Facebook Audiences – What they are, and how you can use them

1) What is a Facebook audience, and
2) How can you use it for ads.

Facebook Audience
1) A Facebook Audience is a defined group of Facebook users. You can create audiences based on stuff like age, gender, geography, relationship status, amount of kids, interests, likes. These are called target audiences.

You can also build audiences based on your company’s email- or phone lists. Got a list of newsletter subscribers? Bingo. Facebook will match that list with their data. This is called a custom audience, and it works wonders. Feel like going one step further? Good. You can take the custom audience you just created, and “tell” Facebook you now want a lookalike audience.You can adjust the size of this audience as you go. The smaller the lookalike audience, the more similar to your original list. The larger the audience, the less similarity.

Illustration of step 4

2) Use audiences to narrow the targeting of your ads. We recommend testing various audiences within your product’s or message’s target audience. So if your target is Women 25-45, a nice split will be Women 25-35 and Women 36-45. This will help you increase the relevance of your communication, and thus get cheaper clicks and higher conversion. A campaign can contain many duplicates of the same ad, but with variations in targeting to find the best audience for that exact ad. See split testing for more on this.

Fanbooster Audiencer is a fantastic tool for building custom audiences. Read more about it here.

Privacy FYI:
You’ll never know you who you’re actually reaching among the email list you uploaded. Facebook will just tell you that – say – 70 Facebook users have been identified among the 100 email addresses you uploaded. You won’t know if it’s this guy or that girl.

You’ll need to obtain permission from the owners of the email addresses to market to them, just like with newsletters. A nice way to build audiences with email addresses is to run a contest where you’ll need to give up your email address to participate. This is where you’ll also need to put a checkbox asking for permission to use the email for marketing, like you do with newsletter signups. More on that in Facebook’s own guidelines.