The function custom audiences in Facebook is really great and useful. Using custom audiences you can target your ads to a group of people you’ve put together. You can construct a custom audience based on a customer file, website traffic, app activity and engagement on Facebook. These actions provide you a list of people you know are interesed in your business. This blog post explains what custom audiences are and how you can create one yourself based on a client database.

Custom what?

If you already target your ads to a specific audience, you will know that this is very powerful. You can bring so many characteristics into account, that you can even target your ad to only one person (if you’d like to, of course). Thanks to custom audiences, you can target your ads to the people you already have information about because of a specific action they completed (e.g. they bought something in your webshop). Based on that information you can add those people to a group, to which you can target ads to. This principle is very clearly explained by the blog Kissmetrics:


Custom Audiences aanmaken

How to make your own custom audience based on customer database:


Step 1: Sign up for Business Manager (if you are already using this, skip this step)

The create ads, you need to use the business version of Facebook. Go to and click on Get started at the bottom of the page. After that, you click Next. Enter a name for your business, select the primary Page, enter your name and work email address. Click Create Business and you will see a message to welcome you to Business Manager. If you want to give more people access to your account, just go to Add People and follow the steps in that section.

Step 2: Make your custom audience

Within Business Manager you go to the hamburger icon (1) and you choose Audiences (2) in Assets.


Custom Audiences


After that you can open the dropdown menu from Create Audience and choose Custom Audience.

Custom Audiences


Within the following menu choose Customer File.


Custom Audiences


After that you click Choose a file or copy and paste the data. Here you have two options. Firstly you can add a file with email addresses. Facebook only accepts .csv or .txt files. If you collected your email addresses using an excel file, you need to convert this file. You can easily do this by copying the column with the email addresses, after which you paste these into notepad. Save that file and add it to Facebook by clicking Add new file. Next to that, you can also copy and paste the addresses in your customer base, which is even easier than the first option. Just choose Copy and Paste and you know what to do 😉


Custom Audiences


In both casas, you get the message below. Check if the identifiers are correct. When this is the case, you hit Upload & Create.  It is important to note that you will only be able to target ads to people whose email address in your customer base matches the email address used for Facebook.



Step 3: Finishing

When the file is uploaded (this might take a while), you can give your audience a name and add a description. After that, you need to wait about 30 minutes before you can target an ad to that new audience.


 Custom Audiences

Step 4: target your ad to the custom audience

Within Ads Manager, you click Create ad. Below Consideration you go for Send people to your website. With this function you can choose to target your ads for example to a group based on age or gender.

Custom Audiences

From now on, you can choose to target your ad to the custom audience you’ve just made. To do that, you only have to select your custom audience in the bar within Audience.


That’s it, now you are ready to create your custom audience based on your customer base and use it for ad targeting. In a following blog, we will discuss how you can create a custom audience using website traffic. But for now, good luck with your custom audience based on your email database 😉