How to Create Facebook Custom Audiences?

Facebook Custom Audiences is one of the most amazing targeting options provided by the Facebook Advertising Platform. Read on to see how you can use it to grow your business.

Facebook Advertising is one of the best ways to reach your target audience to sell your products & services. It provides tons of smart Ad Targeting options that allow you to target the right people at the right time. In fact, did you know that Facebook Advertising Platform even allows you to create Facebook custom audiences to precisely target users irrespective of their background, behavior or location? Let’s see how to create custom audiences in Facebook.


What is a Facebook Custom Audience?

Facebook Advertising Platform provides tons of powerful Ad Targeting Options that make it super easy to precisely define your target audience using various targeting criteria. You can target users by age, location, gender, interests, user behavior, life events, net worth, income, political affiliation and even household composition.

You can even target your website visitors and loyal customers by combining your own data with the Facebook’s User base. That’s where Facebook custom audiences come in. You can create custom audiences in Facebook to target your website visitors and customers for your Facebook Ads when they’re on Facebook.

Custom Audiences are lists of Facebook users who are already a part of your target audience. They’re people whose contact information is available to you – for example, past & present customers, users, high quality leads, members of your loyalty program, etc. In fact, you can create Facebook custom audiences using email or mobile number. You need to simply upload them in a file to Facebook Advertising Platform. Facebook will find them from its massive user base and create custom audience for you, so that you can target them with your Facebook Ads. You can even create custom audiences based on your website visitors or people who performed a key action (e.g sign up, download white paper, etc) which shows that they’re interested in your products and services.


You can also read our list of 5 Facebook Advertising Strategies to grow your business, and our Complete Guide to Facebook Relevance Score to make your Facebook Ads more relevant to your target audience.


How to Create Facebook Custom Audiences?

1. First go to your Facebook Ads Manager and click on Audiences tab. You’ll see the following screen.

facebook audiences tab

2. Next, click Create a Custom Audience. You’ll see 4 options to create Facebook Custom Audiences

  • Customer File – Upload a customer file to match your customers with Facebook users and create an audience from matching users
  • Website Traffic – Create a list of people who visited your website or took specific actions on your website that can be tracked with Facebook pixel
  • App Activity – Create a list of people who launched your app, or took specific actions
  • Engagement on Facebook – Create a list of people who engaged with your content on Facebook

custom audiences in facebook


Let’s look at each option in detail


3. If you click Customer File, you’ll see 2 ways of loading a customer file into Facebook. You can either directly a upload data file with customer details, or connect your Mailchimp and import your mailing list with just one click.

facebook custom audience customer file


To create custom audiences using data file, you need to create a CSV or TXT file with one record per row for each customer, each row containing up to 15 identifiers such as email, phone number, advertiser id, first name, surname, city, and more. The first row your file should be the column headers. It’s advisable to use at least email and phone number to uniquely identify your users in Facebook.

upload customer file for facebook custom audiences


Instead of uploading files, you can also copy paste this data directly into the Facebook Ads Manager.

Facebook provides a step-by-step wizard to help you upload/paste the customer data and edit it from within Facebook. You’ll have to also provide a name to your custom audience to be able to identify and select it in your Facebook Ad Campaigns. Once you’ve uploaded your customer data, Facebook will hash it, use the hashed customer information to find those users and create a custom audience in about 30 minutes.

Please note, you need to accept the Facebook Custom Audiences terms and privacy policy. So ensure that you have obtained user data legally to avoid any penalty in future.

Once your custom audience is ready, you can use it in your Facebook Ad Campaigns, from the Ad Targeting section, by clicking the Browse link in Custom Audiences box.

target audience in facebook


4. If you click Website Traffic, you can also create custom audiences based on people who visited your website or took specific action on your website. For that, you need to install a Facebook Tracking pixel on your website. It’s a code snippet that you can install on your website, tracks visitors and user behavior on your website, and sends this data back to Facebook. You can use Facebook Pixel to track a wide range of user behavior – simple site visits, button clicks, sign ups and other form submissions, adding item to shopping carts, making purchases, etc.

While creating custom audience, if you haven’t installed the Facebook pixel yet, then you’ll automatically see your pixel code that you can directly copy paste into your website, or use one of the third party plugins for wordpress, shopify, magento, etc to quickly integrate into your website, with just a click.

facebook pixel code

Here are the complete details about customizing your Facebook pixel.


Once you’ve installed the Facebook Pixel on your website, you can easily create different rules to target different custom audiences. For example, you can target everyone who has visited your website, or people who visited only certain pages, or even those who haven’t visited in a certain period of time. You’ll also need to specify how long (up to 180 days) do you want Facebook to track data about your custom audience.

facebook custom audiences based on website traffic


Based on your targeting rule, Facebook will provide an estimated size of your custom audience.


5. If you select App Activity, then you can create custom audiences based on your app users’ activity to target people who have launched your mobile app or performed some action in it. When you select this option, you’ll see a list of mobile apps in your account. Select the app you want to create a custom audience for. You’ll see a form that allows you to define your target audience by creating different rules, just as you did while creating custom audiences using website traffic. For example, you can target app users who have opened your app, most active users, users by purchase amount and even target users by user segment.

facebook custom audiences based on app activity



Please note, the minimum Facebook Custom Audience Size is 20. Facebook doesn’t deliver ads to an audience smaller than 20 people.


You can also read How to Create LookAlike Audiences on Facebook, using your Custom Audience, to increase the reach of your Facebook Ads.



The Facebook Custom Audiences feature is a great way to define highly targeted custom audiences that you can use in your Facebook Ads to precisely target the right people at the right time. Explore them in detail to target your ideal customer, drive traffic and boost conversions for your business


Please note, Facebook regularly updates its Advertising Platform, so if you find anything here that is out-of-date, please let us know and we’ll update this post for you.


Do you have any tips to create Facebook custom audiences?


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