I have had several new-to-Facebook-advertising people approach me and ask, “What is the safest way to start advertising on Facebook?” While safe is an impossible feat, Custom Audiences are great for anyone starting out with Facebook and unsure of the different targeting options.


The Basics

Custom Audiences can be first created within the Audience tab of the Power Editor.  Custom Audiences target individuals who know your brand or have interacted with your website off of Facebook. There are four options to create a Custom Audience: Data File, MailChimp, Mobile App, and Website Remarketing.


Once a Custom Audience is created, Lookalike Audiences can be created from the existing Custom Audiences. This is useful when trying to target new customers that have not been to your site or do not know of your brand. 

Custom Audience from your Website

“Custom Audiences from your Website” is a Custom Audience created from a remarketing pixel placed on your website. While you have the option to use outside remarketing tools on Facebook, such as AdRoll or Perfect Audience, the option is now available to create a remarketing pixel for your website straight through the Facebook interface.


Similar to any remarketing list, you add the remarketing pixel to your website or a particular page of your website.  You can create multiple Custom Audiences for remarketing that target individuals at different stages of the buying process. This will allow you to speak to your potential customers directly at their level of interest. For example, you would want to speak differently to individuals who abandoned the cart on the last step than to individuals that solely visited the homepage.

Data File Custom Audiences & MailChimp Custom Audiences

While remarketing lists are dynamic audiences, Data File and MailChimp Custom Audiences both produce static lists of individuals. Both connect existing email addresses with their Facebook profile. Because these lists are not constantly updating, it is important to refresh this type of Custom Audience. The timeframe that passes should reflect the typical sale cycle of the product or the service.


Data lists have to be uploaded as a .csv or .txt file. They can include emails, user IDs, phone numbers, or mobile advertiser IDs.  In my personal experience, I have seen the most success by using email addresses when creating an audience of significant size. Besides being easier to gather, the lists generally result in larger audiences, when uploading data lists of similar sizes.

Custom Audience from your Mobile App

I have had little experience with Mobile Apps. Like most, I like what I know, which is remarketing and Custom Audiences from email addresses. However, if you do have a popular mobile app, this could be a useful type of Custom Audience.


“Custom Audience from your mobile app” allows you to target individuals who have done something specific, while using the mobile app. For example, this is another space that you can target different levels of the buying cycle.  Custom Audiences can be generated from cart abandoners to any other action that can be completed from your mobile app.


Custom Audiences are a controlled way to start advertising on Facebook. Custom Audiences allow you to prequalify your targets to individuals who have been previously interested in your product.

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Kristina McLane
Kristina McLane is an expert PPC Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing, where in addition to AdWords account management she specializes in social advertising and audience modeling, drawing on her background in anthropology to explore human behavior and insights.