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Facebook advertising is quickly becoming a favorite of digital marketers everywhere. There are many reasons for this including:

  1. Cost per click for ads
  2. Interest-based targeting
  3. The creative potential of ads
  4. The fact that everyone uses Facebook

Our team and the marketing agencies we work with have found that Facebook advertising works great for both B2B and B2C campaigns with returns often 3 times greater than the total spend.  When your campaigns are well segmented to the right audiences, Facebook advertising has an awesome return on investment.

Facebook releases new features all the time.  Probably our favorite, one that many businesses are discovering now, is a super powerful feature in Facebook Ads that allows a business to specifically target individual accounts.  Not just a group of special interests, but the actual individual account. You can upload any list of emails (or phone numbers) you want and target them with ads designed specifically for them.  Additionally, you can upload that same list and target a look-a-like audience that Facebook feels has the same persona characteristics as your audience.

Let’s take a look at how to do this in Facebook Ad Manager.

Step 1:  Getting Your Email List Into Facebook Ad Manager

Facebook tracks people based on their email address or phone number that they enter into their Facebook profile when they create an account. Usually, this will be their personal email. Whether it is one they regularly use or not is debatable, but it is generally believed most people use their active email address so that they can receive notifications.

So to target a specific audience, you need email addresses. You will want to get your list and save it to a CSV file (a comma delimited format). If you haven’t done this before, you can put all of your email addresses into Excel then export them to a CSV file that Facebook will recognize.  Here are the steps Facebook recommends:

1. Create a list of either email addresses or phone numbers using your customer data

2. Go to the Audiences tab in Facebook Ads Manager

3. Click the Create Audience button, select the Custom Audience option and then choose Customer List

4. Select Customer File, then select one of the options.  For uploading a file, select “Add customers from your own file”.

5.  Click Upload File first, then select the CSV file you want to upload. Then click next to map your data to their fields so that they understand what you are sending them.  You can also copy/paste in records if you don’t have too many emails.

6. Once you are done, be sure to give this custom audience a unique name you’ll recognize because you will use it later on in your Facebook campaigns.

BONUS HINT:  If you are an independent business consultant or run a small local company, export your contacts from LinkedIn to use in a Facebook Ads campaign like this as a new way to reach your network on Facebook

Once you have finished uploading your list, depending on the size of your list, it will take Facebook up to 30 minutes or so to import. Usually, this import takes no time at all for small lists.

Step 2: Create an Ad Targeting Your Custom Audience

So the secret in this step is not to rehash one of your general ads, but to create something unique to this audience. Remember that segmentation is our friend that drives more leads and sales.  You need to know what the unique characteristics of this audience are in order to convert as many as possible.

So let’s say you run an auto repair business.  Most of your business probably is within a 10-mile radius or less.  Because you have trained technicians on a wide range of vehicles, you want to always have a full garage with everyone working. Sending out a general campaign to everyone may not capture the attention of most people on Facebook. But if you know who the Audi owners are, you can tailor an ad specific to them, especially if the dealership they normally use for service is too far.

You can repeat this type of ad for many different audiences.  You are not limited by Facebook to how many different audiences you can create.  When you are creating an ad for a specific audience, you have to select the audience you have previously created.

So there are literally millions of articles out there on creating great Facebook ads, so we won’t go over the specifics on that but provide you a link to Neil Patel’s article on creating Facebook ads.

Getting to the Point

The point is, don’t simply create a single ad for everyone.  If you have the budget, create multiple audiences you can target with your campaigns to crank up the conversion rates.  The bonus of this is that you will also discover what audiences are the best customers for your paid media campaigns on Facebook.  If you want to be super scientific with discovering the best audiences, you could create the same ad, but use different audiences to narrow down where the best place is to spend your advertising dollars.  Once you’ve discovered your top audiences though, be sure to switch to using campaigns specifically designed for them because generic campaigns will not convert as well.

Step 3: How to Reach New Customers

So what do you do if you want to reach new prospects, not just your existing customers? Or when you don’t have a good list of contacts to work with? There are two very good options for this.

Solution 1: Creating a Look-a-Like Audience

Facebook has a feature called a Look-a-Like audience. This audience type is based on the profiles of the people in your existing list of email contacts.  When you upload a list of email contacts, Facebook knows who these people are, their interests, activity and what they click on.  A Look-a-Like audience will be anyone who closely matches this list you provide that is NOT in your list.

This feature is powerful, but it has some limitations.  Facebook is limited to interests of the audiences, not necessarily any facts. Using the auto repair example, if you upload a list of contacts that own an Audi, Facebook is not going to know other people who actually own an Audi.  Facebook is only going to know people who have expressed an interest in reading about things on Audi. You will pick up a few extra people, but it isn’t a perfect match.

Solution 2: Generating a Precise Target List for Facebook

As awesome as Facebook is at targeting an audience, it is still mostly interest based and not an exact science. To tell Facebook precisely who to target, you have to work outside of Facebook to get the data you need to increase the effectiveness of your Facebook spend and reach the precise target audience.

This Facebook growth hack enables you to do something you can’t do in Google Adwords, which is the precise targeting of prospects. As mentioned, you need email addresses to be able to directly target Facebook user accounts, but simply buying a regional list will give you too many false positive targets.

Get to Know Your Customers

The first step in this growth hack is getting to know your customers and where they live. To gain this information, we can use Lumentis to upload our existing customer records and see where they live.  Below shows a group of customers uploaded into Lumentis.

But all we know are the names and addresses of this list of people. We need to know more details to be able to create a unique prospect list.  By using the report from Lumentis, we can see the general personas of this audience.  On average these households are found to be English speaking homeowners, with a college or higher education, married and a good income.

Knowing this information, we can now apply this to the surrounding area to find additional households with similar characteristics.  Now we can see below new households (blue glow dots are existing customers) that match our selection as high probability target customers.

So now that we have narrowed our audience, we can select a region of households we want to target with our Facebook campaign.  In this case, we are interested in an audience that lives nearby to our existing customers.

Finally, it is simply a matter of downloading these records from Lumentis with their email addresses to insert into Facebook Ad Manager as a custom audience with your custom ad designed for them.  Be sure to create a unique custom audience name so the campaign effectiveness can be tracked easier.



Facebook is HUGE. Pretty much everyone you will want to reach has a profile on Facebook.

Facebook has collected lots of characteristics about everyone which has led to the huge success of their ad platform.

Using custom audiences is a big key to being able to track the effectiveness of campaigns as well reaching new customers.

But Facebook Ad Manager alone by itself doesn’t enable you to target specific Facebook accounts.

Combining Lumentis data with Facebook Ads gives you a new tool you can use to reach new prospects.

Try several custom audiences, because they will not all convert equally as well.

It takes time and effort to find your best audiences, but once you do, you’ll be able to scale much faster and drive new business with less budget.

So how do you reach your audience with Facebook Ads?

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