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5 New Ways to Use Facebook Custom Audiences You Never Thought Of

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Custom audiences are one of the many Facebook marketing tools I use to do thoughtful analysis that makes a real impact. With a custom audience you can target your entire list or specific segments of your list on Facebook but the practical application of custom audiences goes far beyond that.


To create a custom audience, prepare your list (or segment) as a single column .csv and download Facebook’s Power Editor plugin. There are several options for custom audiences: email addresses, phone numbers, user IDs, and app user IDs.


Keep in mind that you can upload different list segments to use with any of these methods – the level of granularity is up to you. Uploading your entire list can work for ad targeting but think about trying segments like:

  • Customers who have purchased
  • Frequent and reoccurring customers
  • Hot leads and report opt-ins
  • Webinar attendees
  • Conference/speaking engagement attendees
  • Customers who came from specific traffic sources (SEM, Facebook ads, display ads, YouTube, etc.)
  • Unsubscribe list (gray hat)
  • SMS text messaging list
  • Get creative – the possibilities really are endless

Alright, Tom. I’ve got my custom audiences uploaded to Facebook and I’m ready to do this thing, now what?

Here are 5 out of the box ways to use Facebook custom audiences:

1. Analysis against social interests

With custom audiences you can determine the affinity between your product or service and another interest or brand. Some useful applications for this type of analysis:

  • What other products or services do your customers like?
  • What interests do they commonly have?
  • What are some of the things they don’t like?
  • What related hobbies do they have?

How to do it: create an ad targeting only your custom audience, then apply the corresponding precise interest filter in Power Editor. For example: if you want to know how many of your fans also “like” a competitor setup an ad targeting your custom audience then type in the competitor as a precise interest. The audience size you end up with is the overlap between your audience and theirs. (think about it like the middle of a venn diagram)


2. Determine how social your list is

After uploading your custom audience to Facebook you can find out exactly what percentage of your customer base is on the social network. This can be extremely useful for determining how social customers are and in some cases help determine if marketing your brand on social media channels will be effective.

3. Demographic breakdown of segments

Did you know you can also do demographic breakouts of a custom audience the same way you pull ad counts for precise interests? How much of the list is men? Women? What states and regions are they from? How old are they? This type of information can free up 80-90% of wasted ad spend and help create a better ad targeting strategy.


Lets say you upload your hot prospect list which only contains leads that have opted-in for a free white paper and clicked one of your ads within the last 30 days (these types of segments are possible with marketing automation software like Infusionsoft). You might find that 85% of the list is women, 50% live in California, and 100% of the list is between ages 20 and 35. Knowing this you can target exclusively women that live in California between the ages of 20 and 35. This isn’t only useful for Facebook either, you can use this type of demographic insight on other channels as well.

Some eye opening uses for this type of analysis:

  • Determining gender skew
  • Finding which age brackets account for your core customer base
  • Finding the most common geographic locations of customers
  • Using partner targeting you can determine average income level of your customers

4. Lookalike audiences

Another feature many marketers ignore on Facebook is the use of lookalike audiences. How it works: upload your list as a custom audience and Facebook will automatically match the demographic and psychographic qualities of your list with similar users.


This helps get your brand in front of new prospects that are similar to your existing audience. There are 2 options for lookalike audiences: reach and similarity. Reach will give you a larger list of people to target but similarity will match the interest and demographic profile of your list as closely as possible. Both are worth testing!

5. Lead nurturing

rhs-facebook-ads-lead-nurturing-socialHow well rounded is your lead nurturing program? Sales funnels, especially for high ticket items are generally not going to be two steps. You need to provide value up front, then provide more value and thought leadership, then nurture your leads by staying on their radar until they trust you enough to do business with you. I don’t care what business you’re in, nurturing your leads is going to make your marketing more effective.

Then, when the time is right figure out how you can help them and do it. If you’re only sending a plain “thanks for signing up” email you need to rethink your strategy. Use marketing automation to regularly rotate in fresh prospects once the existing leads are lower in the funnel from your nurturing efforts.

Did this post give you some ideas? You don’t have to use these tools “as is” – think of creative uses to maximize your output, make your targeting more effective or more granular, and most importantly drive measurable ROI. If you think of any other uses for custom audiences I didn’t mention let me know in the comments!

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