Audiences Overview

Audience targeting helps you show your ads to the people you care about. There are two general approaches you can take:

  • Specific: You set a relatively strict set of parameters. We create your audience within those parameters. This approach includes Custom Audiences, Lookalike Audiences, and Dynamic Audiences.
  • Broad: You rely on our delivery system to find the best people to show your ad to. Provide basic restrictions, such as demographics or location, and we deliver ads to people who meet those attributes.

In this document, get an overview of the audience targeting options offered by the Marketing API.

Custom Audiences

A Custom Audience is an option that lets you create your own audience from a set of different sources, including customer lists, website or app traffic, and engagement on Facebook:

Customer File Custom Audience

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.

Engagement Custom Audience

Build audiences based on people who engaged with your content on Facebook or Instagram. Currently supported audience types include Page, Instagram business profile, Lead ad, and Instant Experiences ad.

Mobile App Custom Audience

Build audiences based on peoples' actions in your app that meet your criteria. This solution uses logged named events through our Facebook SDKs, App Events API, or via Mobile Measurement Partners.

Website Custom Audiences

Create a custom audience of users who visited or took specific actions on your website using Facebook Pixel, JavaScript Tag API, and audience rules. Once you create a custom audience with website data, reference it in ad targeting as you do with standard custom audiences.

Offline Custom Audiences

Group people who visited your store, made calls to your customer service, or took action offline and target them with Facebook ads. Custom Audiences from Offline Conversions are based on conversion events uploaded to an Offline Event Set.

Store Visit Custom Audiences

Create a custom audience of users who visited a store. Access to the Store Visits Custom Audience Eligibility API endpoint is provided on a whitelist basis only. Please contact your partner manager.

Dynamic Audiences

Dynamic Ads enables you to show people ads based on their cross-device purchasing intent. You can collect signals of user intent from mobile apps and websites then use this data to build an audience to target prospective customers.

Lookalike audiences

Target people most like your established customers. Lookalike audiences take several sets of people as "seeds" then Facebook builds an audience of similar people. You can use lookalikes for any business objective: Targeting people similar your customers for fan acquisition, site registration, off-Facebook purchases, coupon claims, or simply to drive awareness of a brand.

Sharing a Custom Audience

You may choose to share your custom audience with another business, such as a partner managing and running your ads. If you do so, there are specific requirements and APIs you should follow. Learn more about Business-to-Business Functions.

Targeting

Targeting Specs are ad set attributes that define who sees an ad. Basic or core targeting includes:

Typically, you get data to define targeting from Targeting Search, then specify options in Targeting Spec. You must specify at least one country in targeting, unless you use Custom Audiences.

Advertisers running housing, employment and credit ads, who are based in the United States or running ads targeted to the United States have different sets of restrictions. See Special Ad Category.

See Also