The 7 Most Profitable Facebook Custom Audiences for Events


Facebook Custom audiences for event

Are you wondering how to effectively market your event with custom audiences on Facebook? Maybe you're curious as to which groups of people on Facebook you should target to get the best return on your advertising spend?

In this episode we break down the seven Facebook custom audiences that we’ve found to consistently deliver the best return on ad spend for events.

But wait, what are Facebook custom audiences and why use them?

Within the Facebook Ad platform, you can create custom audiences of people that are more likely to attend your event based upon a previous action they took.

For example, say you want to create an audience of people that purchased your event ticket last year but haven't yet purchased this year. 


You want to build a list of people over time that visited your event website, but haven't yet bought a ticket. 

With the Facebook custom audiences tool you can create these lists in just minutes! (and much more)

Why else should we use them?

Facebook custom audiences have proven to vastly improve:

  • Our return on ad spend (ROAS).
  • Our ability to reach our warmest leads
  • Our conversion rate

Over the course of the last 2.5 years I’ve managed hundreds of thousands of dollars of advertising spend for events through the Facebook ad platform. I've had several failures, successes, and lessons along the way. 

Through this time, I've been able to clearly identify a group of audiences within Facebook that I found to consistently perform, regardless the event type.

I'd like to share those audiences with you today so you can begin to leverage them to grow your event.

*While this list happens to be the most profitable for us and our event partners, it might not be the best for your specific event(s). Create and test them out for yourself before you make large investments of time or money. It's important to use your own marketing data to help guide your decisions. 

The 7 Most Profitable Facebook Custom Audiences for Events

Don't have time to read the whole post? Download our top 10 Facebook custom audiences as a pdf and save it for later. Download Here

1. Your Email List of all historical past attendees

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Audience Temperature: HOT

Traffic Temperature Hot

What is audience temperature?

It's and indication as to where the customer is in their buying journey and how likely they are to buy from you at that moment in time. Think of the term hot and cold leads...

A hot lead, or in this case a hot audience would be a group of previous customers that have already shown a high level of interest in your product in the past.  They're aware of what you sell, they already know, like and trust you - therefore they're more likely to buy from you. In contrast, a cold audience would be a group of people that've never heard of your product before.

We want to work with as many warm and hot audiences as we can because they will always prove to be more profitable over cold ones.

What exactly is this audience?

You upload your email list into Facebook and Facebook will match the people on your list with their facebook account. This will allow you to create an advertising campaign that targets your most engaged and hot leads.

Why is this audience the #1 most profitable?

Your email list is comprised of people that already know, like and trust your brand. They’ve already purchased from you before so as a result, they’re more likely to buy from you again.

This audience will require less marketing attempts to deliver a sale, which makes them the perfect audience to include in nearly all of your campaigns.

Why create this audience if I already have their email address? Wouldn’t I just email them?

Not everyone on your email list is seeing your emails… In fact, hubspot reports that just 24% of sales email are opened. Think about your average open rate and realize that more than half of your list might not be seeing your message.

Additionally, the online marketing institute records that it takes 7 - 10 touch points to get an action or a sale.

This custom audience helps us solve both problems by showing our ad to more of our email list while also increasing the touch points with the customer.

How to create this custom audience:

Go to Audiences in Facebook Ads Manager. Then click Create Audience and select Custom Audience from the drop-down menu.

Custom Audience Email List

Then select Customer File

Custom Audience events list

Then select Add customer from your own file or copy and paste data

Email List custom audience

In the add customer list section, drag and drop your customer file into the file area and title your audience appropriately (Something like: 'Email List - 2018 Event')


Before you upload your email list, make sure that the .csv or .txt file you upload has the correct data and formatting that Facebook requires. You can download a template file from Facebook here so that your column titles match what facebook is looking for. The more complete your datafile the better the match rate you'll receive when you upload your list. 

Custom Audience Email List

Below is an example of the data and column titles that facebook prefers. Once again, just download this file here and replace the data with your own data. 

2. Your recent website visitors

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Audience Temperature: WARM/HOT

Warm traffic temperature

Just like the last audience, this audience is comprised of people that have visited your website but haven’t decided to buy from you yet. I suggest when you create this audience you choose to build it upon people that visited your website in the last 100 days.  

Why is this audience so profitable?

1. Lead Temperature: This lead has taken action to go to your website which means they're already more aware as to who you are, what you sell and what's in it for them.

If we were to look at the customer journey chart below we would see that at the very top, a customer is simply looking become aware of our solution. As they move down the customer journey they get closer to buying our product.

This audience is past the point of awareness and probably between the engagement and purchase step in their customer journey. This qualifies them as a warmer lead.
Customer Journey Event Atendee

2. Retargeting: We can retarget all of the people that came to our website, but didn't buy from us. (The amount of people that don't buy might be higher than you think)

According to Wordstream, average conversion rates for websites across all industries is 2.35%. That means 97.65% of our website visitors are not buying a damn thing from us... What a shame!​​​​

Instead of kissing that 97% of people goodbye, wouldn't it be great to continue the conversation with them and ultimately drive them to purchase a ticket?

Well, now we can! This Facebook custom audience allows us to build a list of those 97.65% of people that didn't buy from us and retarget them with ads.

Retargeting is wildly profitable

Retargeted audiences have been shown to be 70% more likely to convert to a sale (according to Ticketfly.) We couldn't agree more. For us, it's safe to say that retargeting is one of the most profitable online advertising activity we perform.

How to create this custom audience:

Go to Audiences in Facebook Ads Manager. Then click Create Audience and select Custom Audience from the drop-down menu.

Custom Audience Email List

Next, select Website Traffic as the audience option.

Make sure under the pixel area you have your correct pixel selected and showing as green, not red.

Select how many days you’d like the audience cover. Lastly, title your audience.

3. People who have viewed your checkout page, but didn’t purchase

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Audience Temperature: HOT

Traffic Temperature Hot

Facebook allows us to create an audience of everyone has gotten to the last page of the buying process ( they've added their credit card to the form page) but did not purchase. 

If we visually break this down to a sales funnel, it would look like this:

I call this audience the 1 yard line audience because they are so close getting into the end zone, aka buying a ticket - but for whatever reason they didn’t finish the process. 

Why is it one of the most profitable audiences?

Think about it, your customer walked into the store, grabbed an item of clothing, got to the cash register and pulled out their money... But for some reason they didn’t buy anything.

Maybe they were distracted or perhaps just window shopping. Whatever it may be, we can explicitly say that their actions certainly qualify them as a lead that's clearly ready to buy. 

Growth Tip:

 At first, this audience might be so small that you’re unable to  target them or spend enough to reach them. Be patient, as this audience will take time to build but will prove to be worth the wait. Over the course of a few months you’ll start to get more and more people that need a little nudge across the 1 yard line, and it won't take much to get them across. Once you get this audience created, build a Facebook Conversions campaign targeting this audience specifically and continue to run it daily. 

How to create this audience:

Take the same steps as the previous audience until the last step. In the last step, include people who ‘initiated checkout’ in the last XYZ days.  

4. 10 Second Video Views on your facebook videos

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Audience Temperature: WARM

This audience is made up of people that have watched at least 10 seconds of your videos uploaded to your Facebook event page. If you use video on your event Facebook page (and we recommend you do!) then this can be a highly engaged and profitable Facebook custom audience for you.

Why is it profitable?

We know people are more engaged with video versus photos on facebook. In fact, report that video receives a whopping 135% greater organic reach over photos.

Therefore, when we post a video we are naturally reaching more customers and ultimately putting our ads in front of more eyeballs. 

Facebook gives us the ability to create an audience of people that have watched 3 seconds, 10 seconds, 25%, 50%, 75% or 90% percent of your our facebook videos. 

We’ve tested and found the sweet spot to be the 10 second viewing audience

Why? Our data shows this audience outperforms the others but we suspect a few things contribute.

Create this audience and then begin to upload more videos to facebook. Both your paid advertising videos and your videos uploaded to your facebook page will build this audience up to the point that they become a consistent performer when it comes to targeting.

How to create this audience:

Go to Audiences in Facebook Ads Manager. Then click Create Audience and select Custom Audience from the drop-down menu.  

Enter your text here...

Custom Audience Email List

Then select Engagement as the audience option

Then select Video as the next option

Lastly, choose which videos you want to be a part of this audience along with the duration of time. Name your audience and you’re all set! 

Is there a custom Facebook audience not listed that you’ve found to be very profitable? Let us know in the comments below!

5. People engaged with your facebook page

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Audience Temperature: WARM

This is an audience of people that are highly engaged with your Facebook Page over a period of time. 

Why is it profitable?

As you actively promote your Facebook content with updates and event information, you can target potential new customers that are showing a high interest in your content on your Facebook page.

How to create this audience:

Custom Audience Email List

Then select Engagement

Then select Facebook Page

custom audience facebook page

Select your Facebook page and how many days you'd like. 

6. Lookalike audience created from your email list

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Audience Temperature: COLD

But first, what is a Facebook lookalike audience?

A Facebook lookalike audience contains potential customers that share the same interests and characteristics of your ideal target customer.

You’re able to take your most profitable audience (say your email list) and then create a lookalike audience based off that list.

Facebook will find thousands of potential customers that fit your customer profile and add them to a list for you. 

Facebook Lookalike Audience Email List

This specific lookalike audience I'm referring to in our list is built with people that resemble the same interests and characteristics of the people that are on your email list.

Why is it profitable?

1. Matching Interests:

If your email list is your most profitable audience, creating a email list lookalike audience ensures that your new lookalike audience will best resemble your target customer. A more relevant audience of people equals higher return on ad spend. Cha - ching!

2. Size:

When you create a lookalike audience you’ll notice that Facebook can create audiences anywhere from a few thousands to up to millions of people. This provides you a new opportunity to connect your event with a massive group of people.

3. Retargeting opportunity:

Since Lookalike audiences can range in the millions, even if you don’t get a conversion on the first campaign you're now able to retarget all of those people and continue to nurture them down your sales funnel.

Growth Tip:

Start by creating lookalike audiences based off your most profitable audiences first. If your top three performing audiences are your email list, your website traffic and Facebook page engagement, then create 3 lookalike audiences based off those three before you move on to create more. 

How to create this audience:

Go to Audiences in Facebook Ads Manager. Then click Create Audience and select Lookalike Audience from the drop-down menu.

Under source, add the audience that you’d like to create a lookalike audience from. Then select the audience location and size. We recommend starting with 1% and moving from there.

7. Lookalike audience created from your website traffic

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Audience Temperature: COLDish

This is a lookalike audience created based off people that have visited your website. In this case we're creating a lookalike based off the #2 audience in this very list (Our recent website visitors)

Why is it profitable?

For similar reasons as the previous lookalike audience above, your website visitors are a highly profitable audience of potential or current customers.

How to create this audience? 

Repeat the steps from #6 above but make sure to select your source as your recent website visitors. 

Growth Tip: Audience Exclusions

When creating Facebook campaigns with these audiences, you'll want to make sure your ads don't get shown to people that have already purchased a ticket this year. You can do this by creating an audience of people that have already registered for your event this year and excluding them from your Facebook ad campaigns. This will ensure that your current years registrants don’t see your ads for an event they’re already registered for.


There you have it! Those are our top 7 most profitable facebook custom audiences for events. 

Remember, it’s never too late to get started with creating Facebook custom audiences. 

Focus on creating one audience at a time and use this list as a guide. Start at the top of the list and move your way down until you've covered all the most profitable audiences first. 

Is there a custom Facebook audience not listed here that you’ve found to be very profitable? What challenges are you facing with Facebook custom audiences?

Let us know in the comments below!

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