6 Tips for Creating Custom Facebook Audiences

facebook advertising

Buying ad inventory on Facebook is an extremely effective way to target prospective customers with messaging and calls-to-action that will help your business achieve its goals. But, in order to most effectively drive ROI, you need to target the right user with the right message, image, and call-to-action. The product or service featured on your landing page also must be relevant to what you’re selling in your ad.

The more the content of the ad aligns with the page your ad leads to, the higher your relevance score will be – and the higher your relevance score, the more bang for your buck when it comes to ad spend.

The question then becomes – how do you target key consumers?

Facebook Audiences

Facebook audiences are a collection of advertiser-selected interests, behaviors, locations, and demographics. They allow you to develop buyer personas and target user segments based on your core customers’ characteristics and attributes. You’re basically targeting customers who you believe will be interested in your product or service, based on certain qualifiers.

After selecting your own attributes, you then have the option of targeting users based on different user-reported interests, as well as locations and devices. You can select these audience targeting options from a drop-down menu or search for a desired target group.

Creating different audiences and buyer personas is important because users in different locations and age groups with different interests and behaviors are going to respond differently to ad imagery and messaging. Testing different products, services, value propositions, offerings, and calls-to-action in your ads will generate different levels of engagement and buying intent across different consumer demographic cohorts.

Tricks of the Trade

How do we put this knowledge of Facebook audiences to work? These six tips will help you create different custom, targeted Facebook audiences to ensure your ads are reaching the right consumer at the right time with the right imagery and call-to-action.

1. Use email lists from your CRM or ESP and create a lookalike audience for prospecting campaigns.

A lookalike audience is a custom audience that’s essentially a carbon copy of your source list. Developing a lookalike audience from a customer list essentially allows Facebook to find users who are most similar to your actual consumers.

You can also segment lookalike audiences by average order value, or AOV (high AOV vs. low AOV), seasonality (holiday shoppers vs. regular shoppers), price sensitivity (regular price shoppers vs. discount price shoppers), customer loyalty (high CLV vs. low CLV), and more. By doing so, you can compare performance between segments.

2. Re-market to your current customers.

Import your customer list directly into Facebook. Then, instead of making a lookalike audience, remarket to your existing customers with new products or services and cross-sell them into different categories.

You can also launch a winback campaign and remarket to users who have not purchased your product in 90 days or more. Showcase new products that you think will inspire them to re-engage and extend their customer lifetime value.

3. Re-market to users who abandoned their shopping cart.

Instead of uploading an email list of customers, you can develop a custom audience of users who have added an item to their shopping cart but haven’t completed their purchase. Simply create a custom audience of users who have added an item to their cart over a specific time horizon via the Facebook pixel. You can add this powerful tool to your website to track when people perform certain consumer actions on your site.  

4. Use indicators from your 3rd-party analytics.

A good indicator of brand loyalty is a high rate of return visits to your homepage in a short amount of time. This is especially true for ecommerce clients. A loyal Nike shopper, for example, likely visits nike.com pretty frequently, instead of a specific page like nike.com/collections/men.

If you’re seeing good returning traffic, consider creating a custom audience and lookalike audience for users who have visited your website 10+ times in 90 days. If you offer a subscription or have a login portal, it may also be beneficial to create a custom audience for users who have logged into their account several times in a short time period (think around five or more times in the last 30 days).

5. Pull ecommerce data from 3rd-party analytics.

Take specific URLs and site pages with high page values and cluster them together to create a custom audience consisting of users who have visited the pages with the highest dollar value before landing on a checkout or goal. You can then create a lookalike audience based on this custom audience for users who have visited a collection of pages that are historically most likely to lead to conversion.

6. Create combination audiences.

This can be done several ways. One example would be to create a custom audience and lookalike audience for users who have visited 10+ site pages (something else you can track with the Facebook pixel) and have also made a purchase. Similarly, you could create a lookalike audience for users who have visited 10+ site pages without a purchase (aka “window shoppers”).

You could then test these two custom audiences against each other to get a better understanding as to whether users with characteristics similar to “window shoppers” will actually convert at a comparable rate to users with characteristics similar to actual, engaged shoppers.


Success with Facebook ads comes from skilled and intentional targeting. Luckily, Facebook provides plenty of tools that enable you to effectively target current and prospective consumers. The six strategies we outlined will help you create a variety of custom audiences to target with ads – but remember to make sure your ad copy, imagery, and call-to-action are engaging and persuasive based on who’s being targeted.

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