How to Create a Facebook Custom Audience from a Timeline Contest in the News Feed

We all want more customers, right?

And, isn’t it easier to reach new or returning customers when their first engagement or most recent experience with us was positive?

Those with positive, recent experiences with us on social network channels can be KEY audiences to market a specific offer to as they are more likely to make a purchase.

We can find these customers in the walls of Facebook and create targeted ads directly to them!  In this post I am going to show you how.

Since Facebook opened up the ability to run contests and promotions in the News Feed (see more), the opportunity to engage and interact with fans with a simple post promo has grown.


What if, however, beyond just engaging those fans, you have a bigger goal in mind of selling a specific product to a very interested segment of your Facebook community?  

What if you could run an engaging News Feed promotion that stirred interest, AND THEN you targeted that specific, interested audience with a great offer immediately after?

It’s possible!  Let’s look at the steps.

Tools To Use:

1. A Facebook Timeline Contest Post

2. Timeline Contest App (for exporting)

3. Facebook Custom Audience

4.  A customized Facebook Page Tab with the offer

5. Facebook’s Power Editor for running a Ad

Let’s look at how this can be done using a Women’s Clothing Boutique Facebook page as the example.

The Steps:

1. A Timeline Contest Post

The Women’s Clothing Boutique can create a Post on their Facebook Page.  It can be a simple “Like” to enter contest, a picture, or a Photo album, simply something that engages your target audience and is very relevant to what your offer will ultimately be for.

In this example, it’s the Photo Album of the November clothing styles that are for sale. Notice that it had great engagement, 1,249 people “Liked” this post.  That’s the goal! So we have 1,249 people that have Liked the new selection of clothes.  Perhaps some of them would be ready to buy if we follow-up with them!!


2. Timeline Contest App (for exporting)

Now, we can go and identify the 1,249 people that Liked the post.  This will be our target audience for the special offer.  They’ve seen our clothes, they’ve “Liked” our photos, we can now follow-up with them via an Ad offer related to these very clothes.

Any Facebook Page Admin can use the TabSite Timeline Contest app to pull in any post they have created on their Facebook Page.  If you run a contest, the app can select the random winner(s) according to your desires.

The key is that you can export the data (Likes, Comments, etc.)

So in this case we would use the Timeline Contest App and as a Page Manager we could find that post and download all 1249 people that have Liked the post.


3. Facebook Custom Audience

The exported data file from the app gives us the name of the user and their Facebook ID.  We delete all the other fields from the file, leaving simply the rows of User ID’s.

Now we are ready to move to Facebook to create an Audience so that we can run a Ad targeted to this specific audience that was interested in the November Styles photos that had been posted.


Yes, we can target specifically just those 1,294. (We can also target one’s like them and more!)

In Facebook we go to this location in the Ads Manager:

Learn more about Custom Audiences and managing them via: Facebook’s Custom Audience Guide.

We click the “Create Audience” button and follow the prompts.


Select “Data File” as the type of audience to create.


Be sure to select “Advanced Options” and then select the User_ID option.  I’ve had the greatest success saving my file out as a .txt and then uploading it.  The User ID numbers in the file must not be abbreviated or shortened in any way but listed as the full number.


Once the Advanced Options area opens, select User IDs.


Facebook will give you a “success” message and list the number of users they uploaded to create this custom audience.  There is some processing time if the list was large and Facebook will give you a Notification when it is ready.


You’re all set!  Now you can create an Ad with a special offer targeting specifically that audience!

4. A customized Facebook Page Tab with the offer 

Now we are ready to setup our offer!  We’ll create a Facebook Page Tab using an Engagement App.  Our goal will be to create a Ad that will run in the News Feed that will outlines the offer and has a link to the tab on our Facebook Page.

Remember, your audience was interested in the November Styles clothes, so it is best if your offer connects with that.  Either directly or by mentioning, “if you liked November Styles, then we’re sure you’ll live this special offer..”

You can create a Friend Share Deal Reveal Tab (user comes to the tab, must share with a friend, then gets access to the offer/coupon code/deal coupon to print), a simple Name and Email form capture where the Thank You message gives them the deal/link/code/downloadable coupon, or a printable coupon to access on the tab.

The main thing is to keep the tab simple, clear, and with the goal of offering something of value for users to take action on.

It is this tab that will be the destination you drive those specific fans that “Liked” the original post to with your Ad. Here’s a few examples of deal tabs.



5. Facebook’s Power Editor for running an Ad

Once the tab offer Page is in place, it’s time to head to the Facebook Ads Manager area again.  This time, specifically going to the Power Editor.  By using Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browsers, you have access to Facebook’s best Ad tool for customizing an Ad called Power Editor.

For more information on Power Editor, see this Social Media Examiner Post by Jon Loomer, and also download Facebook’s free PDF Power Editor Guide which offers an overview and specific steps on how to setup an Ad.

After loading Power Editor, make sure to click the Download button.  This will bring in your Audience to Power Editor.  The Audience can then be accessed in the left menu.

From there you are ready to create a Campaign and then create your Ad within the Campaign!  I recommend creating a “New unpublished” post as your Ad.  Then it does not appear on your Page feed, only in the News Feed of our targeted audience.  A post is the way to go as well because mobile users can also view the Ad in their News Feed stream.

When creating your Ad in Power Editor, the location where you select your custom audience is in the “Advanced” option under “Audience” as shown in the image below.



So there you have it!

That’s the way to use engaging posts or Timeline Contests as a first step in targeting that audience with a specific, related offer.

The value is that the Likes and Comments are turned into a method to retarget those very people and to use that as a method for lead generation (lead capture on a tab such as the name and email fields in a form) and for offering a direct, specific, related offer!

What do you think?  Are you ready to try it?

Here’s that top of the page image one more time for good measure!


How to create a Facebook Custom Audience from a Timeline Contest in the News Feed

About Mike Gingerich

Mike Gingerich, President of Digital Hill & TabSite is a business blogger Marketer and Consultant. Part geek, part marketer, part strategist, total fitness and running junkie. Mike is an author and speaker, having presented at Social Media Week Lima, Social Media Camp (Canada) and more. Mike is a marketing, social media, and business startup enthusiast with 10+ years experience building apps, consulting, and training businesses with winning integrated strategies. Mike loves deploying tactics to increase awareness, sales, and maximize ROI in both B2B and B2C markets via digital media.

13 thoughts on “How to Create a Facebook Custom Audience from a Timeline Contest in the News Feed

  1. Hi Mike it would be great if you can share successful case studies or examples by businesses who used it and generated more sales/ leads. Cheers!

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