Facebook custom audiences are specific groups of existing Facebook users that advertisers create to retarget ads. Retargeting using a custom audience, comprised of warm leads, increases sales and drives a higher return on ad spend. Businesses advertising on Facebook looking to close sales on warm leads should create custom audiences to retarget ads.
Creating a custom audience requires a degree of Facebook advertising knowledge, however, so those new to Facebook marketing and advertising will need to take the time to gain a good understanding of it. Using an expert Facebook ad management service like Hibu saves you time and helps you get the most out of your advertising budget.
How Facebook Custom Audiences Work
To create a Facebook custom audience, advertisers most frequently use data collected from website traffic to create targeted ads. To collect this data, they embed the Facebook pixel, which is a website visitor tracking tool, into their website’s header code. Once the pixel is live, it begins tracking users automatically and syncing information on who has visited your site.
Facebook custom audiences can be created using a variety of different types of data sources, including website visitors, email lists, and app installs. However, website visitors are the most common because it provides real-time user data and behavioral insights. While an email list can be appealing as it doesn’t require the use of the Facebook pixel, it is not as precise as targeting site visitors and is often outdated.
In the custom audience creation process, you will be prompted to select your audience source or web traffic. Then, you can choose to select certain groups of users based on demographic information from the audience to focus your custom audience further. Later, when you begin the new ad campaign creation steps, your new custom audience will be an option in your audience targeting settings.
Creating a Facebook custom audience, when properly configured, can improve your ad engagement and sales conversions measurably, but it is only one step in building a retargeting campaign. Once you have created your custom audience, learn how to use that custom audience for retargeting campaigns by reading our article How to Create Facebook Retargeting Ad Campaigns.
Who Facebook Custom Audiences Are Right For
Facebook custom audiences are for businesses that want to create Facebook retargeting ads as part of their overall Facebook marketing strategy. The custom audience is based on previous site visitors, meaning they are warm leads and, therefore, more likely to convert. Still, Facebook custom audiences are not necessarily right for every business advertising on Facebook.
A Facebook custom audience is right for:
- Businesses with consistent site traffic: Because custom audiences use your website visitors, you will need to have measurable and consistent website traffic
- Businesses with a Java-enabled website: Advertisers must embed the Facebook pixel to create a custom audience, which requires a site to be Java-enabled
- Advertisers who are seeking warm leads: Businesses who feel they could benefit from displaying ads to warm leads should use custom audiences
“Retargeting is especially powerful for ecommerce businesses because you can create a custom audience of people who have visited your sales page but did not check out. That way, you’re only targeting people who have seen your product or showed interest in it but didn’t buy it. This eliminates waste and ensures you only show your ad to people familiar with your product.”
— James Pollard, Founder, The Advisor Coach
How to Create a Facebook Custom Audience in 6 Steps
Creating a custom audience on Facebook involves first installing the Facebook pixel, collecting pixel data and setting up a new target audience based on that data. You can then decide which of your recent website visitors you want to display your ad to.
Create your Facebook custom audience by following these six steps.
1. Get the Facebook Pixel
Create & Install the Facebook Pixel
Go to Facebook Ads Manager to create a pixel, and then copy and paste the pixel code into the header of your website’s code. Get the complete step-by-step guide with screenshots that walk you through the process in our article on the Facebook pixel.
Download the Facebook Pixel Helper
After you have installed the Facebook pixel, you will want to download the Facebook Pixel Helper. It is a helpful and free Google Chrome plug-in tool that is used to monitor and troubleshoot Facebook pixels. The Facebook Pixel Helper is available from the Google Chrome store and only takes a couple of minutes to download. If you want more help, we’ve detailed the steps in our Facebook Pixel Helper article above.
Give Your Pixel Time to Collect Data
Once you have successfully installed the Facebook pixel on your website, you will need to give the pixel time to begin collecting user data. The length of time necessary will depend on the volume of your website traffic and the approximate audience size you’re looking to create Facebook campaigns for. A month is generally a safe amount of time for the average small business. However, those with high traffic volumes might only need a week.
2. Go to Audiences in Facebook Ads Manager
Log in to your Facebook Ads Manager account. If your Ads Manager account is linked to your personal account, click the drop-down arrow that is the icon farthest to the right in the upper right-hand corner of your Facebook toolbar. A drop-down menu will expand. Click the “Manage Ads” option to go to your Ads Manager account.
Open the Options Menu & Select Audience
Click the menu icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen — to the right of the Facebook logo — to expand the menu options. Look to the second column from the right titled “Assets” and click “Audiences.”
3. Click ‘Create Audience’ Button
From your audiences page, click the blue “Create Audience” button. The button will expand to a drop-down list. From the list of options, choose the “Custom Audience” option.
4. Choose Your Audience Source
Here, you will have different options for audience sources. Depending on your strategy and goals, you will choose one of several sources. For this article, however, we are focusing on website traffic, so select “Website Traffic.”
Select Your Facebook Pixel
Select the Facebook pixel you want your custom audience to pull data from by clicking the audience source drop-down list. This is necessary for those who have multiple pixels. If you only have one Facebook pixel, then you will use that one for your custom audience.
5. Create Audience Rules
From the same box, you will now select your audience rules, which are the parameters determining which site visitors will be in your audience. You’ll see several options here, such as how recently a website visitor was on your site and which pages they visited while there. Advertisers can use multiple parameters by clicking “Include More,” or they can also remove certain website visitors by clicking “Exclude.”
Standard rules are the basic options, which includes site visitors, people who have visited certain web pages and people who spent a certain amount of time on your site. Use these rules where appropriate to create audiences that fit your advertising goals.
Pixel Event Rules
Pixel event rules can be used to refine your custom audience further with the added options of choosing traffic data from URLs of specific web pages users visited, visitor frequency — to include or exclude users based on how often or how little they have visited your site — and by device so to include or exclude users based on their device type.
It is possible to combine rules from both the standard rules and pixel event rules. Up to five rules can be combined, and this can create a very sophisticated custom audience. To avoid overcomplicating your audience, however, be sure you consider the value of each rule carefully.
6. Click ‘Create Audience’ to Save Custom Audience
At the bottom right-hand corner of the box, you will see a blue button titled “Create Audience.” Click that to save your new custom audience.
7. Start Campaign Using Custom Audience
To begin using your custom audience for Facebook retargeting ads, start the new campaign creation process. In the step where you input your campaign’s audience, you will now have the option to use this custom audience, which will appear in the drop-down options under “Custom Audience.” If you’re not sure how to do this, we’ll show you step-by-step how to create a Facebook retargeting ad in our article How to Create Facebook Retargeting Ads.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is the Difference Between Facebook Custom Audiences & Lookalike Audiences?
The difference between a Facebook custom audience and a lookalike audience is that a custom audience is made up of warm leads or those who know of your business while a lookalike audience is a group of people who have not heard of your business but match the profile of those who have. Custom audiences are best for retargeting ads to close a sale, and lookalike audiences are for bringing new audiences to your sales funnel who are likely to become a customer. Learn how to create Facebook lookalike audiences by checking out our article How to Create Facebook Lookalike Audiences.
How Many Users Should Be in My Facebook Custom Audience?
The size of your custom audience is up to you and your advertising goals. Facebook does recommend advertisers use a group of anywhere from 1,000 to 50,000 in a custom audience.
Are There Any Legal Terms for Using a Facebook Custom Audience?
Facebook sets forth a number of legal terms and advertising policies every advertiser needs to comply with. For the most part, you won’t need to worry when using your website traffic as a data source. However, there are more rules around creating custom audiences using contact lists. Facebook frequently updates their policies, so go to Facebook for the most up-to-date information.
The Bottom Line – Facebook Custom Audiences
Facebook custom audiences are specific groups of Facebook users created using data collected from website traffic, emails and other sources. Businesses interested in retargeting ads to warm leads for high sales conversions should use custom audiences. If used successfully, businesses can see measurable growth in engagement and sales.
Creating custom audiences to serve great ad campaigns effectively takes time. If you don’t have the time, it doesn’t mean you should overlook custom audiences for retargeting. Instead, hire a freelancer who can do it for you. Fiverr is a top choice for finding professional freelancers with Facebook expertise who can help with anything from installing your Facebook Pixel to creating custom audiences, all at incredibly low prices.