• Joshua Jankowski

Using Facebook Ads Manager: How to create lookalikes and custom audiences

To get the most out Facebook’s Ads Manager, you’ll need to create and use audiences. These are groups of Facebook or Instagram users that (in Facebook’s own words) “matter to your business”. There are two types of audience that I’m going to cover in this article: custom and lookalike.

As a musician, your custom audiences might be people who have: bought a ticket to one of your gigs, visited your website, or engaged with your social media pages.

Lookalike audiences are groups of Facebook users who “look like” people in your custom audiences; for example they might have similar interests, or be of similar age.


Here’s how to create both!


Custom audiences

As a starting point, we recommend creating four custom audiences, people who have:

  1. Engaged with your Facebook page

  2. Engaged with your Instagram account

  3. Visited your website

  4. Subscribed to your mailing list

Creating a new custom audience, starts in the same way for all four, on the audiences page click the blue button that says ‘Create a Custom Audience’. If you don’t see that button, click the blue button ‘Create Audience’, then select ‘Custom Audience’.


You will then see this window:

Engaged with your Facebook page

  1. Select ‘Facebook Page’

  2. If you have access to more than one Facebook Page, make sure the correct one is selected

  3. Leave the other settings as they are. Below the selected Facebook Page it should read: “Everyone who engaged with your Page in the past 365 days”

  4. Give your audience an easy to understand name - we use the format: “Feed - Facebook eng. - 1y.” but you could also go for something more descriptive like, “Engaged with Feed’s Facebook Page in the last year”

NB. It’s worth remembering that if someone engaged with your Facebook page exactly 1 year before you created this audience, but didn’t engage again, they will be removed from the audience one day after you created it.


Engaged with your Instagram account

  1. Select ‘Instagram account’ (you’ll need either a business or creator account)

  2. If you have access to more than one Instagram account, make sure the correct one is selected

  3. Leave the other settings as they were. Below the selected Instagram account it should read: “Everyone who engaged with your professional account in the past 365 days”

  4. Give your audience an easy to understand name, eg.: “Feed - Instagram eng. - 1y.”

NB. The longest period of time you can select is 365 days. It is not possible to include people who have engaged with your account more than a year ago, but not more recently. Where this is useful however, is in overlaying multiple versions of these audiences, with different time periods. For example, you can create another audience, people who have engaged with your Instagram account in the last week, and exclude them from your ads. That way you don’t pay to reach the people who are most engaged with what you’re doing, and avoid annoying people by showing them your ads too often! This is something that Feed does automatically.

These two audiences are actually created automatically when you create a Feed account, and you are able to use them in your own ads. Many people use Feed alongside their own campaigns to great effect!

Visited your website

Though setting this up is a bit more involved, if you have a website, it is well worth doing.

  1. Select ‘Website’

  2. If you haven’t already, you will be prompted to create a Facebook pixel (a bit of code that lets Facebook know when a Facebook user visits your website)

  3. You’ll then see a familiar screen, in place of the selected Facebook page or Instagram account, you’ll see ‘My first pixel’ (or whatever name you gave it)

  4. Below that, you’ll want to increase the time period to the maximum of 180 days, so that the sentence reads: “All website visitors in the past 180 days”

  5. Give your audience a name, eg. “Feed - Website Visitors - 180d.”

Next you’ll need to add the Facebook pixel to your website. If you use a service like Squarespace, MusicGlue or Wix to manage your website, they each have specific instructions on how to do this.


If you’re able to access the code yourself, Facebook has instructions on how to manually add the pixel code to your website.


Subscribed to your mailing list

  1. Select ‘Customer List’

  2. Prepare a csv with the email addresses of everyone subscribed to your mailing list

  3. Facebook will then ask “Does your list include a column for customer value?”, for this audience select ‘No’

  4. Upload the csv you prepared earlier

  5. Give your audience a name

If you use Mailchimp to manage your mailing list, it is possible to import the email addresses from there.

  1. On the ‘Prepare your customer list’ screen, click ‘Import from Mailchimp’ towards the bottom

  2. Log in to Mailchimp

  3. Click ‘Allow’ when Mailchimp asks your to authorise Facebook Custom Audiences

  4. Select the list that you would like to use as the source of the new audience

  5. Give your audience a name

Lookalike audiences

Now that you have your four custom audiences created, it’s time to create a lookalike audience based on each one. The custom audience becomes the source of the lookalike audience.

  1. The process is the same for each custom audience, tick the box to the left of the custom audience in your list of audiences

  2. Click the ‘Create Lookalike’ button that will appear towards the top

  3. Select the location of your audience, eg. your home country. If you want to target your ads to other parts of the world, you can add multiple countries here

  4. Keep the other settings as they are, so that: number of Lookalike Audiences is 1, and the audience size is set to 1%.

NB. The size of the audience is a percentage of the total population of the selected country (or countries). As an example, if you were creating the lookalike audience based on people who have engaged with your Facebook Page, and had selected the UK as the location, the audience would be the 1% of the UK population most similar to the people that have engaged with your Facebook page.

Again, lookalikes based on the people who have engaged with your Facebook page and Instagram account are something that Feed creates automatically when you create an account.

Using custom and lookalike audiences to target your ads

Your custom and lookalike audiences are now ready to be used in your campaigns to target ads towards the people who are most likely to love what you do.


A good place to start in growing your audience would be to target your ads at the lookalike audiences that are based on the people who have engaged with your Facebook page and Instagram account. The people that have already engaged with your pages will be excluded automatically so you know you are only spending your budget on reaching new people. Again, this is a process Feed does automatically!


We will publish an article about setting up a campaign in Facebook Ads Manager soon, enter your email address below if you’d like us to let you know when it’s ready.


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