is always changing their interface. So by the time you see this, it might be with a different layout but the basic principles still apply.


Customer Files


facebook custom audiences


Let`s say that you have an email list. You can import it into Facebook and make a similar audience you can target later.
Now, if this is powerful, imagine targeting people similar to your best customers!

That`s possible thanks to the new targeting option you see in the image below.


facebook custom audiences


To make this work, all you have to do is choose the source of your data and import a CSV. file into Facebook`s dashboard to get these audiences to populate.


Website Traffic

This is one of the most used custom audiences on Facebook.
It includes targeting options such as websites visits, people who visit specific pages on your website, visitors by time spent and custom events.


facebook custom audiences



Note that the custom events that show up in the drop-down menu, when you create your website custom audience are the exact ones you have set up inside the tap “Custom Conversions.”


facebook custom audiences


All long as your Facebook pixel is installed on your website and these events are triggered, they`ll show up when you create a website custom audience.

Reporting of custom events will show up in the “Pixels” tab below “Events Manager.”


facebook custom audiences



All Website Traffic

This targeting option is pretty much self-explanatory.

It includes all your website visitors in a maximum period of 180 days. It also includes people that have visited specific pages, users by time spent on your website or based on events.


People Who Visited Specific Webpages

What if you want to get people that didn`t convert for your lead magnet back to the landing page?

Simple… by leveraging exclusions with this custom audience. You can apply this principle for every funnel you want to use.


facebook custom audiences


With this option, you want to exclude the people that have already signed up for your ebook. That way, you only show ads to the ones that haven`t taken action on your offer.

There`s no point in showing your ads again and spending money with people that are already on your email list. Especially if you have a considerable amount of subscribers.

Another custom audience you can build is targeting people that have initiated checkout but for whatever reason didn`t actually purchase your product.

The goal here is to show them an ad, specifically to get them back to the product page and buy.


facebook custom audiences


Using the same principle, what you`re doing here is excluding the folks that have actually taken the offer, in this case, a membership.

This way, you`re only targeting with your ads the ones that haven`t bought your product.


Visitors By Time Spent

Targeting people by time spent on the website is one of my favorite.

Think about this…

…if someone spends two, three, five or even twenty minutes reading a piece of content on your website, it is likely that this person is enjoying what you have to say or might be looking for something, would you agree?

This custom audience gives us the ability to retarget (show ads based on previous actions) those people based on percentiles, 25%, 10% and 5%.


facebook custom audiences


I would recommend using the Top 25% option.
Let`s say that in the last 60 days, 1000 people visited your website, Facebook will choose the top 250 and show ads to those people.

You could select specific pages, such as product pages but if you don`t have at least 100 visitors within the chosen time frame, your best bet is to include all website visitors.


facebook custom audiences



Custom Events

Depending on what you set up as custom events, they will show up when you create your custom audience.


facebook custom audiences


You can even refine your audience based on URL, frequency and device, as well.


App Activity

If you`ve built an app, this is a no brainer… you want to be leveraging this custom audience.


facebook custom audiences


It lets you create an audience based on anyone who opens your app, your most active users, users by purchase amount or by segment.


Offline Activity

Facebook allows you to create audiences based on your business` offline activity, just like your online custom conversions.

If you`re in a service-based business, say you`re a coach and you`re receiving or making phones calls, you definitely need to leverage this custom audience.

Before anything, you have to create an offline event, which you can find below “Pixels”, inside Ads Manager.


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The next step would be setting up your offline event and making sure that you already have the data you want to import into Facebook, at hand in a spreadsheet.


C:\Users\Pedro Campos\Desktop\custom audiences\facebook custom audiences


All you have to do here is accept Facebook`s terms and start the importing process…


facebook custom audiences


Now, you`re ready to import a CSV file so Facebook can populate your offline data.

It can include customer name, email address, phone number and events such as purchase, lead, registration, value, currency (if applicable) and order id.


facebook custom audiences


Let`s say you want to build an audience based on the people that have shown up on your enrollment calls. You can use the custom data option to build your own parameters.


facebook custom audiences




By far, one of the most powerful custom audiences you can build.
Video is getting more and more a tool that businesses can leverage to get leads and sales, especially when it comes to Facebook Ads.

Your market gets to know you better this way, furthermore, the Video Views campaign objective is a cost-effective way to build warm audiences.


facebook custom audiences


Facebook lets you create audiences based on how many seconds or percentage your viewers have watched.


facebook custom audiences


Retargeting people that have watched your video is one powerful technique.

Going with video is always a great choice, as I said in the beginning, especially because it allows you to create a deeper connection with your audience and it also builds trust easily.

The maximum days you can choose from here is 365.

Keep in mind that you can create these audiences from people that have watched at least X seconds or watched at X percentage of the video.
Two different things here!



Lead Forms

Suppose you want to create a custom audience of people that have opened, didn`t submit or opened and submitted a specific form.
This is how you do it…


facebook custom audiences


This custom audience can be created if you`re running Leads Ads on Facebook.


Instant Experiences

More online brands are starting to leverage instant experiences to reduce friction between ads and purchases. It just makes it easier for the end-user since all the activity happens within the platform.


facebook custom audiences


Here you can create an audience based on people that have opened an instant experience or clicked on any links in that specific instant experience.


Facebook Page Engagement

Yet another powerful custom audience.

Facebook lets you create audiences based on people that have engaged, visited, messaged your page, clicked on any call to action or engaged with any of your ads or page posts.


facebook custom audiences


These folks are your warm audience, people that already know who you are, they are familiar with your brand and what you have to offer, essentially they`re your fans, as Facebook calls them.


Instagram Business Page

This one is pretty much self-explanatory, as well.

These are the audiences you can create based on people that visited or messaged your Instagram page, engaged with or saved a post or ad.

Don`t forget, it only applies to Business profiles.


facebook custom audiences


With over a billion active users, this platform is growing fast and provides businesses with a great opportunity to reach their audience.

Instagram is constantly being updated and now you can even shop within the platform.
Accordingly, to Facebook, about 130 million accounts tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month.

If you`re using Instagram to build a community of followers, then definitely you should be leveraging this custom audience.



You can also create custom audiences based on how people have interacted with your events on Facebook, whether it`s a webinar, a conference or a speaking engagement.


facebook custom audiences


You can choose from people that have responded Going or Interested, Going, Interested, that have visited an event page, engaged with an event, with tickets, buyers of tickets and from those that had the intention of buying tickets.


Creating Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Lookalikes are audiences similar to the ones you already have. The process of creating lookalike audiences is very comparable to the custom audiences`.


C:\Users\Pedro Campos\Desktop\custom audiences\facebook custom audiences


Inside Ads Manager, there`s a tab called Assets.
Below that, you can find “Audiences.” This is where you can create your custom and lookalike audiences, as you see in the image above.


Understanding Lookalike Audiences

Once you`re inside the section where you can create these audiences, you`ll see at the bottom sort of a scale with percentages.

The higher the number, the broader your audience will be and less similar to your original custom audience.


facebook custom audiences


The lower the percentage, the more specific and similar your lookalike will be to the original audience.

Your choice as to what percentage to choose from comes down to knowing the types of people you want to reach with your ads.


facebook custom audiences



Types Of Lookalike Audiences

The sky is the limit when you`re creating lookalike audiences.

You can have them created based on custom audiences, with or without LTV (customer lifetime value data) and even adding multiple lookalikes with different levels of similarity.


facebook custom audiences



Saved Audiences

After doing your initial research on your target market, you can go and create a saved audience you can use later when setting up your campaign.


facebook custom audiences


The process here is straight forward and similar to the one you go through when you set up any adset, inside Ads Manager.


Final Thoughts

You`re probably already aware, at this point, of the power of custom and lookalike audiences.
Facebook gives us so many different targeting variations that sometimes is very easy to get overwhelmed.

One of the main goals of using custom audiences is to retarget people with specific messages so you can move them down to the next stage in the customer journey.

Custom audiences also give you the ability to expand your reach with lookalikes and create variety within your Facebook ad campaigns as you scale.

Facebook lets you create new targeting options based off of valuable data you`ve collected, such as information about your most active customers, which is also very powerful.

I`m curious to hear your thoughts in the comments…

How are you going to use these custom audiences in your business?


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