facebook custom audiences ios 14

How to Create Facebook Ads Custom Audiences Post iOS 14

There’s no doubt that the iOS 14 update has changed how we do certain things with Facebook ads.

That’s because the iOS 14 update impacts the amount of data Facebook is able to collect outside of it’s own platform. Some types of custom audiences aren’t working as well as they used to, so it’s time to adjust our campaigns.

Facebook ads can still deliver fantastic results, but new strategies are required to get the most out of the Facebook ad platform post iOS 14.

The good news is that because we have an ad agency and run ads for clients as well as ourselves, we’re able to test a lot of stuff and work out what works quickly. Today, I’m going to show you one of the big changes we’ve been implementing. We’ve added several new custom audiences to our usual mix.

I’m going to show you how to set up the custom audiences we’re using now step by step in my example Facebook ad account.

Creating a Custom Audience in the Facebook Ads Platform

create a custom audience

Please remember that this is an example ad account and not one that I use to run live campaigns. There’s a lot of demonstration related stuff in here that you don’t need to worry about.

Let’s go through the process. Start by navigating to Audiences and clicking the Create Audience button. Then select Custom Audience.

Create a custom audience

This will give you a lot of options to choose from.

Choices for custom audiences

Custom audiences consist of people that have already interacted with your business before in some fashion. They may be existing customers, people who have interacted with an ad, people who have watched a video, or one of many other options.

The screen above is where you find the different types of custom audiences that you can create.

In this guide I’m going to highlight the custom audiences that we’ve used the most in the past and I’ll also be adding in a few others that can help you get better results after the iOS 14 update.

Uploading an Email List to Create a Custom Audience

The first option we’re going to look at is uploading an email list. In Facebook this is called a customer list and you can upload your existing email list of customers or prospects using this function.

Upload an email list

There are a number of different ways that you can upload an email list. If you use Mailchimp you can import your list directly and some other autoresponder services have functionality that will sync your list directly to Facebook. But most people just upload their list. Facebook will walk you through this process step-by-step. It’s fairly simple.

Facebook will match your list to its database

When you upload your list to Facebook they will match the people on your email list to the user profiles on Facebook and Instagram.

If you can, you should separate your list into two different custom audiences.

  1. One list that contains subscribers who haven’t bought from you previously.
  2. Another list that contains subscribers who HAVE bought from you previously.

If you have these lists, then go ahead and upload them. They can be added into your retargeting mix and you can create lookalike audiences from them.

If you don’t have a list yet because you are just starting out or never built one, you can skip this step until you do. Everyone starts without an email list, so don’t feel like you have to have one.

Using Website Visitors to Create a Custom Audience

The next custom audience that you should set up is your website visitors custom audience. In order to track your website visitors you’ll need to have a Facebook Pixel installed on your website.

Website custom audience

Resource: If you don’t know how to install a Facebook pixel on your website please see my post “How to Install The Facebook Pixel on a Website (Including WordPress).”

Typically we will set the website custom audiences section to track all website visitors over 180 days.

create a website custom audience

That’s the largest custom audience you are going to get from website visitors and since the iOS 14 update, having a larger, broader custom audience is working better than narrower, more targeted custom audiences. Even with very large audiences, Facebook is very good at working out who is likely to buy within an audience.

Website visitors make a fantastic audience to be able to advertise to. These are folks that we know visited your website and are much more likely to buy or become a lead than people who have never interacted with your business before.

That’s why retargeting can be so effective and it’s why you want to use custom audiences as an important part of your Facebook ad campaigns.

180 day retention

Before the iOS 14 update these would have been the main custom audiences that we would be looking to advertise to:

  1. Buyers from our list
  2. People from our list who haven’t bought
  3. Website visitors

Generally speaking, these three audiences are going to be your warmest audiences and are the easiest to convert.

There are some exceptions to this. For instance, if your website is generating hundreds of thousands of visitors a month we may get more specific on the website custom audience or if you have an app we may look at creating custom audiences from app activity.

You always have to think through your business and test things to get to the best solution for your particular needs.

Why We’re Using Additional Audiences

Before the iOS 14 update the three main audiences I’ve already gone over were our best performing options the majority of the time. But since Apple now blocks Facebook from collecting a lot of data on most iOS devices, website based audiences have gotten smaller and less effective for many people.

The answer that we’ve found is to use audiences that are generated IN APP on Facebook or Instagram. Because those audiences are often bigger and unaffected by the iOS 145 update.

We’ve found the following in Facebook custom audiences to be highly effective when added to the original three.

Video View Custom Audiences

If you use video content on Facebook, then you can set up custom audiences for people who engage with your video.

Important: There are a lot of “in app” targeting options that are for events that happen on Facebook and Instagram. These are becoming more important to use because the iOS14 update means that most Apple users aren’t sending data back to Facebook for tracking once they leave Facebook or Instagram. But Facebook can still track every bit of data that happens on both Facebook and Instagram.

Video custom audiences

When you are using the video option you can create a custom audience from people that have watched a video of yours on Facebook.

Creating video custom audiences

There are a lot of different engagement options to choose from. I almost always want people who are more engaged, because they are likely to be warmer prospects and more likely to buy or engage.

I’ll usually select people that have either watched 25% or 50% of a video or number of videos.

25% or 50% video view

If your video is longer you probably want to go with a 25% video view audience, and if it’s shorter you probably want to go with the 50% video view audience option. If you have a very short video that’s under a minute long than you may even want to go with the 75% option.

Once you’ve determined your percentage, you need to select which videos you want to use to build your video view custom audience from. You can go with all of them or select specific videos.

choose your video

I’d recommend setting your retention for 365 days.

365 day retention

The long time frame of 365 days with the higher time spent on the videos seems to be a sweet spot. Many people in this audience will at least remember your brand, but it makes the audience big enough for Facebook to optimize well.

Once you’ve selected these parameters give your audience a name and press Create Audience.

Lead Form Custom Audiences

If you run lead generation campaigns directly on Facebook, then you should always make a custom audiences from people who interacted with your lead form.

Lead form audiences

There are several options to choose from including people who opened the form, people who opened but didn’t submit the form, and people who opened and did submit the form.

Anyone who opened the form

These targeting options allow you to get very granular, but I recommend starting out with anyone who opened your lead form. Once you’ve selected that option, then you need to select the form and use the maximum 90 days retention for this type of custom audience.

90 day retention

Then you want to name your audience and create it.

Instagram Account Custom Audiences

If your business is active on Instagram and you have a following there, you can create an audience based on that interaction.

Instagram account audiences

There are several different targeting options to choose from here, but the one that most people should go with is “Everyone who engaged with your professional account.”

everyone who engaged with your professional account

This will give you the largest possible custom audience which is what you usually want. The exception is if you have a massive following on Instagram, then you may want to try something more specific.

For this type of custom audience you should use a retention of 365 days. Then you can go ahead and create the Instagram custom audience.

Facebook Page Audience

The last type of custom audience that I’m going to show you today is one made from the engagement on your Facebook page.

Facebook page

Just like with the Instagram account there are a bunch of options here. Most people are going to want to go with the option “everyone who engaged with your Page”.

Everyone who engaged with your page

This will give you a nice broad custom audience to work with for your campaigns. We’ll also set the retention to 365 days for this type of audience.

Other Audience Options

For the majority of business the custom audiences that I’ve gone over above will be what you want to create and use in your retargeting campaigns and to build your lookalike audiences from.

But there are other options. I won’t be going over them all in this guide, however if you run an event based business or have an app then you can try out the options related to those types of business. It never hurts to poke around the interface and test things out.

More Free Facebook Ads Training

To help business owners succeed with Facebook ads I’ve created a FREE webinar training that you can register for here.

Free Facebook ads training

When you attend this webinar you’ll learn:

  • 3 different Facebook ad strategies that we use every day. These strategies have generated millions of dollars in revenue and are tried and proven to work.
  • How to customize the Facebook ads strategy to your particular business. There is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to Facebook ads.
  • How Facebook and Instagram have changed and how to adjust your ad strategy to what works in 2021.

Video Training on Creating Custom Facebook Ads Audiences Post iOS 14

In this video I go over custom audiences step by step and explain why you need to update your strategy since the iOS 14 rollout.

The Bottom Line on What’s Needed Now With Facebook Custom Audiences

There is no doubt the the iOS 14 update created the need to change some of our approaches for advertising on Facebook. Facebook can’t get a lot of data from Apple users, which means the audience pools from places like your website are going to be smaller.

That’s why it’s become far more important to include custom audiences from within Facebook and Instagram. Those custom audiences include video views, lead forms, your Instagram account, and your Facebook pages.

Adding these custom audiences into the mix can often help you improve your Facebook ads performance.