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Facebook Custom Audiences definition

Facebook Custom Audiences (© golubovy /

Facebook Custom Audiences (© golubovy /

In this article, we are going to discuss Facebook custom audiences. This is a new tool that Facebook provides which gives business owners a great deal of flexibility over which audience they show their ads to. In order to make advertising the most effective that it can be, ads must be targeted to people that find them the most relevant. We will be discussing all of the aspects of Facebook custom audiences here.

What Are Facebook Custom Audiences?

The first thing that we have to understand is exactly what Facebook custom audiences are. A custom audience is built from an existing customer list and it is a type of audience that you create made up of customers that you already have. You can target your ads to audiences that you have built using Facebook, Instagram as well as the Audience Network.

The way that it works is by uploading your hashed customer list and then using that data to match the people that are on the list to people on Facebook. When you have matches, then you have the custom audience that you were looking for. In addition, you are also able to import this list as well as copy and paste it.

How a Custom Facebook Audience Works

Let’s discuss a little bit of how a Facebook custom audience works. You probably already know that it is a lot easier to sell to customers that have already purchased from you and when you have information from them, than it is to acquire new customers. In fact, studies have shown that increasing customer retention by just 50% can increase your profits overall by a whopping 25%. Using Facebook custom audiences, you can strengthen your existing connections and ensure that the customers that you already have will stick around. You will compare your data with the data on Facebook in order to create a custom list.

All you need to get started with this process is a customer list from your site. For example, if you already have email addresses, then you are ready to get started. You use those email addresses to create a custom audience, and then your information is encrypted so that the information doesn't get out and you will be able to use the tools on Facebook to create the audience that is going to be most prevalent relevant to the products that you are selling.

How to Create a Custom Audience from Customer Files

The first thing that you need to know is that you have to have some sort of customer file to begin this process. Most businesses already have some kind of list of customer information, even if it is just a list of email addresses from people that have purchased from them before. You can use these email addresses to create a Facebook custom audience because the email address is associated with a Facebook account. Facebook has a number of best practices that you should be using when you are setting up this tool and you should review them to make sure that you are not going to violate any terms or conditions while you're building your audience.

The Process of Creating a Custom Audience

So, the first thing that will have to do is go to your custom audience area of Facebook advertising. If you already have an audience, then you want to use the create audience drop down button and select custom audience. If you don't already have an audience, then you will need to use the audience creation button rather than the dropdown. You will then click the button that says create a custom audience.

The next thing that you will do is to click the button that says customer file. After that, you will click add from your own file. From there you are ready to begin the actual process of creating your custom audience.

The Five Step Process to Creating a Facebook Custom Audience

There are five total steps that we will be covering in this article in regards to how to create a Facebook custom audience. Whether you are marketer or business owner, you will still need to use these steps to create the custom audience that you need. Let's get started.

Step 1

The first step is going to be to add your customer file. You have a couple of choices when it comes to uploading it. You can either upload as a text file or as a CSV. In addition, you can simply copy and paste your file.

In either case, the process is simple. To upload a file simply click the upload file button and select browse to your file and select it. copy and paste just right click or use control V in the paste your content here section.

You can then decide about a name for your audience and write a short description so that you can remember who this audience is.

Step 2

The next step is going to be previewing your data. Facebook has three status messages that can appear after you have uploaded or pasted your data.

A green check mark means that Facebook recognizes your data but this is not 100% accurate so you want to check manually. If data does not have the green check mark, it will not get matched.

An exclamation mark within an orange circle means that Facebook cannot recognize the data that you have entered. You can tell Facebook what kind of dated this is and use their best practices to ensure that it is properly formatted. The symbol also appears on data that you have purposely left out of the matching.

The third type of data mapping symbol is an exclamation mark within a red triangle. This usually means that Facebook knows what kind of data you have uploaded or pasted, but it is not supported by the application. You will not be able to use matching with this data until you reformat it or select a formatting option from the drop-down menu.

Some other things to keep in mind is that if you have identified the wrong delimiter (or punctuation mark) between data columns, you can simply look and see what the delimiter is and then change it within the application. In addition there are three other things that you can do to change your data.

The first is by changing the type of data that has been uploaded or pasted. There is a drop down menu that will allow you to tell Facebook what kind of data is.

You can also change your format using another drop down menu. There are several formats to choose from.

Step 3

Next, wait for the file to be hashed by Facebook and then it will be uploaded and your audience will be created for you. The time to do this varies depending on how large the file is. However it should not take more than a few minutes.

Step 4

Facebook will generate a list of instructions based upon your file to allow you to use your custom audience as efficiently as possible. If you choose not to take any of those steps then you can simply click the done button and you will be able to finish with the custom audience tool.

Step 5

The final step is to begin your Facebook advertising begin using your custom audience. You can start immediately after you have completed the other steps.

Why Is a Custom Audience So Important?

You may be wondering what the importance is of a Facebook custom audience or a custom audience with other applications. We will get into those other applications at the end of this article but let’s first discuss why a Facebook custom audience is so important to your advertising.

When it comes to marketing, the more targeted your audience is, the more effective your advertising is going to be. That's because when you make an advertisement relevant to the person that is seeing it, there is a much greater chance that they are going to make a purchase.

Think about this analogy. If you were to go into a room full of people early in the morning and offer to sell sandwiches to them, most people would not be interested. That’s because some people don't eat in the morning and others have already had their breakfast. In addition, sandwiches aren't really a breakfast food for many people.

However if you were able to go into that same room at around 11:30 a.m., you would probably be able to sell all the sandwiches that you brought with you. That's because people are hungry and in the mood for a sandwich. The sandwiches were relevant to that audience. You have to make sure that you know your audience and you know what they are going to be interested in.

That's the power of Facebook ad segmenting. You can divide up your audiences into different groups that you think will be interested in the various products and services that you have. While one group may only be interested in certain things that you sell, others will not be interested at all and there may be other groups as well.

If you can create an ad that appeals to that specific segment of your custom audience, or you only offer products and services that that segment will find appealing, you will find that your conversion rates almost skyrocket.

The Effectiveness of Facebook Advertising

The basis of audience segmenting is the click-through rate. It is really important that you get your ad content as close to what the user is looking for as possible. What you have to understand is that your click-through rate is what tells Facebook whether or not your audience is engaged, and how engaged they are. If you do not engage the audiences and get them to click, Facebook is not going to show them future ads. That's also why it is absolutely vital that you carefully design your ads and do regular testing to find out what people respond the best to.

Why Facebook?

You may be wondering why you should use Facebook in the first place. The reason is simple. Facebook has spent years gathering all of the personal information that you need in order to do ad targeting. Facebook is your partner in this ad endeavor. If you tell them what you want, odds are that they will be able to hook up the audience for it.

You could also integrate lookalike audiences in addition to your own audience. With lookalike audiences being used in concert with Facebook, you can reach the type of people that are responding to your ads from outside your own audience. Lookalike audiences allow you to discover new audiences based upon the engagement of your existing audiences, another reason why it is so important for you to make sure that your audiences are engaged.

Some Ways That You Can Improve Your Campaigns

They're definitely some ways that you can improve your Facebook ad campaigns before you even begin them or using Facebook ad targeting. The first is to grow your Facebook likes without spending hardly any money. You're going to be using custom audiences with this but the difference is, you will be including all of your contacts in this campaign with the exception of those who have already liked your page. Your goal is to get them to like your page through your custom ad campaigns. You would be surprised how many of your current contacts have not liked your page. People simply forget and they have to be reminded and have an opportunity to like your page easily. That's where the Facebook custom audience tool comes in.

In addition, you can use this tool to get back customers that you've lost. When people discover something that they like, unless they bookmark it and discover it later, odds are that they are going to lose it in the noise that is the internet cacophony. The way that you can use custom audiences to solve this problem is by creating a list of the people who have purchased something from you in the past but have not been a recent customer. This way, you can remind people that you are there and you may be able to make some loyal fans that are going to remember your page next time they need something that you sell.

Finally, another great technique to use is to upsell your existing customers. Studies have proven many times over that it is much easier to sell to someone who has already purchased something from you in the past – particularly the recent past. If you want to take advantage of this, all you have to do is create a custom audience with those users who are most active on your page. Depending on the type of business that you have, you may also want to separate them by the type of product that they have purchased in the past. Once you have done that, create a campaign that is worded very specifically for those customers. Make it all about how they are a loyal customer and you are offering them some kind of unique special.


Facebook custom audiences are one of the most valuable tools that you have at your disposal when it comes to Facebook advertising. It is probably the best tool out there for uniquely targeting your advertising, including all of the other custom audiences that are out there like Google AdWords, LinkedIn and much more. That is simply because Facebook has a great deal of personal information about each and every user that is on the site. You can leverage this information and create a custom audience that is going to respond extremely well to your advertisement, increasing your click-through rate and improving your bottom line.