Ultimate Guide to Facebook Custom Audiences

One of the most common mistakes that new marketers make is picking the wrong audience. This can be detrimental to a campaign’s success and it’s almost guaranteed that your campaign will fail as a result. When you’re running Facebook Ads, using Facebook Custom Audiences is how to ensure you’re targeting the right people.

There’s a lot to this aspect of Facebook Ads though. There are various types of custom audiences, including lookalike audiences, and integrating a custom audience is a delicate process. This guide will walk you through the basics as well as show you the best ways to use a custom audience.

What Are Facebook Custom Audiences?

So, what is a Facebook Custom Audience? Basically, this is a type of audience that includes people who have already seen your ads. In this way, they can also be thought of as a retargeting strategy specific to Facebook Ads.

The reason a custom audience can be so effective is that you’re not basing your targeting on demographics or interests. Instead, you’re targeting people who you already have some data on, who you already have a rough idea of how they will respond to your ads. You can create a custom audience with website visitor data, email lists, and various other data sources.

Why Use Custom Audiences?

Why should you use a Facebook Custom Audience? Here are a few ways they can be useful:

  • You get to retarget people and convert them from a cold audience into a warm audience. It’s a known fact that if someone is already familiar with your business, they’re more likely to become a customer.
  • You can upsell to existing customers. Maybe you’ve already gone through the hassle of tweaking your funnel and getting it perfect. If getting customers isn’t your problem then upselling to your existing customers will boost your profits elsewhere.
  • You can design ads specifically for that audience. Rather than casting a broad net, you can create ads for specific groups. Maybe you want to target people who are in the middle of your funnel or perhaps people who are close to the bottom. Either way, custom audiences let you target distinct groups with specific ads.

Some people like the simple approach of running Facebook Ads against a cold audience but in the long term, this is an inefficient spending method. A custom audience is one of the best ways to make sure your money is being spent right.

Are Facebook Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences the Same?

Not exactly. A Facebook Lookalike Audience is an audience that is created based on data from a previous audience. The idea behind this is that if you’re targeting an audience that is getting you good results, but Facebook ad fatigue is becoming a problem, then you can create an audience that “looks like” that audience but which is full of a completely new set of users.

That’s the biggest benefit to a lookalike audience. Once you find an audience that responds overwhelmingly positive to your ads, creating another will likely repeat those results.

There is a relationship between the two audiences though. Before you create a lookalike audience you’ll need to get some data, and you can get this from a Facebook Custom Audience. After targeting that audience and tweaking your targeting based on the results you get, you can eventually create a lookalike audience.

Check out our video on Facebook Lookalike Audiences to get the full scoop.

Creating a Facebook Custom Audience

We’ve won you over and you’re ready to create a custom audience, great! What do you have to do? The process is actually very straightforward and here’s how it goes:

  • Step #1 – Sign into your Facebook account and head to the Facebook Ads Manager.
  • Step #2 – Click the menu icon at the top-left and go to the Audiences page.
Facebook Ads Manager Menu
  • Step #3 – Next, click Create Audience and select Create Custom Audience.
  • Step #4 – You can then select the data source which the custom audience will use. This can be website data, app activity, or Facebook data from your page.

After you’ve chosen a source the steps will vary. However, clear instructions will be shown and the process is very self-explanatory.

Other Ways to Create a Custom Audience

There are so many different ways to create a Facebook Custom Audience. We’ve found that most of the time marketers choose either website data or a customer list. That said, any data source is a viable option.

Below is a full list of the sources you can choose from when you’re creating an audience:

  • Website data
  • Customer list
  • App activity
  • Offline activity

…or, if you’ve been running a Facebook page, you can take data from these sources too:

  • Facebook videos
  • Instagram account
  • Lead gen forms
  • Events
  • Instance experience
  • Facebook page
  • Shopping
  • On-Facebook listings

No matter where you want to get your data from, you’ll be able to create a custom audience. There are plenty of sources to choose from and we highly recommend trying out a couple of custom audiences before disregarding this targeting strategy.

Best Way to Use Custom Audiences

We mentioned this at the start of this post and we’re going to reiterate it. The best way you can use a Facebook Custom Audience is to warm up your audience through your sales funnel.

Consider this: you’re scrolling through Facebook and you see an ad for a business you’ve never heard of. The chances of you engaging with that ad are close to nil. If it was a business that you even briefly know about, and which you’ve seen ads for already, the chances of engagement are significantly higher.

The strategy here is that you create a custom audience and you retarget them with Facebook Sequential Ads. You don’t go straight for the sale; this is a big mistake. Instead, you start by giving your audience some value – in the form of a free eBook or a whitepaper – and you gradually build up to your sales pitch. After 5 or 6 ads, your audience will know about your business and when you do go for the sale, they’re much more likely to convert.


Reading this guide should give you a better understanding of how you can use Facebook Custom Audiences to your advantage. It’s clear that there are a number of benefits to using them and if you’re trying to find the perfect audience to target with your ads, we highly recommend trialing custom audiences with your strategy.

Of course, if you’re not familiar with Facebook Ads, jumping into this could be a daunting task. That’s where a Facebook Ads agency can be of help. At KonvertLab, we’ve been managing Facebook Ads accounts for years, covering a variety of industries. We know what works and more importantly, we know what doesn’t. Get in touch with us, arrange a meeting, and let’s work towards growing your business.

Share this post with your friends

Access the SaaS Cheatsheet 🔑

40+ Best Facebook Ads for SaaS that we use internally when building out high performing Facebook Ad Campaigns.⤵