How to Create Custom Audiences on Facebook


By: Ceci Dadisman

In: Marketing & Communications

Did you know that you can upload your ticket buyer list and show Facebook ads directly to them?

If you are running paid Facebook campaigns, you need to know about the power of Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences.

As per Facebook, “a Custom Audience from a customer list is a type of audience you can create made up of your existing customers.” And, “Lookalike Audiences are a way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to customers you care about.”

How to Create Custom Audiences on Facebook

I’m sure you can immediately see the value is serving content to these types of groups on Facebook.

Let’s jump right in and I’ll show you how to create them.


1. Create a Facebook ad campaign in your Ads Manager

After you create the campaign, at the top of the screen should be the Audience area.  Right at the top you will see Custom Audiences.  Since this is your first time, you will need to create one by clicking on Create New under the text field.


Choose Custom Audience (I’ll get to Lookalike Audiences later) and then choose Customer File here:


On the next screen, choose Choose a File or Copy and Paste Data



2. Upload your list

This is where the real fun starts.  You’ll need to have your list as a .CSV file and you can upload it here.




3. Map your data

You can then map your data fields however you’d like.  It used to be that Facebook could just get a match based on an email or phone number, but that’s not the case anymore.  You can match using a combination of many fields such as name, zip code, gender, age, and more.


Click Upload & Create and you are on your way!


Now, once that Custom Audience has been created, you can use it as part of  your targeting for your Facebook ads by going back to the Audience area again in your Ad Set (Step 1) and typing in the name of the audience.

About Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audiences are super powerful because they allow you to easily create an audience that is similar to a Custom Audience you’ve already uploaded.  Say you want to create a lookalike audience of your new acquisitions for the opera Carmen.


1. Upload your base Custom Audience

The first thing you’ll want to do is upload your new acquisition ticket buyers for that particular show as a Custom Audience using the steps above.



2. Go back to your Audience area in your Ad Set and choose Create New > Lookalike Audience




3.  Choose the audience you want to clone

The cool thing about Lookalike Audiences is that you can based them on either a Custom Audience or people who like your Facebook Page.  If you want to clone your Carmen new acquisition ticket buyers, you will see that Custom Audience in the list of options.  If you want to use your page, you’ll see that there as well.


Then click Create Audience. That’s it!


After you start with a Custom Audience, you can still refine that targeting to people within that audience who live in a certain geographic area, have certain interests, etc.

Do you use Custom Audiences already? I’d love to hear about your successes!

Ceci Dadisman
Ceci Dadisman
Ceci Dadisman is a marketing professional with more than 15 years of experience creating effective communications campaigns utilizing innovative, forward thinking methods. She is nationally recognized as a leader in digital marketing and specializes in multichannel communications campaigns. A frequent public speaker, Ceci’s recent and upcoming engagements feature national conference appearances at NTEN, Museums and the Web, National Arts Marketing Project, Arts Midwest, American Alliance of Museums, OPERA America, Midwest Museums Association, and Chorus America in addition to many other local and regional events. Known for her easy-going and vernacular style, she creates open learning environments with an emphasis on information sharing and useful takeaways. She is a member of the National Arts Marketing Project Advisory Committee and the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts Visiting Committee, and is a mentor in West Virginia University’s Creative Consultant program. She also teaches the arts marketing course at West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts and is on the faculty of Chorus America’s Chorus Management Institute. Ceci was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts. She currently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
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