[Custom audience cheat sheet] How to unlock a new paying user base for your mobile app

By Sukey Miller - July 05, 2023

Everything you need to know about using custom audiences to reach a new audience, increase campaign conversions and grow your paying user base, in one handy cheat sheet.

$500 billion (USD).  

That’s how much the app economy is worth. 

A hefty $167B (33%) is from in-app purchases. 

The other 66%? That’s advertising spend. With social platforms capturing the biggest chunk.

Spending your ads dollars wisely to reach new users who are most likely to convert can be make, or break.

Custom audiences provide an ad targeting option that lets you target specific segments through social ad platforms.

But, like with all ad tech tools, it’s the way you use them that counts!

We’ve put together a handy cheat sheet so you can get the most from custom audiences. 

Learn the ins and outs of custom audiences.

Get tips and tricks to maximize campaign ROI.

Reach new audiences who are most likely to convert.

Download your own copy of our cheat sheet guide to custom audiences here.  


What are custom audiences?

A custom audience is a social media ad targeting method for directing ads toward a specific group of potential customers who are most likely to result in conversions.


How custom audiences work

1. Upload a formatted list to your social ad manager account. Or, use a custom audience provider to share one to your account

2. Set up your campaign, ad set and creatives in line with your goals

3. Apply the custom audience at the ad set level within your audience settings

4. Run your campaign to people who are most likely to engage with your ads and convert


Why custom audiences work

  • Highly specific
  • Target those most likely to convert
  • Retarget those who have previously shown interest
  • Drive app installs
  • Generate qualified leads for a lower cost
  • Grow your paying user base


3 rules for custom audience success

  1. Retarget users who have engaged with your app or game but never converted: Create specific campaigns to churned users to get feedback on why they left - use this for product development
  2. Make lookalike audiences of your payers: Create an audience composed of people who share characteristics and interests with your current engaged users to reach a wider audience of new users more likely to convert
  3. Target new users based on their purchase behavior in apps and games:
  • payers in your apps
  • lookalikes of payers in your apps
  • payers in your competitor apps
  • payers in categories with a high overlap of payers to yours


Types of custom audiences

  • Customer lists: target existing customers based on your imported csv or txt customer list
  • App activity: target people who have engaged with your app or game
  • Engagement: target people who have engaged with your Facebook page
  • Third-party custom audiences: target potential customers based on a list generated by a third-party


5 tips and tricks to get the most out of custom audiences

  1. Get specific: When building your audience, start broad then include or exclude groups based on interests, behaviors, and demographics. Next, layer on your custom audience. Tailor your ad content and offers to appeal to each segment 
  2. Layer: Layer custom audiences together with lookalike audiences to enhance the algorithm for additional scale and longevity
  3. Experiment with custom audience sizes: Test to find the balance between reach and cost to find the sweet spot 
  4. Retarget based on prior interest: Build a custom audience based on people who have previously engaged with your content or used your app without converting
  5. Track and measure: Use the platform's conversion tracking tools to measure the performance of your campaigns. Adjust the criteria for your custom audiences on the fly to improve your conversion rate


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Ready to start supercharging your campaign ROAS?

Talk to an expert