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A Step-By-Step Guide to Facebook Custom Audiences

By Hephzy Asaolu | No Comments | 24th January 2020

With its 2.19 billion monthly active users, Facebook provides a huge potential audience to businesses. One of the core strengths of Facebook is its granular targeting, and this is the reason 3 million businesses run Facebook Ads. In 2012, Facebook launched its Custom Audiences tool to further help businesses to reach users that are likely to be interested in their businesses. With this tool, businesses can reduce ad spend and increase ROI.

In this article, you will learn all you need to know about Facebook Custom Audiences and creative ways to use it to boost your campaigns.

What is Facebook Custom Audiences?

The Facebook Custom Audiences tool is a powerful targeting tool you can use to laser target your ads to show to potential customers that are likely to convert. 

The Custom Audiences list comprises people that have shown interest in your business. They are those from your CRMs, visitors to your website, app and email subscribers, customers from your retail store, etc. These are audiences you can show your adverts to because they are likely to convert. You can also add or remove people who have carried out specific actions from the Custom Audiences. For instance, you can exclude people who have recently subscribed to your app. This will ensure that you are not advertising to the wrong set of people, wasting your ad spend.

With Custom Audiences, you can also create a lookalike audience to get new customers that look like your best customers, thereby maximizing the ROI of your campaigns.

Below are five (5) distinct benefits of Facebook Custom Audiences.

Benefits of using Facebook Custom Audiences

There are many ways Facebook Custom Audiences can help you get good results from your ad campaigns. Below are five of them, together with case studies to help you understand the impact of Custom Audiences on your campaigns.

1.   It generates more qualified leads at lower cost

Facebook Custom Audiences is a great tool you can use to generate more qualified leads at a lower cost for your business. You can do this by retargeting those who have previously shown interest in your business but did not make a purchase.  

A good case study of a company that got leads and sales by using Custom Audiences to retarget their visitors is McCarthy & Stone – a UK developer and manager of retirement communities. 

They were looking for ways to generate leads and sales from their ads. They used Custom Audiences to retarget ads to people who have been to their websites. 

Facebook Custom Audiences

They got 4.3x more sales leads, 2x lower cost per lead for prospecting campaigns and retargeting campaigns.

2.   It drives quality traffic to your website

Facebook Custom Audiences can help to increase your website traffic. An example of a company that achieved this feat is Favi, an online one-stop furniture shop. The company used Facebook tools and Custom Audiences to drive traffic, increase sales and raise brand awareness. 

Facebook Custom Audiences

They got 2.6x increase in website traffic, 2.1x increase in people reached and 600,000 people were reached daily.

3. It drives in-store visits

With the Facebook Custom Audiences, you can retarget customers who have bought things in your offline store or engage with your services.

Louis Vuitton used Facebook’s store traffic ad objective with Custom Audiences to reach potential customers when they are close to a store.

Facebook Custom Audiences

The ad brought in 13,000 store visits, 742,000 people reached and €1.26 cost per lead.

4.  It Increases mobile app installs

If you have an app for your business, you can use Custom Audiences to increase your app installs by targeting the right audience with your ad. This is seen in the results obtained by the mobile app called the Washment – a leading UAE app-based laundry service. They run a Facebook mobile app ad campaign to increase their mobile app installs and brand awareness. 

They used a combination of Facebook ad tools with Custom Audiences to get 3x increase in weekly sign-ups, 70% of mobile app registrations, 2x increase in sales.


Types of Facebook Custom Audiences

There are four major types of Custom Audiences available for advertisers. They are:

  • Website Custom Audiences
  • Customer list Custom Audiences
  • App activity Custom Audiences
  • Offline activity Custom Audiences.

Facebook Custom Audiences

However, here, we will concentrate on the Website traffic and Customer list.

1.   Custom Audiences based on website activity (pixel)

Custom Audiences allow you to build an audience of website visitors who came to your website from different sources. You can segment them based on their actions on your website such as the specific pages they viewed. For example, when a visitor comes to your website and clicks on a product to view it but did not make a purchase, the Facebook Pixel on your website will track their actions and you can use the data to create a Custom Audience that you can convince to buy from you.

But before you can do this, you need to install the Facebook Pixel on your website. 

What is Facebook Pixel?

The Facebook Pixel is a tracking code that follows your website visitors around your website and sends the data back to Facebook. With this pixel, Facebook has quality information about the website visitors that you can use to create Custom Audiences to target them with ads.

For example, I searched for a blog post on our website blog – Leadsbridge.com and read an article. I went to Facebook afterward and saw a retargeting ad. Check it out below.

Facebook Custom Audiences

This is how to retarget visitors with relevant Facebook Ads.

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How to create Facebook Custom Audiences (with Facebook Pixel)

The first thing you need to do before you create Custom Audiences for your website is to create the Facebook Pixel.  To do that follow the steps below:

  1. Login to your Facebook account 
  2. Click on the “Ads manager?
  3. Under the “Measure & Report“, click on “pixels”

Facebook Custom Audiences4.  This will take you to the event manager’s page as shown below. Click on “create a pixel”.

Facebook Custom Audiences5.   Name your pixel and enter your website URL in the spaces provided.

Facebook Custom Audiences

6.   Click “Continue” when you are done.

The next thing to do is to add the Facebook Pixel to your website.

How to Install the pixel on your website

There are three ways to install the Facebook Pixel on your website. They are:

  • Use an integration or tag manager
  • Manually add pixel code to your website
  • Email instructions to a developer.

Facebook Custom Audiences

1. Use an integration or tag manager

  1. If you are not comfortable installing the code directly on your website, you can use a partner integration. To do that, follow the steps below:
  2. Click on “Use a partner integration”
  3. Choose a partner from the list such as Magento, Segment, Shopify, Google Tag Manager, Wix, Squarespace, etc.
  4. Follow the instructions to set it up.

2. Manually add the pixel code to a website

To manually install the pixel on your website, follow the steps below.

  1. Click on “Manually upload the code yourself
  2. Copy the “pixel code” from the page displayed
  3. On your website, search for the “header template” in your CMS or web platform
  4. Paste the code at the bottom of the “header section”, directly above the closing head tag.
  5. Add “events
  6. Click “test events” to make sure you set it up properly. If the status reads “active”, then it is working. 

3. Email instructions to your Developer

If you have a website manager or developer that takes care of your website, you can email them the code to help set up your pixel. Follow the steps below to do it.

  1. Click on “email instructions to a developer” 
  2. Put in the recipient’s “email address”
  3. c. Click “send” 

Now that you know how to create the Facebook Pixel and also install it on your website, it is time to create a Custom Audience for it.

How to create a Custom Audience for website visitors

To create an audience for your website visitors on Facebook, follow the steps below:

  1. Log into your Facebook account and go to the “ads manager”
  2. Click on the ‘Ads Manager’ menu and click on ‘Audiences’.

Facebook Custom Audiences


   3.  Click on “Create audience” and then click on “Custom Audience”

   Facebook Custom Audiences

   4.  In the next window, choose the audience you want to create i.e. Website.

   Facebook Custom Audiences

   5.  Choose whether to include people who meet any or all of the criteria you will set below.

Facebook Custom Audiences

   6.  Choose the “people you want to target”. For example, you can target three categories of website visitors i.e.

Website audience 2

  • All website visitors within a specific period
  • People who visited specific web pages
  • Visitors by time spent

   7.  Select as appropriate and “name your audience”

   8.  When you are done, click on “create audience” 

2. Custom Audiences based on CRM segments

The customer file contains a list of people who have interacted with your business. They are your newsletter subscribers, customers, etc. You already have their details such as their email and/or phone numbers stored on your CRM or auto-responder. All you need is to download it as a CSV file and upload it to Facebook and it will create a Custom Audience based on the details. 

How to create Facebook Custom Audiences (based on your CRM data)

To create a Custom Audience for your customer list, follow the steps below:

1. Download the CSV file of the leads/customers you want to reach from your CRM or auto-responder

2. From the ads Manager, click on audiences

Facebook Custom Audiences

3. Select “Create audience”, “Custom Audiences”

Facebook Custom Audiences

4. Click on “Customer list”

Facebook Custom Audiences

5. Click on “Add from your own list

6. This is where you will upload your CSV file from your CRM or Auto-responder. Here, you can do it in two ways, upload manually or use automation. You can use Leadsbridge’s Custom Audiences Sync tool to sync your CRM or Auto-responder with Facebook to create a Custom Audience for your customer list. More on that below. 

To upload it manually, select the original data source drop-down to specify where you got the data from, then upload this list as a txt or CSV file or copy and paste the data in the content field. 

Facebook Custom Audiences

  7.  “Name your audience” and select “next”.

  8.  Edit and upload your data – Check your data to ensure all of them are classified accordingly. If they are not, edit them to match.

  9.  When you are done, upload the data. Facebook will harsh the data, upload it and create your Custom Audiences from it. When it is done, click on “Done” to finish the process.

How to automate your Custom Audiences building with LeadsBridge 

Do you know it is possible to sync your CRM databases such as Agile CRM, Bitrix24, Freshsales, and HubSpot with the Facebook Custom Audiences using Leadsbrigde’s Custom Audiences Sync tool?

When you sync your CRM or auto-responder with the Facebook Custom Audiences through Leadsbridge, the list is updated automatically. With it, you can upload your customers’ list directly to Facebook. It will automatically create the Custom Audiences from your list. That means you don’t have to worry about uploading manually and mismatching data.

Also, if you have new visitors signing up daily, you don’t have to keep uploading the file manually every day, Leadsbridge refreshes every 6 hours to keep the list updated. 

5 Creative ways to Use Facebook Custom Audiences to Boost your Campaigns

Are you searching for ways to boost your success with Facebook Ads using Custom Audiences? Below are five creative ways you can use Facebook Custom Audiences to boost your ad campaigns.

1. Exclude current customers from seeing your ads

You can use Custom Audiences to exclude your current customers from seeing your Facebook Ads. For instance, you can exclude the customers who have purchased your product in the past from seeing your product ads. You can do this by uploading the list of your customers and use it as a negative list so you don’t waste money advertising to users who are your current customers. 

Irish Tax rebates created a Facebook ad to help drive people to a landing page where they can fill out an enquiry form. To do this, they set a broad target to reach many people in Ireland and created a website Custom Audience to exclude people who had used their service.  

Facebook Custom Audiences

The results

They got a 2.5x increase in sales and a 50% decrease is cost acquisition.

2. Set up Up-selling and back-end offers

The Facebook Custom Audiences helps you to build audiences of people who are in specific stages of your sales funnel, so you can show them the perfect offer that will lead to conversions. 

For example, you can:

  • Show front-end offer to prospects that sign up to your email list
  • When the prospect converts, show them up-sell offers
  • When they buy the up-sell offers, show them the back-end offers.

Apart from that, you can also set up a dynamic Custom Audience building system. This involves defining a Custom Audience from a thank-you page after each goal. i.e. one for your prospects, one for potential customers who need a demo and one for clients.  When you do this, it will be easy to move 5% or 10% more prospects to the next stage of your sales funnel with a small retargeting spend.

See an example from Leadsbridge below.

Facebook Custom Audiences
3.   Use Custom Audiences to retarget website visitors

Retargeting means targeting your website visitors over and over again until they convert. It is a powerful marketing tool and one of the best ways to attract leads and customers to your business.

Retargeting works like this:  Facebook gives you a code or pixel to install on your website. The code stores the information about your website visitors and follows them as they move to other websites or social media networks on the internet, showing them relevant ads. 

Since you have installed the Facebook Pixel on your website, you can get the information of customers who have visited specific pages on your website and create a Custom Audience from them. Target them with ads about products they viewed but did not buy. This technique also works for visitors who abandoned their shopping carts.

The Spearmint love, infant clothing, and accessory brand ran Facebook Ads for some time and conducted a retargeting campaign with the audience data collected by the Facebook Pixel over time. They set up a Custom Audience list based on visitors who came to the website in the last 60 days but did not make any purchase. They created dynamic ads to bring the visitors back to their website and shop. 


The results

They got 14.2x return on ad spend with a cost conversion of $0.11.

4. Set up a Facebook Custom Audience with CLV/LTV

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is the amount of money a customer is willing to spend on a business before they leave. The more a customer buys from you, the more money you make. Peter Drucker said “The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.” This is the total summation of what CLV means. 

Customer Lifetime Value helps you to increase revenue without acquiring new customers. Marketing metrics reported that there is a 5-20% probability that you will sell your product or service to a new customer, but the chance of selling to an existing customer is about 60-70%. 

The formula for calculating your customer lifetime value is:

Average transaction + annual purchase frequency + expected years of relationship = Customer lifetime value. 

Knowing your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) will help you make important decisions about sales, marketing, customer support and product development.

You can use Customer Lifetime Value as a metric to create lookalike audiences on Facebook that target only your best customers.

5. Create Lookalike Audiences to  Target valuable customers 

Facebook Lookalike Audiences is a tool you can use to reach audiences that are similar to your current best customers. Every business has customers who make purchases the most. Get a list of such customers and create a Custom Audience from them. Create a lookalike audience and design an ad campaign that will help you target these people with relevant offers.

Custom Audiences Common questions

There are common questions that people ask about Custom Audiences, below are three of them.

1.  What is Facebook Custom Audiences’ privacy?

If you want to use the Facebook Custom Audiences tool, ensure you comply with the applicable terms. Two of the policies are:

  • Show people the origin of the audience information. This is especially useful if you are uploading a customer file, you need to indicate where you got the information. 
  • Ensure you have permission to use and share people’s data.

Check out this link to learn more.         

2.  Do Facebook Custom Audiences auto-update?     

Yes. Custom Audiences from your website updates automatically as users who fall within the rules specified for website users. For example, if you set a rule to include people who visited your website in the last 30 days, it will automatically add people who have been to your website in the last 30 days.  

However, if the audiences come from your  CRM or Email software, there is a need to manually update them by downloading and uploading CSV file regularly. But to avoid the stress and time wastage in manual updating, you can automatically sync your CRM or Email software with your Facebook account through Leadsbridge’s Custom Audiences Sync tool. It helps to ensure that the leads in your customers’ file are properly and automatically synced to your custom audiences, reducing the possibility of data points mismatch.    

3. What is the Facebook Custom Audiences minimum size?

The Facebook Custom Audiences minimum size is 100 users


  • Custom Audiences works best when combined with cold campaigns. This helps you to get better results. Also, you can use a retargeting campaign with a cold campaign.

Below are two success stories that will inspire you.

Facebook Custom Audiences Success Stories

1. Hyperbits Music

Hyperbits Music, a music school that deals with technical and creative aspects of music production created Facebook Ads using a Custom Audience through Leadsbridge to help generate interest in the brand and products. 

Facebook custom audiences

The ad generated qualified leads and lower cost per lead.

Facebook Custom Audiences

2. Turners Automotive Group

Turners Automotive Group is the largest used car network in New Zealand. They worked with Leadsbridge to create Facebook Ads (using Custom Audiences) that will deliver cost-effective lead generation. 

Facebook Custom Audiences

The ad brought in +25% leads with -95% cost per lead.

Facebook Custom Audiences


Facebook Custom Audiences is a perfect tool for all businesses.

With it, you can boost your leads and sales as you are targeting people that are likely to convert. Through retargeting, it can drive traffic to both your online and offline stores. If you have an app for your business, it will help to increase installs.

To maximize the results you get from using the Custom Audiences tool, create different audiences using different time frames to see your audience size. You can test 30, 45 and 90 days.

If you are not tech-savvy, you can set up a Facebook Custom Audiences using our Custom Audiences Sync tool. It takes off the stress in uploading and updating data and creating the Custom Audience.

Crack the Facebook Ads Success CODE
Download this free book and discover 30 easy strategies to boost your Ads overnight, learned managing over 400 milion in media spending.
Insert below your name and email address to get access to the ebook

Hephzy Asaolu

Hephzy is a Professional writer and blogger with over 9 years of experience in writing digital marketing content that gains social media attention and increases search engine visibility.

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