How to Create Cold Audiences to Target Inside of the Facebook Platform

Cold audiences consist of people who haven’t interacted with your brand before. Since this type of audience is unfamiliar with your brand it can sometimes be the toughest audience to achieve quick results but don’t get disappointed as it’s a nessary part of the marketing funnel.  You need to consistently introduce your brand to a new audience to increase your overall effectiveness.  Once this audience has been introduced to your brand it’s important to ensure that you have a strong funnel from your warm audiences for remarketing. This flow from cold audiences to warm audiences is what truly makes Facebook ads work. Today we’re going to talk about how to expand that warm audience and get to people who are NOT familiar with your brand.

There are several ways to create cold audiences in Facebook based on information that’s collected by Facebook. My method for building a cold audience involves the following: Lookalike Audiences, Facebook Audience Analytics, Audience Insight Tool, Ads Manager. Lastly, I discuss two methods for more in-depth audience research.

Lookalike Audiences

So the first place that I would start would be lookalike audiences. We spent all that time building those warm audiences – where Facebook has already gathered demographic information on your warm audience. So once you’ve built warm audiences, what you want to do is have Facebook build a lookalike to that audience.

From here, you can optimize a Lookalike Audience using Source, Similarity, and Reach.

  • The minimum source needs to be at least 100 people. That way Facebook has enough demographic information in order to make an accurate lookalike audience. We do recommend that it’s actually more than 100, but 100 is a good place to start.
  • The next thing to look at is similarity. There’s a gauge on the bottom of audience size and you can select anywhere from zero to ten. Zero or one would indicate the closest in similarity to your existing audience. The larger the number the less likely it’s going to be similar to your audience. We tend to always stick with one and not go too far past that.
  • The other item is the reach. With regard to location, the smallest you can choose are two countries. So if you’re in the United States, you would choose the United States. When you go to do your geographical targeting for your Facebook ad, though, remember to layer on top of this lookalike audience. Let’s say you want to target Indiana – choose Indiana at that time and layer on top of the lookalike audience.

Facebook Audience Analytics

Next thing I would look at, is audience analytics. So knowing that Facebook is already gathering information on your existing audience, let’s learn about where we can get that information. So go to Asset Library > Analytics and then you’ll see that we can pull from several different sources.

So if you already installed the Pixel on your app and have that SDK code, then it’s collecting information about people who have been to your app before. (Video Reference 2:33) 

If you’ve uploadedoffline eventssuch as marketing events that you have been to or email lists that you have added, Audience Analytics can get information about those users from your existing pages – so your Instagram page, your Facebook page and then, of course, your Pixel are sources of information. So that’s why it’s very important to have this information set up at the beginning so that you can collect great information in here as well.

Audience Analytics pulls highlights of people, demographic information, age range, people typically completing your desired actions, the technology users are using and the geographical area users are coming from. This is all based on having this set up so that it’s able to collect that information. This gives you a great place to start to get some information. Note: Don’t forget to check your Google Analytics as well because you’ve got information in there that can be used in conjunction with Audience Analytics.

Audience Insight Tool

So the next place I would go is your audience insight tool. So if you go back into the first column underneath Plan and choose Audience Insights, go ahead and choose everyone on Facebook.

Once you are inside there, you can build some more obvious audiences here. (Video Reference 4:07) There are lots of different ways to choose different demographic information:

  • location, age,
  • gender,
  • interests,
  • behaviors,
  • language,
  • education,
  • work,
  • political,
  • life events,
  • relationship status,
  • financial, home,
  • parents.

I definitely recommend that you choose one at a time so that you can layer these audiences later.

So let’s say that I wanted to choose a certain interest. I would go in there and search for interests and then I would save that as an audience. Then I would go back in and choose a different interest later so that I can save another audience. And I would repeat that process over and over. This way I have several different audiences to work with. Again, enter only one category at a time so that you can layer it later in your ads. When you save those audiences, they’re all going to be placed in the audience section underneath access.

Ads Manager

So the next place that I would go to is into Ads Manager. You actually go and create an ad. Select any objective. And once you get in there you can select at the ad set level your audiences that you had saved in the last step in your audience insight tool. (Video reference 5:36)

So the next place that I would go to is into Ads Manager. You actually go and create a ad. Just need to fake out the system at this time.

Select any objective.

And once you get in there you can select at the ad set level your audiences that you had saved in the last step on your audience insight tool. Select one of those.

Select and edit audience.

Here you will get a whole other list of suggestions. This one gives you a lot more information. A lot more suggestions than when you use the audience insight tools alone. This is why I like to use this tool as well

You can save those as a new audience and create even more cool audiences based on this one. Play inside of here to create several audiences that you can target to and do some A/B testing.

Facebook Audience: Search Facebook Groups

Another place that you can go to is search inside of Facebook groups. There are several ad groups out there that people are already hanging out with that run Facebook ads. A pretty popular one is Facebook Ad Buyers. If you go inside of this group and then you see over there to the left where it says, “Search this group,” put in the interests or the target that you know of and search that group and you will find a lot of different people already discussing great ideas for your target that you’re going after. (Video Reference 6:39)

Facebook Audiences: Competitor Research

Another place that I would look at is competitor research. First, go and like all the pages of your competitors. Go to their websites so that you’re inside of their remarketing audiences and search for their pages so that way you can like their pages as well. Once you have done that, then you might possibly start to see their ad. If you select the three dots in the upper right-hand corner and then select “Why am I seeing this ad,” you will start to see some information on who they are possibly targeting. Great way to get some audiences that they are using as well.


With proper setup, you can collect information from existing audiences and use it to create audiences who don’t know you yet. A cold audience created this way allows for a more educated guess that is based on actual data.

On Facebook, you need to be realistic about who your real competition is. Who is your real competition? Honestly, your real competition consists of friends scrolling through their Facebook. You’re competing with mom and dad pictures, cats and dogs, and more!  So when you think about your competition, that’s who you should be working with.

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