Custom Audiences

Our API allows you to build the target Custom Audiences from customer information. This includes email addresses, phone numbers, names, dates of birth, gender, locations, App User IDs, Page Scoped User IDs, Apple's Advertising Identifier (IDFA), or Android Advertising ID.

As the owner of your business' data, you are responsible for creating and managing this data. This includes information from your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. To create audiences, you must share your data in an hashed format to maintain privacy. See Hashing and Normalizing Data. Facebook compares this with our hashed data to see if we should add someone on Facebook to your ad's audience.

You can add an unlimited number of records to an audience, but only up to 10000 at a time. Changes to your Custom Audiences don't happen immediately and usually take up to 24 hours. The number of records you request to remove and/or the number of Custom Audiences your account contains will increase the amount of time it takes to process this request.

Build a Custom Audience

To build a custom audience:

Step 1: Create an empty Custom Audience

Specify subtype=CUSTOM and customer_file_source:

curl -X POST \ -F 'name="My new Custom Audience"' \ -F 'subtype="CUSTOM"' \ -F 'description="People who purchased on my website"' \ -F 'customer_file_source="USER_PROVIDED_ONLY"' \ -F 'access_token=<ACCESS_TOKEN>' \ https://graph.facebook.com/v8.0/act_<AD_ACCOUNT_ID>/customaudiences
'use strict'; const bizSdk = require('facebook-nodejs-business-sdk'); const AdAccount = bizSdk.AdAccount; const CustomAudience = bizSdk.CustomAudience; const access_token = '<ACCESS_TOKEN>'; const app_secret = '<APP_SECRET>'; const app_id = '<APP_ID>'; const id = '<AD_ACCOUNT_ID>'; const api = bizSdk.FacebookAdsApi.init(access_token); const showDebugingInfo = true; // Setting this to true shows more debugging info. if (showDebugingInfo) { api.setDebug(true); } const logApiCallResult = (apiCallName, data) => { console.log(apiCallName); if (showDebugingInfo) { console.log('Data:' + JSON.stringify(data)); } }; let fields, params; fields = [ ]; params = { 'name' : 'My new Custom Audience', 'subtype' : 'CUSTOM', 'description' : 'People who purchased on my website', 'customer_file_source' : 'USER_PROVIDED_ONLY', }; const customaudiences = (new AdAccount(id)).createCustomAudience( fields, params ); logApiCallResult('customaudiences api call complete.', customaudiences);
require __DIR__ . '/vendor/autoload.php'; use FacebookAds\Object\AdAccount; use FacebookAds\Object\CustomAudience; use FacebookAds\Api; use FacebookAds\Logger\CurlLogger; $access_token = '<ACCESS_TOKEN>'; $app_secret = '<APP_SECRET>'; $app_id = '<APP_ID>'; $id = '<AD_ACCOUNT_ID>'; $api = Api::init($app_id, $app_secret, $access_token); $api->setLogger(new CurlLogger()); $fields = array( ); $params = array( 'name' => 'My new Custom Audience', 'subtype' => 'CUSTOM', 'description' => 'People who purchased on my website', 'customer_file_source' => 'USER_PROVIDED_ONLY', ); echo json_encode((new AdAccount($id))->createCustomAudience( $fields, $params )->exportAllData(), JSON_PRETTY_PRINT);
from facebook_business.adobjects.adaccount import AdAccount from facebook_business.adobjects.customaudience import CustomAudience from facebook_business.api import FacebookAdsApi access_token = '<ACCESS_TOKEN>' app_secret = '<APP_SECRET>' app_id = '<APP_ID>' id = '<AD_ACCOUNT_ID>' FacebookAdsApi.init(access_token=access_token) fields = [ ] params = { 'name': 'My new Custom Audience', 'subtype': 'CUSTOM', 'description': 'People who purchased on my website', 'customer_file_source': 'USER_PROVIDED_ONLY', } print AdAccount(id).create_custom_audience( fields=fields, params=params, )
import com.facebook.ads.sdk.*; import java.io.File; import java.util.Arrays; public class SAMPLE_CODE_EXAMPLE { public static void main (String args[]) throws APIException { String access_token = \"<ACCESS_TOKEN>\"; String app_secret = \"<APP_SECRET>\"; String app_id = \"<APP_ID>\"; String id = \"<AD_ACCOUNT_ID>\"; APIContext context = new APIContext(access_token).enableDebug(true); new AdAccount(id, context).createCustomAudience() .setName(\"My new Custom Audience\") .setSubtype(CustomAudience.EnumSubtype.VALUE_CUSTOM) .setDescription(\"People who purchased on my website\") .setCustomerFileSource(CustomAudience.EnumCustomerFileSource.VALUE_USER_PROVIDED_ONLY) .execute(); } }
require 'facebook_ads' access_token = '<ACCESS_TOKEN>' app_secret = '<APP_SECRET>' app_id = '<APP_ID>' id = '<AD_ACCOUNT_ID>' FacebookAds.configure do |config| config.access_token = access_token config.app_secret = app_secret end ad_account = FacebookAds::AdAccount.get(id) customaudiences = ad_account.customaudiences.create({ name: 'My new Custom Audience', subtype: 'CUSTOM', description: 'People who purchased on my website', customer_file_source: 'USER_PROVIDED_ONLY', })

NameDescription

customer_file_source

type: enum string

Describes how the customer information in your Custom Audience was originally collected. Possible values include:

  • USER_PROVIDED_ONLY: Advertisers collected information directly from customers.
  • PARTNER_PROVIDED_ONLY: Advertisers sourced information directly from partners (e.g. agencies or data providers).

  • BOTH_USER_AND_PARTNER_ PROVIDED: Advertisers collected information directly from customers and it was also sourced from partners (ex: agencies).

name

type: string

Custom Audience name

description

type: string

Custom Audience description

subtype

type: string

Type of Custom Audience

Step 2: Specify list of users

To specify the list of users you want to add to your custom audience, POST to the /{audience_id}/users endpoint. Add the following parameters:

ParameterDescription

session

type: JSON Object

Required.

Use session to track if a specific batch of users has been uploaded.


If you have an upload with more than 10000 users, you need to split it into separate batches —each request can take up to 10000 users.


For example:

{
  "session_id":9778993, 
  "batch_seq":10, 
  "last_batch_flag":true, 
  "estimated_num_total":99996 
} 

payload

type: JSON Object

Required.

Includes two fields: schema and data.


For example:

{ 
  "schema":"EMAIL_SHA256", 
  "data":
    [
      "<HASHED_DATA>", 
      "<HASHED_DATA>", 
      "<HASHED_DATA>" 
    ]
}

Inside session, include the following fields:

ParameterDescription

session_id

type: positive 64 bits integer

Required.

Identifier used to track the session. This number must be:

  • generated by the advertiser, and
  • unique within a specific ad account.

batch_seq

type: positive integer

Required.

A number to identify the request listed in the current session. This number must be:

  • sequential, and
  • start from 1.

last_batch_flag

type: boolean

Required.

If set to true, the current request is the last one from the current session. You must mark the last request to let Facebook know this is the last batch.

estimated_num_total

type: integer

Optional.

Estimated total number of users to be uploaded in this session. This is used to improve this session's processing.

A successful return includes a JSON object with the following fields:

FieldDescription

audience_id

type: numeric string

Audience identifier.

session_id

type: integer

The session ID you passed in.

num_received

type: integer

Total number of users received in this session so far.

num_invalid_entries

type: integer

Indicates the number of entries sent with incorrect hashing. Those entries did not return a match and are not added to the custom audience. This is not an exact number, but it represents the number range of users that did not match.

invalid_entry_samples

type: JSON Array of String or Map { string: string }

Up to 100 samples of invalid entries found in the current request.

Share your custom audience with business objects. Learn more here.

Remove Audience Members

Use the same data you used to create an audience. Use the DELETE method, instead of POST.

curl -X DELETE \
  --data-urlencode 'payload={ 
    "schema": "EMAIL_SHA256", 
    "data": [ 
      "<HASH>", 
      "<HASH>", 
      "<HASH>" 
    ] 
  }' \
  -d 'access_token=<ACCESS_TOKEN>' \
  https://graph.facebook.com/<VERSION>/<CUSTOM_AUDIENCE_ID>/users

Or you can add a parameter called method and set it to DELETE in the POST request used to add audience members.

You can remove people from a list with EXTERN_ID, if available:

curl -X DELETE \
  --data-urlencode 'payload={ 
    "schema": "EXTERN_ID", 
    "data": [ 
      "<ID>", 
      "<ID>", 
      "<ID>" 
    ] 
  }' \
  -d 'access_token=<ACCESS_TOKEN>' \
  https://graph.facebook.com/<VERSION>/<CUSTOM_AUDIENCE_ID>/users

You can remove a list of people from all Custom Audiences across your ad account using this end point.

There may be some reasons why this information is not processed. For example if the ad account is not owned by a business account, you have not yet accepted the Custom Audience Terms, or the information does not match with a user. To remove a person, include the same fields as in user update and make a HTTP DELETE call to:

https://graph.facebook.com/<API_VERSION>/act_<AD_ACCOUNT_ID>/usersofanyaudience

Multi-Key Matching

To increase the match rate for your records, provide multiple keys in an array of individual keys, for example [EXTERN_ID, LN, FN, EMAIL]. While you do not need to hash EXTERN_ID, you must hash all personally identifying information, such as emails and names. For details see Hashing and Normalizing Data.

You can provide some or all multi-keys for a record. For details, see multi-key extern id matching.

Add users with multi-key matches

curl \
  -F 'payload={ 
    "schema": [ 
      "FN", 
      "LN", 
      "EMAIL" 
    ], 
    "data": [ 
      [ 
        "<HASH>", 
        "<HASH>", 
        "<HASH>" 
      ], 
      [ 
        "<HASH>", 
        "<HASH>", 
        "<HASH>" 
      ] 
    ] 
  }' \
  -F 'access_token=<ACCESS_TOKEN>' \
  https://graph.facebook.com/<VERSION>/<CUSTOM_AUDIENCE_ID>/users

Using PAGEUID

If you use the PAGEUID key, you must also include a list of Page IDs. You can only send us one PAGEUID, which should be an array with one element.

curl -X POST \
  -F 'payload={
       "schema": [
         "PAGEUID"
       ],
       "is_raw": "true",
       "page_ids": [
            "<PAGE_IDs>"
            ],
       "data": [
         [
           "<HASH>",
           "<ID>",
           "<ID>",
           "<VALUE>"
         ],
         [
           "<HASH>",
           "<ID>",
           "<ID>",
           "<VALUE>"
         ],
         [
           "<HASH>",
           "<ID>",
           "<ID>",
           "<VALUE>"
         ]
       ]
     }' \
  -F 'access_token=<ACCESS_TOKEN>' \
  https://graph.facebook.com/<VERSION>/<CUSTOM_AUDIENCE_ID>/users

Hashing and Normalization for Multi-Key

You must hash data as SHA256. We don't support other hashing mechanisms. This is required for all data except External Identifiers, App User IDs, Page Scoped User IDs and Mobile Advertiser IDs.

Before you hash your data, normalize it so we can handle it. Only First name FN and Last Name LN support special characters and non-Roman alphabet. For best match results, provide the Roman alphabet translation with no special characters.

KeyGuidelines

EMAIL

criteria: email addresses

Hashing required.

Trim leading, trail whitespace, and convert all characters to lowercase.

PHONE

criteria: phone numbers

Hashing required.

Remove symbols, letters, and any leading zeroes. You should prefix the country code if COUNTRY field is not specified.

GEN

criteria: gender

Hashing required.

Use these values: m for male and f for female.

DOBY

criteria: birth year

Hashing required.

Use the YYYY format from 1900 to current year.

DOBM

criteria: birth month

Hashing required.

Use the MM format: 01 to 12.

DOBD

criteria: birthday

Hashing required.

Use the DD format: 01 to 31.

LN and FN

criteria: last and first names

Hashing required.

Use a-z only. Lowercase only, no punctuation. Special characters in UTF8 format.

FI

criteria: first name initial

Hashing required.

Use a-z only. Lowercase only. Special characters in UTF8 format.

ST

criteria: U.S. states

Hashing required.

Use the 2-character ANSI abbreviation code, lowercase. Normalize states outside U.S. in lowercase, no punctuation, no special characters, no white space.

CT

criteria: city

Hashing required.

Use a-z only. Lowercase only, no punctuation, no special characters, no white space.

ZIP

criteria: zip code

Hashing required.

Use lowercase, no white space. Use only the first 5 digits for U.S. Use Area/District/Sector format for the UK.

COUNTRY

criteria: country code

Hashing required.

Use lowercase, 2-letter country codes in ISO 3166-1 alpha-2.

MADID

criteria: mobile advertiser ID

Hashing NOT required.

Use all lowercase, keep hyphens.

Hashing

Provide SHA256 values for normalized keys and HEX representations of this value, using lowercase for A through F. The hash function in PHP converts normalized email and phone number:

example result

hash("sha256", "mary@example.com")

f1904cf1a9d73a55fa5de0ac823c4403ded71afd4c3248d00bdcd0866552bb79

hash("sha256", "15559876543")

1ef970831d7963307784fa8688e8fce101a15685d62aa765fed23f3a2c576a4e

External Identifiers

You can match people for an audience with your own identifiers, known as External Identifiers or EXTERN_ID. This can be a any unique ID from the advertiser, such as loyalty membership IDs, user IDs, and external cookie IDs.

While you do not need to hash this ID, you must hash all Personally Identifying Information (PII) that you send with the EXTERN_IDs.

For the matching to work, you also need to adjust your Facebook Pixel settings. To send extern_id during the Pixel initialization before each event, use the following code:

fbq('init', '<YOUR_PIXEL_ID>', {
  'extern_id': <UNIQUE_ID_FOR_THE_CUSTOMER>
});

Read about other parameters you can pass in the Advanced matching documentation.

For better matching, you should also use the exact same format when you send the IDs. For example, if you choose to hash using SHA256, make sure to use the same hashed value.

You can use these IDs as individual keys to delete people from Custom Audiences or create new Custom Audiences. This way you don't need to re-upload any other matching keys. If you tag someone with hashed personal information and EXTERN_ID, we give EXTERN_ID lower precedence when we match them with people on Facebook.

The data retention period for EXTERN_ID is 90 days.

Note that you can reuse the EXTERN_ID mapping across audiences within a single ad account.

If you have an audience of EXTERN_ID fields in your ad account, create a new audience with just these identifiers:

curl \
  -F 'payload={"schema":"EXTERN_ID","data":["<ID>","<ID>"]}' \
  -F 'access_token=<ACCESS_TOKEN>' \
  https://graph.facebook.com/<VERSION>/<CUSTOM_AUDIENCE_ID>/users

You can also add people tagged EXTERN_ID and with multi-key matching:

curl \
  -F 'payload={ 
    "schema": [ 
      "EXTERN_ID", 
      "FN", 
      "EMAIL", 
      "LN" 
    ], 
    "data": [ 
      [ 
        "<ID>", 
        "<HASH>", 
        "<HASH>", 
        "<HASH>" 
      ], 
      [ 
        "<ID>", 
        "<HASH>", 
        "<HASH>", 
        "<HASH>" 
      ], 
      [ 
        "<ID>", 
        "<HASH>", 
        "<HASH>", 
        "<HASH>" 
      ] 
    ] 
  }' \
  -F 'access_token=<ACCESS_TOKEN>' \
  https://graph.facebook.com/<VERSION>/<CUSTOM_AUDIENCE_ID>/users

Facebook supports EXTERN_ID parameters for individual Ad Accounts. Facebook cannot use values from one Account for any other Ad Accounts, even if the accounts belong to the same entity.

Resources

There are other types of audiences you can build and target, or share: