Facebook Custom Audiences – The Value?

With Social Media’s importance growing at a tremendous rate, Facebook left no stones unturned in the year 2014! We saw a host of features being rolled out by Facebook, some of which proved to be a real benefit for marketers.

One such feature was Facebook Custom Audiences that was introduced in September 2014. Facebook advertising had one major concern; “AmI really reaching the right audience?”

With the release of Facebook Custom Audiences, this was the solution to all the concerns a marketer had.

What are Facebook Custom Audiences?

It took me a little while to actually sum up what Facebook Custom Audiences really is, because it contains a lot of small but important components. If I had to split it up in parts, this is what it would look like:

  1. Custom Audiences
  2. Website Custom Audiences
  3. Lookalike Audiences

Custom Audiences

A Custom Audience is an ad targeting option that lets advertisers find their existing audiences among people who are on Facebook. Audiences can be defined by Email Address, Facebook UIDs, phone numbers,app user IDs, Apple’s Advertising Identifier (IDFA), or Android’s advertising ID.

All you need to do is upload this list on Facebook and let Facebook do the work for you. Once your list is updated by Facebook you can go about creating ads for your campaign in the regular way.

Website Custom Audiences

One of my favorite features that are offered by Facebook is Website Custom Audiences. We always see a lot of visits to our Website but we often fail to recognize that these users might be interested in our product and services but just need a little push. Here’s where Facebook plays an important role:

Dig into your Google Analytics and figure out which page of your website drives a lot of traffic. Once you have that figured all you need to do is place a small pixel (code) onthat page and then let Facebook do all the work.

What Facebook really does is, when a user lands on the page where you had added the pixel it gets triggered. The next time the user logs on to Facebook he/she will definitely see your Ad.

Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audiences allow advertisers to target Facebook users who are similar to their customers on Facebook

This is great for expanding the net since small customer lists of 1,000 people could often be turned into Lookalike Audience targeting capabilities exceeding 1 Million users.

The Impact

I experimented with Facebook Custom Audiences for one of our Clients; the results were great considering we had a small budget to experiment with the features.

We used this advertising feature around Diwali, as this is the peak season for mega sales etc. we had expected the Cost per Lead to be slightly higher than the usual.

The following was expected from this campaign:

  1. Reach out to existing Dormant Traders
  2. Opening a New Demat A/c

As this was a Brokerage Firm we centered our theme around Muhurat Trading (it’s considered to be an auspicious day in the Stock Markets to begin trading which usually falls on the 3rd day of Deepawali).

Custom Audiences made absolute sense to reach out to Dormant Traders.

The following figures were recorded for Custom Audiences:

We also wanted to reach out to New Users who would be interested in opening a Demat A/c. Lookalike Audiences played a perfect role here and thus garnered us a lot of leads.

The following figures were recorded for Lookalike Audiences:

The cost per lead for Custom Audiences was exorbitantlyhigh when compared to Lookalike Audience. This was mainly due to:

  1. The List that was provided to us contained just about 40,000 email ID’s
  2. Facebook could only match 5000 of these and therefore this led to an increase in the Cost per Lead

Key Points to Remember

  1. Once you place the Pixel on your landing page, make sure you do a test run before making your ads live.
  2. Keep a daily check on your Ad spends and Cost per Lead. Pause ads that don’t work.
  3. While choosing the audience size for Lookalike Audience, make sure that your size is somewhere in between the given range. If the audience size is too large you might end up targeting users who are not relevant and thus end up paying more money.


Although I did not get a chance to experiment with Website Custom Audiences, I believe that this would have worked better for the client as they draw a lot of traffic to their Website.

With Custom Audiences, Facebook has opened new doors for marketers and as such this will prove to be beneficial in the long run.

Have you experimented with Facebook Custom Audiences? Did you get the desired results? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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