Expand Your Targeting with Facebook Custom Audiences

Facebook Custom Audiences enable you to show ads to your target audience. You can target people who have already had interactions with your website or business, or even an acquired list. A custom audience is an audience an advertiser or business builds outside the Facebook platform, meaning they are not based on data Facebook gathered. With Custom Audiences, you can reach (and re-market) to your target audience, maximizing your paid media budget.

Here’s how it works: Facebook matches your data (usually email addresses) with theirs (unique Facebook id’s and accounts) to find your audience on Facebook. This helps you to talk with the same target audience across different channels, a technique called omni channel marketing.

There are five ways to create a custom audience:

Upload a customer list

The first and most common method to create a custom audience is to simply upload a customer file or an acquired list with your target audience’s B2C email addresses. The B2C email address is important because we know most people create a Facebook account with a personal email address rather than a business one. There are ways to reach B2B audiences by data linking tools that match B2B email addresses to B2C email addresses and profiles.

Remarket to website visitors

Another way to create a custom audience is by installing a Facebook pixel tracking code on your website. This remarketing pixel will help you target all visitors on your website during a set time period (up to 180 days). This is commonly referred to as building a retargeting list and will show an ad to your audience as they surf Facebook.

Remarket to app users

Like website remarketing, you can also remarket to your active app users. This is based on app activity, and your ad will serve via the Facebook network.

Facebook engagement

A fourth way to create a custom audience is using engagement on Facebook. This type of ad targets people who have interacted with your Fan page posts or previous served ads.

Onboard a purchased list

Another way to create a custom audience is to onboard a purchased audience list via a data onboarder, such as LiveRamp. This type of audience requires either an acquired list or audience selection from a pre-determined segment. It also requires a relationship with an onboarder. This method has been known to have higher match rates, as data onboarders can match multiple fields without PII or personally identifiable information.

Build your retargeting list with inbound marketing

If your retargeting list is too small to create an effective Custom Audience, implementing an inbound marketing strategy can increase traffic to your website and build your retargeting list. Inbound marketing focuses on creating content that solves your customers’ problems and distributing it online. Another method is to use the look-a-like targeting that Facebook offers which will match your website visitors to other similar Facebook users and expand your reach.

You can build your retargeting list even faster by using paid advertising channels such as Facebook to market your content to your target audience. Remember to have your retargeting pixels on your site before launching your Facebook campaign.


If you can reach your target audience on Facebook, you are already well on your way to omnichannel marketing. With just a few more steps, you can target the same audience with email campaigns and display ads. If you are just getting started, contact us to learn more about acquiring a list that is ready to upload.


About the author

Stirista began as an ambitious project from an apartment in San Francisco. But as office space expanded, so did our client base. After a few short years, we have worked with the largest healthcare insurance provider in the world, the biggest telecommunication company in the US, and some of the most prestigious universities in the country. We are on the preferred vendor list for a handful of Fortune 500 companies, with three of the ten largest companies in the world turning to us for...

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