Creating an Audience From a Customer List

7 min reading

On your path to your much-desired 6th figure in sales, making your website and your brand top-of-mind is one of the most exacting challenges you need to tackle – and it’s only natural to seek the most powerful strategies to succeed in this ever-evolving and fiercely competitive line of business.

What if we told you you already have one of the most effective and cost-efficient tools to expand your customer base and maximize your m marketing efforts?

That tool is your own customer list – and today you will learn how to turn it into a Custom Audience that will bullseye your Facebook and Instagram Ad targeting.

A Custom Audience made from your existing customer list allows you to create laser-focused campaigns with higher ROAS. You can also turn it into Lookalike Audiences, use it for Retargeting campaigns, and even Exclusions.

The best part is you can do all that without a big marketing in-house team or expensive agency fees. Follow our step-by-step guide here and you will be able to launch your first ad campaign using your current customer list as targeting within the hour.

Why Create Audiences From Existing Customers?

When it comes to reaching the right audience, using your existing customer database can be a game-changer. Basically, you will get one of the most efficient advertising tools ever created (Facebook and Instagram Ads) and feed it with crystal-clear information about your ideal customers.

Have you ever seen those police shows where they dangle a piece of used clothes to a sniffer dog and order it to find a lost person? That’s basically what you will be doing with Facebook ads: the dog is the algorithm, the lost person is your customer, and the piece of clothing is your customer list.

Long story short, you will be pointing the algorithm to the kind of people that are most interested in your products or services – and thus, significantly increase your results.

Interested? Let’s start with the basics: a step-by-step guide on how to easily create a Custom Audience from your existing customer list.

1. Prepare your customer list (CSV or TXT)

2. Go to “Audiences” within your Ads Manager

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3. Select Custom Audience

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4. Select your Customer List and upload it

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Easy, huh?

But before you upload your list, make sure it follows these parameters:


Even though Facebook recommends having from 1,000 to 5,000 people on your list, quality is more important than quantity. Your customer list needs to have at least 100 people from the same country if you want to create a Lookalike Audience from it.

Never Use Bought Databases

Do not – I repeat, do NOT upload bought databases under any circumstances, as you can get your ad account banned for doing that.

Quality Trumps Quantity

Make sure your list has as much accurate data as possible. A thorough list with 100 great customers will always beat a generic list with inaccurate info from 5,000 random people.

If you don’t have 100 people on your list yet, you can run an ad campaign in groost to get more customers or use your website’s data to create a Custom Audience from your pixel. You can learn more about how to set up and use your pixel here.

Tip: want the algorithm to sniff the big spenders? Include in your list specific data like LTV, order values, product affinities, and so on.

How Can You Use Custom Audiences?

To answer that question, first, we’ll understand how exactly Custom Audiences work. In Meta’s own words:

“A Custom Audience made from a customer list is a type of audience you can create to connect with people who have already shown an interest in your business or product. It’s made of information – called “identifiers” – you’ve collected about your customers (such as email, phone number and address) and provided to Meta. Prior to use, Meta hashes this information.

Then, we use a process called matching to match the hashed information with Meta technologies profiles so that you can advertise to your customers on Facebook, Instagram and Meta Audience Network. The more information you can provide, the better the match rate (which means our ability to make the matches).”

Now, in our words: Meta’s algorithm will work as a sniffing dog – but instead of picking up a scent, it picks up digital behavior.

The data contained in your list (which Meta calls “identifiers”) will help the algorithm look for matching behaviors in new users – giving you an opportunity to surgically place your ads in front of people who has a higher chance to purchase your product or services.

Three Main Ways to Leverage Your Custom Audience

Now that you have your Custom Audience, you can use it to create Retargeting Campaigns, Exclusion Lists, or Lookalike Audiences. Let’s dive into each option:

1. Retargeting Campaigns

By displaying targeted ads to a Custom Audience made from your existing customer list, you can increase your Customer Lifetime Value by offering them new offers and promotions that will make them come back to your shop again and again.

That will nurture loyalty and drive recurrent revenue, maximizing the value of your existing customer base.


Acquiring a new customer is 5x more expensive than selling to existing customers
Increasing customer retention by only 5% can increase profits from 25% to 95%

Loyal customers are:

  • 5x as likely to repurchase
  • 5x as likely to forgive
  • 4x as likely to refer
  • 7x as likely to try a new offering.

2. Exclusion Lists

Sometimes, your campaigns are not meant for everyone in your audience. Creating exclusion lists can not only improve your results by avoiding wasting resources on the wrong audience but also avoid delicate situations like a recurring customer seeing an ad about a promo that is only available for new customers.

This strategy ensures that your marketing efforts are focused on the most relevant and promising prospects, leading to improved campaign performance.


  • Allocate your budget to new customer acquisition
  • Avoid annoying or frustrating existing customers
  • Creating laser-focused campaigns for each stage of the funnel

3. Lookalike Audience

Last but totally not least, our favorite use for Custom Audiences powered by customer lists: creating a Lookalike Audience to scale your reach and deliver your ads to a massive number of people who shares your customer’s interest and preferences.

Remember how we compared the Custom Audience with a sniffing dog? You can think of a Lookalike Audience as an army of customer-sniffing dogs bringing you new sales 24/7.

Meta’s Algorithm will grab the identifiers from your customer list and start matching it with millions of users, and show your ads to the people with the most chances of conversion.

Creating a Lookalike Audience is easy:

1. Go to “Audience” on Meta Ads Manager and choose “Create Audience”. In the dropdown menu, you select “Lookalike Audience”.

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2. Choose “Custom Audience” as your resource

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3. Select your Audience Location.

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4. Choose the number of people you want to reach

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Bigger audiences mean a wider pool of potential customers, but also a less focused targeting. You can also create multiple Audiences with different locations or percentages for testing – e.g. the top 1% matches, 3%, and 6%;

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Now, all you need to do is to create a new ad set and use the Lookalike Audiences you created to reach a massive number of people who are likely to buy your products or services.

Don’t forget to test around and use groost suggestions for improved results!

But What About Safety?

Data privacy and security are paramount for businesses and customers alike. Meta maintains strict policies to safeguard your information. They take your privacy seriously and are always updating their confidentiality and security systems through technical and physical safeguards designed to protect both advertisers and users against unauthorized access to private data.

This means you can upload your list without worrying about data leaks. As long as you comply with Meta’s terms of use and advertising standards you will be safe. You can also learn more about how to protect your privacy in Meta by clicking here.

With all these advantages, eCommerce brands all around the world are flocking to Meta thanks to the higher ROI they can get from tools like Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences. Here are a few examples:

Real-Life Examples: Shifting from PPC to Meta

Numerous brands, big and small, have successfully transitioned from PPC ads on platforms like Google or Bing to Meta’s advertising platform. Here are a few notable examples:

Adore Me

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Achieved a 33% higher click-through rate (CTR) and a 50% lower cost per acquisition (CPA) by leveraging Facebook and Instagram’s advanced targeting options.

MVMT Watches

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Experienced a 20% increase in sales, a 2x return on ad spend (ROAS), and a 40% lower CPA when they shifted their focus from Google search ads to Instagram advertising.

Pura Vida Bracelets

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Reported a 31% lower cost per purchase and a 4x ROAS through their Facebook campaigns, surpassing their previous Google search ads performance.


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Achieved a 2x ROAS and a 2x increase in website traffic by utilizing Facebook’s lookalike audience feature.

Final Thoughts

If you already have a customer list with qualitative data from 100+ users, you’re minutes away from reaching a massive audience and scaling your sales.

If you don’t have this many customers yet, you can learn how to use your website as a source to create audiences that will help you on each stage of your funnel, and ultimately build the list that will feed your Lookalike Audience and pave the way towards your 6-figure sales goal.

Either way, groost is here to help you. Whether you need winning campaigns, or educational resources to make the most of the Ads Manager and other tools, we’ll be here for you each step of the way.

What’s Inside?
Create Professional Facebook Ads in Minutes

Creating an Audience From a Customer List


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