Facebook Custom Audiences: What Are They And How Do You Use Them?

Facebook Custom Audiences

The key to marketing success is getting  the right message in front of the right person at the right time.

Facebook’s targeting capabilities allow us to do just that, which is what makes it so powerful as an advertising platform.

You can target people based on interests, demographics and behaviours. But there’s also another way to target people… one that’s slightly less known, definitely less understood, but arguably much more powerful…

It’s called Custom Audiences. But what are custom audiences and how do you use them? In this article, I explain all…

What Are Facebook Custom Audiences?

A custom audience is essentially an ad targeting option that allows you to target an audience of people that have already had a touch of your brand.

They give you the ability to retarget people you’re already engaging with as a business.

For example, if someone visits your website, you can ‘retarget’ them with an ad. You can also do things like upload your newsletter/email list/customer files to Facebook and target them with an ad.

This is hugely powerful. You know who your ad is being delivered to and so it’s easier to craft a compelling message for them. Also, by targeting a “warm” audience (group of people who already engage with you), the chances of your ads performing well is much higher.

What Type Of Custom Audiences Can You Use?

There are four main types of custom audience:

Custom Audiences From A Customer List

This is where we upload lists of data (such as email lists, customer lists etc.) to Facebook. You take your list, upload it to Facebook and Facebook will customer match the data you have with their users. You obviously need permission to do this.

Website Custom Audiences

You can advertise to anyone who has visited your website is the past 180 days as long as you have the Facebook pixel installed on your site.

You can set the time frame from 1-180 days and can select whether you want to target people that have visited any page on your site, or specific pages.

For example, you might want to target people that visited specific product pages in the last 24 hours, or you might want to target everyone who visited any page on your site in the last 180 days).

You can also set it up so you’re targeting people based on how long they visited your site for. This is done by percentages, so you can target the top 10% of visitors by time spent on your site, for example.

Mobile App Custom Audiences

If you have a mobile app, you can create custom audiences based on people who have engaged with/used your app in the last 180 days.

For example, people who have used your app or taken specific actions on your app in the last 30 days.

Offline Activity

Offline activity custom audiences are based on people who have engaged with your business in-store, by phone or other offline channels.

Engement Custom Audiences

There are different engagement custom audience options:

Video Custom Audiences

Arguably my favourite type of custom audience. With the video custom audiences, we’re able to create audiences of people that have watched your videos on Facebook or Instagram.

This is why content creation is so important. The more video content you post and the more views you amass, the more people you can retarget.

When creating the video ads, you can choose whether you want to target people who have watched 10s of a video all the way to 100% of your video.

Lead Form

Lead forms and lead generation campaigns on Facebook are a way to generate leads through forms that appear on the Facebook feed. Rather than sending people to a landing page, the form appears in Facebook and they can fill it in without leaving the platform.

Lead Gen Engagement custom audiences allow you to create audiences of people based on how they interacted with your lead form.


Similarly to lead forms, canvas custom audiences allow you to create audiences based on the interactions people had with your canvas.

Facebook Page

You’re able to create an audience of people that have engaged with your page, such as viewed your page, saved a post and other things.

Instagram Business Profile

Exactly the same as above, but instead of your Facebook page, it’s your Instagram business profile.


Target people who have engaged with your Facebook events. Perhaps someone claims an interest in your event, you might want to retarget them, to remind them to actually show up.

How To Set Up Facebook Custom Audiences

It’s relatively easy to set up Facebook custom audiences. Here’s how you do it:

Head into your Facebook Business Manager and click the ‘hamburger’ menu top right. From there, click on all tools > audiences, as per the screenshot below.

Choosing Audiences in Facebook business manager

Once you’re in the audiences section, you need to click on Create Audience, then Custom Audience.

Facebook custom audiences assets

Once you’ve done, that Facebook will invite you to create a custom audience. This is where you select the type of custom audience you want to create! Your options are:

Simply choose the one you want, create it and you’re good to go!

Selecting Facebook Custom Audience

If you’re looking to create website custom audiences, you need to ensure you have the Facebook pixel installed on your website.

If you’re looking to run a profitable Facebook ads campaign, you need to look at creating and using custom audiences.

Whenever you run an ad, especially if you’re trying to sell something, you need to ask yourself ‘who is most likely to take this action?’. Chances are it’s going to be the people that already know, like and trust you.


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