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Facebook Custom Audience: 12 Strategies to Increase CTR and Conversions Up to 300%

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We heard a lot, and with good reasons, about Facebook Advertising Audience: but what is it? And how do we practically implement it? Which are some of the way to use it? We’ll talk about all of this in this guide, starting from some successful statistics about using this function.

+300% more conversions, +75% CTR, -65% Cost per Action: Is it a miracle? No, it’s Facebook Advertising Custom Audience [5 case histories]

You read it on the title, this are the proofs: according to an Ampush study, Facebook retargeting, made (as we’ll see) through the function “Custom Audience” it has been able to triplicate the conversion rate and decrease down to 65% the CPA of campaigns that use other targeting tools on Facebook.

ampush pubblico facebook

It’s not just Ampush that take advantage of Facebook Custom Audience: according to an AdEspresso report, Facebook Custom Audiences have let various companies to increase their CTR and conversion rate and decrease the client acquisition cost:

  • KingNet had +75% more CTR, +46.6% of conversion rate and 43.37% less CPA;
  • OpenSky increased up to +30% its conversion rate;
  • JackThreads decreased down to 30% the membership subscription CPA;
  • Kixeye doubled the conversions, and increased up to 5.5X the LifeTime Value;

[bctt tweet=”+300% more conversions, +75% CTR, -65% CPA with Facebook Custom Audience”]

How are these results possible? Using the various Facebook Audience functions.

In this post we’ll see:

  • What Facebook Advertising Audience is and 3 typologies of Audience you can create (Custom, Lookalike and Saved);
  • 10 Creative strategies, unusual sometimes, but effective, of Facebook Ads Custom Audience application;
  • How to create a Custom, Lookalike and Saved Audience step by step.

Let’s start from a definition: what’s a Facebook Advertising Custom Audience? We could say it is a powerful targeting modality of the Facebook advertising tool, that lets you obtain various target typologies and implement various strategies: let’s start from here and let’s see which ones.

12 Creative, Effective & Unusual Strategies to use Facebook Advertising Custom, Lookalike and Saved Audience

Startegy#1: Find (again) clients and potential clients on Facebook, through their emails or telephone number using Custom Audience

Let’s imagine you have a company that wants to start a web marketing activity on Facebook: with good possibilities you’d have an email list of subscribers to your newsletter.

Through Facebook Advertising Custom Audience, you can start from that list, directing Ads on Facebook to them with an evident advantage: who subscribed, chose to do it, he knows you, so it will be easier to address a commercial offer to who knows you, rather then address it to someone who has to understand if you, your product and your service are what he needs.

You know it too: it’s easier and cheaper to convert a users that already has purchased or that knows you.

Strategy #2: Connecting (again) to users that visited the website, using Facebook Remarketing

How many people, among the ones that everyday go to a shop, buy for the first time? A few of them, not the majority.

This fact happens online too, where the statistics confirm how a small part of who enters the website for the first time converts, in other words buys a product on your ecommerce or gives you his contacts.

Because of this it’s essential to connect to the user once he access the website.

Gaining the contact of a potential client who has not decided yet if you and your product are what he needs has an evident economic advantage: this gives you the possibility of not losing a potential client who entered your website through a paid ad, forever.

There are three way of connecting to a user that access to our website:

  1. Asking him his email address, offering a lead magnet;
  2. Making him “like” our Facebook page;
  3. Connecting to him through remarketing;

Facebook Custom Audience lets us, thanks to conversion tracking pixel, to activate the remarking, proposing again an ad to who visited our website without converting, remembering to him his visit and stimulating him to come back to the website.

Here’s an image that shows the remarking (or retargeting) process, through Facebook Advertising Custom Audience:


The ways to do remarketing using Facebook Custom Audience include the possibility to show the ad to:

  • Whoever visits the website;
  • People that visit specific web pages;
  • People that visit specific web pages, but other specific ones;
  • People that did not visited the website for a certain time; this last function gives you the possibility of including people that did visited your website in the last 180 days, but did not come back in the last 30 (or another number) days.
  • A custom combination of the previous ones.

Strategy #3: Find (again) on Facebook our LinkedIn contacts through Custom Audience

Finding on Facebook our LinkedIn contacts is not a very known function, but if you think about it, it’s completely possible: you can download the complete list of your LinkedIn contacts and their email addresses, exporting it in a CSV file, or on outlook or other email providers.

This way, with the gained email addresses, you could use the Facebook Advertising Custom Audience to show your ad to your LinkedIn contacts, in a non intrusive way.

Despite this strategy does not let you reach an high number of people (given the fact that the email address used to sign up to LinkedIn must not be the same used to sign up to Facebook), the results, according to an AdEspresso research are good: creating a Custom Audience through LinkedIn emails, took to AdEspresso a 6 times better CTR and a cost per conversion way minor ($0.686 vs $3.689), compared to another targeting made using a bigger audience:


ADESPRESSO linkedin facebook pubblico

Strategy#4: Finding on Facebook people similar to your clients through Lookalike Audience

You have your clients email list, right?

Do you know them well? Maybe you do, but an algorithm may know them better than you do.

Starting from a list of email that you used to create a Custom Audience, the Facebook Advertising Lookalike Audience lets you take through an algorithm the common characteristics of these last ones and find on Facebook similar people, so probably more likely to buy.

Strategy #5: Regain who abandoned his shopping cart on your ecommerce (without buying)

If you have an ecommerce you surely know: one of the main reasons of failed purchase is shopping cart leaving.

If someone adds a product to the shopping cart… and leaves the website without finishing the transaction.

How do you make these people remember to complete the purchase? Through 3 steps:

  1. Create a Custom Audience inserting a conversion tracking pixel on the shopping cart page;
  2. Create a Custom Audience inserting conversion tracking pixel on the page where the visitor that purchased landed.
  3. At this point it will be just enough to create an ad to the Audience using a custom combination: who visited the shopping cart, leaving out who visited the page where who purchased lands (The Thank You Page).

Here’s how:


abbandono carrello pubblico facebook advertising

Strategy #6: Optimize the ad creation time using Saved Audience

As you know, Facebook Advertising offers many targeting options: you can choose age, sex, place, interests of your target.

But doing it costs a lot of time: using the Saved Audience, as you will see later, you can save a bunch of your target characteristics, choosing them easily through a drop down menu when you create an ad:

gruppi di pubblico salvati facebook ads

Strategy #7: Regain an inactive contact

When you send a newsletter, using, for instance, a professional tool such as Get Response or Aweber, or using an autoresponder, you can see if there are subscribers who do not open your email since long time.

Thanks to Facebook Ads Custom Audience you can re-engage your inactive users.

Strategy #8: Directing an ad to a user interested in a specific category (to segment)

Here on Web Marketing Academy I have different article categories: there are articles that talk about Facebook Advertising, such as this one, about Email Marketing, SEO and so on.

On your ecommerce or website you could have a similar situation.

Let’s imagine that you want to address an ad to a user that visits a certain category of articles or product, for example in order to sell a related product or service: thanks to remarketing through Facebook Adverting Custom Audience you can show the ad to who visits just a certain part of your website that could be interested to that theme or product.

You can segment your visitor, increasing the possibilities of showing him a coherent product.

Strategy #9: Doing Cross Selling

Let’s imagine that you have various products to sell. Who visits your website buy one of them and, once he completed the transaction, lands to the thank you page.

At this point you could track him through conversion tracking pixel and show him an ad with a product that is similar to the one he just bought.

In few words, you can use the Custom Audience and the Facebook Ads remarking to do cross selling.

Strategy #10: Doing Remarking on Mail Chimp lists using Custom Audience

When you import emails on the Custom Audience, you can do it from the Mail Chimp lists too: the email addresses from your Mail Chimp list will be combined to the people on Facebook in order to create an Audience and as Facebook confirms “your contacts will not receive a notification about being added to the Audience”.

Strategy #11: Is it avoided to send customized newsletter to your ecommerce clients? Reach them by using Custom Audience!

This one’s new: The privacy guarantor states how it is not possible anymore to send customized newsletter to the clients of an ecommerce without them agreeing on receiving them.

No Problem: You can reach them thanks to Facebook Custom Audience.

Strategy #12: Finding people similar to your likes

Beyond finding people similar to the ones on a Custom Audience previously created or to people who visited a web page from your web site, you can find people similar to the ones that liked your Facebook Page through the Lookalike Audience.

How to create an Audience on Facebook Advertising: a step by step guide

At this point let’s see how to create an Audience.

Starting from the ADS manager select from the drop down menu “Tools”, you’re going to find two options:

  • Audience;
  • Audience Insights, the statistics on various typologies of Audience that you created.

pubblico facebook ads

Let’s come into the first sections “Audience”, we see 3 possible typologies of Audience that can be created:

  • Custom Audience;
  • Lookalike Audience;
  • Saved Target Group Audience.

pubblico personalizzato simile salvato facebook ads

Let’s analyze the characteristics and the potentiality of these 3 Facebook Advertising Audiences.

Custom Audience: How to find your contacts (emails, phone numbers, LinkedIn) on Facebook

The Facebook Ads Audience typology most known and used is, without a doubt, the custom audience:

pubblico personalizzato facebook ads

In the related screen you’ll notice that you can create a custom audience starting from different sources: let’s see them together.

Client list

The first possibility of Custom Audience creation lets you using some datas that you already have, that could be:

  • Email addresses that you already have;
  • Telephone numbers that you already have;
  • Facebook Users ID of people that already used your app.

Let’s see in detail the first 2 functions, considered that it is possible that every company has emails and phone numbers.

How to find your email and phone contacts on Facebook using Custom Audience

Let’s imagine that you have an email addresses or phone numbers list, the classic commercial contacts that you could have obtained from list building and online or offline lead generation: thanks to Custom Audience, you can redirect your ad on Facebook Advertising to these contacts, but only if the email address that you have is the same they used to sign up on Facebook.

If you have not any email address or you want to obtain new ones to take advantage of this function, I suggest you to read these 2 articles:

At this point you can import your contact on Facebook, through 3 ways:

  1. Loading a file that contains the email addresses and the telephone numbers: you can load a .csv or .txt file, they can contain elements on separated lines or a list of elements separated by a comma.
  2. Copy and pasting the email addresses and the telephone numbers or the  Facebook user’s ID to a excel file or a text file. You can copy the column from an excel file containing an element per line or a list of elements separated by a comma.
  3. Importing the email addresses from Mail Chimp: using this function, the email addresses of your Mail Chimp list will be combined with the people on Facebook to create an Audience.

Once you’ve loaded the email addresses, the phone numbers or the Facebook user’s IDs, Facebook Advertising will search for Facebook users that signed up using that email or phone number, or whom ID corresponds to the one you inserted.

Saved Audience (Saved Target Group): How to save time in creating Facebook Ads

What is the Facebook Ads Saved Audience and how is it different from the Custom one? It’s simple.

When you create a Facebook Advertising Ad, the first section, after you chose the goal for your campaign, is dedicated to choosing the characteristics that the addressees will have.

Now, let’s imagine that you have a target used a lot for your insertions, for instance, you often create Facebook ads, addressed to:

  • women;
  • from 20 to 40 years old;
  • that live in Milan or nearby for 20km;
  • that are interested in fashion etc.

Without setting these characteristics each time, Facebook gives you the possibility to save them in an Audience, creating a Saved Audience indeed.

 crea un pubblico salvato facebook advertising

You could, for instance, call it “Women 20 40 Milan Fashion”. Once you saved it, you could easily recall it on the first part of the audience defining screen, in the drop down menu section “Audience”.

Lookalike Audience: How to find new people similar to your most important clients on Facebook

We’re not over yet: a great Facebook Advertising function lets you create an Audience that looks like to one that you already created, starting from:

  • a Custom Audience that you already created;
  • a Facebook Page in which you are admin;
  • a conversion tracking pixel.

crea un pubblico simile facebook advertising

Let’s try to understand these 3 options together.

Creating a Lookalike Audience means searching on Facebook similar people to the one that made up a Custom Audience, searching likes on a Facebook Page or searching people that acceded to a webpage where I inserted my conversion tracking pixel.

As you can see in the previous screen, I can create a Lookalike Audience in 3 steps:

  1. I have to select the origin, from which source I want to search similar people;
  2. I have to select the country of destination of my ad;
  3. I have to select the dimension of the audience that variates from 1% to 10% of total population of a country: 1% is people who most look a like to the original audience.

How does Facebook create an Audience that looks like the starting one? It considers the characteristics that people of the original audience have in common with the one he search for, in the country that you specific.

And what after you created the Audience? Screen and creating the ad.

Once found a conformity among the inserted parameter, whether they are email addresses, phone number (on Custom Audience) or specific targeting options (on Saved Audience) Facebook will create an Audience in the following way:

pubblico personalizzato dashboard

As you can see, in this screen that shows the various typologies of Audience, you have different columns:


It’s the name you give to the audience you created. For example, I use “Web Site Visitors” to indicate all the people who visited a certain website (and to whom I could do remarketing, as we’re about to see) or “Look a like Web Site” to indicate a Lookalike Audience to another one (as we’re about to see too);


It’s the type of the Audience: as you can notice from the screen, the typologies are the 3 we’ve already talked about: Custom, Lookalike, Saved.


It’s the dimension of your audience. If you inserted, for instance, 1000 emails, to how many of these did Facebook find a correspondence among the users? Or how many people do correspond to the targeting options you inserted in the Saved Audience? You see the answer on the “dimension” section;


In this case, you have 3 possibilities. It is possibile that your audience is:

  • Ready: It means that Facebook found enough correspondence between the datas you insert and the users;
  • Audience too small: the audience must include at least 20 people if you want to use it for the ads;
  • Low correspondence rate: it appears in the case the datas you insert do not find enough correspondence among the Facebook users.
Creation Date

The Date of creation of your Audience.

Once you created an Audience, whether it is Custom, Lookalike or Saved, you can direct to this target your ad.

Audience Insights

It’s not over yet: in the “Insights” section, once selected an audience composed by at least 1000 people, you could see some of your audience characteristics, such as:

  • age;
  • sex;
  • lifestyle;
  • realtionships status;
  • education level;
  • professional title.

All this information may be useful to better define your target or to build Buyer Personas:

insights pubblico facebook ads

Now it’s up to you!

If you think about how many people are signed up on Facebook, you well understand that the ads on Facebook are an extremely powerful way of advertising, this guide showed to you a particular point of view, the email for Facebook.

Now it’s up to you: have you ever used the Facebook Audience? Have you some way of using it to suggest?

Let’s talk about it on the comment section!

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