Social Media Advertising: How To Get Better Results

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

Wasting ad money is too easy without custom audiences. Social media advertising without custom audiences means your targeting is likely too broad or at least not good enough. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Tik Tok, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all allow you to build custom audiences.

Social Media Advertising

What are custom audiences?

Use your list of customers, website visitors, app users, and people who engage with you on social media. Add this list to your social platform to create the most successful advertising.

Why and how can you create effective ad campaigns with custom audiences?

How do you use custom audiences in social media advertising?

Facebook (now Meta) and Instagram made custom audiences famous. Tik Tok also calls them custom audiences.

Snapchat refers to them as Snap Audience Match (SAM) Audiences. Twitter calls them tailored audiences. Pinterest also has an audience-targeting feature that works the same way. LinkedIn calls them matched audiences.

Why should you use custom audiences?

Anyone who’s opted in to send them ads 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 list with their social media profiles. Mobile ad IDs are the best way to do this. Apple phones call them “IDFA” but 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 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.

This isn’t 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 should include permission to advertise.

Social Media Advertising

Also, choose the right-sized audience. Most social platforms require a minimum of 1000 people. While many ad campaigns target 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.) Make sure first and last names are in separate columns.

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

Most social platforms allow you to build lookalike audiences. Once you upload your list, the platform will find other people with the same demographic info and interests. This increases your audience size. Targeting these additional people may somewhat decrease your conversion rate, but it will increase something very valuable – your brand awareness.

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

Each 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 text for the social platform you are using. Use the following list to help you get started:

Facebook and Instagram



Tik Tok



How to create custom audiences on Facebook (and the simple steps for all the other platforms too)

Make sure your list of people is clean and privacy compliant. Then you 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 own user profiles. Matching entries become your new custom audience. For security, the platform deletes your original list.

You now have the option to build an even larger ad campaign by creating a lookalike audience.

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.

Social Media Advertising

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 in or near that store. This is how to grab your competitor’s customers.

Use lookalike audiences to get more people to download your app. App users become customers.

Businesses that sell high ASP (average selling price) items need custom audiences. People must see your ads multiple times before they will buy. Catch them before they buy and make them aware of your brand. After all, they probably won’t buy the same item again for years.

A Mexican restaurant chain used custom audiences to get a 67% lift in customers. A hotel group used custom audiences to reduce ad costs by 131% while doubling the number of people clicking their ads. A mattress company increased clicks by 1600% by targeting mobile users with social ads.

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. Create custom audiences with the data you’ve collected. Add lookalike 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 great advantage.


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