Boost Your Campaign with Facebook Custom Audiences

Written by
Jessie Mae Lambert
Internal Marketing Manager
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The holiday season is here, and as a business owner or marketer, you're likely gearing up for your festive campaigns. In the realm of digital marketing, one tool that stands out during this time is the Facebook pixel. If you're not already leveraging its potential, now is the perfect time to start. With 3.03 monthly Facebook users, it’s obvious that not everyone fits your customer persona. This is why you need to use Facebook custom audiences — to ensure you only get impressions from those relevant, meaning ad spend isn’t wasted. In this blog post, Alphageek will explain how you can utilise your Facebook pixel to create laser-targeted ads by creating a variety of custom audiences, enhancing your 25-day Christmas campaign. But before we dive into creating custom audiences, let's briefly understand what the Facebook pixel is.

What is Facebook Pixel?

The Facebook pixel is a crucial tool for online advertisers, serving as a code snippet embedded on websites to meticulously track user actions. From monitoring clicks and page views to providing insights into audience behaviour, the pixel enables advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. It facilitates the creation of Facebook custom audiences, allowing for targeted and personalised ad strategies. Moreover, the pixel's data empowers marketers to optimise ads for precision targeting, ultimately enhancing the overall impact and return on investment of online advertising efforts. In essence, beyond being a tracking code, the Facebook pixel is a strategic ally for understanding and maximising the effectiveness of digital advertising endeavours.

Facebook logo in a globe

What is a Facebook Custom Audience?

In an era where targeted advertising reigns supreme, Facebook custom audiences has emerged as a powerhouse for businesses looking to connect with individuals who already share a relationship with their brand. These curated groups typically consist of past customers and individuals who have engaged with the business, either by visiting the website or installing the app.

One of the standout features of Facebook custom audiences lies in their ability to spawn lookalike audiences. These are essentially pools of potential fans, followers, and customers who exhibit similar characteristics to the existing audience. The result? Some of the most precise ad targeting in the digital marketing realm.

Facebook Custom Audience. A line of people queuing up.

Facebook Pixel Privacy Scares

However, not all is smooth sailing. The data-driven landscape has faced headwinds, particularly from those who argue that data sharing is an encroachment on privacy. This debate has taken centre stage, with major players like Apple making moves to safeguard user data. The iOS 14.5 update, for instance, defaulted to turning off the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), a tool that tracked user behaviour within apps to facilitate the creation of highly-targeted ads. IOS 15 privacy updates have also made it possible to hide IP addresses and disable app tracking amongst other updates.

With this shift, Apple introduced a user-centric approach, prompting individuals to actively choose whether to opt in or opt out of data sharing for each app they use. The consequence? Only a quarter of users have opted in, significantly limiting advertisers and app developers in tracking user activity without the default IDFA setting.

The ripple effect of Apple's privacy-centric update is felt in the realm of Facebook custom audiences. Advertisers leveraging this tool may witness a decline in results, prompting a reassessment of their strategies.

Facebook's recommendation in response to these changes is to consider broader audiences or explore targeting expansion to align with campaign objectives.

However, despite the challenges posed by privacy shifts, Facebook custom audiences remains a potent tool for reaching ideal customers. The evolving landscape necessitates adaptability, and businesses may need to explore alternative strategies to maintain effective engagement. While the path forward may require some recalibration, the essence of connecting with a tailored audience endures, offering businesses myriad avenues to stay connected with their customer base.

A colorful padlock with a keyhole depiecting Facebook privacy scares

Setting Up Custom Audiences With Facebook Pixel

In the context of Facebook Pixel, creating a custom audience involves navigating to the Ads Manager, selecting the 'Audiences' tab, and initiating the audience creation process. By choosing 'Website traffic' as the criterion, advertisers can then include individuals based on specific criteria, leveraging the power of their Pixel data. This nuanced approach enables marketers to target audiences with a high level of granularity, ensuring that their ads are not just reaching people but resonating with the right people. Facebook custom audiences thus empower advertisers to enhance the precision and effectiveness of their campaigns, ultimately driving better engagement and conversion rates.

How to Create a Facebook Custom Audience

Harnessing Engagement Metrics to Craft Your Custom Audience


Your engagement metrics are a goldmine for Facebook custom audiences. Identify users who have liked, shared, or commented on your posts. These individuals have shown an interest in your content and are more likely to engage with your holiday campaign.

Man scrolling on Facebook and engaging with posts in his living room on his mobile phone.

Landing Page Views with

Target users who have visited specific landing pages on your website as a Facebook custom audience. Whether it's a festive product page or a dedicated holiday offer, retargeting users who have already shown interest can significantly improve conversion rates.

Generate Lead Generation Sign-ups

If you're running lead generation campaigns, create a Facebook custom audience of individuals who have signed up. These users have already expressed an interest in your brand, making them prime targets for your Christmas promotions. You can even do this by creating location-based audiences in your competitors locations too.

Add to Cart

Cart abandonment is common, especially during the busy holiday season—target users who have added products to their cart but haven't completed the purchase. Remind them of the items waiting in their cart and encourage them to complete the transaction.

A person in a grocery store abandoning their shopping cart.


Recognise and reward customer loyalty by creating an audience of individuals who have made a purchase from your website. Consider offering exclusive deals or early access to your Christmas campaign to these valued customers.

Video Viewers

Videos are a powerful tool for engagement. Identify users who have watched at least 75% of your promotional videos. These individuals have shown a higher level of interest and are more likely to respond positively to your holiday campaign.

Reengaging Audiences

Run targeted ads to each custom audience segment with content tailored to their specific interests. For example, engage engagers with a special 'thank you' message, entice cart abandoners with exclusive discounts, and showcase new products to past purchasers.

Lookalike Audiences

Take advantage of Facebook's powerful algorithm by creating lookalike audiences based on your custom segments.

What is a Lookalike Audience?

A lookalike audience refers to a target audience generated by Meta, based on the characteristics and behaviours of an existing Facebook custom audience. The platform uses algorithms to identify users who share similarities with the original audience, such as demographics, interests, and online behaviour. Advertisers use lookalike audiences to extend the reach of their ads to users who are likely to be interested in their products or services, leveraging the data from their established customer base to find and engage with new potential customers.

Furthermore, you have the ability to precisely refine your target audience by incorporating or omitting individuals according to specific actions they have undertaken. For instance, you can eliminate recent app subscribers to guarantee that your advertising budget is directed towards the most relevant audience.

And there's more – leveraging Custom Audiences allows you to create a lookalike audience, attracting new customers who share characteristics with your most valuable ones. This strategic approach enhances the overall return on investment (ROI) for your campaign.

An image of 2 people in suits pointing at each other with slightly different appearances to showcase a lookalike audience.

Types of Facebook Custom Audiences

There are five types of Custom Audiences. These are:

1. Website Custom Audiences

2. Customer list Custom Audiences

3. App activity Custom Audiences

4. Offline activity Custom Audiences

5. Engagement Custom Audiences

How to Create Facebook Custom Audiences From a Customer List

Before Logging In

Ensure the ability to create a customer list custom audience on Facebook. This capability is exclusive to the owner of the ad account connected to Meta Business Manager or individuals granted admin or advertiser permissions by the owner. Note that if your account is new or recently linked to an existing one, it might take a few weeks before you can create or share a customer list custom audience. Business verification may be required for new accounts associated with a tenured business account.

Steps to Create a Facebook Custom Audience from a Customer List:

1. Prepare a customer list:

• Create a CSV or TXT file containing "identifiers" such as email addresses.

• Refer to Facebook's guide for optimal formatting.

2. Choose Custom Audience Source:

• Select "Customer list" as the source of your information.

Facebook Custom Audiences Creating the Facebook Page

3. Import Customer List:

• Upload your prepared CSV or TXT file.

• Name your Custom Audience or directly import from platforms like MailChimp.

Upload your CSV of Your Customer List Based For Your Facebook Custom Audience

4. Review Your Customer List:

• Check for errors in your list and ensure accurate mapping.

• Click "Upload & Create" after reviewing.

Review Your Customer List for your Facebook Customer Audience

5. Wait for Confirmation:

• Facebook will notify you when your Custom Audience is ready for use in ad campaigns or for creating lookalike audiences.

Crafting a Facebook Custom Audience from Website Visitors

Embed Meta Pixel or Confirm Its Activation

Your website visitors are your potential audience. Ensure the installation or activation of Meta Pixel on your site by referring to our user-friendly guide.

Handpick Your Custom Audience Source

Navigate through the options and opt for "Website" as your source of custom audience data.

Facebook Custom Audience Website

Rule the Roost

Get creative with your rules. Tailor the source, events, retention period, and inclusive/exclusive criteria. Create rules like:

• Cast a wide net for all website visitors

• Precision-target those who explored specific pages or sites

• Engage visitors based on their time spent on your site

• Define the duration of audience retention post their last website visit

• Play with inclusion/exclusion of specific visitor sets

Custom Audience for your Facebook Custom Audience

Give It a Name and Identity

Bring order to your creations by assigning distinct names and optional brief descriptions for clarity.

Click "Create Audience"

Facebook will create your custom audience based on your website traffic and the rules you've set.

Building a Mobile App Custom Audience

Register Your App and Set Up the SDK

Before diving into the world of Facebook custom audiences, lay the foundation by registering your app with Facebook. Follow the steps meticulously, and for the intricate process of setting up the Software Development Kit (SDK), consider seeking the expertise of a developer.

Choose Your Facebook Custom Audience Source

Navigate through a myriad of options to select the source that will shape your custom audience. Opt for "App activity" to proceed.

Create a Facebook Custom Audience Based on App Activity

Select App as Your Source

Handpick App Events for Your Custom Audience

Delve into the dropdown menu and cherry-pick the app events that define your Facebook custom audience. Options range from simple actions like app opens and level achievements to more complex ones like adding payment information or making in-app purchases. Take control by deciding who to include or exclude based on these app events.

Fine-Tune Specifics

Get granular in this step. Perhaps you don't want to target everyone who made an in-app purchase. Specify rules to focus on users who spent a specific amount, tailoring your audience for maximum impact.

Name and Describe Your Custom Audience

Bring clarity to your creations by assigning distinct names and optional, concise descriptions. This step ensures you can easily track and differentiate between your custom audiences.

Click "Create Audience"

Your work is complete. Facebook will take the reins from here, diligently crafting your Facebook custom audience based on the specifications you've provided. Keep in mind that it might take up to an hour to collect all past users who meet your criteria.

By following these steps, you're not just creating a custom audience; you're sculpting a targeted audience ready to amplify the impact of your mobile app advertising.

Building an Engagement-Driven Facebook Page Custom Audience

Select Your Custom Audience Source

Explore a range of Meta Sources and handpick the starting point for your audience journey. In this instance, we're opting for "Facebook Page." Identify your Meta Source and proceed to the next step.

Using Facebook Sources to Segment Your Facebook Custom Audience

Define Rules

Tailor your audience with precision. Depending on your chosen Meta Source, select events, establish retention periods, and set inclusion/exclusion rules. For a Facebook Page, the options are vast:

• Likes or follows on your page

• Engagement with your page

• Page views

• Interaction with ads, such as commenting or liking

• Clicks on call-to-action buttons within ads

• Messages sent to your page

• Saving a post

Specify how long individuals stay in this Custom Audience after triggering an event. Make decisions on including or excluding specific individuals from this audience.

Name and Describe Your Custom Audience

Bring order to your creations by assigning distinct names to each Facebook custom audience. Optionally, provide brief descriptions for clarity and future reference.

Use Facebook Page Engagement to Create a Facebook Custom Audience

Click "Create Audience"

When you're prepared, hit the "Create Audience" button. Facebook will work its magic, crafting your Custom Audience based on the specifications you've outlined. Now, you're ready to deploy it in your upcoming ad campaigns.

By following these steps, you're not just creating a Custom Audience; you're tailoring an engaged audience primed for impactful interactions with your Facebook Page content.

Using Facebook Retargeting for Your Facebook Custom Audience

The Power of Retargeting on Meta

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, retargeting has emerged as a pivotal strategy, particularly on Meta platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The ability to re-engage users who have previously interacted with your brand opens up a realm of possibilities for marketers seeking to maximise their advertising efforts.

How is Retargeting Used in Marketing Strategies?

Leveraging Meta's retargeting capabilities allows businesses to finely tune their messaging, delivering personalised content to a Facebook custom audience that has already shown interest. By harnessing the wealth of user data on Meta, advertisers can craft compelling ads that resonate with individuals based on their past interactions, driving higher conversion rates and fostering a deeper connection between brands and consumers.

How Can Meta's Retargeting Options Elevate Your Marketing Strategy?

Optimising your retargeting efforts on Meta involves understanding the intricacies of the platform's targeting tools. How can you leverage Meta's retargeting options to create a more personalised and effective advertising strategy for your Facebook custom audience?

Ensure to Craft Marketing Strategies for Existing Customers

Your existing customer base embodies a valuable asset of trust and familiarity with your brand. Capitalise on this foundation by crafting targeted marketing strategies that resonate with their preferences and needs. Convincing these customers to return not only enhances your conversion rates but also presents a highly cost-effective avenue for expanding your sales – as after all, it’s 5 times more expensive to obtain a new customer.

Transforming sporadic buyers into loyal patrons requires a delicate approach. Tailor your engagements to reflect an understanding of their past interactions, preferences, and feedback. By doing so, you not only fortify their loyalty but also demonstrate a commitment to delivering an experience that evolves with their evolving needs.

The key lies not just in selling products but in fostering an enduring relationship. Implement personalised loyalty programs, exclusive offers, and insightful content that adds value beyond transactions. By consistently providing an exceptional customer experience, you solidify your brand in their minds as the go-to choice ensuring a sustained and profitable connection with your repeat customers.

A person standing on a pedestal surrounded by transparent glass being retargeted by Facebook ads.

Elevate Your App's Appeal: Target the Already Hooked!

When boosting app engagement through advertising, casting a wide net isn't always the smartest move. Why spend resources on those who haven't even clicked 'download'?

Craft a Facebook Custom Audience of existing app users for a laser-focused ad strategy. By honing in on this engaged user base, your ad will not only resonate but also maximise impact without draining your budget. Upgrade your approach and captivate those already in the app groove!

Optimising Facebook Ad Reach Through Your Email List

Unlock the potential of your email list by seamlessly integrating it with Facebook to cultivate targeted ad audiences, ensuring you reach the most promising leads.

Utilising Facebook's Custom Audiences feature, you can effortlessly import the email addresses you've amassed through subscription forms and sign-ups directly into the platform. Facebook then employs its matching algorithm to correlate these addresses with its extensive user base, generating a tailored list for precision-targeted ad campaigns.

Implementing strategies to effectively construct a Facebook audience from your email list involves the following approaches:

Recover Abandoned Carts

Recognise that abandoned carts don't necessarily signify lost interest. Craft a Facebook ad campaign aimed at this specific audience, offering incentives or discounts to encourage them to complete their purchase. This targeted approach can successfully convert potential customers who just need an extra push.

A person smiling while pushing a shopping cart after being retargeted with Facebook ads.

Engage Website Visitors

Launch a Facebook custom audience ad campaign directed at individuals who have previously visited your website. By doing so, you remain at the forefront of their minds, nurturing the existing relationship and increasing the likelihood of conversions.

Facebook Custom Audiences Best Practices

Creating effective Facebook Custom Audiences requires careful consideration of best practices to maximise your advertising efforts. Firstly, prioritise audience segmentation to target specific groups based on their behaviours, demographics, and interests. This ensures that your ads resonate with the right audience, increasing the likelihood of engagement. Secondly, regularly update your Custom Audiences to maintain relevance and reach potential customers who have recently interacted with your business. Additionally, leverage the power of lookalike audiences by identifying common traits among your existing customers to expand your reach to similar users. Don't forget to utilise exclusion targeting to refine your audience and avoid showing ads to those who have already converted. Lastly, monitor and analyse your audience insights to refine your targeting strategy over time, ultimately enhancing the effectiveness of your Facebook advertising campaigns. By following these best practices, you can harness the full potential of Facebook Custom Audiences to drive engagement and achieve your marketing goals.

People exploring a website page by page showing different behaviours.

Ensure Optimal Relevance for Your Ads

In the realm of retargeting campaigns, a strategic twist can enhance efficiency and campaign quality. Rather than solely focusing on specific customer segments, advertisers can elevate their game by excluding certain Facebook Custom Audiences.

When orchestrating retargeting initiatives aimed at website visitors, consider the power of exclusion. Direct Facebook to omit the email contacts of those who've already completed a purchase and reside in the CRM. Implementation is seamless – insert a code snippet (pixel) onto the transaction confirmation page.

This functionality uniquely empowers you to target individuals who have visited your website but remain unregistered in the CRM. Not only does it expand your outreach, but it also ensures that customers who have already converted aren't bombarded with redundant ads, thereby preserving a high Relevance Score.

The Relevance Score serves as a vital metric for gauging ad performance. A high score typically correlates with diminished overall costs and heightened reach per pound spent.

Adapting to Algorithm Changes

The digital landscape is dynamic, with algorithms constantly evolving. To maintain optimal performance with Facebook Custom Audiences, stay informed about algorithm changes and adapt your strategies accordingly. Regularly analyse campaign performance and adjust targeting parameters to align with the latest algorithm updates.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When delving into the realm of Facebook Custom Audiences, it's crucial to steer clear of common pitfalls that can hinder the effectiveness of your campaigns. One frequent mistake is overlooking the importance of refining audience segmentation. Failing to precisely define and understand your target audience can lead to irrelevant ad impressions and wasted resources. Additionally, businesses often underestimate the significance of maintaining data privacy compliance. Ensuring that your data collection and usage align with regulations is not only ethical but also safeguards your reputation. Lastly, neglecting to regularly update and refresh custom audiences can result in ad fatigue, diminishing the impact of your campaigns over time. By being mindful of these common mistakes, you can optimise your use of custom audiences for sustained success. Just like we’ve seen with our paid ads clients.

Person being shown lots or irrelevant ads that don't resonate with them.

Integrate Facebook Customer Audiences With Marketing Funnels

Facebook Custom Audiences seamlessly integrate into various stages of the marketing funnel, contributing to a holistic marketing strategy. In the awareness stage, businesses can target a broad audience, introducing their brand to users who may not be familiar. As prospects move into the consideration stage, custom audiences can be refined to target those who have interacted with specific products or content. Finally, in the conversion stage, custom audiences can focus on individuals who have shown high intent, such as website visitors who abandoned their carts. By aligning custom audiences with different funnel stages, businesses can create a tailored user journey that maximises engagement and conversion opportunities.


This guide shows you how to use custom audiences to talk to the right people based on how they've interacted with your brand. Even though there are some challenges with privacy and updates, you can still make it work by adjusting your strategy. From getting in touch with past users to getting back the attention of those who left without buying, each step in making custom audiences is a chance to aim your ads better and get more people interested. Even with changes in privacy rules, custom audiences on Facebook still work well for connecting with the right customers. So, as you gear up for the holidays, use your Facebook pixel to make December special for your business with successful marketing and lots of holiday joy! If you need any help with this, see what our paid ads team can do for you.

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