Intro to Custom Audiences

Custom Audiences target your existing followers and customers to create relevant re-marketing campaigns by uploading your own CRM lists to reach highly-specific groups of people. There are 3 types of Custom Audiences:

  • Lists — Use lists to target specific users, whether you want to reach your existing customers by uploading a list of their email addresses or use Twitter @names to target relevant influencers.
  • Website Activity — Target the people that have recently visited your website. You can collect this data using Twitter's website tag available through Twitter Ads.
  • App activity — Reach groups of people who have taken a specific action in your app, such as installs or sign-ups. You can collect data on who uses your mobile app with conversion tracking.

How it works

Audiences is a tool in your Twitter Ads account that allows you to review and manage your audiences. You can access it by navigating to Tools > Audiences.

Once an audience is loaded into Twitter Ads, you can use the Audiences tab to view details about the audience and edit or delete audiences. 

From there, you can use your Custom Audiences in your campaign targeting to directly reach the users you care about. You can re-target previous customers, web visitors who haven't yet converted, and/or mobile app users who haven't opened your app in a week.

*Not seeing the Tools tab in your ads account?  This is because you haven't yet added a credit card. Learn more here


Create your Custom Audience

In Audiences, choose which type of Custom Audience you want to create: List, Website Activity, App Activity or App Activity Combination. 

From there, you'll be brought to the audience creation page. You can name your Custom Audience and provide a brief description and the necessary information to create one. Visit our List, Website Activity, and App Activity pages for more information on requirements for each type. 

If you created a List Custom Audience, our systems will then match the users to their Twitter @handles, during which your audience will show as "Processing" in your Audience Manager. Processing takes 48 hours on average, after which your Custom Audience will show as "too small" or "Ready".

If you created a Website Activity or App Activity Custom Audience, our systems will immediately start adding qualifying Twitter users to your audience. Your audience will show as "too small" in your Audiences tab until 100 Twitter users have been added.


Manage and use your audiences

Visit your Audiences tab to manage your Custom Audiences once they're created. Here you'll see each audience, its type, and its serving status as well as the dates on which it was created and last updated, the audience sizing and the description of the audience. Only Custom Audiences that have a serving status of "Ready" can be targeted in campaigns.

You will also be able to search for specific audiences using keywords in the audience name and to filter your audiences based on their Status or Type.

To target the users in your Custom Audiences within your campaign, navigate to the "Custom audiences" section of campaign setup. 

Use the carrot next to each audience type to find and select the Custom Audience you want to target. 

Keep in mind that even though all Custom Audiences show up, only those in "Ready" serving status will properly target users in your campaign.

You can choose to "Add" or "Exclude" the users in your Custom Audiences:

  • Add: The users in your Custom Audience will be served the Tweets in your campaign, if they meet the geo, gender, age, and device targeting criteria specified in your campaign.
  • Exclude: The users in your Custom Audience will NOT be served the Tweets in your campaign, even if they meet the other criteria in your campaign.

To respect user privacy, the minimum size for a Custom Audience to be usable in campaigns is 100 Twitter users. If your Custom Audience is under 100 Twitter users, it will display as "Audience too small" and will not be available for targeting.



Frequently asked questions

Which type of Custom Audience should I use?

All three types offer ways to directly target and remarket to the people you care about. 

Additional Requirements: 

More on our policies for Custom Audiences.

My audience is showing as too small

To respect user privacy, your Custom Audience must be at least 100 Twitter users for it to be usable in your campaigns. CA's that fall short of this requirement will say “audience too small” in your Audiences tab, and cannot be used for campaign targeting.

Tips to increase your matched users: 

  • Lists: Add more user information to your .csv file and/or combine two smaller .csv files. Then, delete the "too small" CA from your Audiences tab and reupload the new, larger CA to reinitiate the matching process.
  • Web Activity: Make sure your Web Pixel is correctly tracking, and your URL parameters for the CA are not too strict. The time it takes for your Web Activity audience to acquire 100 Twitter users depends on your web traffic.
What is "matching"?

When you create a Custom Audience, there's an initial processing period where the users on the Custom Audience. are "matched" by our systems to their Twitter @handle. This allows us to then serve your Promoted Ads to their accounts.

It's possible that not all of the users on your Custom Audience are active Twitter users, which is why you might see a final Custom Audience size that is smaller than your original uploaded list.

Every Custom Audience is different, and until your list is processed and "matched", we cannot accurately estimate the match rate for an individual advertiser's Custom Audience. Once the Custom Audience is no longer showing as "Processing" in your Audiences Tab, the number of matched users for the Custom Audience will be shown. If there were less than 100 active Twitter users matched, it will show as "Audience too small". Unfortunately "too small" Custom Audiences will not be available for targeting in campaigns to respect user privacy.

Are the names of my Custom Audiences visible to anyone outside of my ads account?

Very rarely. People on Twitter are able to request their Twitter Archive which includes information about why they were targeted with particular ads. As part of this data, if they were included in a Custom Audience, they may have visibility into the audiences that qualified them for an ad impression. While people very rarely request and download this report, you may want to keep this in mind when naming your Custom Audiences.



Additional reading

Ready to get started?