Facebook Custom Audiences: How to Target Facebook Ads to Your Email List

Facebook custom audiencesMy fiance was shopping for some shoes online recently, looking for a specific style and color that she had seen in a magazine.

After visiting several different sites, she finally found what she was looking for on Nordstrom’s website.

She added the shoes to her shopping cart then continued looking at other things on the site before checking out.

As she continued her euphoric foraging through the site, she was brought back to reality by the sound of her iPhone telling her she had a new text message. It was one of her clients asking if she could meet a little early for their appointment.

She agreed, shut down her computer and was out the door within the next few minutes, the shoes still sitting in her Nordstrom’s cart.

When she went on Facebook later that day, she noticed a Nordstrom ad for the exact shoes she had been shopping for earlier.

In her email in-box, there was an email “newsletter” from Nordstrom (she’s on their email list) showing the same shoes with an offer for free shipping.

Having been thoroughly reminded of her online shopping earlier in the day, she clicked on the email offer and bought the shoes.

Creepy? Maybe a little.

An effective form of advertising, though? You bet it is.

Retargeting: the Silent Salesman

Nordstrom had successfully “retargeted” my fiance with relevant advertising because they knew she had added shoes to her shopping cart yet didn’t complete the purchase.

How did they know this?

In simple terms, retargeting is when a website installs a cookie on your browser when you visit their site. If you leave without buying something or completing a form, for example, you’ll later see ads when you’re surfing the Internet that remind you about their website.

It’s a way to re-engage website visitors and hopefully turn them into customers.

And, just like it did for my fiance, it works. Especially on Facebook because you have tons of targeted potential customers.

Sound like something you want to try for your own business?

Heck yea!

You don’t have to be a big brand like Nordstrom or Zappos to do this form of advertising on Facebook.

In fact, anyone with a subscriber or customer email list can do a form of retargeting on Facebook.

Facebook Custom Audiences

Facebook custom audiences allow you to use information that you have about your existing audience, like their email address, to target Facebook ads to them.

You can also use their phone number or Facebook user ID, but I’m going to focus on using email addresses.

Here’s how it works:

Say you have an email list of 5,000 people.

Download that list from your email provider (AWeber, Mail Chimp, etc.) into a single column CSV or TXT file.

You can then upload that file into Facebook’s Power Editor as a “custom audience.”

Facebook cross-checks your email list to their own database of user emails. So, of your 5,000 emails, Facebook might match 3,000 of them which you can then use to target ads to.

Now, when you’re setting up your ads and selecting the targeting, choose the name of the custom audience you created.

Facebook custom audiences

Your ads will then only be shown to this audience.

Pretty cool, right?

This allows you to be HIGHLY targeted in your advertising since you’ll be showing your ads to people on your email list.

For example, you could run an ad campaign to reach your current email subscribers offering them a special discount on your video course.

Or you could segment your email list and show each segment a unique set of ad messaging.

I like to refer to using custom audience targeting as a way to “retarget” your email list, as we discussed earlier.

They already know you and are engaged with your brand. This allows you to stay top of mind when they are on Facebook.

Heads-Up When Using Custom Audiences

Facebook takes the privacy of its users seriously.

Since you’re using people’s email addresses to target Facebook ads to them, Facebook wants to be sure you’ve alerted your subscribers that you may be doing this (like in your Privacy Policy).

This, among other things, is part of Facebook’s Custom Audience Terms and before creating your first custom audience, you have to agree to the terms.

You only have to do it once but be sure and read through those before using this feature.

Step-By-Step Video to Get You Awesome Results

I’ve seen some amazing results so far using custom audiences, with click-through-rates (CTR) that are 4% and above.

Yes, 4%. That’s crazy good considering the average Facebook ads CTR is 0.04%.

The following video will take you through exactly what you need to know about using custom audiences.

I’d love to hear from you. Have you tested custom audiences yet? If not, do you plan to now? Let me know in the comments below!

4 Responses to Facebook Custom Audiences: How to Target Facebook Ads to Your Email List

  1. Kevin says:

    Thanks for the great tips Rick.. and also for taking the time to email me personally with the audio answer about interest targeting. I had some trouble exporting my list from 1 shopping cart, but figured it out and am excited to try this strategy. Facebook advertising has so many creative and versatile ways to build your audience. It’s been HUGE for my business over the past several months. Looking forward to checking out more resources on your blog. thanks again.. Kevin

    • Rick Mulready says:

      You bet, Kevin. Glad the content is helpful and even happier to hear FB ads have helped your business so much!

  2. Perry says:

    Hi Rick! Thanks for all the amazing content. I’m falling down the rabbit hole that is Facebook Ads and I find myself on your website almost every day.

    Quick Question: I have a Facebook pixel that I’ve already installed. Can I build a custom audience from that? Or will I need to create a new one specifically to build an audience?

    The only option I see for my existing pixel is to create a Lookalike audience.

    Thanks again!

    • So when it comes to pixels, there are two kinds — conversion tracking and website custom audience.

      You can create a Lookalike audience out of the conversion tracking pixel. I think what you’re talking about, Perry, is building a website custom audience which you’ll need to place a website custom pixel on your website and then start creating audiences from that.

      Hope that helps!

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