Taking advantage of Facebook Ads can lead your company to increased site traffic and overall conversions – but only if you have the proper audience targeting strategy in place. 

While investing your advertising dollars into Facebook Ads might seem like a smart investment, without the proper audience targeting filters set up, you could be wasting your money on an ad with a high cost per click and a low performance rate. Many businesses fall victim to the trap of spending more and receiving less from Facebook Ads than expected – and these issues could be solved with better audience targeting.

So say hello to Facebook’s Custom Audience feature – otherwise known as your marketing strategy’s new best friend. 

With Custom Audiences, businesses are able to upload data pulled straight from their websites and target real website visitors, email subscribers, previous customers and more. Ever wanted a way to retarget those elusive “abandoned cart” shoppers? Now you can. 

Let’s break down the elusive Custom Audience feature in Facebook Ads to show you how you can use your own website data to target your ads toward actual interested consumers.

Custom Audiences: The What and the Why

We’ve just given Facebook Custom Audiences high praise, but why should you believe us? What can it actually provide your business and website with that you aren’t already achieving through your advertising efforts?

To better explain why Custom Audiences will work for you, let’s first dive deeper into what it is as a whole. 

Essentially, Custom Audiences allows Facebook Ads users to create highly refined lists of their current customer base. As we mentioned before, this list can contain email subscribers, past consumers, website visitors and more. You can also use product page traffic data to target users who have taken interest in a specific category, item or deal on your website. 

But how does Facebook create these lists? From your collected data. You can upload email addresses, phone numbers, user IDs and more to Facebook as trackable audience data for Custom Audience use. 

So why is this valuable for your business? Custom Audiences gives you tracking and targeting options that are like no other social advertising platform. With the proper lists in place, you’ll be able to create ad copy and graphics for a highly targeted audience group that could result in a much higher ROI.

Now, you’re probably very excited to dive into the world of Custom Audiences, so we’ll save the small talk and get to the good stuff. Here’s how you can start setting up audiences using your own business website data.

How To Start Building Custom Audiences

To start, you’re going to want to be on your business page’s Ads Manager account. 

From Ads Manager, select the drop-down menu located at the top left corner and find the tab under “Assets” that says “Audiences.”

The Audiences tab is where you can track your already created audiences as well as create brand-new ones. If you’d created a cold audience on Facebook before, you’ll find it here. If not, it’s time to add some custom audiences to this tab.

Opening the blue “Create Audience” tab to the left of the screen will give you two options: Custom Audience and Lookalike Audience. While Custom Audience is what we want, creating a Lookalike Audience is also a great option if you want to target Facebook users with attributes and interests similar to your current customers. This is a good choice after your audiences are set up.

Click the “Custom Audience” tab and sift through the options of audiences you’d like to create. As you can see, there are a ton of different audience options to choose from, so let’s break them down so they’re less overwhelming. 

Target Your Website Visitors

The website source allows you to use information and customer data from your Facebook Pixel to target websites used during a set time period of your choice (for example, you can target website visitors over the last 90 days). 

Target Your Current Customers

The customer list source allows you to upload customer data lists, email subscriber lists, mailing lists and more for precise customer targeting. This is great for ad campaigns that offer referral codes and loyalty discounts as well as any other ad campaign you’d like returning customers to see!

Target Your App Activity

If your business has an app setup, the App activity source allows you to create custom audiences based on actions app users have taken. This is great to retarget app users and get them to like your Facebook Page, and it could help you increase actual site traffic from app activity. 

Target Your In-Store Customers

And if you have a brick-and-mortar store, you can even track offline events using the offline activity source. This will allow you to log in-store transactions and upload them to Facebook to create an audience.

Target Audiences Using Facebook Activity

Now, let’s talk about Facebook sources. These data sources are great if you use Facebook to drum up business, connect with consumers and grow your interested consumer base. 

These Facebook sources are pretty self-explanatory, so we’ll just cover a couple of our favorite options. First, if you’re a business that likes to play around with Instant Experience ads, you’ll love the data pulling options that Custom Audiences gives you. You can choose between people who opened your Instant Experience or people who actually clicked links within your Instant Experience for a more invested audience. 

Another great option you can choose is Facebook Page. Choosing Facebook Page will allow you to target Facebook users who have performed multiple activities on your page, such as liking a post, clicking a call-to-action button or even just visiting your page. Targeting this select group of people could help you gain more Facebook Page followers with the right ad campaign. 

Once you’ve selected your option, Facebook’s intuitive platform will guide you through the rest of the process. You’ll have the chance to import customer data, choose the amount of days you’d like to pull data from, name your audience however you’d like and more, depending on the option you choose.

How To Put Custom Audiences Into Motion

Now that you have a basic understanding of how to create a Custom Audience of your own, it’s time to talk about some tips and tricks that can help perfect your audiences and use those tips to your benefit. 

1. Use your most current customer data

If you want to create custom audiences based on your current audience base, you wouldn’t want to use old data to reach them, right? This is why ditching old customer data is important. 

When importing data into Facebook Ads Manager, be sure to refresh any old data you have with current customer data. This goes for any older email addresses, phone numbers, location information and anything else you find necessary to import. By collecting the most recent data, you’ll have the greatest chance of getting the best return on your ad spend. 

2. Consider targeting top customers

Your first instinct may be to target site visitors who haven’t purchased yet and finally close those abandoned cart sales, right? While that may work well for your business, you never want to discount those loyal returning customers while planning your ad campaigns. 

Targeting top customers allows you to make sure those who actively purchase from your company see only your best content. You can create a custom audience with frequent customers and send them ad campaigns featuring brand-new items, annual sales, priority discounts and more.

3. Market seasonal offers to seasonal purchasers 

Most likely, you have customers who only seem to show up during the holidays. It happens – after all, who doesn’t love a good holiday deal?

Knowing this, it’s best to get ahead of the trend and funnel all of those holiday shoppers into a custom audience and advertise directly to them when those holiday sales come up. 

You can create a custom audience with shoppers who have interacted with last year’s holiday ads and Facebook posts and save that list for the next time you prepare your holiday campaigns. Then, create an ad set that uses this audience for targeting and see how it positively impacts your holiday sales.

We hope you enjoyed this crash course in Facebook Custom Audiences. Using Facebook’s advertising platform with the right audience knowledge can help you increase your return on ad spend and investment in no time!