Skip to main content
Business woman working on het Facebook Audience Targeting

When Facebooking, people aren’t always intentionally looking for products or services. That makes the platform more of a pull-bases channel compared to, for example, Google Search Advertising. On Facebook, advertisements get “pushed” on people’s Facebook feed, in their Messenger inbox or between their stories. Whereas, when you are searching on Google, the advertisements you receive, tap exactly into what you’re searching for at that specific time. That’s why it’s incredibly important to target the right audiences for your campaign and to align them with your objectives, in order to show them the most relevant ads and make your investment worthwhile. When scrolling through your Facebook homepage, you might wonder: “How did I end up being targeted with ads of, for example, sustainable fitness clothing?”  Well, wonder no longer. Here’s how it works...

Facebook business manager mock up

Audience targeting options in Facebook Ads Manager fit into every step of the conversion funnel. Not only can you increase brand awareness by reaching new potential customers, the platform offers a wide range of options to target and remarket people who already know your business. This allows you to enhance consideration, encourage conversions and ultimately strengthen client relationships.

Creating a custom audience Facebook business manager

Increase brand awareness with Saved Audiences

Saved Audiences are considered to be “cold prospects” who have not engaged with your brand or business before. Facebook offers a wide range of criteria to define your ideal target group, such as location, language, age, gender, interests, job titles or even competitor targeting. Depending on your business’s offering, you can narrow down your audience or exclude certain groups of people. For example, if you are a brand selling sustainable women’s sports clothes, you can narrow down your audience to people who both like sports and are interested in an ecological friendly lifestyle. Within the objective of generating as much brand awareness as possible, you can exclude people who have  already visited your website or purchased before. This way, you completely allocate your campaign budget towards new potential customers.

Drive consideration and conversion with Custom Audiences

If your campaign objective is to reach, engage or convert people who can be found further in the customer journey, Custom Audiences are the way to go. Custom Audiences consist of people who already know your business based on previous actions, such as liking your Facebook Page, visiting your website, or completing a purchase. The options for Custom Audiences available in the Facebook Ads Manager are customer list custom audiences, engaged custom audiences, website custom audiences or mobile app custom audience.

Editing an audience in facebook business manager
  • Customer list: By uploading a CSV or txt file, identifiers such as email, phone number or address are matched with Facebook profiles. The more identifiers, the more accurate the targeting will be. In order to simplify the set-up, Facebook offers a template for customer lists. Once the audience has been created in the Audience Manager, Facebook will notify you when it is ready to use.
  • Engaged custom audiences: People who have taken actions on Facebook apps and services. This includes people who viewed 3 or 10 seconds of a video you posted, people who filled in a lead-form, engaged with an instant experience/canvas (interactive ad format available for Facebook or Instagram mobile), liked your Facebook or Instagram Business Page or reacted to an Event.
  • Website custom audiences: People who have visited your website or specific landing pages up to 180 days ago. Similar to your saved audiences, you can opt to narrow down the audience or exclude certain landing pages.
  • Mobile app custom audiences: Use your app’s data to target specific audiences. This can be very useful when advertising about new app features or in-app offers, for example. Here it makes more sense to target your ads to people who have already downloaded your app but do not use it that often yet.
Creating a lookalike audience

Grow your audience by creating Lookalike Audiences

Finally, Facebook offers the opportunity to reach more people with a high likelihood of showing interest in your brand by creating Lookalike Audiences. These are audiences similar to your existing customers. Lookalike audiences are based on a specific custom audience (source audience) you created before and based on data pulled in via your pixel (a piece of code on your website that helps you track conversions from Facebook ads), mobile app or Facebook Business Page. Next to picking a specific source audience, you can choose the size and country of your lookalike audience: the smaller the size of the audience, the closer the match.

Not too narrow, not too broad: Potential Reach

Finding a balance between a relevant audience and a good audience size can be challenging. Here, Facebook will help you out during audience creation by showing the “potential reach” barometer and an estimation of daily results. Numbers change according to the different options and criteria you select. For example, your potential reach will grow when you target people aged from 18 to 65 years old, compared to only targeting people from 18 to 35 years old. A key takeaway is to make sure your Facebook audience stays in line with your brand’s target group in order to guarantee successful campaigns, even if this means decreasing your audience size.

Preparing an audience based on an existing customer list

What about GDPR

Last but not least, it’s important to mention how audience targeting, and especially customer lists to create custom audiences, ensure GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance. Here, Facebook uses the concept of “Hashing”, that turns identifiers such as email, phone number,... into randomized code before uploading it to Facebook. This process is irreversible, ensuring all necessary data privacy.  

So, the reason why you received advertisements to buy sustainable sports clothes of a brand you haven’t heard of before, is probably due to your main interests on Facebook, your age, gender, language or country. If you already knew the brand, you might have visited their website or liked their Facebook Page, making you part of the brand’s custom audiences.

To sum up:

  • Define your campaign goal
    • E.g. I want to drive consideration for my products & increase website traffic.
  • Define your target audience
    • E.g. I want to target women between 18 and 28 years old in Amsterdam, people who like our Facebook Page or saw a previous video post and push them to our website.
  • Create the right type of Facebook audiences, based on your campaign goal. 
    • E.g. I create custom audiences of Page engagers and video viewers. I increase my reach by creating  lookalike audiences.

For more information on how to set-up Facebook audiences, visit:

Good luck!

Camille Vervenne,
Performance Marketeer at Wax Interactive, SQLI Group

The talents behind this project

Because teamwork makes the dream work. 

Camille Vervenne

Camille Vervenne

Performance marketeer

Contact us!

Want this for your brand?

Fill in the form or give us a call :

+32 9 329 83 80 

Jobs image

Are you the
digital talent
we are looking for? 

We'd love to get to know you and create memorable stories together! Discover our vacancies! 👇