“What’s the secret to better performing ads” is a question I’m asked at least once a day by clients, friends, or folks on Twitter. My follow up question is, “how are you currently leveraging custom audiences?”

Custom audiences are the best way to ensure you’re reaching your ideal audience on Facebook, without barely any work on your end and a super simple setup through using a Custom Audience Pixel.

In addition to reaching a specific audience, the great thing about generating a Custom Audience through a pixel is that Facebook will automatically replenish that audience. For example, if you set an audience to only include visitors who reached the contact us page in the last 2 days then as soon as a visit has reached 3 days ago the user will automatically be removed from the audience. This is all done automatically.

You can also generate a custom audience using a customer list containing email addresses, phone number, of her IDs. A pixel is the most popular method and what we will discuss today.

Over the next few posts I will be covering the gambit of Custom Audience options, from the basic setup in this article to advanced retargeting options and everything in between. If you have a specific question please leave it in the comments below or tweet at me and I’ll incorporate it into a future article.

To get started with Custom Audiences you need access to the following two items:

  • Facebook ads account
  • Website

To generate the conversion pixel navigate to your ads account. The default view will show all of your campaigns. One the left hand menu either ‘Audiences’ or ‘Audiences’ and ‘Custom Audience Pixel’ will be listed.

Facebook is in the process of introducing a new Facebook ads manager, so your menu options may vary slightly.

FB Menu

From Audiences:

On the top right hand side of the screen will be a green ‘Create Audience’ button. Clicking this button will give you the option of generating a Custom Audience, Lookalike Audience, or Saved Audience.

For this step you will want to select the Custom Audience option.

Create Audience

This will trigger a modal on which you will want to select ‘Website traffic’.

WCA Modal

This is where it starts to get interesting. I strongly recommend making on pixel that serves as a catch-all which cover anyone who visits your website and lasts up to 180 days (Facebook max window).

WCA Options

After creating the first pixel it needs to be installed on your site. To generate the actual code tick the checkbox next to the pixel name and under ‘Actions’ select ‘View Pixel’. This will generate the code and give you an option to send the code your developer.

Installing the code

It’s very important that the code is installed in the header before the </head> tag. By loading the code in the header you only have to install it once and then all pages on your site will be included in the pixel.

The code is more reliable when installed in the header also. If the code is installed in the body the pixel may fail to fire if the page does not load for any reason – low bandwith or the user engages with page content prior to it fully loading or such.

You can then go in later on and generate more granular audiences as needed, and since the pixel has already been installed you’ll be able to leverage past traffic and not require any additional development work.


photo credit: Facebook via photopin (license)