Facebook Audiences: Understanding How They Work

Facebook Audiences: Understanding How They Work

“You can’t please everyone”

How many times have you heard and said this in your life?

Like most cliches, the reason it’s so overused is because we know it’s true but we also keep forgetting it.

The same applies when doing business. A lot of us have a product or a service for a particular group of people. Then we think we might be missing out on another group of people so we adjust to make sure we are able to accommodate more and more people. It’s not impossible for this strategy to succeed but it doesn’t happen for a lot of business.

Having a clearly defined target audience is crucial to any business because it allows you to customize your messaging to speak to your defined audiences.

One of the best features of Facebook as an advertising platform is its ability to gain multiple data points from each of its users. Facebook can identify what you are interested in and how you behave based on your actions.

Facebook and its tools can help you define your audience and help you look for people who fall under your defined audience.

In this article, we’ll help you define the 3 main types of audiences under the Audiences tab of Facebook Ads Manager.

Saved Audiences

Saved audiences are audiences you define by their demographics, interests and behaviors.

If you’ve started running Facebook ads, these are the audiences you create in the ad set level.

When creating saved audiences, Facebook allows you to set details about the people you are trying to reach. These details include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Marital Status
  • Education Level
  • Their Interests
  • Their Online Behavior
  • Special Events
  • And many more

This is the stage which tests you in how much you know your target market. This is where the idea of having a well-defined target market is very helpful in the Facebook ad campaign creation process.

Once you’ve set an audience you like, you may now save it, hence the name saved audience. You can then pull it up later once you start setting up your ad campaigns. Having saved audiences saves you time and effort because you won’t have to repeatedly input the audience details for every campaign you create.

Custom Audiences

Custom audiences are one of my favorite features of the Facebook advertising platform. To understand custom audiences better, you need to understand the concept of the Facebook Pixel.

The topic of custom audiences is not quite broad but generally, custom audiences allow you to create audiences based on how people interact with your website, your Facebook page and your posts. It’s like creating buckets where you determine the people who will fall under those buckets depending on what they do. Once a person does your defined action, they automatically fall under the buckets you create.

I know it’s still a bit vague so let’s get a bit more specific. Here are examples of some of the “buckets” you can create with Custom Audiences.

  • People who have bought from you already
  • People who read your blog
  • People who have seen your offers but have not bought
  • People who have checked out of your online store but haven’t purchased
  • People who like and comment on your posts
  • People who watch your videos
  • People who spend the most time on your website

There are numerous Custom Audiences you can create and I won’t be surprised if Facebook continues to come out with more custom audiences.

So what is this for?

One main use of custom audiences is for Remarketing.

Now, this is a whole different concept which we’ll discuss in a different post. But to give you a background on what remarketing is that it is the strategy used by advertisers to reach out to people who have already viewed their website.

How many times have you experienced visiting a website once and then ads about that website follow you around. I personally experience that when booking hotels or shopping online.

Lookalike Audiences

The other main use of custom audiences is for advertisers to be able to create lookalike audiences.

As the name suggests, lookalike audiences are a group of people who are very similar to the people in your existing custom audiences.

As we mentioned, Facebook pixels gather multiple data points from each user. So when you have a custom audience, the pixel is able to analyze the similarities between the people in that bucket and help you find more people like them.

This is a great way to expand your business to more people.

Imagine this scenario. You already have a list of people who are your existing customers. You can create a custom audience with that list of people. Then, by creating a lookalike audience, you are now able to create another group of people who are much like your current customers.

To create lookalike audience, you have to first select a custom audience to target. Then you will select the country where your audience will be built. Finally, you will select between 1% to 10%. This refers to the percentage of the population in the country. I prefer picking the 1% because Facebook will get the top 1% of the selected country’s population who are most like your custom audience.

Another great feature is that lookalike audiences update regularly. Since custom audience buckets are being populated regularly the more people interact with you and your website, the more information it gets and the more refined your lookalike audience will be. The more data your Facebook pixel has, the more effective your campaigns will be.

So don’t fret when your campaign starts slow. Just let it run and let the pixel become smarter.

So to summarize, Facebook allows advertisers to create 3 general audiences:

  1. Saved Audiences – Audiences which are defined by the advertiser
  2. Custom Audience – Audiences which are defined by the actions they take
  3. Lookalike Audiences – Audiences who are similar to your custom audiences


Using these audiences properly can help save you time in your ad campaigns so be sure to use them wisely.

If you have any questions with audiences, go ahead and share them with me and I’ll do my best to help.

Having Difficulties Reaching Your Exact Target Market on Facebook?

We created a worksheet which documents the exact questions our team answers to help us accurately target our audiences for the campaigns we handle.

Leave a Reply

20 − 1 =

Close Menu