With more than 2 billion monthly active  users, Facebook has grown to become the kingpin of social media platforms. No matter what type of business you’re running, Facebook has an audience for you.
Facebook’s Advertising platform provides tons of Ad targeting options that enable you to precisely define your target audience and reach them, no matter where they’re located, what they do or which device they use. Custom Audiences is one such amazing targeting feature.
If you haven’t tried it yet, Custom Audiences are lists of Facebook users who have interacted with your business in the past and are part of your audience. They may be your existing customers, blog readers, website visitors, or even your top clients. All you need to do is simply provide Facebook a list of user emails, user IDs, or phone numbers and it will automatically create a custom audience for you.
The cool thing about Custom Audiences is that it allows you to reach your website visitors, customers & email subscribers when they’re on Facebook, and engage them with your Facebook Ads. Once you provide a list of target users to Facebook, it will automatically find them in its massive user base and display your Ad.
This enables you to not only promote your business to the right people but also improve click-throughs & conversions, as well as optimize your Ad spend.
Here are 5 Ways you can use Custom Audiences to increase the reach of your Facebook Ads.
1. Target users who don’t open your emails
How can you reach people who don’t read your emails?
You can upload a list of all your subscribers who haven’t opened your emails, to a create custom audience. Then target them with their own Ad campaign which contains the same message that you had sent in your email.
This way they’ll see your message in their news feed and you’ll be able to reach them, even if they missed your emails.
2. Target LinkedIn connections
Did you know that you can reach your LinkedIn connections using Facebook Ads?
In LinkedIn, you can download a list of all your connections as a CSV file, along with their email addresses. You can use this list to create a custom audience for your Facebook Ads.
This is a great way to drive your LinkedIn connections to your website and persuade them to subscribe to your blog, try out your products & services, or even make a purchase.
If you run a B2B business, it’s a useful way to reach prospective clients and nurture leads.
3. Turn trial users into customers
If you have a product or service that offers free trials, you can use custom audiences to reach out to those trial users who haven’t subscribed to your product or service yet.
From your email list that contains all the sign ups, you can remove the emails of all those people who are now your customers. This will leave you with a list of emails of those people who have trialed your product or service but haven’t subscribed yet.
You can use this list to create a custom audience, whom you can target by providing discounts and offers, to subscribe to your products & services.
Here’s a great example of how Graze, a healthy-snack delivery service, uses this tactic to reach trial users who haven’t subscribed yet, by thanking them for considering their service and offering an incentive become a paying customer.
4. Target traffic sources separately
Did you know that you can even create a custom audience based on which page people have visited?
This is a very nifty feature that you can use to target each traffic source individually.
First of all, create separate landing pages for each source of traffic (e.g Google, Facebook, Twitter) and then create separate custom audiences, one for each landing page.
Finally, create Ad campaigns based on the landing pages that people visit on your site.
Once you install the Facebook remarketing code on your site, when a person visits your page, it informs Facebook about it. Now when the same person uses Facebook, he is shown your ad.
Although remarketing ads appear a little creepy at first, they are one of the most effective ways to reach out to people who have recently visited your website.
How is this related to custom audiences? Well, remarketing campaigns only work on custom audiences.
Here are some ways you can use remarketing to retarget your website visitors
1. Target people who haven’t visited your website in a while
You can create a custom audience to target people who haven’t visited specific pages on your website, in awhile.
For example, if you run a grocery store, you can use custom audiences to retarget people who haven’t visited your site in the past couple of weeks, to remind them about their weekly shopping as well as loyalty points.
2. Drive more revenue from blog
If your blog gets a lot of monthly traffic, you can create a custom audience to retarget them, to sell your products & services. For example, a women’s fashion blog can retarget its readers, to sell its own range of products (hair dryers, lipsticks, etc) or even third party products (using affiliate marketing).
You can even create separate custom audiences to retarget your readers with separate ad campaigns, based on the type of content they read on the blog. For example, people who read about hair styling would be retargeted with hair products.
3. Upsell to your existing customers
You can create custom audiences to retarget to your existing customers, to bring them back to your website, and upsell them.
For example, if you run an online store that sells laser printers & accessories, you can retarget all users who have purchased a printer from your site (viewed the payment confirmation page), with Facebook Ads about printer ink cartridges, or maintenance service.
4. Reduce Cart Abandonment
Similarly, you can also retarget users who visited your checkout page but did not complete the purchase, that is, abandoned their shopping carts.
5. Product remarketing
Recently, Facebook has launched an amazing new ad format called Dynamic Ads, that allows you to dynamically change Ad contents, based on users’ behavior on your website.
It’s a great way for E-commerce businesses to show carousel ads of their products, which the user just viewed on their site.
It allows them to promote all their products in a single ad campaign, and since the ads feature products that the users have seen before, it leads to better conversion & click-throughs.
In fact, Facebook’s Dynamic Ads use the same remarketing code as custom audiences, with minor customization to pull in the product ID.
6. Action-based targeting for Apps
Custom audiences also allow you to create retargeting lists comprising of users who have completed specific actions on your app.
For example, if you have a food ordering app, you can create custom audiences to retarget people who have ordered using your app in the past 14 days, offering them a 10% discount on their next order, if they order today.
It’s a good idea to install the Facebook Pixel  on your website/app, even if you don’t intend to use Custom Audiences immediately. This will enable Facebook to gather adequate data about your website visitors, and optimize your ad reach, whenever the opportunity arises.
In fact, you can even create some basic custom audience lists simply to get an idea of their reach and ad budget.
About the Author
For more than 8 years, Sreeram Sreenivasan has worked with various Fortune 500 Companies in areas of Business Intelligence, Sales & Marketing Strategy. He regularly writes at the Fedingo Blog  about a wide range of business growth topics. He’s also the Founder & CEO of Ubiq BI , a cloud-based BI Platform for SMBs & Enterprises.