It’s no secret that selling to existing customers is easier (and cheaper) than finding new ones. It’s the 80/20 rule commonly known as the Pareto principle. In this instance 80% of your profits should come from 20% of your customers.

This is exactly why the Facebook Custom Audience tool is important for any advertiser.

Utilizing this feature will help you to sell to existing customers. Either using customer lists, visitors to your website or app and people who engaged with your Facebook page and/or content.

But before you can even consider creating an ad set using Custom Audiences, you will need to integrate the Facebook pixel to your website and/or app. Gathering this data is imperative to understanding customers who are clicking and converting.

If you’re not already utilizing the pixel, here are 5 reasons why you need to be:

  • The ability to measure how many customers are moving from one device to another device before converting.
  • Optimizing your ads to ensure they are being delivered to people who are most likely to take action.
  • Automatically shaping audiences from your website visitors to create Custom Audiences.
  • Building Lookalike audiences that will target people who are like your first-rate customers.
  • Creating dynamic product ads based on the products people have most visited on your site.
  • Gain access to key audience insights about visitors to key pages on your website.

If you have previously installed the conversion pixel, as of February 2017 this code will no longer be supported for new ad creations. You need to transition to the new Facebook pixel code.

Pro tips for best Facebook pixel configuration to gain deeper insights:

  • Insert Event codes e.g ‘Thank-You’ page. Add the code between script tags and do not change the base code.
  • Add a sales funnel of Event codes such as Viewed Content > Added To Cart > Purchased. This helps to record all actions taken by the user.
  • Include value and currency parameter for each Event code. This helps to calculate the total cost per action and your return on ad spend. For example: if you know the conversion is valued on average $10 and 10% of people who reach the ‘Thank-you’ page are likely to convert. The value placed is $1 on people who reach this page.
  • Enable the advanced matching feature. Changing the code to include hashed customer data (email address, phone number etc). Using hashed identifiers will give you greater conversions. During the beta testing phase Facebook experienced a 10% increase in attributed conversions. And a 20% increase in reach for re-targeting campaigns.

By using the Facebook pixel you will be better equipped to measure conversion tracking. Optimizing your ads to help define your remarketing tactics and improving ROI.

Once you’ve configured and tested the Facebook pixel, you can begin setting up Custom Audiences.

There are four different types of Custom Audiences and we take a look at how best to set these up for improved targeting:

1. Customer List

This handy feature lets you target current customers. A great cross-promotional feature to sell other products and/or services to consumers who already know your brand. Customers who showed interested but have not yet converted.

This feature works best if you have 1,000 or more email addresses and/or phone numbers.

Here are a few unique tips for best implementation:

  • Highest match rate. Include as many data types as you have available like age, year of birth, zip/postal code, city, province etc.
  • Be sure to separate your data e.g ‘firstname’ in one column, ‘lastname’ in second column.
  • More than one email address per customer. Include separate columns with all available addresses.
  • Always include country code for phone numbers.
  • Add a ‘country’ column for each file upload, even if customers are all from the same country. This helps Facebook to quickly match records.
  • Quick data mapping. Download the template file Facebook created, check ‘Download file template’
  • Avoid too many errors. Check the punctuation mark that separates the data points. Change this by hovering over ‘modify the delimiter’.

Concerned about data privacy? Lists uploaded are then encrypted to protect customer information.

If you have less than 1,000 customers you can still use this feature. You will need to set bidding based on CPM to serve your ads to a wider group. Increase bidding for greatest reach  and always ensure that you test different creatives.

RELATED: 5 New Facebook Features To Help Improve User Engagement

2. Website Audience

A great way to re-market to those who have already interacted with your brand and/or product.  In particular those who did not complete a desired action. Using the Custom Audience pixel from your website visitors will bring customers back to complete an action on your site.

Presuming you’ve already created a pixel for your website. Here are two advanced tips to creating a power website Custom Audience:

  • Rules. A website custom audience should include at least one audience rule. Setting more than one will improve performance. By setting rules you can determine if someone should be added to the audience or not. A good rule example would be to match a person who viewed a referral URL matching the term ‘shoes’. |And content where the price of the item was greater than or equal to $150. By setting rules you are able to refine your targeting further by the type of customer you want to re-target.
  • Enhanced Features. This feature is still in beta testing for many advertisers. You’re able to set 20 extra rules from behaviour, type of device to setting dynamic date preferences. For example you can set visitors who spent more than 5 min in the last 180 days. Or users who spent more than $1000 in the last 60 days or customers who made 3 or more purchases in the last 30 days. The options are endless depending on your targeting strategies.

The added bonus with this feature is that once you’ve created your Custom Audience, you are then able to create a Lookalike audience. One that will help to find new people like your website visitors. Pro tip: set up the Custom Audience based on people who visited a specific web page. This helps to ensure you refine your target audience based on the content they viewed.

3. App Activity

First you’ll need take the necessary steps to complete the integration with the Facebook SDK and register your app. Then be sure you’ve created app events for iOS and Android to reach specific user interactions. The events you set should align with your business goals i.e. “added to cart” for an ecommerce app or “level achieved” in a gaming app.

Effective targeting tips:

  • Target people who have used your app, but haven’t’ returned within the last 60 days. The type of content should include reminders of the value they are missing out on to re-engage.
  • Target people who added an item to their shopping cart but did not buy.
  • Use Facebook’s Audience Definition tool to view how many people fall into the targeting segment. Then make adjustments as needed.
  • Check out Facebook’s Targeting Essentials to further filter by location or demographics.
  • If you have overlapping audiences this can lead to poor performance and insufficient use of your budget. Go to ‘audience’ > ‘Audience Overlap’. This tool is only useful for audiences with at least 10,000 people. Consider consolidating ad sets into one with a larger budget. Or refine your targeting using location, age, gender, interest or behaviour based.

It is important to note that using this type of setup the greatest amount of time people will stay in this Custom Audience is 180 days. After that they will fall away to be replaced by most recent app users.

4. Engagement

This is a new type of Custom Audience and is relevant to those who have engaged with your content on Facebook. It is different to Custom Audience. Engagement Audiences uses actions taken directly on Facebook. Custom Audience uses actions taken on your website/app.

You are able to target people who have spent time viewing your videos, Canvas, opening your lead form or engaging with your page or posts. This Custom Audience type will allow you to re-target an audience who have engaged with your product, brand or service. It also allows you to create Lookalike audience to target people like this audience.

The main benefit to using this type of Engagement Audience:

Automatically refreshes audience data. You set the number of days a person engages, say previous 30 days. It then refreshes this data every 30 days back and include new people who have engaged. This means that you will never need to create a new Custom Audience to include recent users who have engaged.

This Engagement Audience is broken down into four types:

  1. Video
  2. Lead Ads
  3. Canvas
  4. Page

Here are a few pro tips to setting up these types:

As pointed out, with all types the audience data is always refreshed. If you included the last 30 or 90 days it will include on a daily basis the number days you set with people who engaged on this basis.


Over 500 million people are watching Facebook Videos each day.  Investing in this medium is imperative for any advertiser. Re-targeting is even more relevant.

Using the Audience tool and selecting Engagement Audience will show you the option for ‘Video’. For best results ensure to include the field for the length of time you want people in this audience to have spent viewing your video. You can use video from a page or a campaign and able to select many videos with a certain viewing time i.e 50%. Facebook will then look for those who watched at least 50% for any one of the videos you selected.

Lead Ads

This particular engagement type is useful if your campaign offered coupons or incentives which have a time limit. You can create a Engagement Audience based on those who opened but did not submit the form to complete the action. By setting the number of days will ensure you target those most likely to convert.


The average visitor spends 31 seconds on Canvas. A useful setting here for optimal audience is selecting ‘people who opened this Canvas’. And depending on your campaign, set the number of relevant days. If your campaign has many Canvas ads telling your brands and/or products story, this tool is very useful to bring people back to the story.


The new feature allows you to create a list of people who have interacted with your Facebook page or posts. According to Facebook 250 Million people use the ‘save’ feature every month.

This method is a way of re-targeting a person who was interested in what you have to offer, but didn’t necessarily have the time to review it then.

In Conclusion

Re-targeting to existing customers is going to yield better results for your advertising efforts. Facebook offers enhanced tools in order for you to optimize your campaign spending. Use these tools to your advantage and always be on the lookout of ‘New’ features launched in Ads Manager.