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What is a custom audience?

Understanding Facebook's Custom Audiences

Facebook Custom Audiences are audiences created using your own business data.

There are four types different types of data Facebook allows you to use

1. Custom audiences from Customer data

This is where you upload data about your customers, i.e. from your CRM system into Facebook.

Facebook will then ‘hash’ your data so that it’s protected before it’s uploaded to Facebook, where they will then match your data against users in Facebook.

This method is a way of identifying your existing customers - by email address or phone number - on Facebook, so you can:

  • Advertise directly to them (e.g. for conversion objectives or loyalty offers)
  • Exclude them from your advertising (e.g. for brand awareness or new customer offers)
  • Use your best customers as a basis to find similar customers (for lookalike audiences)

N.B. You will never actually know who from your customer list is found in Facebook, you will simply have an audience of people that Facebook has matched, with no sensitive personal information contained.

You'll also need to make sure any customer data you upload abides by the new GDPR rules.

2. Custom audiences from Website data:

If you have a Facebook pixel set up on your website, you can create custom audiences based on the behaviour of visitors to your site.

You set up rules to define what audiences are of interest to you to exclude or target. For example:

  • An audience of everyone who has purchased from your website in the last 30 days
  • An audience of everyone who visited a particular product page in the last week
  • An audience of people who spent the most time on your website

You can then use these audiences to create very specific targeting and retargeting ads.

3. App Data

With the popularity of apps on Facebook growing, it's not surprising that this is another valuable source of data you can use to create a custom audience.

Similar to the Facebook pixel, using the App SDK you can create custom audiences of people who take or have taken certain actions with your app. For example:

  • An audience of everyone who has recently launched your app
  • An audience of everyone who has added items to their basket in your app but never purchased
  • An audience of everyone who has reached a certain level within your app

4. Engagement Data

This one relates to users who have engaged with your Facebook content, the options here being:

  • Video e.g. An audience of everyone who has watched 75% of your videos
  • Lead Ads e.g. An audience of everyone who opened or filled in a form on one of your lead generation ads
  • Canvas e.g. An audience of everyone who clicked a link in your Facebook Canvas
  • Page e.g. An audience of everyone who has engaged with any of your posts

Custom audiences allow you to really narrow down your messaging and targeting to a specific audience.

If for example you set up a custom audience of everyone who spent a specific amount of time on a particular product page, you know you can target that audience with product-specific ads to encourage them to convert.

Find out more about Facebook and Snapchat audience types in our blog post here.

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