Custom Audiences is the new feature on Facebook’s marketing platform, and it has got everyone in the digital marketing world excited. Facebook Ads has already provided a revolutionary way of connecting with audiences, and now they’re offering a method of online direct marketing never seen before, by aiming targeted marketing communications at individual people.

Marketers have been connecting with specific individuals for many years either by post, phone or email, and this is now possible in the world of social media. Simply uploading a list of email addresses, phone numbers or user IDs gets Facebook to match these addresses and show communications directly to those users. An initial criticism of this system is that many people use different contact details for Facebook as they do for work, but while it will vary according to the niche you’re targeting, early results indicate consistently that 50-70% of entries uploaded through custom audiences match an active Facebook account.

So, why is this new system something that you should be using?


1.) Target new prospects

If you’ve got a specific person in mind that you’d like to talk to, whether this is to sell a service, request a link, propose a guest post or anything else you need to do, communicating via email and phone can be difficult, and you’re up against a lot of competition. Custom audiences give you the opportunity to try something, cut through the crowd and get your message in front of your target.


2.) Drive repeat engagement

Think back to some of the items you bought online this time last year, can you remember all the company names? The chances are that a lot of the people you’ve bought from you’ll have forgotten about, even if you thought they gave a good service. Your previous customers are your warmest sales leads, remind them about your company by setting up a custom audience list to help make repeat sales, promote an upcoming customer-only offer or drive engagement with your Facebook fan page.


3.) Be in people’s minds even when they’re at home

This one sounds a bit creepy but bear with me. Although the exact return on investment from Facebook marketing is still being debated, the platform’s success has been based on the ability to send targeted marketing messages when people are in a relaxed mood, not switched on at work. Getting through to people when they’ve got their ad-defensives fully switched on can be difficult and it can be a long process of trial and error when trying to get through to specific individuals. Use custom audiences to actively seek these people’s attention when they’re in a different frame of mind.


4.) Thank a specific client

We have come to expect the automated ‘thanks for your order’ email when we buy products or services online. However, it’s impersonal and even an email written specifically can sound insincere. Facebook custom audiences allows you to thank your clients in a different way that shows you’ve actually put some thought into it rather than just firing off an email. This can be used for specific individuals, or maybe to send a surprise message to your entire customer base to thank them for supporting your company.


5.) Advertise different services to different clients

If you’re already using Facebook to promote your brand, you’ll be aware that the material you post can be viewed by your entire fan base. Custom audiences allows you to specify particular groups of fans – perhaps you have a regional promotion, only want to target those who have already bought from you, or need to promote products at different prices for different areas.


All this is possible just by uploading a set of email addresses or phone numbers into the Facebook Ads platform, and the team who have developed this system have sent out an assurance that your customers’ data is totally secure, as everything uploaded is turned into a string of code before being processed. This new system adds a whole new dynamic to the Facebook ads platform, and there are a wide range of possibilities, making it something that every business should sit down and consider.

For more information about using custom audiences visit the Facebook help centre at


By Oliver Springate

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