Facebook advertising can be used to generate leads, drive traffic to your website, promote services, sell products, and much more. However, advertising on Facebook can be a daunting prospect for many. There are no guarantees that you will reach your target audience, let alone recoup the cost of the ads. So can using Facebook custom audiences improve your ad campaign’s chances of success?

In this article, we will…

  • Look in depth at exactly what Facebook custom audiences are
  • Discuss how they can help your ad campaign achieve its goals
  • Consider case studies where they have been used successfully

By the end, you will have a good insight into Facebook custom audiences and how they can benefit your next ad campaign.

What are Facebook custom audiences?

Facebook custom audiences allow you to reach out and reconnect with customers you already know via adverts on Facebook. A custom audience is a list, or group, that Facebook creates, based on people that have previously shown an interest in your website, business, product, app, or services. These people are your website visitors, customers, leads and followers; the target market with whom you want to share your adverts.

Facebook Custom Audiences

You can also select to exclude people who have already completed a specific action from a custom audience. For example, you can exclude people who have already made a purchase of a particular product on your site. This ensures you aren’t advertising to the ‘wrong’ people and wasting your ad budget.

There are four different ways to create Facebook Custom Audiences. Let’s have a look at each of them…

Custom audiences from your customer list

Facebook enables you to use pre-collected customer data to reach out and connect with your target market through advertising. Simply upload a list of contact information, like phone numbers or email addresses into your Facebook Ads Manager. Facebook will then create a custom audience using this info, and display your ads to this audience.

Custom audiences from your website

Another option is to display adverts to those who have already visited your website and shown an interest in your content, products, or services. Add a Facebook Pixel to your website so Facebook can track your website data. Then create custom audiences consisting of people who have visited your website, or specific pages or posts. Target ads at these groups of potential customers to remind them of the content on your site they were browsing.

Custom audiences from your mobile app

A third possibility is to create custom audiences from your mobile app users. Using the Facebook SDK, you can pass data from your app to Facebook. You can then specify who you want to include or exclude from your custom audiences. Ads could target those who have installed your app but haven’t engaged with it yet, or people who are yet to upgrade to the premium version of your app.

Engagement custom audiences

Lastly, Facebook custom audiences can be made up from people who have previously engaged with your content across the Facebook family of apps and services. This could be people who have watched your videos on Facebook, followed you on Instagram, opened a lead form or joined an event you have organised. Once you have created these custom audiences, you can target ads at people who have taken these actions.

Once these custom audiences have been created, if people in these groups are present on Facebook, your Facebook ads will then be displayed to them when they log on to Facebook.

Why you should use custom audiences

So now we know what Facebook custom audiences are. But how can they benefit your ad campaign and business and do they really get results?

Let’s next have a look at the different ways Facebook Custom Audiences can be used to help businesses achieve their goals. Here we will examine a variety of case studies, using the data provided to help us to understand how Custom Audiences can be effective.

Generate leads

Using Facebook custom audiences is a great way to re-connect and collect leads from those who have already shown an interest in your website. A great example of this is the case study of Sinpas GYO.


Sinpas GYO is a well known Turkish real estate agency. They used custom audiences as part of their advertising campaign to target potential buyers. After running an initial advertising campaign on Instagram, they then created custom audiences based on those who had already interacted with their brand through the Instagram ads.

Their second ad campaign on Facebook, targeting only the custom audiences, contained two click ads with self-populating lead generation forms. This approach saw the number of leads collected increase dramatically. During November  2016, they had a 29% increase in leads compared to their previous campaign, which did not use custom audiences.

Sinpas GYO also found that the cost per lead fell. This was because those they were reaching already knew of, and had shown enthusiasm for, the business. The ad campaign actually had a 37% lower cost per lead compared to previous campaigns. As you can see, Facebook custom audience played a significant role in improving the outcomes for this real estate agent.

Drive traffic to your website

As well as increasing leads, you can also use Facebook custom audiences to increase brand awareness and drive your current followers and customers to your website. Favi, a Czech-based online furniture and accessories store, has seen this theory work in practice.


Favi created an ad campaign focused on boosting brand awareness, driving traffic to its website, and ultimately increasing online sales and conversions. The ad campaign consisted of Facebook custom audiences based on customer data, such as email or newsletter lists. They also built lookalike audiences based on these existing customer groups. (A lookalike audience is a group that is created by Facebook, and is based on similar demographics, likes and other attributes, of a custom audience).

The results of their ad campaign were impressive. By targeting existing customers, and new customers with matching characteristics, the ads reached and engaged with 600,000 individuals every day. This saw a 2.1x increase in people reached, and a 2.6x increase in web traffic from Facebook, compared to their previous ad campaign.

Increase mobile app installs

If you are looking to create an ad campaign aimed at increasing your mobile app installs then using custom audiences can help you achieve this goal. This is shown through the results accomplished by the mobile games studio Treasure Hunt.

Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunt created a custom audience consisting of its most active players. Then they built lookalike audiences based on the custom audience, at whom they targeted their ads. Compared to their previous campaign, when they had not used custom or lookalike audiences, they achieved a 9% higher conversion rate. They also had a 21% lower ad cost per app install.

Increase online sales

If you are running an eCommerce store then an ad campaign using custom audiences can help increase your sales. It is far easier to sell a product or a service to those who are already customers. Or to people who have already shown an interest in your niche. So re-connecting through ads with your established and prospective customers will encourage people back to your store, and ultimately help increase sales. Let’s look at the evidence for this with a case study of Wasted Heroes.

Wasted Heroes

Wasted Heroes is a streetwear brand from the UK. Their case study shows how they used Facebook custom audiences to increase their sales and break into the US fashion scene. Firstly, they created custom audiences using their existing customer’s data, to retarget their UK audience. They then created lookalike audiences, based on their custom audiences, but tweaked specifically to reach people in the US.

During their campaign period, from September to November 2016, data showed a 2x increase in web traffic. And a 150% return on ad spend. Thanks to the lookalike audiences, Wasted Heroes also saw a 3x increase in sales in the US.

Increase in-store visits


Research from the Danish supermarket Bilka, shows how it used Facebook custom audiences to increase the number of customers their physical stores received. Firstly, Bilka ran a series of ads targeting a broad audience of men and women aged 24 – 65. Next, during the second round of the ad campaign, they created custom audiences. Bilka included anyone who had engaged with the initial ads in these audiences, as well as those who had visited a store after seeing an ad. Bilka then retargeted these custom audiences with further ads.

Between August and October 2017, Bilka stores saw a significant increase in footfall. During this time there were 45,000 store visits. 7.8% of people who saw an ad visited the store. And 15% of people who visited the store, revisited the store after being added to a custom audience and retargeted with an ad.

Promote a service

Using Facebook custom audiences to promoting a service can also be effective. Evidence for this can be found in the AKBank case study.


AKBank used custom audiences to target consumers who had already expressed an interest in taking out a loan. During their ad campaign, they saw, on average, over 500 conversions a day.

AKBank created their custom audiences by re-targeting people who had already visited their personal loan pages on their website. They instructed the custom audiences to exclude those who had already been assessed for a loan. And then used Facebook’s Core Audience Targeting to pinpoint those with high credit scores.

During their campaign in April 2017, AKBank saw 15% of loan approvals originate from Facebook advertising. Importantly, compared to other marketing channels who don’t offer a custom audiences service, AKBank’s Facebook ad costs per loan were 70% lower.

Final thoughts on using Facebook custom audiences

As you can see, using Facebook custom audiences will ensure your adverts reach the people who matter to your business. This helps your ad campaign and website achieve its goals. And can help increase your return on investment. So if you’re looking to improve your Facebook ads success, then it may be time to give custom audiences a try.

Want more help with marketing your band on Facebook? Check out these other Revive.Social Facebook guides:

Are you ready to implement custom audiences into your Facebook ad campaigns? Please share your thoughts in the comments below…

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