The Power of Facebook’s Website Custom Audiences (WCA)

by Deepak Kanakaraju on October 21, 2015

Facebook has more than a billion people using their platform. It is also a great place to reach customers at a very low cost. However, I feel that Facebook is a double edged sword and if you don’t know what you are doing, you will end up losing your marketing dollars with Facebook Ads.


Many newbie Facebook marketers first get excited with the low cost of advertising on Facebook. They start their ads with very broad targeting and then they realize that their clicks are not converting into sales. That’s why targeting the right audiences is fundamental to make Facebook advertising work.

If you have a very broad target, for example, all the internet users from a specific country, then you will not get a positive ROI from your ads. You will achieve good vanity metrics such as clicks, likes, comments and shares but your bank account will be giving you a different story.

Vanity metrics may make it look like your efforts are yielding results but it will not bring you revenue. As a digital marketer, you need to focus on conversions and sales.

To make any advertising work, you need better targeting. With Facebook advertising, better targeting can be done with demographics, location and based on interest – but still it may not be enough. That’s when WCA comes to the rescue.

If you are new to Facebook advertising, the first thing that you should learn about is Facebook’s Website Custom Audiences (or WCA).

With the power of Website Custom Audiences, you can target the right people who care about your brand and who are familiar with your brand. Such targeting will help you get potential customers to interact with your ad.

So What are Website Custom Audiences (WCA)?

WCA will help target your ads only to the people on Facebook who have visited your website before?

If you enable Website Custom Audiences, Facebook will give you a tracking code that you can place on your website (just like Google Analytics code). This code should be ideally placed on all the pages of your website.

When internet users visit your website while being logged into Facebook on the same browser, Facebook will tag them as your website audience. (Or they have to login into Facebook later with the same browser without clearing their cookies).

This is just like building an email list or a social media following, except that the visitor doesn’t have to take any manual action. They are automatically tracked and tagged as your website visitor.

Tagging users without their permission may look like an unethical thing to do, but hey! its mentioned in the fine print when they signed up for Facebook! They clicked on ‘I Agree’ 🙂

It would be great if all the visitors are tracked, but many visitors may not have a Facebook account, or they may be logging in on a browser or computer on which they don’t use Facebook on. You can expect around 40-50% of these visitors to be marked as your website’s custom audience. In some cases, only 20% of the visitors are tagged.

Facebook allows you to build your website custom audience for a maximum of 180 days. So if you are getting 10,000 visitors a month and 50% of them are getting tagged, you will be able to build an audience of 30,000 in 6 months.

Now you can start advertising targeting this audience. Your ads will be shown only to these 30,000 people. Your ads are much likely to work because these people are already familiar with your brand, they have visited your website before.

If you get lesser number visitors, then you will not have enough audience to advertise to. In such cases you have to build a look-alike audience which is mentioned below.

How to Start Building Website Custom Audiences?

You probably have a Facebook Ad account already. If not, you should be able to create one in less than 5 minutes using your Facebook account.

In your Facebook ads manager, go to Tools -> Audiences


Inside that page, click on Create Audience -> Custom Audience


You will have different options to create a custom audience. In the following screen you should choose to create a website custom audience.

website custom audience

Once you select website traffic as your custom audience for the first time, you will be given a code that you can place on your website. Placing this code is important for this to work. Without this code, Facebook will not be able to track and tag your visitors.

Also, note that this code has to be placed at least a few weeks before you plan to advertise to this custom audience. It takes time to build the audience and as we already discussed, you can build audience up to a maximum of 180 days.

I enabled website custom audiences just a few days back and I have 300 Facebook users in my WCA.

facebook wca

Of course 300 is not enough. I seem to be getting 100 a day which means that in 6 months I would be able to build a custom audience of 18,000 people.

Lookalike Audiences

If your website custom audience is not large enough to get significant results from advertising, then you should build a lookalike audience.

Facebook will take your sample of a few hundred website custom audience and based on their demographics and interests, they will build a lookalike audience for you which will be significantly larger than your website custom audience.

lookalike audiences

With a original list of 300 people in my audience I was able to build a lookalike audience of 1.38 Million! Now if I feel that this audience size is too large I can start filtering them on demographics and interests again.


Google AdWords targets users based on what they are searching for. Facebook targets users based on who they are. There are pros and cons to both the ad platforms (a topic for another day). You have to make the best of both of them.

Website Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences are a great place to start when you are getting started with Facebook ads. But there is more to it, which we will cover in the future posts.

Go ahead and start building your WCA right now, the earlier the better.

Any questions?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Rohit Tendolkar October 21, 2015 at 10:53 am

My opinion, It would be better if we first set up some quality adwords campaign and let people search and reach to us, and then use the custom audience feature of fb to re target them. Because I found fb’s interest based ads are not as effective as AdWords ads.

What are your thoughts deepak?


Deepak Kanakaraju October 21, 2015 at 11:14 am

Google Adwords and Facebook ads are two different worlds. I am already working on a post on that topic. When it comes to Google AdWords people are much closer to the buying funnel. With Facebook, it is better to build brand awareness and aggregate audience. Clicks from FB ads may not convert into buyers immediately.


Hari Sumanth October 21, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Very great insight on Facebook Marketing, I came to know new information lookalike audiances. Thank you for that.

Can you please give some insights about how to create posts which will engage audiances from Website custom audiances and Facebook Fans page. Thanks in advance Deepak.


Deepak Kanakaraju October 21, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Yes, more gyan on Facebook ads are on the pipeline 🙂


sherif October 21, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Hi Deepak
first of all I would like to thank you for your useful insight , is the 180 days means that I can use this feature once for 6 months or it means that the interval duration is 180 days ( last 180 days ) ? , if it is recurrent is it free or charged and any idea about cost ?



Deepak Kanakaraju October 22, 2015 at 8:07 am

If you get 1,00,000 visitors on the first 180 days and then only 100 visitors in the next 180 days, by the end of 360 days you will have a custom audience of only 100 people (or less). The tagging expires beyond 180 days window.


Tejinder Singh October 21, 2015 at 10:43 pm

Very informative article. It had helped me to use FB campaigns more effectively. Keep providing us more gyan on FB.


Justin Lofton October 22, 2015 at 2:12 am

I agree with Deepak.

Google is demand fulfillment and Facebook is demand generation.

With that said, both are crossing over those distinctions with custom audiences and customer match.

Good stuff!


K.V.VS.Prasad October 22, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Very useful article. I need some more stuff on this.



Mahesh Babu November 12, 2015 at 5:21 pm


I am trying to create a lookalike audience, but i can able to give only FB page not my website.


Deepak Kanakaraju November 12, 2015 at 9:46 pm

You have to build your WCA first using the pixel before you can go ahead and create an LA.


Mahesh Babu November 19, 2015 at 5:30 pm

i tried to create WCA but its loading for past 20 mins
no output.


Deepak Kanakaraju November 19, 2015 at 5:43 pm

Check back in a day. It takes time for FB and until then you will see it as “Not Updated, Audience too small”


Amit koul December 17, 2015 at 11:38 pm

deepak ,
Very informative post so as your conclusion . tx


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