Facebook can help you learn more about your customers. With Facebook Audience Insights you can discover a lot of publicly shared information and unlock buyer personas by using specific features of Facebook along with details you already know about your customers. In this post, we’ll show you how.

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How to Use This Data

Before we look at the data you’ll find using Facebook, let's start by looking at the ways you can use the data. What you learn when you analyze your customers can be used to create buyer personas. These personas can help you:

Increase customer retention

  •  Improve your products and services to fit your top customers’ needs
  •  Develop social media posts and content that appeals to your customers

Increase customer acquisition

  • Optimize your product and service landing pages
  • Develop social media posts and content that attracts people who are similar to your top customers
  • Create advertising campaigns targeted to reach people who could become your top customers

In short, creating detailed buyer personas will help you with both customer retention and customer acquisition. This means personas are a highly valuable asset to your business. Now that you know how to use this data, let's look at how to get it.

Use a Customer List

If you have a customer list or database with your customer emails or phone numbers, then you can use Facebook Audience Insights to gain some more detailed information about your customers. You can get this list from a variety of sources, depending on how you manage your customer information. These sources may include:

  • Salesforce contacts
  • Ecommerce customers
  • Email subscriber list
  • Email contacts
  • LinkedIn contacts

Start by exporting your customer's emails or phone numbers into a text or CSV file from one of the sources mentioned above.

Next, go to Facebook Ads Manager; under the Tools menu, select Audiences. There you’ll see a dropdown titled Create Audience; in that menu, choose Custom Audience. Follow the prompts to upload a customer file using emails or phone numbers to create your Custom Audience.

After Facebook processes the list you uploaded, you will see a Ready notification by your list. Now you’re ready to analyze your Custom Audience. You can do so by going to your Audience Insights, which is found under the Tools menu in your Facebook Ads Manager. When you go to your Audience Insights, you will be prompted to choose an audience to analyze. Select one or more of your Custom Audiences from these selections.

Once you have selected the Custom Audiences you want to analyze, you will see demographics data populate in Audience Insights.

If you look under the People on Facebook heading, you will notice that the Audience Insights data is automatically focused on people in the United States only. If you want to see insights on people worldwide, remove United States from the filter in the left sidebar. To see insights on people in other countries, you will have to add them. Note that this will remove some of the data shown in Audience Insights, such as the information found under the Household and Purchase tabs.

Once you have selected the Custom Audiences you want to analyze and configured the location settings, you will be able to analyze certain information about your customers using the tabs at the top of your insights. Some data may not be available based on your location selection or the size of your Custom Audiences.

  • Age and Gender
    Self-reported information from people in their Facebook profiles; information only available for people aged 18 and older
  • Lifestyle
    U.S. demographic and interest data based on purchase behaviour, brand affinity, and other activities from Personicx
  • Relationship Status
    Self-reported data from people who list a relationship status on Facebook
  • Education Level
    The highest level of education reached based on self-reported data from people on Facebook
  • Job Title
    Likely industries where people work based on self-reported data on Facebook
  • Page Likes
    Facebook Pages that are likely relevant to your audience based on Facebook Page likes
  • Top Cities, Countries, and Languages
    Based on self-reported information from people in their Facebook profiles
  • Frequency of Activities
    The number of times the selected audience performed these actions on Facebook, based on Facebook user activity and environmental data
  • Device Users
    How the selected audience accessed Facebook in the last 30 days, based on user activity and environmental data
  • Household Income
    Estimated income for U.S. households based on survey responses and estimates using demographic data from Acxiom
  • Home Ownership
    U.S. home ownership based on survey responses and public data from Acxiom
  • Household Size
    Number of adults and children who live in a single U.S. home based on survey responses, purchase activity, and public data from Acxiom
  • Home Market Value
    Estimated U.S. home value based on survey responses and public data from Acxiom
  • Spending Methods
    U.S. spending behavior based on survey responses or estimates using purchase activity, occupation, and census data from Acxiom
  • Retail Spending
    Estimated U.S. retail spending compared to income based on purchase activity from Epsilon
  • Online Purchases
    Estimated U.S. online retail spending compared with other consumers based on purchase activity from Epsilon
  • Purchase Behavior
    U.S. consumer behavior based on purchase activity from Datalogix, Epsilon, and Acxiom
  • In Market for a Vehicle
    U.S. automotive purchase behavior based on geography, demographics, and vehicle registration data from Datalogix

When reviewing specific insights, be sure to note the percentage of your audience that was used to collect that data. This is shown at the bottom of certain charts, like Household Income and Home Ownership.

As you can see, this is a wealth of data you can use to create your buyer personas for customer retention and customer acquisition.

If You Don't Have a Customer List

If you don't have a customer list, you can still use Facebook Audience Insights to get valuable information you can use for customer acquisition. Instead of selecting A Custom Audience when you go to Facebook Audience Insights, choose either Everyone on Facebook or People connected to your Page.

The latter option, People connected to your Page, will give you Audience Insights on the people who like your business page on Facebook. This can help you with product development and customer acquisition, assuming that you have a naturally built Facebook fan base—not one that was purchased through Fiverr or another "buy Facebook likes" service.

The former option, Everyone on Facebook, will allow you to use the left sidebar to analyze people based on specific filters.

This is useful if you have a general idea about the type of people you want to target as customers. Or, if you have some big brands that would count as competitors, you could enter them as an Interest to see information about the people who like that brand. For example, if you have an Italian restaurant, you may want to look at people who are interested in Olive Garden. In another example, if you create a tool to help Gmail users, you may want to use the Advanced Behaviors filter to get insights on people whose primary email domain is Gmail under Digital Activities.

Here are a few more ideas of ways you can use the filters to see insights on ideal customer bases for specific businesses.

  • Wedding photographers can see insights on people in a specific location who are engaged: Set the city or state in the Location and Engaged under Advanced > Relationship Status.
  • A co-working space can see insights on people who work from home in a specific location: Set the city or state in the Location and Home Office under Advanced > Work Office Type.
  • An ecommerce store that sells expensive baby products can see insights on expectant parents with a high income. Select Expectant parents under Advanced > Parents and specific income ranges or net worth under Advanced > Financial.
  • Non-profits can see insights on people who donate to specific causes by selecting the cause under Advanced > Behaviors > Charitable donations.

In short, any business can learn more about their ideal customers by using one or two specific pieces of information about those ideal customers as filters in Audience Insights.

How do you create a buyer persona?

Once you have reviewed Audience Insights for your customers, fans, or ideal customers, it's time to create buyer personas. You can create one or multiple, depending on your business needs. The ideal buyer persona would sound something like this:

Katherine is a 56-year-old married woman. She is college educated, works in healthcare, and has disposable income. She drives a midsize car and tends to purchase products in stores as opposed to online. Her retail purchases are generally focused on clothing, beauty, and pet products. She listens to country music and loves watching shows on the Hallmark Channel. Her favorite nonprofits include The Animal Rescue Site and Best Friends Animal Society. In her spare time, she likes gardening and camping.

The idea is to make your buyer personas specific. Even if you don't use all of the information in the persona, you want to be able to envision that persona as a real person—someone you know well.

Once you've written your persona, find a photo that you think best represents that person. If you know someone who fits a similar demographic, you may grab a photo off Facebook, or simply use a stock photo that seems fitting.

From here, you can create more buyer personas or start to think about your overall marketing strategy based on this persona.


Facebook Audience Insights can help you create a strong buyer persona using your established customer list, fans of your business, or a few simple details about your ideal customer. You can then use this data to create great products and services, improve the products and services you already offer, optimize your landing pages, tailor your content, create ad campaigns, and much more. Using buyer personas is a surefire way to help you improve customer retention and increase customer acquisition.

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