How Custom is Your Audience For FB 2019?

Custom Audiences help you incorporate the information you already have to reach people on Facebook and Instagram, across multiple devices, in a way that protects your audience's privacy.


Unlike Core Audiences, which only uses information shared with Facebook, Custom Audiences allow you to securely anonymize your own information and combine it with similarly anonymized Facebook information. This process lets you reach existing customers on Facebook and Instagram in a privacy-safe way.


To ensure you’re delivering the right message to the right audiences, you can combine Custom Audiences with other options to reach people through Facebook, such as location, demographics, interests, behaviors, and connections.


Custom Audiences are also a building block for creating Lookalike Audiences, which allow you to find people similar to existing customers and clients.


You can generate Custom Audiences from a variety of sources.


  • Customer files: Build audiences from your CRM, POS, email lists, or other sources
  • Website activity: Reach existing customers and those who've shown interest in your business
  • Mobile app activity: Use Facebook ads to engage with people based on their interactions with your apps
  • Facebook engagement: Reach people who've interacted with your Page, videos, lead ads and fullscreen experiences on Facebook


Create from customer files

Use customer and prospect details — such as email addresses, phone numbers, first or last names, zip codes, cities, countries, iOS IDFAs, Android Advertising IDs, and app user IDs — from your organization's customer relationship management or point-of-sale database to create Custom Audiences. This information is completely anonymized and secured on our servers. 


You can use your information to:


  • Specify delivery for all ad objectives.
  • Mirror email and direct mail efforts.


The more customer information you provide, the better the match rate will be for your Custom Audiences


The Facebook pixel is a segment of code that you can copy and paste into your existing website. Pixel allows Facebook’s ad servers to recognize users across multiple devices — as long as they’re signed into Facebook. You can specify which pages of your site — and which actions people take on your site — will trigger the pixel.


When someone visits your website and takes an action (like completing a purchase), the pixel is triggered and reports this information. This way, you'll know when a customer takes an action and will be able to reach that customer again through future Facebook ads.


Then, create Custom Audiences and specified ad sets based on these actions to reach people based on where they are in their customer journeys. For example, you could choose to take note of events such as “add an item to shopping cart,” and then reach cart abandoners with messages encouraging them to complete their purchase or to add more items for a discount.


Facebook’s software development kit (SDK) is the equivalent of the Facebook pixel, for mobile apps. Shopping app developers can use it to respond to events such as “item added to wishlist” or “completed registration” to increase engagement and conversions. Game developers can likewise follow events like “completed tutorial” or “achieved level” to reward players, and drive in-app purchases. You can use the SDK to seed Custom Audiences and focus on customized messages to app users.


Facebook pixel and SDK updates in real time as people interact with your website and apps, so Custom Audiences built from these sources are more dynamic than Custom Audiences from your customer files.


 You can use this information to:

  • Reach people based on specific actions they’ve taken on your website or mobile app.
  • Avoid spending money on advertising to people who’ve already completed specific actions.
  • Remarket based on inferred intent.
  • Create Lookalike Audiences of people similar to your best customers and clients.


Create from Facebook engagement

Engagement Custom Audience is based on Facebook information only, so you won’t need to set up a pixel or SDK in order to create these Custom Audiences.


You can reach people based on how they've engaged with: 


  • Your Facebook Page: Deliver ads to people who viewed your Page, engaged with your posts or ads, clicked on call-to-action buttons, sent a message to your Page, or saved content from your Page.
  • Videos posted to your Page: Deliver ads to people who watched a certain length or percentage of videos posted to your Page.
  • Your Lead ads: Deliver ads to people who opened a form, opened a form but didn't submit it, or opened and submitted a form.
  • Fullscreen mobile experiences: Deliver ads to people who interacted with a collection or Canvas experience.



Hashing is a process that turns information you share with us into short fingerprints that are impossible to reverse.


1. When you begin the process to share your customer list, it's hashed locally in your browser before it's uploaded to Facebook.

2. We match the fingerprints of your hashed list against ours.

3. The matches are added to a Custom Audience for you.

4. The matched and unmatched hashes are deleted.


The resulting Custom Audiences are stored in your ad account, where only authorized account admins can request that ads be delivered to them. No one can identify specific individuals in Custom Audiences; you'll just see the approximate number of people they contain.


In addition to information that you provide, we can also hash pixel, SDK, CRM or transaction activity to match against a potential audience in our system.

As mentioned previously, there are a few different ways to create a Custom Audience, either from information that you already have, or from insights that we generate from interactions that your customers have with your site, app, Facebook or Instagram page, or if applicable, your store location. 


You can either upload or paste the contents of a properly-formatted .txt or .csv file, or Mailchimp users can import customer information from that platform. You also have the option of uploading a customer lifetime value (known as LFT) file.


If you have Facebook pixel integrated into your site, you can use the information it provides to create a Custom Audience.

This audience is built with criteria that you specify, such as:


  • People who searched for an item on your website in the last 14 days AND made a purchase on your website in the last 180 days.
  • People who have searched for an item on your website OR people who added an item to their cart OR people who added an item to their wishlist.

Note that you cannot mix AND and OR statements, but you can add events to exclude people from the list, such as visitors who are in the top 25% of time spent on your site.


If you have Facebook SDK integrated with your app, you can use the information it provides to create a Custom Audience. This audience is built with criteria that you specify, such as:


  • People who completed the tutorial AND people who achieved level 2.
  • People who have viewed your video OR people who have completed registration OR people who added an item to their wishlist.


Before your campaign begins, visit Offline Events in Business Manager to make sure an offline event set is assigned to and is responding to your ad account. As your campaign runs, upload your offline event information following our best practices, so you can see how those events are attributed to people who saw your ads. 


Using this information, you can create a Custom Audience with criteria that you specify, such as:


  • People who made a purchase from your store, in-person
  • People who made a purchase from you over the telephone


Video: Create a list of people who have spent time watching your videos on Facebook or Instagram. You can set the engagement criteria for the audience; the length of time or the percentage of the total length of a specific video that someone has spent watching.


Lead Form: Create a list of people who have opened or completed a form in your lead ads on Facebook or Instagram. You can specify if the audience should be people who have opened the form, haven't completed the form, or have submitted the form.


Fullscreen Experience: Create a list of people who have opened your collection ad or Canvas on Facebook. Your audience can be narrowed by choosing between people who have simply opened your canvas and those who have interacted with it and clicked on at least one link.


Facebook Page: Create a list of people who have interacted in some way with your Facebook business page, ranging from a simple visit to sending you a message through the page.


Instagram business profile: Create a list of people who have interacted in some way with your Instagram business profile, ranging from a simple visit to sending you a message through the profile.


Event: Create a list of people who have indicated that they are either interested in or going to an event hosted on your Facebook business page.


Share a Custom Audience

To share your Custom Audience:


1. Go to Actions > Share and select An ad account owned by another business.


Custom Audiences can achieve business objectives such as acquisition, retention and re-engagement. For best results, use the source that aligns with your objective. For example, if you hope to increase sales, your seed audience should contain frequent shoppers or high-value clients.


When building Custom Audiences from a file, high-quality info — like complete email addresses — can increase the total number of people in your audience.


Remarketing and Reporting


  • Remarketing allows advertisers to reinforce marketing messages that people have already encountered. 
  • Upselling encourages your customers to spend more money.
  •  Cross-selling strategies suggest complementary products.

Custom Audiences help you adjust your marketing strategy depending on what people know about you and where they are in the purchase funnel. You may want to send different marketing messages to new and high-value customers, former or at-risk customers, or those who have demonstrated purchase intent.


Custom Audiences work best when they are created to meet specific marketing goals. Leverage what you already know about your customers and messaging that can drive action.


For example, are you looking to reconnect with loyal members or newsletter subscribers? Or do you want to reach customers who left items in their online shopping cart with a special discount? Deliver ad sets that are tailored to different audience segments to customize their experience and drive results.


There's no reason to pay for unnecessary impressions, clicks, or conversions in awareness and acquisition campaigns. You can exclude current customers to ensure your messaging is on target, and you're spending your budget efficiently and effectively.


Custom Audiences can complement your next direct-mail campaign. Reach people who don’t open emails, or amplify a direct-mail message by reinforcing it across Facebook and Instagram.


Implement the Facebook pixel on your website and/or SDK in your mobile app to focus on ad delivery based on intent. Add additional rules — like frequency, recency, or time spent — to gauge the strength of intent signals. Base ad delivery and placements on specific actions in your website or mobile app, and reinforce these messages on Facebook and Instagram.


Consider remarketing to people who abandoned shopping carts with messaging that drives them back to purchase. Or, cross-sell or upsell to people who made recent purchases.




If you are optimizing for similarity, choose a number closer to 1

  • Since this is around 1-5% of the total population of the country you are targeting, your Lookalike Audience is likely to be small, with a high resemblance to your seed.


If you are optimizing for reach, you'll want to choose a number near 10

  • This Lookalike Audience will be larger, but less similar to your seed since you're targeting up to 10% of the total population.


Sources like “all app installers” or “all purchasers” are not ideal for conversion-optimized ad sets because they don't distinguish between great customers and average customers. Everyone is just grouped together.


Ask what metrics you rank your existing customers buy. Do any correlate with the difference between great and average customers?


Use any proprietary data you have to help you make the distinction. If you don't have much data of your own, try dividing customers by pixel fires. Create a Lookalike Audience from a source made up of the customers who've taken actions you care about.


Layer on targeting options like age, gender, and interests to better understand who your potential customers and clients are.


However, if your ad set is optimized for conversions, layering parameters may muddle—(rather than refine)— your targeting, since Lookalike Audiences already incorporate information like age, gender, and interests from your source.


The more up to date your data is, the better we can match your ads with the right audience with high accuracy. This is not a concern with using Facebook data, such as Page likes or your pixel, but a concern if you are providing a hashed customer information file for the seed.


Expand on a good source rather than using multiple similar ones.


For example, split a seed audience by purchase behavior — one containing people who’ve made online purchases in the last 30 days, another of people who have spent more than $500 in the last 7 days, and so on — and then create separate Lookalike Audiences based on each.


You can also create multiple Lookalike Audiences at once by clicking on Advanced Options when determining Audience size. Done this way, multiple audiences will not overlap.


This example would create 3 Lookalike Audiences:

  • 0%-1% of the population, which will be the most similar audience to your seed.
  • 1%-2% of the population, which is the second most similar, but a bit wider reach.
  • 2%-5% of the population, which is the least similar but the largest reach.


This “tiered lookalike” strategy can help you narrow down the most effective audience size for your messaging.

I hope this helps you when setting up your campaign.  Please share, comment, and like.

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