How To Create A Custom Audience From A Customer Data File

(This information is taken directly from Facebook’s Help Services)

Before you begin

  • Make sure the customer file you want to use is ready. If you want to get the most out of the data in your customer file, consult our best practices while creating it.
  • Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), advertisers act as the data controller of any customer lists uploaded as part of data file Custom Audiences. Our terms require advertisers to ensure they have a legal basis to upload and use the data they provide in connection with Custom Audiences that include individuals residing in the EU. For more information about the GDPR and frequently asked questions, visit our GDPR microsite.

Create a Custom Audience from a customer file

Get Started
To get started creating a Custom Audience from your customer file:

  • Go to your Audiences
  • If you already have audiences, click the Create Audience dropdown and select Custom Audience.
  • If you don’t have any audiences, you’ll see audience creation buttons, rather than dropdowns. Click Create a Custom Audience.
  • Click Customer File
  • Click Add from your own file

From there, there are five parts to creating your Custom Audience:

  • Add Customer File
  • Edit Data Mapping
  • Hashed Upload & Creation
  • Next Steps

Below, we’ll breakdown each one.

Add Customer File

To add a customer file:

  • Click the Original Data Source dropdown to specifiy where the information in the file initially came from.
  • Choose whether you’ll upload your customer file as a file (.txt or .csv) or copy and paste it.
  • If you choose to upload, click Upload File and select your customer file. If you choose to copy and paste, do so in the “Paste your content here” field.
  • Give your audience a name and description if you want to.
  • Click Next.

Tip: You can download a data file template we’ve created that’s set up to help our system map your data more easily. Click Download file template to check it out.

Edit Data Mapping
We show you a preview of your data and how we’d classified it. There are three statuses you may see in this preview:

means we think we know what type of data this is (but you can correct us if we’re wrong – see below) and will use it when trying to match the information in your customer file to people on Facebook. Only the data with this symbol gets uploaded for matching.
means we’re not sure what type of data this is or you’ve told us to leave it out of matching. If we’re not sure, you can tell us (see below). Check out our best practices guide to make sure it’s formatted in a way we can use.
means the data type has been identified (either by us automatically or by you), but we can’t detect a supported format. You may have to reformat the data in your file or select a formatting option from a Choose format dropdown (see below). For example, birthdays can be listed in different formats like MM/DD/YYYY or DD-MM-YYYY. Learn more. You can also leave the data type out of matching (see below).

Note: If you’re seeing a lot of errors, it may be because we’re looking for the wrong delimiter (the punctuation mark that separates data points). You can change this by hovering over “modify the delimiter” and choosing a new one.

You can interact with your data preview in three ways:

  • Changing the data’s type
  • Removing the data from match consideration
  • Changing the data’s format

To change your data’s type, click the dropdown and choose what type of data you’ve provided. From this dropdown, you can also choose Do Not Upload, which tells us not to use that data when matching.

To change your data’s format, click the Choose format dropdown and choose what format we should be using to match your data.

Note: Every piece of data requires a type to be usable, but only some kinds require formatting details. You’ll only see the Choose format dropdown if it’s necessary.

If you need to change anything about your customer file to maximize the number of identifiers we can use, do so now. Once you’re ready, repeat the steps above. When you’re satisfied, click Create & Upload.

Hashed Upload & Creation
We hash your data, upload it and create your audience for you. This may take a little while if your file is large. Feel free to continue working in another browser tab or window while you wait.

Next Steps
When we’re done creating your Custom Audience, we automatically generate a list of next steps you can take to get the most out of it. You can take one of those next steps immediately or click Done to finish.

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