Social Media Advertising: How To Win With Custom Audiences

Get the best results from your social media advertising efforts with custom audiences. Create and use them on multiple platforms for more effective targeting!

Social media advertising without custom audiences means your targeting is too broad, too narrow, or just not accurate. Today, we’ll talk about why you should be using custom audiences on every major social media platform.

What are custom audiences?

Make a list of customers, website visitors, app users, and people who engage with you on social media. It’s possible to add this list to your social platform to advertise as effectively as possible.

But how do you do this?

How do you use custom audiences in social media advertising?

Most platforms have some form of custom audience, though some call it by a different name. Facebook and Instagram made the phrase “custom audiences” popular, and TikTok also uses the term.

Snapchat refers to them as Snap Audience Match (SAM) Audiences. Twitter calls them tailored audiences. LinkedIn calls them matched audiences, and Pinterest calls it audience-targeting.

Why should you use custom audiences?

People already in your sales funnel are ideal prospects

Anyone who’s already opted in to your sales funnel is an ideal prospect. Send social ads to this list and you’ll likely get a lower cost per click and a better response rate.

An eMarketer study shows people spend about 4 hours a day looking at their devices. Flurry says people spend most of this time browsing social media. Why not reach your audience where they spend their time?

What kind of data do you need to create a custom audience?

You want to match people on your pre-existing list with their social media profiles. Mobile ad IDs are the best way to do this. Apple phones call them “IDFA,” and Android uses “AAID”.

Don’t have these IDs? Phone numbers, email addresses, companies, or job titles are also helpful. Not all of these are mandatory. Each social platform has minimum requirements. More data just means more matches and more successful campaigns.

What else should you consider when creating custom audiences for social media advertising?

Take privacy seriously. Make sure the people on your list have permitted you to use their info for marketing.

Checking this box isn’t very difficult. Website visitors must agree to your GDPR policy to keep viewing your site. People opt in when they give you their email address or phone number. App users agree to your terms when they installed your app. Terms usually include permission to advertise.

Also, choose the right audience size. Most social platforms require a minimum of 1000 people. While the typical ad campaign targets an audience of about 5000, you can choose an audience that is smaller or larger than this.

Clean, accurate data is also important. For instance, most data comes in CSV or TXT files. Follow the rules of separating your data items with the right delimiter (quotes, spaces, line breaks, etc.), and make sure first and last names are in separate columns.

Clean data means more matches, which gives you a more profitable audience.

Most social platforms allow you to build look-alike audiences. Once you upload your list, the platform will find other people with the same demographic info and interests. This increases your audience size, which is a big plus. Targeting these additional people may slightly decrease your conversion rate, but it will certainly increase your brand awareness, which is very valuable in itself.

What does each social media advertising platform require when you create custom audiences?

Each platform has different requirements. They may want a certain minimum number of people on your list. They also may want a specific file format. You’ll want to check the ad help information for the social platform you are using. The following list can help you get started:

How to create custom audiences on Facebook and other platforms

Make sure your list of people is clean and privacy-compliant. Then, just upload your data. Your internet browser encodes the data before uploading. This added security helps keep others from stealing your proprietary info.

Next, the social platform will match people on your list with their user profiles. The matching entries become your new custom audience. For security, the platform deletes your original list, leaving only the new collection of user profiles.

Then, you may have the option to build an even larger ad campaign by creating a look-alike audience. As previously stated, this might lower conversion rate, but will bolster your total audience and brand awareness.

How can you use a custom audience to build a winning ad campaign?

Retargeting is a cost-effective way to follow up with people. This means your website places a pixel or cookie on the viewer’s device. When the viewer visits other sites, they continue to see ads for your products and services.

Competitive targeting is a great use of custom audiences. Using geoframing, you mark your competitor’s store on a map. This allows you to send ads and offers to people who have shopped at that store. This is how to grab your competitor’s customers.

Custom audiences are great for businesses that sell high ASP (average selling price) items. In general, people have to see your ads multiple times before they’ll buy from you. Catch them before their big purchase and increase the chances that they’ll do business with you.

What does all of this mean for you?

Don’t just blindly use a social platform’s built-in tools to place ads. Collect and upload your own data to that platform before you advertise. If you need some high-quality data, don’t be afraid to give us a call. Create custom audiences with the data you’ve collected. Add look-alike audiences to reach even more people. Use your custom audiences for retargeting, competitive targeting, increasing mobile app downloads, and selling higher-priced items.

Social media advertising is constantly changing. Custom audiences offer you a supreme advantage.


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