Social Media Email List Advertising Explained

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Hola marketers! The article below, Social Media Email List Advertising Explained, is the third and final entry of our Advanced Social Media Advertising Series. The purpose of this series is to inform marketers and business owners about powerful, underutilized social media advertising tactics that can generate opportunities for their business. If you dig our articles, be sure to sign up below to be notified when we post new entries. Cheers!


Anyone that’s invested in social media advertising wishes that their audience targeting could improve. Facebook and Instagram have done a fantastic job in building a plethora of targeting options within their ad platforms. However, unqualified users still manage to slip through the cracks, click on our ads and eat up some of our budget.

To ensure that maximum targeting accuracy is achieved, custom audiences must be built within your Facebook Business Manager. We already covered building a custom audience from website visitors. Now let’s take a look at what I believe is the most accurate form of social media advertising, building a custom audience using email addresses.


Email List Custom Audiences

Most businesses possess an email list composed of customers, leads or important contacts. These lists are usually distributed to a sales team and/or primarily used for email marketing purposes. What most marketers and business owners don’t realize is that their email list can be used to build target audiences within Facebook’s ad platform.

That’s right. Facebook allows you to upload email addresses into your ad system to build the perfect target audience. This type of audience building is as close as you can get to 100% targeting accuracy because you’ll know exactly which individuals will be served your ads.


Email List Audience Examples

There are several scenarios in which you can use email list targeting to your advantage on Facebook and Instagram. Here are a few examples:

  • Chamber of Commerce → (email list: chamber members) → Display member-exclusive promotions about upcoming events, local deals and membership specials.
  • Boutique → (email list: former shoppers) → Serve ads with special promo codes to your shoppers, thanking them for their loyalty.
  • Bank(email list: customers, filtered by those who don’t have a credit card) → Promote your new credit card with a time-sensitive incentive.
  • Sports Team(email: football season ticket holders) → Offer first-priority to purchase additional tickets or bowl game tickets
  • Oil Change Store(email list: customers) → Promote your Tuesday $10 off special to your loyal customers.
  • Marketing Company(email list: marketers/CEOs) → Promote how your marketing services produces real, tangible results and can be tied back to the company’s marketing investment.
  • Landscaping Company → (email list: customers) → Serve ads a few weeks before spring offering a price break on maintenance services to loyal customers.
  • Student Housing Property(email list: university students) → Serve ads to college students promoting your lease specials, amenities and location proximity to campus.

Virtually every business should be able to leverage this advertising tactic and use it to their benefit. Ask yourself, “how can I use this type of advertising for my business?”


Setting Up Your Email List Audience in Facebook Business Manager

Building your email list audience in Facebook is fairly simple. Before you begin the upload process into Facebook’s business manager, you’ll need to make sure that your contact list is saved as a .csv or .txt file

Building Your Email List Custom Audience on Facebook & Instagram

  1. Select your Ad Account when logged into Facebook’s Business Manager.
  2. Click on the 3 lines to the left of Ads Manager in the top left corner of your screen, then click “All Tools >”
  3. Click on “Audiences” under Assets,
  4. On the asset library page, click the blue button titled “Create Audience” and select “Custom Audience”
  5. Select “Customer File”
  6. Select “Add customer from your own file” if you have a .csv file you wish to upload.
  7. Upload your .csv or .txt file or paste your email addresses in the ‘copy and paste’ area.
  8. Name your audience, continue on and click ‘next.’
  9. Double-check your list, then click ‘upload & create.’
  10. Once complete, begin creating your new campaign. Once you reach the Ad Set page, you’ll see the option to input your custom audience. You’ll see your custom email list audience. Select your audience, finish building your campaign and off you go!


With email list targeting, Facebook has provided another opportunity for businesses to use email addresses to market their message. Be sure to use this advanced social media advertising tactic to your advantage!

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