What is a custom audience?

Custom audiences are a great way to get started with Facebook advertising. They are audiences that already know you either via your Facebook or Instagram business page or from visiting your website.

If someone has engaged with a post or followed your page - they’re yours to reach out to again for 365 days. If you have the Facebook pixel installed to your website, you can also retarget website visitors for up to 180 days.* And of course any lists that are yours for example, customers or event attendees where you have the correct permissions are also yours to load as a custom audiences to Facebook.

From within your Business Manager there is a Business Tool called Audiences. This is where you create all your custom audiences. You can read more about how to do this here.

Our top 5 suggestions for using your custom audiences


Your custom audiences are going to be the most receptive to messages and promotions received by you. They recognise your brand and may even have bought from you before. Why not entice them to spend with a time-limited offer to tip them into a sale. How about X% off the purchase price if they purchase by X date?

Law & Company achieved phenomenal results with just such a tactic for their pre-Christmas sale. Read more here.

Build brand credibility

Of course, re-targeting doesn’t have to be just about sales (or at least not right away!) you could choose to drive ‘softer’ messages which are more about building up recognition and credibility for your business with testimonial stories or added value content like a helpful blog. This is particularly important for high ticket items like a holiday or a learning programme, you have to be showing up a number of times and building trust before the final sale will take place.


Launching a new product or service? What better audience to test it out with than a custom audience of existing customers. They are your advocates and if the product or service is new and different they are the ideal audience to approach first. Used in conjunction with your email list this could be particularly effective.


When you don’t want to spend any of your marketing spend on existing audiences but want to reach out and find brand new people on Facebook, custom audiences can be used as ‘exclusions’. So if you built out an audience using ‘interests’ or ’ lookalikes’ with the exclusions built-in, you’d be telling Facebook to search outside of that set of people so every pound spent has the potential of attracting someone new to your business.


Custom audiences can be used to tell Facebook to identify audiences with similar traits who are not already associated with your business but should have a propensity to like what you have to offer. When building a lookalike audience, you can choose to cast your net wide or narrow with a 1% lookalike up to a 10% lookalike and with the sophistication of Facebook's artificial intelligence these are some of the highest performing audiences you can use.

*The latest IOS14 roll out may reduce the numbers of people that can be retargeted as Apple users who opt out of tracking will be excluded.

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