Facebook has grown to become a constant source of pain and bewilderment for marketers.

We gaze upon the world’s largest social network with envious eyes, foaming at the mouth for a taste of the smorgasbord of consumer behavior and demographic information it houses.

We bang our heads against walls and desks trying to figure out how to put all that information to good use, audibly groaning in frustration with each new product announcement and algorithm change.

We secretly hate it for taking away our organic reach, then turn around and sink our precious advertising budgets into its revenue stream to sustain our visibility.

The good news is that things are getting better and the future is optimistic. Facebook has probably always known its advertising platform wasn’t perfect or even ideal when it launched, but it had to start somewhere, and that somewhere was the Power Editor.

The Power Editor still exists today, but it’s quickly being surpassed by Custom Audiences as marketers’ favorite way to use Facebook for advertising. But if you’re new to the game, or you’ve never had the flexibility to experiment with the new(ish) tool, it can be an intimidating endeavor.

Which is why Rodger Johnson of Socially Relevant (disclosure: a Relevance contributor) recently published this ebook entitled, “Custom Audience Advertising on Facebook.” Here are four key takeaways you’ll absorb in the 30 minutes it takes to read:

What a “Custom Audience” Actually Means

It’s pretty simple, and quite ingenious, actually. As explained in the ebook, the Custom Audiences tool identifies people already in your database (by email address, phone number or Facebook User IDs) and then creates an audience that’s larger than your original database list. You can then advertise to that set of relatively homogenous people. Think of it as an augmented segment of your audience.

With Custom Audiences, you even have the ability to filter out the people who are already in your database when using your new custom audience. This saves you money by not advertising to people who are already in your funnel.

The Different Types of Audience Segments You Can Create

Since the initial Custom Audience launch, several updates have led to two additional types of Custom Audience options. Here’s how they differ:

  • Standard Custom Audience: Upload a list of emails, phone numbers or Facebook User IDs from your database and Facebook will match them with its users (Facebook will typically match between 60-80 percent of your list).
  • Lookalike Audience: Facebook looks for patterns and characteristics in your Custom Audience and then grows the list with similar profiles.
  • Website Custom Audiences: Essentially Facebook’s method of retargeting, this option allows you to add tracking code to landing pages on your website and then advertise to website visitors via Facebook.

How To Target Your Custom Audiences

After you’ve built your custom audiences (again, think of each custom audience as a segment of your target audience), building the actual ads in Facebook is a cakewalk.

With creative and content assets in hand, head to the Ad Manager in Facebook and choose “Create an Ad,” then “Custom Audiences.” Then, once you’ve built your Custom Audiences, all you have to do is pick the ones you want to target or exclude. Facebook walks you through the entire process and your advertisements can be up and running within the hour.

Tactics for Using Your Custom Audiences

There are endless opportunities to apply to the tool to your work. Here are a few tactics the ebook touches on for perfecting your Custom Audience campaigns:

  • Reach users who aren’t reading your emails by exporting a list of people who didn’t open your last email and try to reach them through Facebook instead.
  • Regain lost customers (or subscribers) by targeting them on Facebook. They already recognize your brand and trust you since they’ve bought (or read) from you before; use this to your advantage!
  • Move customers across channels by creating custom audiences based on their device. Then, advertise your mobile app to desktop users. Conversely, ask mobile users to visit your webpage, where it may be easier to close a sale.
  • Download the ebook for more examples of creative ways to use Custom Audiences.

A word to the wise: Always create an updated Custom Audience with all of your existing database contacts and exclude it from any new ads you create. You already have them in your database, so why would you advertise to them?

At this point, we’ve only skimmed the surface of custom audience advertising on Facebook. If you’re ready to learn more about the intricacies of the tool—including how to use it for retargeting—download your free copy today.