Get More Exposure on Facebook with Custom Audiences

Have you already thought about retargeting your existing customers on Facebook and Instagram? Here’s how Facebook lets you reach out to people who have already subscribed to your list or interacted with your business in the past using custom and lookalike audiences.

What Is A Custom Audience?

A custom audience in Facebook is composed of a group of people who have interacted with your business either on Facebook, other online platforms and even offline.

Targeting such a group usually results in higher conversions for businesses because these are people who are already familiar with your brand. They’re not total strangers to your business. These people are what we call a ‘warm’ or ‘hot’ audience.

The typical audience you create at the Ad Set level (we’ll refer to this as the default targeting system) can be targeted using their location, age, gender, languages, interests, connections, and more.

While this default targeting system is very comprehensive by itself, the Custom Audience feature allows advertisers to reach people you can’t target with the normal settings you find in the Audience tab in Ads Manager

The 5 Types Of Custom Audiences You Can Create On Facebook

Here are the different types of custom audiences you can target with your Facebook ads:

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Create a custom audience on Facebook


1. Customer File

If you collect email addresses from your blog subscribers or free trial users, you can upload your list here. Facebook will try to match your contact’s email addresses with their Facebook accounts. You can also directly import from MailChimp.

If you don’t have a mailing list, but you have a customer file of your subscribers which include any of the following details – email address, phone number, name, date of birth, gender, age, Facebook user ID, city, zip code, and more – then Facebook can also use these to look up your customers’ Facebook accounts and add them to your custom audience.

2. Website Traffic

To create an audience from people who have visited and took specific actions on your website, you need to have the Facebook pixel installed on your site.

Installing the base pixel isn’t really complicated and easily done using Google Tag Manager. However, to make sure there are no errors, ask assistance from someone who knows how to install the pixel. Also, to get usable data, wait for at least 30 days so that Facebook can get a more accurate read and create a bigger audience size for your custom audience.

3. App Activity

If you have an app or game linked to your account, you can create a custom audience of people who have launched, or took specific actions, on your app or game.

4. Offline Activity

You can target people who have interacted with your business in-store, by telephone, or via other offline means.

5. Engagement

The engagement option allows you to target people who have engaged with your content on either Instagram or Facebook. This includes people who have watched your videos, opened or completed one of your lead forms, opened your collection or canvas ad and interacted with your events.

In any of the custom audience options above, Facebook guarantees that the process is secure and that your customers’ details will be kept private. This means that you won’t be able to see the individual profiles of your custom audience.

What Is A Lookalike Audience?

A lookalike audience is an audience that has similar characteristics to another existing audience.

Facebook has an active user base of 2 billion people that logs onto the platform each month. Their algorithm can detect and scope out people who are similar to your first group. It will look for patterns and characteristics that your first group has in common and create a second group of very similar users who most probably have not interacted with your business before.

You can create a lookalike audience based on a customer list, a custom audience, your Facebook conversion pixel, or people who like your page.

For example, if you’ve got a custom audience of 20-25 year-old single females based in the United States who like Pokemon, you can create a lookalike of that audience by targeting the same demographic of women in Australia or the United Kingdom or wherever else you want.

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Create a lookalike audience on Facebook

All you have to do is select the audience source, the location you want to target, the number of lookalike audiences you want to create and select the audience size. We recommend using lookalike audiences of 1% and 2% to get the best results at the lowest cost per conversion.

That’s it – Facebook will now create lookalike audiences that you’ll be able to target in your Facebook ad campaigns!

How To Use Custom And Lookalike Audiences To Get More Conversions

There are  a number of different strategies you can use to get more conversions for your business. Depending on your goals, you can try starting with a combination of custom and lookalike audiences.

Since custom audiences are people who are already familiar with your brand, they  may already like and trust you and be more willing to sign up or buy your products and services.

Here are a few techniques to try and get more conversions for your business:

Get In Touch With Old Customers

If your business is new on Facebook and you want to get more social proof by having people who know your business like your Facebook page, you can try setting up a campaign that targets everyone who’s ever done business with you.

You can upload your mailing list, subscriber or customer database and Facebook will then match their info with their Facebook profiles. Once you have your custom audience set up, you can then start an Engagement campaign and have your existing customers like your page. Make sure your advert clearly identifies who you are so that they can recognize you.

It’s important to note here that Page Likes are mainly a vanity metric nowadays. Don’t expect your page likes to turn into actual sales automatically. Compared to paid ad engagement, turning organic engagement from page followers into sales is diffiult. Still, having a ‘warm’ audience like your page is good for social proof, which can help you run more successful campaigns in the future.

Once you’ve racked up a nice number of page likes, you can then create a second advert offering them a sweet deal – something like a loyalty discount for returning customers.

People love discounts! If they’ve had a good experience with your business in the past, chances are they’ll be more likely to take you up on your offer.

When you see good results on this initial campaign, you can then create a lookalike audience and target even more people with the same characteristics as your original custom audience!

Note that this is just one of many different strategies you can try. You can even forego the Page Likes campaign and just go straight to targeting your custom audience with the loyalty offer. It’s really all up to you – and your budget!

Offer New Products or Upgrades To Existing Customers

Customer segmentation plays a huge role in this strategy. Simply put, if you sell several products, you’d need to create one list for each product. Yes, it’s going to take a lot of work upfront, but when it’s time to create those ads, your job will be much easier.

Here’s an example:

Say you sell 10 products (products A to J). For each product you sell, you keep a list of all the customers who bought each product. In a few months, you release version 2.0 of Product A. It’s not an entirely new product, but it has significant upgrades to version 1.0.

If you’re selling version 2.0 at $100, you can set up a Facebook ad campaign targeting those who bought version 1.0 and offer the new version at a huge discount (for example, a 50% discount).

You then set up a separate advert targeting those who did not buy Product A but bought products B to J and offer version 2.0 at the original $100 price (or maybe give them a small discount for being a past customer).

The key takeaway here is that the more specific your audience, the more you can create ads that speak directly to them and address their pain points. Lumping everyone into the same group will not only lead to fewer people engaging with your ad but will also lead to higher conversion costs.

To get even more conversions, create a lookalike audience for each of your custom audiences. This means that if you have 10 Custom Audiences based on each product (Products A to J), then you can create 10 Lookalike Audiences. This strategy is especially useful if your products are geared towards different markets or different industries.

Target Subscribers Who Never Read Your Emails

It is estimated that people receives on average 33 emails per day. We hear marketers say this popular phrase all the time – the money is in the list. But with an increasing amount of emails going into the spam and promotions folders of your customers, chances are your emails (and everyone else’s) aren’t being read.

Facebook Ads can give you a new means of reaching them. You can upload your mailing list and create an ad targeted specifically to your subscribers.

Offer them something enticing or maybe just let them know about your new blog post and how it can be of value to them. You just need to be creative to get your brand in front of them so they’ll remember you when they need your products or services.

A Word Of Advice On Custom Audiences

You’ve seen a few examples of how powerful custom audiences and lookalike audiences can be for your business. But before you create any custom audience, you need to make sure that you’re not infringing on any data privacy and confidentiality laws. Make sure that:

1. You have permission from your customers or mailing list to use their data. This means you can’t create a custom audience using data you’ve bought from a third-party source without their permission. Doing this also means that your audience might not have high potential of turning into a (return) customer since they have never interacted with your business before.

2. The people in your custom audience have not opted out or unsubscribed from your mailing list. If people opted out of your list, it means they don’t want to receive any more communication from you. They don’t want to receive your emails, your newsletters, and they probably don’t want to look at your Facebook Ads either.

If you don’t follow these rules, your ad account could get banned. Getting banned is probably one of the worst things that can happen to any business especially if your target audience lives and breathes on Facebook.

Need help setting up Facebook ads and reaching your target audience? Let’s talk to see what we can do for you.

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SOLID Marketing