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How to Create a Facebook Custom Audience

To create your first Custom Audience, go to the ”Audience” section of the Facebook Power Editor or Ads Manager.

In the Ads Manager, it’s under the Tools section. Select “Audiences.”


In Power Editor, it has its own section, right under the the toolbar right beneath your ad account number:


Since this is your first Custom Audience, you’ll need to create a new one by clicking the green “Create Audience” button. A popup window will open and ask you to pick which type of audience you’d like to create:


Types of Custom Audiences

There are many types of custom audiences, and Facebook is increasing them every day.

  • Customer List (a.k.a. Standard) Custom Audiences
    A list of emails, phone numbers, or Facebook User IDs that Facebook will match them with it’s users. Facebook will usually match between 60-80% of the contacts on your list. Uploading this list usually has to be done manually, unless you use a Custom Audience Sync tool.

  • Website Custom Audiences
    Instead of users’ email addresses or phone numbers, you can insert a Facebook Pixel tracking code on your website and target your Facebook Advertising to all users that have visited a specific page on your website during a set time period (up to 180 days)!

  • App Activity Custom Audiences
    You can create audiences based on what actions people take when they use your app – either on Desktop or Mobile. Mobile has outpaced Desktop on Facebook, and the trend continues. If your business has an app associated with it, it needs to be utilizing custom audiences on Facebook.

  • Engagement Custom Audiences


    You can create audiences of those who engage with certain ad types or your page. The duration of these ad types is up to 365 days, although the more recent is often better – it is engagement after all.

  • Lookalike Audiences
    Once you’ve created a Custom Audience, you can ask Facebook to create a broader “Lookalike Audience” to target your ads to. Facebook will look for patterns and characteristics your current users, leads, or customers, have in common – such as age, gender, or interests – and create a much bigger list of very similar users who most likely have never interacted with your business before!

We’ll go through how to create each one of these audience one-by-one, and then follow up with some tactics on how you can utilize them.

How To Create a “Customer List” Custom Audience


Let’s select the “Customer List” options. These are where you can put your leads – or potential customers. You’ll have two options to sync your customer lists:

  1. Manually upload your audience in a .txt or .csv le.

  2. Synchronization with your Email CRM to your Facebook Ads Account


1 – Manual Upload

As Facebook only offers MailChimp integration, chances are, you’ll need to prepare a file containing the contacts you want to add to your Custom Audience. Use a CSV/Excel file or open a simple text editor and insert one value per line like this:

Note: you can’t mix different data types – so it needs to be either all emails, or all phone numbers, etc.


Give your Custom Audience a short, easy-to-remember name that describes this specific audience. Some ideas include “Former customers,” “Email signups,” or something similar.

You’ll eventually want to use this field to insert notes every time you add a new audience.

2 – Syncing with Your Email CRM

With a Custom Audience Sync tool, you can make sure the leads that you acquire in your email list are automatically synced to your custom audiences (or vice versa, with Facebook’s extremely powerful Lead Ads).

With AdEspresso’s Data Sync feature, you’ll never have to do a “manual upload” again! We have constantly updated custom audiences based on your email or customer lists! For more info, check out our Facebook data sync feature here or sign up for a Free Trial (it’s included!).

How To Create a “Website Custom Audience”


What do you do if you don’t have a big enough database of emails, Facebook User IDs, or phone numbers to create your own Custom Audiences?

You guessed it: Website Custom Audiences! This feature doesn’t require you to have any data about the users you want to target. All you have to do is wait for a user to visit your website.Thanks to a special tracking code – the Facebook Pixel – Facebook will recognize users and automatically add them to an Audience, making them ready to be re-targeted with advertising.

How To Install and Verify The Facebook Pixel

For all others (don’t worry, you can do it!), go to your Facebook Pixel Tab in Ads Manager


Important Note: There can only be ONE Pixel per Ad Account!

  1. Click Create a Pixel (if you already have a Pixel, you won’t see the “Create a Pixel” button)

  2. Enter a name for your pixel. Since there’s only one pixel per ad account, choose a name that represents your business.

  3. Make sure you’ve checked the box to accept the terms

  4. Your Facebook Pixel tracks multiple events depending on the page.

You’ll want to add the Pixel to all pages you want to track, so ask a developer to help, or use a plugin that automatically does this for you. The Pixel will also slightly change if you want to track things outside of just “website visitors” (like leads, purchases, etc.).

For WordPress, you’re in luck: we have a 100% free plug-in, Pixel Caffeine.

And if you want to check to make sure your Facebook Pixel is working, download the free Google Chrome Extension, Pixel Helper.


What are Standard Events?

The Pixel doesn’t just track “visitors.” The Pixel, if installed correctly, will track multiple eventsthat website visitors take on your site with slight variations of the code. 


Advanced Website Custom Audiences

Note: This section on advanced WCAs is intended for marketers reasonably experienced with Facebook’s Custom Audiences.

Facebook released upgrades in 2016 that allowed highly detailed targeting based on the intensity of interest visitors display while they are on your website. Basically, you can start targeting your most interested prospects before you even know who they are!


Under Website Traffic, choose the “Custom Combination” parameter to get started. You’ll need to switch over to “Advanced Mode” to see these features, and Facebook may or may not have rolled out all of them to your particular ad account. You can target:

  • Frequency: how many times a website visitor performs an action, i.e. visits a page. This is currently the most robust and has been rolled out to the most ad accounts

  • Dynamic date: Allows you target visitors who have visited over a range of dates rather than a set number of previous dats

  • Aggregate values: this is the total amount of time a person has spent on a page or combination of pages

  • Devices: this includes Android, iOS, desktop, and other mobile devices. You can exclude or include each one.

Additionally, you can combine the above options with targeting based on the Standard Eventswebsite visitors take as well.


The combinations are bordering on endless, so don’t get too lost with it all! We recommend keeping it simple to start, and experimenting with just the Frequency first!

How To Create an “App Activity” Custom Audience


With mobile being the dominant platform for Facebook ads, it only makes sense that creating audiences based on app activity is quickly becoming one of the leading forms of custom audiences.

For example, you can target people who previously used your app, but have not come back to your app within the last month. Or you can target people who have added an item to their cart on your app, but never actually purchased it. Target them with a discount coupon and voila!