Harness the Power of First-Party Data to Create Effective Advertising Audiences in Facebook

One of the major themes at the 2021 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference was the cookie-less future of the digital landscape and how marketers are adapting. With third-party cookies and other tracking methods becoming obsolete, businesses must rely on their own first-party data to ensure their ads are being delivered to the right place and seen by the right people.

At DMSC, our president Denise Galiatsatos shared her tips for creating Facebook Audiences with a purpose. We encourage you to begin implementing these best practices in your social advertising strategy so that when the cookies crumble, your business has a wealth of first-party data you can rely on. 

Within Facebook Ads Manager, you can create custom audiences based on a variety of sources, both on and off Facebook. Some examples include:

  • Customer lists
  • Website visitors
  • People who like your Facebook page
  • People who have engaged with your Instagram profile
  • People who have submitted a leads form
  • People who have viewed a product in your Facebook catalog.


Building custom audiences from these sources allows you to retarget users who have expressed interest in your business. Additionally, you can use one of your custom audiences as a source to build lookalike audiences, in which Facebook will identify new users who “look alike” or share similarities to your existing audience. This can help you expand the reach of your ads to target new prospective customers.

When choosing which types of audiences to build, ask yourself: 

What do these customers mean to my business, and where do they work in the marketing funnel?

Let’s say your goal is to drive more foot traffic to your store. You may consider retargeting repeat customers with a special incentive ad that is redeemable in-store. 

Or maybe you want to prospect new customers…

In that case, you may want to run a brand awareness campaign targeted toward users who are similar to your existing customers.


  1. Lookalike Audiences based on CRM Data. Scenario: Your automotive service center wants to reach new customers in your area. You upload a customer list of people who have serviced their vehicle with you in the last 6 months and build a lookalike audience based on this custom audience. 
  2. Custom Audiences from Facebook Engagement. Scenario: You want to deliver your ads to people who have engaged with your Facebook page. You create a custom audience using your Facebook page as the source, and select “everyone who engaged with your page”. This includes users who have visited your page or taken an action on a post or ad, such as reactions, shares, comments, link clicks, or carousel swipes. 
  3. On-Facebook Listing Custom Audiences. Scenario: Your business utilizes Facebook Marketplace to list your product inventory. You create a custom audience to retarget people who have viewed a product in your catalog, from both organic and paid traffic.
  4. Lead Form Custom Audiences. Scenario: You are running a Facebook lead generation campaign to get people to sign up for your newsletter. You create a custom audience that allows you to retarget people who opened but didn’t submit the form. You also create a custom audience of people who opened and submitted the form, so you can exclude users who have already converted.
  5. Video Engagement Custom Audiences. Scenario: You are running a brand awareness video campaign and want to retarget engaged users within your other ad campaigns. You create a custom audience that includes people who viewed at least 3 seconds of your video


As more users opt out of sharing third-party data with advertisers, the industry is adapting to new solutions that prioritize user privacy and data transparency. But as we’ve shown, this does not have to come at the expense of your digital marketing’s effectiveness. As third-party cookies become obsolete, now is the time for businesses to put a process in place for harnessing their own first-party data.

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If your business is looking to put a process in place for harnessing first-party data, reach out to the PCG Digital team today!

Picture of Chloe McGinley
Chloe McGinley
Chloe is a Social Media Specialist at PCG Digital. She is a digital storyteller with a passion for helping businesses cultivate their unique brand identity and connect with their community using the power of social media. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at her local animal shelter and being outdoors.

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