How To Actually Make A Sales Funnel That Works In Facebook Ads

I see a lot of people exploring the use of dependencies in Custom Audiences for Facebook Ads to create sales funnels for their ads. Custom Audiences were designed to do this — to enrol people in an audience based on behaviour or time or another factor, and show them timely ads — so I love that more and more people are making sales funnel ads in Facebook Ads!

Are they making sales funnels in Facebook Ads that work, though? Honestly, it depends, but a lot of the time I see people not fully realising how to use Custom Audiences to actually make sure their ads are relevant, not too frequent, and something your audience are ready for.

Custom Audiences on Facebook are an ideal way to take somebody who has interacted with an Awareness ad and lead them down the funnel to a conversion or purchase at their own speed.

Facebook Ads are made to push people down a sales funnel — they want you to see success using their ads — but it’s up to you to work out how to set this up.

Let’s take a closer look at your options with Custom Audiences to create ads that address the sales funnel as well as some basic solutions to improving those ads.

To better understand how powerful Custom Audiences work for sales funnels, let’s first recap the basic sales funnel Facebook Ads can lead audiences down:


Most people now realise you can’t just ask your audience to fill out a form or call you without giving your brand context, so creating Brand Awareness and Reach ads in Facebook Ads can really help start your relationship with an audience and is a great first step.

You can generate ads in this stage based on prior interaction but also based on general demographics in Core Audiences.

The two campaign options Facebook has tailor-made for this stage are:

  • Brand Awareness

  • Reach


This is a step I still see missing from a lot of Facebook Ads, both as a user and as a consultant. Most brands pat themselves on the back for doing some soft touch stuff to raise awareness and generate brand affinity and then BAM, they hit their audience with a hard sell without any warning. Maybe worse than that, they keep going and going and going with the same message without any consideration for frequency. To Hunt A Killer, I am looking at you. 👀👀👀

The key step often missing from a sales funnel is offering your audience consideration pieces before asking them to commit to anything.

They have a challenge or issue in their life, everyone does, and they’re looking for options. They’re not just looking for your brand, they’re looking for information. If you offer them what they want you know they’ll be warm to your brand.

Facebook has made several options for this stage:

  • Traffic

  • Engagement

  • App Installs (for app developers)

  • Video Views

  • Lead Generation

  • Messages (Facebook Messenger)


This is the hard sell, and most brands are capable of this. I see it all the time! What many people don’t realise is Facebook has some exciting options for ecommerce and in-store shops as well as for sites that have Facebook Pixels set up.

Facebook has three decision specific options for this stage:

  • Conversions

  • Catalog Sales

  • Store Visits

So maybe you understand the basics of this. And maybe you’ve set up Custom Audiences and Ad Sets for each of these stages.

What I often see is that in setting up a sales funnel the ads are costing too much per click, per view, or per impression.

Here’s what is probably happening:

You should have at least three custom audiences for a sales funnel to work

  1. An Awareness Audience (your ‘base’ audience)

  2. A Consideration Audience

  3. A Decision Audience

If you have more stages to your sales process, you might have more audiences and more touch points. For each audience you should have an Ad Set.

Screenshot 2019-01-31 15.03.03.png

If your cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) is unusually high once your ads are running it’s likely your audience set-up is not based upon behaviour or interaction with your brand.

All too often I see brands using Custom Audiences that are based on time. For example, gathering an audience that are ‘10 days since sign up to a contact list’ or ‘7 days since they visited the site’.

This audience is fine for the Awareness audience. It is not okay for the rest of the sales funnel.

I don’t want to show somebody a Consideration ad, even after a whole week of showing other ads, if they haven’t interacted with my other ads. Likewise with a Decision ad. Forgetting to base your (2) Consideration and (3) Decision ads on how your audience has previously responded to your brand will drive up your costs because you’re spending money on people who aren’t interested in your brand.

Here’s the Solution

The focus with your Custom Audiences should be making sure you are showing people ads they are ready for and actually want.

Facebook really comes into its own when you start basing audiences behaviour — especially for video ads.

If your costs are rising, consider using video views for all three stages as objectives.

Using Facebook Ads you can generate audiences based on people who have viewed 10 or more seconds of an Awareness ad, for example, and show them a Consideration ad because you know they’ve paused their scrolling to take a look at your brand.

If they interact with the Consideration ad, great! Push them into the audience for a Decision ad. If they don’t interact with that Consideration ad, what then? Here’s the clever part, you make sure if people don’t interact with a video ad at any point they are placed back down the funnel to Awareness.

By doing this you assume their lack of interaction is either

  • lack of interest

  • lack of readiness

And your sales funnel Custom Audiences account for this. When they’re not ready they get pushed back down to Awareness.

If they don’t interact with your brand after a set amount of time, Facebook can automatically exclude them from the audience altogether. Hence, if people just aren’t interested Facebook will stop spending money trying to convert those particular people.


The best Facebook Ads don’t annoy their users. They’re fluid, and they are based on their behaviours!

By basing your audiences (and ads) on the behaviours of potential buyers you can make sure nobody ever reports or blocks your brand — more than this, you open the door for your audience to grow to love your brand using ads.

Ultimately, sales funnel ads are a great way to drive down costs per acquisition while increasing leads/conversions and saving your audience the hassle of feeling harassed by your ads every time they visit your site or sign up for something.

If you want to know more about setting up these Custom Audiences I know it can be tricky to get your head around but I’m here to help! Custom Audiences are the gateway to better sales through Facebook once you understand them.