By Annabelle Rogers

Facebook is a powerhouse of targeting capabilities, but one of their most effective tools is that of the custom audience. With custom audiences, you can create your own business specific audience based on your first party customer data, your website visitors, your app users, your Facebook followers and even your offline visitors. 

Each of these options result in an audience with an actioned interest in your business, ripe and ready for retargeting. Even better, Facebook can use its proprietary (read magical) algorithms to create lookalike audiences on the back of these custom audiences, giving you a remarketing and prospecting audience in two shorts steps! Thanks Facebook!

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Customer Files

You can manually upload lists of your first party customer data, or make life easy and import them directly from your CRM system. Customer details, such as emails and phone numbers, are hashed locally before being sent to Facebook to match.

Just as with general interest targeting, it’s all about the detail. While you can start off super simple, uploading a text file with a list of recent customer email addresses or recent email subscribers, for example – you can dig deeper and start to split up your customer data lists to create more specific audiences. For instance, an online fashion retailer could segment their recent purchasers list into dress customers and shoe customers, uploading each as a custom audience. They can then target these separate audiences with tailored creatives; shoe-focused for the shoe lovers and dress-focused for those more partial to a dress.

Lifetime value is another powerful faceting dimension, allowing you to target higher value customers with tailored creatives, perhaps offering discount codes or reduced delivery to encourage repurchase.

Website Visitors

If you don’t have a Facebook pixel (and you’re doing paid social), where have you been? This little JavaScript snippet will change your life – you’ll drive better returns and it’ll open you up to a whole new world of targeting specific to your business.

Refining a website visitor audience can progress rapidly from the simple (as in everyone who visited your website in the last 180 days) to the minutely detailed (people who’ve visited a specific product page more than 6 times in the last 7 days). While we wholeheartedly recommend the detailed approach, be sure to keep an eye on audience size – a general rule of thumb for Facebook is the more detailed you get with your targeting, the smaller the pool of people that match. This is particularly important if you have a small site with relatively low traffic volume.

A great medium complexity website tactic is to target visitors by time spent. You can create audiences of people who spend the top 5%, 10% and 25% of time on your site. If traffic volume allows, you can even drill down using partial URL strings to refine the top 25% of visitors to particular sections of your site. For example, a travel company could create a custom audience of the top 25% of visitors to the Australian holiday page, and another for South East Asian holidays, and retarget these audience with relevant creatives. 

App User

If you’ve got an app with the SDK (which is to apps what the Facebook pixel is to websites), why not take advantage of tracked user behaviour to build some custom audiences?

Audience building options here are very similar to those of the Facebook pixel -  dwell time audiences, the top 5%, 10% and 25% most active users in your app community, or those that spend the most in app – but the cross-compatibly between Facebook Analytics and Apps make a particularly useful building option in segments.

Segments are built in Facebook Analytics and enable you to define a set of people based on their actions, demographics, device information and more. These can be used for comparative reporting in the FB analysis interface, but they can also be used to build audiences. Some interesting segments to create and target include operating systems – you can build separate audiences for iOS users and Android user – or people who have downloaded your app but never launched it.

You can also use aggregated values to target users who take repeated actions on your app. For example, you could build an audience of users who launched your app over 100 times. Or an audience who’ve downloaded your app more than twice. You get the idea.


Perhaps you’ve been promoting a video ad? Well, did you know you can retarget people who’ve viewed or interacted with it? Or, even better, you can create multiple audiences from the same video, splitting them out by watch time? From the same video, you can create multiple audiences, one for all users who watched at least 25%, another for people who watched at least 50% and a super engaged audience of those that watch at least 95%. Theoretically, the longer they watch, the more engaged they are, giving you a gradient of interest to retarget over.

You can build an audience of users who interacted with canvas ads, collection ads, or lead gen ads as well as a list of users who’ve interacted with your business Instagram page or a Facebook event. All these engagement retargeting methods create an easy way to adopt sequential marketing, serving a stronger, more conversion based message at each step along the funnel.  

Offline Visitors

The offline visitor audiences are the new kids on the block. Only recently released by Facebook, you can create an audience of offline store visitors if you have at least ten measurable business locations set up on Facebook in locations that are eligible for store visits reporting. Facebook determines a store visitor by using data from user enabled location services within the Facebook mobile app. By building a picture of what your offline converters look like, you can more effectively use online methods to reach offline purchasers, encouraging offline conversion and closing the online/offline loop.

As marketers, we want to reach a relevant audience that are interested in our products and as consumers we want to receive ads that are relevant to our interests. Facebook supplies a fantastic platform to achieve both. It’s all about refining an engaged audience of users and serving them relevant creative. Have a think about how you can facet your offering down to better serve relevant ads. And if you need a helping hand with strategy, get in contact with our social team. If we put all this brilliant information in the blog post, imagine how much strategy we’re keeping to ourselves!

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