Facebook Custom Audiences: Why Your Business Needs to Use Them

Why every business needs to be using custom audiences

Do you ever wish that you could target your Facebook followers? Or maybe you’re seeing a lot of abandoned carts and want to serve those missed customers with an ad on Instagram, but didn’t know how.

Custom audiences are a crucial part of your Facebook marketing strategy and can provide the solution. If you want to see the best results, you need to be using them.

The value of a Custom Audience is that it can be created from a list of people that have already engaged with your business. You can create ads to target these people on both Facebook and Instagram to increase your revenue and sales. Because you are targeting people that are already within your sphere of influence, and are therefore warm traffic, you have a higher chance of conversion.

Depending on the type of engagement people in a Custom Audience have taken with your business, they are placed at various points within the sales funnel.

Figure one: The sales funnel represents the customer journey, depicting the sales process from awareness to action

Custom Audiences enable you to target the customer at various points along the sales funnel and are valuable to your business in a number of ways. This form of marketing is called retargeting.

Retargeting is a form of online advertising which can help reduce lost traffic from your website. It places advertisements in front of people that have previously visited your web pages and increases your likelihood of conversion. It is one of the more cost-effective ways to use your advertising budget.

The 3 main reasons you should be retargeting using Facebook custom audiences:

Increase the value of website traffic

A lot of time, effort and money goes into trying to direct traffic to your website. Without remarketing a lot of this traffic can be lost, not leading to conversions or future engagement with your brand. By creating a website traffic custom audience, you are able to send out ads specifically to people that have visited your website, or even a particular page of your website within a set time period up to 180 days. This reminds visitors of your products and increases your likelihood of conversions. 

Figure 2: Business Manager enables you to quickly and easily create your own Custom Audience. This audience will serve ads to anyone who has visited the website in the past 30 days.

Thanks to the mighty Facebook pixel this data will constantly update, meaning you only have to set it up once and then whoever matches the conditions you set will be included in that audience. The Facebook pixel installed on your website can also be used to target people who take specific actions, known as ‘events’. For example, if you wanted to target people who added to cart but didn’t purchase you could target those potentially lost customers and turn them into a conversion.

You can even go as far as targeting people that have visited a specific URL. This is incredibly useful if you have been driving traffic to a landing page and want to make use of those page visitors. Or, you can target the top 5, 10 or 25% of people who spent the most time on your website as a whole or particular landing pages.

Direct people from social media to your website

Using a Custom Audience to serve ads to people that have engaged with you on social media but not yet visited your website is a low cost way to increase website traffic. These people clearly like something about what you’re doing, so it would be a shame to waste their interest. By using an engaged custom audience you can target these people and encourage them to visit your website. An ad including a call-to-action button to a landing page is an easy way to do this.

Figure 3: This ad encourages people to sign up with a 10% discount code and a ‘Learn more’ call to action button which will take them to the company website.

To achieve the best value for money with engagement ads, these social media audiences can also be whittled down based on certain actions they may have taken. For example, by targeting anyone who has visited your social media profiles there is a risk of paying to send ads to people who accidentally visited your page when browsing Facebook or Instagram. In order to avoid this, focus on people who have been engaging with previous posts or ads as these users clearly demonstrate a higher level of intent. Other options include targeting people who have sent your business profiles a message or users who have saved any of your posts on Facebook or Instagram.

Once you’ve managed to get your social media fans to visit your website it is possible to retarget them. This is because the Facebook pixel will include them in any website visitor or page view custom audiences you have created. This is a telling reason as to why a strong social media presence is so important. Being active and engaging on Facebook and Instagram is not only imperative for organic social media marketing, but it will in turn improve your paid Facebook and Instagram activity too.

Increase your customer lifetime value

Once a customer has purchased, you want to encourage them to purchase some more, adding to the customer lifetime value. Customer File Custom Audiences provide you with the necessary tools to do so, enabling you to upload the data from your customer contact list directly into Facebook. Facebook then finds these people on the platform, making it easy for you to serve them ads. By uploading a list of purchasers you have an incredibly powerful audience to re-market to. You can also filter this to include customers that have spent over a certain amount, to encourage people that are high-spenders to convert again.

Figure 4: Drag and drop your customer file to create your Custom Audience, using up to 15 different identifiers.

The one thing to bear in mind with Customer File Customer Audiences is that they can only be updated manually. If you don’t want to constantly have to upload new customer files, then you should create Custom Audiences generated by the Facebook pixel. This will allow you to retarget these customers as soon as they make a purchase, as they will be instantly included in the audience.

Other benefits of Custom Audiences

Custom Audiences can also be used as a basis for finding entirely new customers thanks to Lookalike Audiences. By using Custom Audiences as a Lookalike source, data will be continually updated, meaning that new cold audiences are being produced all the time.

A Lookalike Audience is an audience generated based on a particular source audience. By creating a Lookalike Audience you can reach new people that are similar to your existing customers, increasing your likelihood of conversion with cold traffic.  

Figure 5: Here you can see the options available when creating a Website Traffic Custom Audience. You can change the specific action taken and also the date range.

The three mentioned Custom Audience benefits play a huge role in directing people down your sales funnel towards conversion. If you want to get the best results you need to be re-marketing to people as soon as they enter your sphere of influence whether it is a like, a purchase or a visit to your website.

Through this audience tool, Facebook has made it possible to make the most out of every user in warm audiences, meaning you can target them multiple times. Targeting these people again and again with different ads and a variety of copy will go a long way in increasing customer lifetime value.

We’ve only covered three types of Facebook custom audience in this blog – the ones that we think are relevant to all businesses. However, there are many other options for Custom Audiences available. For example, there are options designed to specifically benefit certain business types, ranging from gaming companies to retailers and service providers to app suppliers.

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