How to Create & Use Facebook Custom Audiences for Your Ecommerce Store

April 9, 2020

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In Q4 2019, Facebook reported earning a record $20.7 billion in advertising revenue.

It’s no surprise that so many businesses invest in advertising on Facebook. With 2.5 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the biggest social media platform in the world. If you want to reach a lot of people, this is the place to do it.

But the size of its audience isn’t the only reason that businesses choose to advertise on Facebook. Another key benefit is the Custom Audiences feature.

What is Facebook Custom Audiences?

Custom Audiences allows businesses to get more value out of their ad spending.

With Custom Audiences, you can narrow the reach of your ads to highly specific groups, such as people who’ve performed certain actions on your website or mobile app. That means you won’t waste any money on impressions that don’t have an impact on your campaign. For example, you can make sure an ad designed to increase app downloads isn’t shown to people who’ve already downloaded your app.

Below, we’ll show you how to create Custom Audiences on Facebook, and we’ll also go over how you can use Custom Audiences to increase brand awareness and make more sales.

How to Create Facebook Custom Audiences

It’s easy to create a Custom Audience on Facebook. All you need to do is follow these steps:

1. After logging in to your Facebook Business account, open the dropdown menu in the top-left corner of the screen and select the “Audiences” option in the “Assets” section.

The "Audiences" option in Custom Audience on Facebook
Image source: Facebook

2. Open the “Create Audience” dropdown menu and select “Custom Audience.”

Select “Custom Audience" in your Facebook Business Account
Image source: Facebook

3. You’ll see that there are 10 options for creating your custom audience.

10 options for creating your custom audience
Image source: Facebook

There are four options for sources outside Facebook:

  • Website traffic: After installing the Facebook Pixel tracking code on your site, you can create an audience based on people who visited or performed a specific action on your website.
  • Customer file: Copy and paste or upload a spreadsheet containing customer data that you want to use to create an audience. If you’re using a spreadsheet, you should follow the formatting that’s recommended by Facebook to ensure you get the most matches to Facebook profiles. Also, you’re only allowed to upload data from customers who have given you permission to market to them. Using a purchased customer list or data you’ve collected from other websites is prohibited.
  • App activity: Create an audience based on people who launched or performed a specific action on your app. Note that you will need to register your app and set up the SDK on the Facebook for Developers site before you can use this source.
  • Offline activity: If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you can use this option to create an audience based on offline data, such as a clipboard signup sheet for an in-store event.

And then there are six options for sources within Facebook:

  • Video: Create an audience based on people who watched one of your videos on Facebook or Instagram.
  • Instagram business profile: Create an audience based on people who follow or interact with your Instagram business profile.
  • Lead form: Create an audience based on people who opened or completed a form in one of your lead generation ads on Facebook or Instagram.
  • Events: Create an audience based on people who interacted with an event that you posted on Facebook.
  • Instant Experience: Facebook’s Instant Experience feature allows you to take up the whole screen of a user’s mobile device after they click on one of your ads. With this option, you can create an audience based on people who opened one of your Instant Experience ads on Facebook or Instagram.
  • Facebook page: Create an audience based on people who follow or interact with your business’s Facebook page.

4. In this example, we’ll show you how to set up a Custom Audience using website traffic as the source.

Create a Website Traffic Custom Audience
Image source: Facebook

First of all, you can set it up so that either “Any” or “All” of your conditions must be met for a person to be added to your Custom Audience. “Any” would be more inclusive, while “All” would be more targeted.

You can also decide if “All website visitors” are included in the audience, or you could narrow it down to “People who visited specific web pages” or “Visitors by time spent.” With each of these options, you’ll need to set the time frame that’s being used to create the Custom Audience, which has a maximum of 180 days (for example, you could set it for “All website visitors” in the past 90 days).

In addition to choosing groups to include in your Custom Audience, you can also choose specific groups to exclude. This is a powerful feature for making your ads more effective — for example, if the goal of a campaign is to increase engagement from people who rarely visit your site, you could exclude people who are among the top 25% of visitors in terms of time spent on your site.

When you’ve finished entering all your conditions for the Custom Audience, give it a name and select “Create Audience.”

After entering your conditions, give it a name and select “Create Audience.”
Image source: Facebook

How to Use Facebook Custom Audiences

Custom Audiences will help you sell more products to your current customers and also find new customers to sell to, as they enable you to take advantage of both retargeting ads and Lookalike Audiences.

Retargeting Ads

Retargeting is the practice of displaying ads to people who’ve previously visited your site or interacted with your brand in some other way. Generally, this is much more effective than showing an ad to someone who’s never heard of your brand before.

When someone isn’t familiar with your brand, your ads will usually just blend in with all the other marketing that they’re exposed to on a daily basis. But when someone has experience with your brand, your ad will stand out as representing something they already know and trust — which makes them more likely to click.

Custom Audiences provide you with a plethora of options for retargeting ads. One particularly useful technique is to set up an ad for a product that’s shown to people who have already purchased a related product, such as an ad for a pack of tennis balls for people who purchased a racket.

You can also use retargeting ads to help convert abandoned carts. About 69.57% of online shopping carts are abandoned before the customer completes their order. By aiming ads at these shoppers that remind them to follow through with their purchases, you’ll be able to turn many of those abandoned carts into sales.

Lookalike Audiences

Advertising to existing customers may be more effective than trying to win over new customers, but you still need to find new customers in order for your business to grow.

Lookalike Audiences are an excellent tool for this purpose. This feature allows you to create an audience based on the demographics, interests and other qualities of a selected Custom Audience. By creating a Lookalike Audience that’s derived from a Custom Audience of your top customers, you can reach people who are new to your brand, but still relatively likely to buy from you.

Overall, with Lookalike Audiences, Custom Audiences and retargeting ads, you can gain a serious edge over the competition and make much more money from your ecommerce store.

Adam Ritchie is a writer based in Silver Spring, Maryland. He writes about ecommerce trends and best practices for Shogun. His previous clients include Groupon, Clutch and New Theory.

Adam Ritchie

Adam Ritchie is a writer based in Silver Spring, Maryland. He writes about ecommerce trends and best practices for Shogun. His previous clients include Groupon, Clutch and New Theory.

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