Facebook Custom Audience Targeting and Management for Ads

Facebook Audience Ad TargetingWe’ve been pretty pleased with the level of targeting when we create Facebook ads for clients in the past, but managing the ads after creation and segmenting target markets has been painful. The Facebook “Audiences” tab in ad manager is going to make that part of our work so much easier. High five Facebook.

What are custom audiences?
I’m glad you asked. Custom audiences are groups of people you want to target with your ads. You create custom audiences by uploading lists of email addresses, phone numbers, app user ids and of course, Facebook user IDs. Facebook will match the information you give them with the Facebook users and an audience will be built in your account with the people that match active users and your list. You can group these people using the ads create tool or power editor and be able to target on a very specific level.

How it works
When you go to create your ad you’ll have the opportunity to upload a .csv or .txt file with your list. You can also upload directly from MailChimp.

  • Go to Ads manager or Power Editor
  • Select “Audiences” from the menu on the left and then click “Create Audience”
  • Choose how you’d like to upload the file
  • Enter the audience name and description and click upload
  • After about 30 minutes for it to be processed you’ll get a notification that the upload is complete
  • From here you can create ads and target them to the specific need of that audience

Create AudienceWhy do we care?
If you’re using the “spray and pray” type of ad creation we see people using you’re going to see a BIG jump in conversion rates when you switch to custom groups. Even if you’ve been carefully segmenting your ad groups in the past, this is a way to razor-hone your marketing and deliver ads to people who may actually be interested in your offering.

Some ways to use custom audiences

  • Do you run webinars? Up load the email list and post reminders and “tell a friend” ads
  • Collect emails at your boutique? Post special customer-only sales ads
  • Did people download your app? Great, post an ad with links to tips and tricks, the app update or add-ons
  • Create a holiday gift ad and send it to current clients with a free download
  • Online trainers can use this to offer discounts and bonuses to existing users
  • Upload your affiliates list with product update announcements to keep them on their toes

Before you start
Think before you start targeting people willy nilly. Sure people gave you their email addresses, but under what circumstances? Did they allow you to share it? Was it for a one-time only use?

Facebook says the uploads will be “hashed” as they are uploaded, and so may be relatively secure, but still, think before you target about the people you’re focusing on and whether or not it’s a good fit. If it’s not, you’re just annoying people and wasting money to boot.

Segment your lists carefully. If they are only interested in product A but not product B you’re wasting money. Split lists before you upload.

The possibilities of this are endless, we’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!
Need help managing your Facebook ads? We’ve got you covered. Contact us to find out how we can help.


  1. pose83 says:

    Either I’m being really stupid or this isn’t available in the UK. Or maybe it’s for my page (with 10k followers).

  2. Nicola Mattina says:

    Hi Fouts,

    I would like to add that now you can automatically synchronize a MailChimp list with a Facebook custom audience thanks to Stamplay. Here you can find the details:


    I really would like to read your opinion about it. How can we improve this hack and make it more useful?


    Nicola Mattina
    Co-founder of Stamplay

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