The ABC’s of Profitable Facebook Advertising Part 1 of 3 – Audiences

Not long ago, I had the privilege of attending a 3-day summit at Facebook Ad Headquarters in Austin, TX.

The room was full of sharp advertisers and larger companies with big ad budgets. I was invited to attend due to the success I had with one of my best clients, Bolder Band Headbands (who at that time won the Shopify Retailer of the Year Award!).

Among many amazing conversations with Facebook engineers and executives, one of the most impactful statements was delivered by the VP of Advertising. His short talk has shaped my entire philosophy on successfully advertising on Facebook.

He said, “You have three main areas that affect how successful you are with Facebook Advertising: Audience, Bidding, and Creative.”

Let’s dig deeper.

Audiences refer to groups of Facebook users. You can build audiences on the fly within Facebook Ad Manager, but the best audiences you should build are called Custom Audiences. Here are the very best Custom Audiences you can build and maintain:


Don’t buy into the notion that Facebook Advertising is just for finding new customers. The highest leveraged, highest responding, and lowest cost people you can target on Facebook are your customers. Every business should maintain an updated list of their customers in their Facebook Ad Account.

The 3 reasons for having a Customer Custom Audience are:

  1. To put offers in front of them. Facebook is a great way to put offers for additional products and services in front of your customer base. The most likely person to buy from you now is someone that bought from you in the past!
  2. To suppress them from seeing prospecting ads. Using exclusions, you can prevent your customers from seeing prospecting ads. This saves you money, but also prevents your customers from being confused as to why they are seeing ads targeted to strangers!
  3. For modeling and use in Lookalike Audiences. Lookalike Audiences leverage the billions of data points Facebook has on their users to help you find the best prospects. All you need to do is create a Lookalike Audience and provide Facebook a list of your customers and they will build an audience of 2.2 million people that look similar to the people on your Customer list. You need to have at least 100 people to create a model.

Advanced Tip: Instead of modeling your entire customer database, create a smaller model audience of your most recent customers (1000-4000), your most frequent customers, and your biggest spenders. We refer to this as RFM which stands for Recency, Frequency, and Money.

Unconverted Leads/Prospects From Your CRM

You are likely building a list of prospects in your CRM (Infusion, Salesforce, Hubspot, Mailchimp, etc.). You should maintain a custom audience of unconverted leads and prospects and serve them ads in addition to sending them email and other marketing.

There are tools that can automate keeping both your Customer audience and Prospect audience on Facebook automatically.


Facebook has the ability to track every user that has interacted with your Facebook assets, such as Posts, Videos, and Page. You want to target people that are engaged with you as they are much warmer than a stranger that has never interacted with you.

Website Traffic

Using a piece of computer code called a Pixel, Facebook is able to track dozens of actions people take on your website—as simple as a visit to a page and as important as someone that made a purchase. It’s very easy to install this code and it’s critical you have it installed in order to optimize your ads, track your ad success, and most importantly, retarget them with ads after they leave your website without making a purchase.

Facebook can track these actions for up to 6 months, which gives you a powerful ability to stay in contact with someone for a very long time after they visit your website.

Detailed Targeting

You also obviously have the ability to build audiences of people based on key demographics like you expect (age, gender, location), but you can also target people based on things they like.

One of the staples of the “Good Ole’ Days” was our ability to really get detailed information about an audience and target them using very small, detailed interests and financial data. However, the presidential election and Cambridge Analytica scandal caused Facebook to pull most of the best data away from advertisers, so the very best advice I can give is to use Lookalikes of your best customers when you run your prospecting ads.

In Part 2 of the article series, I cover the second of our ABC’s – Bidding.

If you need help with building Audiences, please reach out to me below.