Facebook Custom Audiences 101: A Starter Guide for Ecommerce Businesses


1 Facebook Custom Audiences 101: A Starter Guide for Ecommerce Businesses1.1 How to use Facebook Custom Audiences1.1.1 1. Grow your Facebook audience1.1.2 2. Resell to existing customers1.1.3 3. People who have abandoned their carts1.1.4 4. Active subscribers can be sold1.1.5 5. Customers are welcome to […]

Facebook Custom Audiences 101: A Starter Guide for Ecommerce Businesses

Facebook is still a very popular advertising platform due to two reasons. It’s the largest social media platform, with almost 2.5 billion users. It also offers targeted audience targeting which makes it easy to place your products in front of people most likely to purchase them.

Facebook Custom Audiences is one of the best ways to advertise to a niche market. You can retarget people who have previously interacted with your company: those who have bought from your store or visited you website.

Your ads will perform better if you have more information about the people to whom you are advertising. If you market to a custom audience, you can pinpoint the people who are seeing your ads and target them with laser-like precision. This will increase conversion rates and provide a higher return on investment.

How to use Facebook Custom Audiences

Facebook Custom Audiences allows you to select from many parameters to be very specific about the people you are targeting. This allows you to create more effective, optimized ads.

These are six of my favourite things that you can do with Facebook Custom Audiences.


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1. Grow your Facebook audience

Custom Audiences can help you grow your Facebook audience. You can create a Custom Audience from people who have signed up for your email or visited your site recently. Then, you can use this Custom Audience to run ads encouraging them to follow your business on Facebook.

2. Resell to existing customers

To create a list with people who have purchased products from you before, you can use Custom Audiences. This is a great way for you to increase your customer lifetime values if you have multiple products to sell.

You can offer accessories or products that are similar to yours in an ad targeting recent shoppers. A special promotion that is time-sensitive will motivate them to act immediately.

Image source: State of Digital

3. People who have abandoned their carts

People abandon carts for many reasons. Sometimes they were just too busy to finish their purchase. If they add something to their cart they have a good chance of buying it.

Get in touch with them quickly using a targeted Facebook advertisement to follow up before they forget, or worse, buy it elsewhere.

4. Active subscribers can be sold

It is difficult to sell to people who have never heard about your business. Many people don’t simply visit a website and then buy something. We want to get to know the company and build trust. It’s difficult to sell to strangers via Facebook.

Active subscribers are people who have not only signed up for your email list, but have also opened your emails. This will increase your conversion rate. They have heard about your brand and are likely to be interested in your content.

5. Customers are welcome to give feedback

Business owners are extremely grateful for feedback. Regular feedback is a great way to ensure your customers are satisfied. Feedback is also a great source for marketing ideas and product development.

Follow up with customers who have made a purchase on Facebook and ask them to complete a survey. To increase your chances of having your surveys completed successfully, you can hold a contest.

6. Your email list should be built

An email list is a great idea for any online company. It is the best way to stay in touch with potential and active customers. You can also use Facebook to build your list.

Targeting people who have already visited your site will result in more email subscribers. Website visitors know you already so they are more likely to sign up than complete strangers.

How to create a Facebook custom audience

Facebook offers many ways to create custom audiences. You can:

  • Upload a customer contact listing
  • Website visitor and app activity data
  • You can also use offline activity data
  • You can use data about how people interact with you on Facebook and Instagram such as viewing a video or visiting your business profile.
  • Shopify’s Facebook marketing app allows you to create a custom audience

This post will cover the most popular options for creating a Facebook Custom Audience: uploading contact listsusing visitor data and using Shopify’s Facebook Marketing app.

1. Upload a list with customer contact information

To create a custom audience, you can upload the entire list of customers/subscribers’ email addresses to Facebook. As long as your customers/subscribers use the same email address with both your brand and Facebook, you’ll be able to target them with your Facebook ads.

It’s important to keep in mind that people must have chosen to receive your messages. It is not possible to purchase email addresses, or upload random numbers or email addresses.

Click the shortcut icon at the top-left corner to create a custom Audience on Facebook. Next, select Audiences.


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Select Custom Audience from the dropdown menu.


Next, select Customer list.


There are several options to recreate your Facebook list as a Custom Audience.

  • Copy the data and paste it into Facebook.
  • You can upload a CSV. Any spreadsheet that contains customer/subscriber information can be saved as a CSV or downloaded from your email provider. Before you upload, ensure that all email addresses and phone numbers are in one column.
  • Connect Shopify and Facebook. If your email list is hosted with a Shopify supported email service you can link Facebook directly to your list without uploading, copying and pasting.

Once you have added your customer list, Facebook will match that data with Facebook users.

2. People who have visited your website are the ones you want to target

You can also create a Custom Audience from people who have visited your site recently, provided they are logged into Facebook at the time they visited.

First, create a Custom audience pixel. This is a code snippet that you place on your website and talks to Facebook to track your visitors.

The same workflow that you used to create your Custom Audience pixel can be used to create a Custom Audience Pixel. Click the shortcuts icon at the top-left of the screen to select Audiences.


Click on the Create Audience dropdown and then choose Custom Audience.


Next, choose a website.


Enter your URL and give your pixel a name. Click Continue.

Next, you’ll want to select the conditions for creating your Custom Audience. You can choose to target all website visitors, only people who viewed specific pages of your site, or only people who spent a specific amount of time on it. You can also specify the timeframe—up to 180 days.

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When you’re finished making your selections, give your audience a descriptive name, then click Create Audience.

3. Use Shopify’s Facebook Marketing app

Shopify’s Facebook marketing app allows you to create, manage and track your Facebook ads campaigns without leaving Shopify. You can also set up your Facebook tracking pixel automatically, so you can create ads that target people who have visited your website.

Follow the steps below to create Facebook audience-building ads with Shopify’s Facebook marketing app.

The app can also be used to create dynamic targeting ads. These ads are displayed as Facebook carousels ads and include the products that your site visitors have viewed or added.

Important Notes about Facebook Custom Audiences

To avoid making mistakes and ensure that your ads are reaching the right people, you should be able to create Custom Audiences on Facebook.

  • To create custom audiences, you will need a Facebook Business Manager Account. Facebook will prompt users to create a Business Manager account when they try to create Custom Audiences. Or, you can simply create a new Business Manager account.
  • To serve ads to this audience, you need at least 20 people in the Custom Audience. You may consider running ads to drive traffic to your website or encourage subscribers to your email list before creating Custom Audiences.
  • It may not be possible to draw all your visitors, customers, subscribers, and subscribers into a custom audience. You may not be able to log in every visitor to your website. People on your email list might use a different email address to access their Facebook accounts. If your Custom Audience is smaller that you anticipated, it may not be due to an error.
  • Regular updates are required for your email Custom Audiences. You must regularly update your email Custom Audiences if you uploaded your contacts list to Facebook manually to create it.

Shopify customers can automate updating their customer lists using Shopify App Store apps like Audience push to Facebook and Facebook Custom Audiences.

Facebook Custom Audiences: Advanced ways to use them

After you have mastered the basics, you might want to go one step further and create more targeted ads using some of the more advanced Facebook options.

Facebook Dynamic Product Ads

Most Custom Audiences require manual setup. This is especially true when you wish to target visitors based on what products they have looked at. This is not practical for websites with many pages.

Facebook dynamic products ads provide a more automated solution. Visitors to websites see ads based upon the products they have looked at and the distance they have come to purchasing them. Only need to define the parameters and create an ad template. It will then run automatically.

Shopify customers can create dynamic product ads quickly using Shopify’s Facebook Marketing App. Your products will be automatically made available to the Facebook Marketing App when you create it. These products can then be synced to a Facebook product catalog, which you can use for dynamic retargeting ads.


Custom Audiences are powerful because you can exclude people. If you want to attract website visitors to your email list, ensure that you do not include current subscribers.

Similar to the previous example, if your Facebook page is used to sell products to site visitors, they will likely only buy one product. You can save money by not allowing people who have already purchased.

The number one error that Custom Audiences users make is not using exclusions. This is what I see most business owners do with Facebook Custom Audiences. Advertising to people who have converted is costly. Consider how you can further segment your audience by excluding people.

Lookalike Audiences

Once you have created a Custom Audience you can expand it by using lookalike audiences. This allows you to add people who aren’t registered for your email newsletter, but have some of the same characteristics as those who have.

This is a great way for you to market your products to people who may be interested in your products and business.

You will need at least 100 people from one country to create an audience that looks like yours.

Audiences with a Value-Based Lookalike Audience

You can use value-based lookalike audience to target your ads more precisely. This allows you to assign an indicator that will identify the most valuable customers on your customer list.

This data allows Facebook to refine its targeting to limit your audience to customers who are most likely to have a high lifetime value.

Pixel Events

You can use the Meta to create Pixel Events which automatically adds visitors to your Custom Audience whenever they do actions like:

  • Add a product to your shopping cart
  • Add a product to your wishlist
  • Make a purchase
  • Perform a site search
  • Subscribe to your newsletter
  • Viewing a particular piece of content

This allows you to automate the process for building different Custom Audiences. It also ensures that your ads only target the people you wish to see them, such as an abandoned cart ad.