How to Target Your Email Subscribers with Facebook Ads

How to Target Your Email Subscribers with Facebook Ads

Email and Facebook are probably the two most powerful marketing tools online today.

What’s even more powerful, is the possibilities you have to integrate them and put them to work together, for you.

You probably know that a Facebook Page can help grow your email list using custom apps, but today, we’re going the opposite way: How to create a Facebook ad campaign that targets your email subscribers.

Sounds technical? It’s not. I’ll give you each step of the process in this post.

1) Get your email list

The first step is to head over to your email service provider (ESP), I’m going to assume the majority uses either Aweber or Mailchimp, so I’ll focus on those two.

We’ll start with Aweber, the process will be similar if you use any other ESP. Mailchimp on the hand has a special way of doing this, we’ll come back to talk about this in a minute.

What you need to do is download your list into your computer, usually via a CSV file. You need to look for the option to “export your list” (if your ESP doesn’t offer this, you need to look for a new service).

On Aweber…

  • You’ll have to go to the “Subscribers” tab on top
  • Select “Manage Subscribers” from the dropdown menu options
  • That will take you to page you see in the image below. You’ll find several options to filter your list by different criteria, in this case you’ll want to export your entire list, so there is no need for that, unless you want to run an ad campaign to an specific segment in your list
  • Click on the “Export CSV” button right below the list. This should take a couple of minutes depending on the size of your list

Export your email list from Aweber

Alright, now you should have a CSV sitting in your computer. We’ll come back to get it.

2) Create a Custom Audience

We’ll use Power Editor to import this list to Facebook.

For this you need to create a Custom Audience. In the top right menu of your Power Editor dashboard, select “Audiences.”

Facebook Power Editor - Audiences

Once on the Audiences dashboard, select “Custom Audience” from the “Create Audience” menu on the top left of the page.

Create a Facebook Custom Audience

You have 4 options to create Custom Audiences:

  • Data File
  • Mailchimp (we’ll look at this in a second)
  • Data from a mobile app
  • Website Custom Audience, the latest addition to Facebook ads platform

We’ll use “Data File” to import the CSV file we downloaded from your ESP.

Create an Audience

Next step is to create your new audience:

  • Name
  • Description
  • Under Data Type select “Emails”
  • Don’t forget to agree to the terms…

Configure your email custom audience

3) Import your List

The “Source” is your CSV file, click on “Choose file” and locate it. Once you do that, click on “Create Audience.”

Import your CSV file

This process may take up to 30 minutes depending on the size of your email list. You can click “Check Updates” at the top to check its progress.

When it’s done, the status will change to “Ready.”

Facebook matches your email list with profiles

You can go grab a coffee, I’ll wait…

Facebook notifies you when your audience is complete

Now we have an audience!

4) Target your new Audience with an Ad

Now that you’ve created a custom audience for your email list, all you have to do is add it whenever you want to target it with an ad campaign. Or you can exclude it too.

Add the custom audience in your ad

How to create a Custom Audience with your Mailchimp list

As promised, let’s go back to Mailchimp now. I know many of you use it.

The process to create a Mailchimp Custom Audience is actually a lot easier… Basically you are skipping the part where you download the list from your provider and have a CSV file to import.

Forget all that!

All you have to do is select “Mailchimp Custom Audience” from the “Create Audience” menu…

Create a Mailchimp Custom Audience

You’ll get this pop up to prompt you to connect Facebook and Mailchimp.

Connect Facebook and Mailchimp

If you have more than one Mailchimp account, you will get an additional step here to select the right one, if not, the next step is to select the list you wish to connect here.

Select your Mailchimp account

Once you select the list and click on “Create Audience,” it’s all done for you. The rest is the same, you’ll wait for Facebook to match the data with its personal profiles and you’ll get a notification when it’s done.

2 Important considerations

There are a couple of things you need to consider when targeting your email subscribers in Facebook.

The Match

You should pay attention to how many records Facebook was able to match from your list. What Facebook does in this process is look for a match between the email address you’ve provided and a user profile. In some cases, they don’t match because people use more than one email address. The same thing happens when you import phone numbers, not every Facebook user lists a phone number.


You should do this periodically, your email list is probably growing. Set an alert to remind yourself to import a new list every month or every 3 months, depending on how fast is growing.


So, what do you think? Is it valuable? Are you already targeting your email subscribers with Facebook ads? Or are you planning to do so soon?

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section.

Likeable to Profitable: The Ultimate Guide to Master Facebook Advertising

  • Francisco,
    This is excellent timing for me. I am planning to run some Facebook ads to target subscribers from one of my lists but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I use Aweber for that list some this post will make it easy for me to go through that process. Thank you.

  • I love how you breakdown and explain your posts. Very helpful Francisco!

  • Thanks Dave. Good to see you here man!

  • Great! Let me know if you have any questions.

    Thanks for your comment!

  • This is great! Thank you!

  • Jen McGahan

    Sweet! A way to get that wonderful comment “I see you everywhere!” Thanks for the guide, Francisco.

  • Love this. Powerful way to ‘retarget’ your email list members through FB. Maybe offer some continuous or consistent brand and design cues.

  • Sukhpreet Kaur

    This is so cool, never thought of targeting the email subscribers on Facebook. Thank you Francisco 🙂

  • Storewars News

    Really informative article. Read this recently: In Tokyo, Samsung Legal Loses Infringement Case against Apple, thought I’d share it. Check it here:

  • “You’ve tried to access Power Editor, one of Facebook’s advertising
    tools. Currently, Power Editor only works in the Google Chrome web
    browser. Mobile devices are not supported.”??

  • Storewars News

    Really informative. I just read this
    article: Safeway buyout proceeds after no new bidders emerge. See the whole
    story here:

  • This is one of the most powerful ways of targeting a quality audience on Facebook, I’ve been using it for quite sometime and have got exelent results. BTW great article, perfectly explained: a perfect guide for beginners.

  • Tulane Undergrad

    I have a couple of questions – so say we don’t use one of these email service providers, is there a way to enter emails one by one? Also how does this differ than just posting a regular ad? Can only people in the custom audience see the post, or can others see it as well?

  • Lucky

    If you might have attempted to access Power Publisher, among Facebook’s marketing
    and advertising gear. At present, Power Publisher only succeeds in the Search
    engines Chrome web browser. Cellular devices usually are not supported.
    Social BookMarking site

  • Jyrgen

    How about GetResponse? Is it a more or less similar like Aweber?

  • Nicola Mattina

    Hi Francisco,
    thanks for this step by step tutorial. I would like to add that now you can automatically synchronize a MailChimp list with a Facebook custom audience thanks to Stamplay. Here you can find the details:
    I really would like to read your opinion about it. How can we improve this hack and make it more useful?

  • Janis Meredith

    Thanks for this tutorial… however when I go to import the csv report from a weber, it does not let me import it. I’m wondering if it has to do with the fact that the report has more info than just email addresses on it.

  • James

    All these are the best methods to email subscribers with facebook. There are many Smartphone Applications Development companies that makes many apps for this purpose.

  • kristie

    This was SOOOOO Helpful, Francisco – thanks so much!