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There are over 1 billion users on Facebook every day. For Facebook Marketers, this is great, because there is no shortage of audience we can market to!

This also presents a problem...

With all of those users on Facebook, it means marketers need to be strategic with their Facebook Ads.

Thankfully, Facebook has one of the most powerful tools to target the right audience for your offer.

Know Your Audience

Imagine you are playing a game of darts. If you were to blind fold yourself and start throwing, you likely aren't going to hit the target at all.

Take off the blindfold, and you may score some points.

It's when you really focus and take the time to aim that you land a bullseye.

Many advertisers on Facebook don't take the time to know their audience or truly empathize with them.

When they don't know who they are marketing to, they miss their mark completely.

How to Define Your Audience

There are a few things you need to know about your audience before you can get any message to them.

What is their problem?

What Demographics do you know about them? (Age, Gender, Location, etc.)

What are they interested in?

What are their behaviors?

When you can answer these questions about your audience, you can deliver your message effectively and use these character traits about your audience within Facebook Ads Manager.

If you haven't defined your audience yet, fill out this quick survey for a Free Printable Guide to Know Your Audience.

Targeting in Facebook (link offline events to another page)

One of Facebook's greatest features for creating a Facebook Ad is it's ability to create hyper-targeted audiences.

There are two ways to start creating an audience within Facebook Ads. You can either create your audiences while you are creating a campaign, or you can go to the "Audiences" link within the business manager.

I recommend setting up your audiences before creating a Campaign in order to better plan for your ad.


There are four types of audiences you can create.

  1. Custom Audiences
  2. Lookalike Audiences
  3. Saved Audiences
  4. Custom Audiences with LTV (Life Time Value). This is a newer feature, so I won't be going over this in this article.
Custom - Lookalike - and Saved Audiences

Custom Audiences

Custom Audiences are likely going to be warm traffic. These are the audiences who have interacted with your business in some way, from visiting your Facebook Fan Page to visiting your store or speaking with you.

There are several ways to set up your Custom Audience.

  • Customer File
  • Website Traffic
  • App Activity
  • Offline Activity
  • Engagement

Create a Custom Audience

Customer File

Creating a Custom Audience using Customer File can be one of the most effective forms of targeting.

In order to use the Customer File option, you must have an email list that you can upload as a .csv, or connect to MailChimp if you have an account with it.

Customer File

Here's the step-by-step on uploading customer files.

Website Traffic

Using Website Traffic to create a custom audience requires that you have the Facebook Pixel installed on your website.

(Read more about the Facebook Pixel here.)

This audience is built by those who have landed on specified pages on your website, such as landing pages, thank you pages, or product pages.

You can elect to target ANY people who landed on the specified actions you set, or they must meet ALL of them.

Then, there are three main actions you can set.

  1. All Website visitors - anyone who lands anywhere on your website.
  2. People who visited specific web pages - target people who land on a specified page. (e.g. if I set www.derekcouts.com/tools to be the specified page, I could run an ad encouraging people who landed on this page to download one of my top tools they may have seen)
  3. Visitors by time spent - you can select the top 25%, 10%, or 5% of viewers who spent the most time on your website within a given timeline.

App Activity

Creating a Custom Audience based on activity requires that you have a mobile app that users can download, and App Events is added to your App.

You can use this feature to retarget audiences who haven't used your app over a period of time, took a specific action, or haven't completed a purchase.

Learn more about creating Custom Audiences via App Activity here.

Offline Activity

Setting up Custom Audiences through Offline Activity is mainly for businesses who mainly sell offline, such as in store or on the phone.

Using the Offline Activity isn't necessarily meant for creating ads, but for taking out the guesswork of knowing an ads effectiveness.

For instance, if you run a Facebook Ad for an offline offer, such as a service or in-store product, and upload your customer data as an Offline Activity (using the customer's name and items purchased), then Facebook will be able to tell you which of those purchases were a direct result of a past ad.

Here's a lengthy explanation of how Offline Activity Custom Audiences work.



Creating custom audiences through Engagement is a great way to retarget people who have interacted with your business in some way.

There are 6 ways to create Custom Audiences from Engagement.

  1. Video - Create a list of people who have watched your videos for a length of time
  2. Lead Form - Target audiences who interacted with your Facebook Lead Forms.
  3. Fullscreen Experience - Retarget audiences who interacted with a canvas ad.
  4. Facebook Page - Create a list who've interacted with your Facebook Page
  5. Instagram Business Profile - List of people who've interacted with your Instagram Business Profile
  6. Events - People who've interacted with your events on Facebook


Lookalike Audiences

Creating a Lookalike Audience can be one of the most effective ways to target cold audiences.

Lookalike Audiences do exactly what it sounds like: it finds audiences that look like existing audiences you have.

You know those silly quizzes you take on Facebook to figure out which petronus you are, or what kind of pizza you are? Facebook knows all of those answers.

It's these answers, interactions, behaviors and interests that help Facebook build it's algorithm.

Let's say you have a list of 20,000 subscribers and 300 of them buy from you regularly.

You could download a list of only those top 300 subscribers and tell Facebook to create a Lookalike Audience off of them.

Because Facebook stores information about everything users do, it will be able to find out the similarities of each of these users and target the top 1%-10% of people who match these similarities.

Lookalike Audience

Saved Audiences

Finally, there are saved audiences.

If you have ever ran a Facebook Ad, you are probably most familiar with creating a Saved Audience.

Saved Audiences are created within the Power Editor and are where you target audiences by their demographics, behaviors, interests, locations, and even choose ad placement.

Saved Audience

Although this option may seem the most intimidating with the additional options, it's the simplest audience to set up and target.

The important thing to remember here is to know your audience and to target them accordingly.

For instance, if you are selling a product for retiring couple, you don't want to target users who are 18-24 years old.

Derek Couts

Written by Derek Couts