Setting Up An Audience For Facebook Advertising


by jacob marrero


There are a million different ways to try and get in front of your customer. There is brand marketing, influencers, print, Super Bowl ads… However, we want to talk to you about just one really efficient, trackable, and effective way to reach qualified potential customers - paid Facebook Advertising. Leveraging Facebook’s wide targeting potential and your website traffic you can create a set of ads that drive your customer down the marketing funnel, creates trust, and drives conversion. We will be walking you through all the different types of audiences you can create and what we think is the best way to go about it.


The first step in creating meaningful performance and driving positive results for a strong paid strategy is making sure that you are targeting the right audience. You can have the best creative and the smartest copy and your ad can still be a dud. Nothing sucks more than to see your hard work perform poorly.


When we refer to creating an “audience” we mean a group of people you want to target with a Facebook Ad. Any ad you create will only be served, meaning shown, to individuals who meet the criteria you set up. The variety of targeting available to you is impressive. Facebook has built a massive advertising machine and it’s only going to get smarter and smarter (meaning knows more and more about you).


We caution you not to get distracted by all the bells and whistles, but rely on your data when building audiences! It’s very easy to say, “I know my customer, they wear ‘x’ brand and do ‘x’ activity, the list of descriptors goes on. However, you want to build audiences on facts, not opinions. Trust us, it was hard to let go of those preconceived notions about who we were targeting. They might not be completely wrong, just make sure you the data to back it up.


So we would like to walk you through the process we use to build audiences and what we are testing at Matte Black! 


The platform has a couple of really useful tools I want to introduce you to first before we get started on the nitty gritty.



The first tool is the Asset Library, which you can find in your Business Manager. In the Asset Library you can store videos, locations, images, product catalog and most importantly, your audiences. This is a great place to see which audiences you have created, share your audiences, or build new ones!



The second tool is the Audience Insights page. This page allows you to get actual insight into “potential audiences” that you would use on Facebook. Now it only allows you to see certain data that keeps their users anonymous, but still very helpful in providing data for your audience building.


The easiest way to use this tool is to input the interest and demographic data of the audience that you want to target. Facebook will then spit out the actual data associated with this audience group. The most useful way to use the audience insights is to leverage any custom audiences that you have and see the data behind those people.



The last tool that will help you is the Facebook Pixel. The Facebook Pixel is a piece of JavaScript code for your website that enables you to measure, optimize and build audiences for your ad campaigns. Using the Facebook Pixel, you can leverage the actions people take on your website across devices to inform more effective Facebook advertising campaigns.


This is super helpful and the most important tool because it allows you to reach back out to people who already know you, dramatically increasing your ability to convert a sale, rather than going after a cold audience who has no idea who you are. By being able to reach out to people who have visited your website, you are able to reach an audience that already has a relationship with you. At the very least they will recognize that they have visited your site and are familiar with your product.


We don’t recommend spending a single dollar on any ad spending if you don’t have your Pixel set up on your website. The data gathered by the Pixel is paramount to your success. Here is a guide on how to get it set up.


Now that you know what tools are available to you to plan out your audience, here are the different types of audiences you can create and target.

Different Types of Audiences

Custom Audiences

Custom Audiences are often the most qualified, and because of that they are the smallest. Don’t be afraid of having a small custom audience, in most cases these custom audiences drive more conversions than any other type.


There are four different types of custom audiences you can create. These audiences allow you to reach people who have a relationship with your business, whether they are existing customers or people who have interacted with your business on Facebook or other platforms.

  1.  Customer File - Any sort of list that you own with customer information. This can be people who have bought something from you over the last year from your Shopify site, your MailChimp email list, or any other sort of list of info of your customer.
  2. Web Traffic - Any person who has visited your website over the past 180 days can be put into an audience.
  3. App Activity - Any person who has downloaded, engaged, spent any sort of time in your app can be put into an audience.
  4. Engagement on Facebook - This is the newest one and a growing favorite. Any person that has engaged with a video, lead ads (forms), canvas ads (longform storytelling ads), or your Facebook page can be put into an audience.

The amazing part about all of this, is that all of these audiences are already way more qualified than any interest based targeting that you could create, we will explain interest based targeting in more detail below under Saved Audiences.


We suggest starting off testing a few different of these custom audiences to see which of these are more engaging. Make sure to have a large enough sample size for a thorough test. You can’t get away with $5 per day.


Lookalike Audiences

The second best type of audience is a Lookalike Audience. This audience requires a pre-existing data set like a email list, web traffic from the pixel, etc.


A “Lookalike Audience” is an audience that you can build off data you have collected through your Pixel, email list, web traffic, custom audience, or Facebook Page. From this data Facebook finds people who share the same interests, but don’t know who you are. Therefore, creating an audience that looks like yours. The hope is that if someone shares similar interests, they would also be interested in your product.


Saved Audiences

Last, but certainly not least is the Saved Audience. These audiences allow you to break into new markets, reach a wider group of people, or a much more niche group of people depending on which interests and behaviors you target. Although much more flexible, they are less reliable. For example, if you’re a coffee brand you can target people who like Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee, and Folgers. It will then create an audience of people who have expressed interest in those brands and serve your ad to them.


The interest targeting feature can be a bit overwhelming. We suggest using this tool to create large, broad audiences that would allow you to find people interested in your product or service. Once they have clicked on your ad and have been driven to your website, you can use the Facebook Pixel to create a new audience of more qualified potential customers that already know you.


Now It’s Your Turn!

We suggest testing all of these ads to get a solid understanding of them. An easy way to test the different audiences is to run the same exact ad to all the different audiences and see what data you get back. Just make sure that you have a large enough sample size of people reached to really see how well the ads actually performed.


Good luck testing!