Company Blog Support
Frank Hagan


    Back to Top

    Facebook Custom Audiences

    About Facebook Custom Audiences

    ONTRAPORT's unique integration with Facebook Custom Audiences is included in Basic, Pro and Team accounts. It allows you to bypass exporting and importing your contacts into Facebook, enabling the use of Group Actions and Rules to automate the process.

    Support estimates this integration will take about 20 minutes to complete. Because it is a supported integration, contact Support if you run into any problems, and they will assist you in configuring it.

    Note for Certified Consultants and Virtual Assistants: This integration should ONLY be built using your client's Facebook account. The ONTRAPORT Facebook Custom Audience integration can only tie one Facebook user to one ONTRAPORT account. If you tried to build the integration for two or more clients the previous connection will be cut. Also, if your client uses a personal Facebook Ads account only your client will be able to connect with their ads account.


    • An ONTRAPORT Basic, Pro or Team account.
    • Facebook Developers Account (free)
    • Facebook Business / Ads Account (free)
    • Optional Facebook Business Manager account (only one allowed per Facebook Account)

    Steps Required

    1. Create a Facebook Ads or Business Manager account
    2. Create a free Facebook Developer's account and create an app to integrate with ONTRAPORT
    3. Add that app's App ID, App Secret and Access Token into ONTRAPORT
    4. Export the "seed list" of at least 20 contacts to use in your Facebook Custom Audience
    5. Create a free Facebook Ads account
    6. Add a Custom Audience to your Facebook Ads Manager
    Configuring Facebook

    Note: Facebook frequently changes the order of steps to create an app, and split tests the pages for alternate designs. Because of this you may see slightly different images, page designs, links in different places, etc. We update this article when the order of steps has changed, but cannot account for the multiple split tests of different page designs.

    Create a Facebook Ads or Business Manager Account

    If you already have a Facebook Ads and/or Business Manager account you can skip to Create a Facebook Developers Account.

    1. Go to and click Create Ad

    2. You will be prompted to create a Facebook Ads account. 

    3. (Optional): After your account is verified or during the sign up for an Ads account you may want to create a Business Manager account. This allows you to assign others to work on your Facebook ads, etc. Many agencies will require this step. If you are a sole proprietor and do not need to provide access, we recommend just using the basic Facebook Ads account. If you want to create a Business Manager account and are not prompted to do so when creating your Ads account follow the instructions at How Do I Sign Up for Business Manager. Here are the steps as of October 2016:

      1. Go to

      2. At the bottom of the page click Get Started.

      3. On the Getting Started page, click Next

      4. Enter a name for your business, select the primary Page, and enter your name and work email address. If you don't yet have a Page for your business, you can create one in this step. It's required to have a Page for your business.

      5. Click Create Business, and Facebook will show you a message to welcome you to Business Manager.

      6. Click Add People to add employees to your business and give them access to your ad account and Page. (You can also skip this step and add people later.)

      7. If you are converting from a regular Facebook Ads account note the Ad Account number. In Business Manager, click Claim Assets then Ad Account. Enter the Ad Account number to claim it for your Business Manager account. 

        Claim ad account in Facebook Business Manager

    Create a Facebook Developers Account

    If you already have a Developers account skip to Create the Facebook App.

    • Log into your Facebook account.
    • Replace the "www" in the URL with "developers".

      Facebook Developers URL

    • Facebook may prompt you to create a Developers account at that time. In some cases you will need to click the blue Register button at the top right.

    • Complete the registration process. You may need to provide either a mobile phone number or credit card to verify your new developer account.
    Create the Facebook App

    The Facebook App is created in the Facebook Ads account of the individual account owner and not in the Business Manager account. When the Business Manager account is connected it will be able to use the app. 

    1. Click the My Apps link and select Add a New App. If presented with a "Add a New App" screen that asks you to "Select a platform ..." click the "Basic Setup" link provided at the bottom:

      skip setting up a platform if asked

      Note: you may not see this screen due to Facebook's heavy use of split testing. Search the page for "basic setup" and click the link.

    2. Name your app, provide your Contact Email, select a category such as "Business" and click Create App ID.

      App ID

    3. Click the Dashboard link in the left column. Copy the App ID to a text file for use in ONTRAPORT later. Click the Show button next to App Secret and copy it to the text file as well. 

      App Secret

    4. If you are not using a Business Manager account skip to step 5. You must complete steps a - f below if you use a Business Manager account:

      1. Open a new tab in your browser
      2. Log into your Facebook Ads account
      3. Select the Ads Account you will be using for this app and ONTRAPORT
      4. Select the Admin user and lower the permission to Adviser
      5. Select the user again and change the permissions back to Admin
      6. Steps a - f are required to set the proper Admin user as the last configured user. The Facebook App will then select that user and Ad Account when you create the User Token later

    5. Click the Tools & Support menu item at the top right.

      Tools and Support Link

    6. Select Graph API Explorer in the Tools section.

      Graph API Explorer

      NOTE: The following step is very important, and skipping it is the most frequent mistake made in configuration.
    7. Click the Graph API Explorer drop down and select the app you just created.

      Select App
    8. Below the Graph API Explorer drop down, click Get Token > Get User Access Token

      Get Token

    9. On the Select Permissions pop up, select the checkbox for ads_management and (optionally) business_management if you are using a Business Manager account. Both are located in the Events, Groups & Pages section. Click the Get Access Token button.

      Select Ads Management
      If you are using a Business Manager account and click the business_management checkbox you may be prompted to obtain permission from the attached Ads Accounts. If you own the attached Ads Account the permission pop up will appear. Allow access and you can continue. Approval from other clients will have to be obtained before you can continue. 

    10. Double check that your new App name appears above the Access Token as shown. If it does not, start over at step ten. Copy the Access Token to a text file for use in ONTRAPORT later. Hover over the image to enlarge it.

      Correct App Token

    11. This completes the initial configuration in Facebook. You can now log out by selecting Log Out of Facebook in the My Apps drop down in the upper right.

      NOTE: The initial access token you create is only active for two hours. Within that two hours you need to complete the process of Creating a Custom Audience in the Facebook Ads Manager, Connecting ONTRAPORT to Facebook and Adding Contacts to Facebook Using a Group Action below. If not completed within two hours, start over from step 1. If you complete the steps within two hours ONTRAPORT will renew the connection as needed to prevent it from expiring.
    Create a Custom Audience in the Facebook Ads Manager
    1. In ONTRAPORT, select at least 20 contacts who should be in your Custom Audience, then select Export in the Actions drawer. Export the First Name, Last Name, and Email. Facebook will require this initial "seed list" when we first create the Custom Audience. After downloading the exported list, log into your Facebook account.

    2. Click main menu option and select Advertising on Facebook

      Advertising Link in Main Menu

    3. Click Create Ad on the Facebook for Business page.

      Create Ad Link

    4. The Facebook campaign wizard loads. Click the Close Without Saving button at the lower left.

      Close Without Saving button

    5. The Ads Manager appears. Click the menu icon next to the Facebook logo and click Audiences. It appears under Assets toward the right of the screen. 

      Select Custom Audiences in Ad Manager
    6. Select Custom Audience in the Create Audience drop down.

      select create custom audience

    7. Choose the Customer File option under Create a Custom Audience. Then, select the Choose a file or copy and paste data option in the next step and upload the file from Step 1. We recommend using the email address as the identifier if asked.

      upload the customer file

    8. Facebook may take several hours to approve the Custom Audience. You can view the status by logging into your Ads or Business Manager account and clicking the main menu option, then Audiences under Assets

      View custom audiences in Facebook
    Connecting ONTRAPORT to Facebook
    1. Click your email address at the top right of your ONTRAPORT account and select Administration. Then, select the Facebook API link in the Social section.

      Facebook API Link in ONTRAPORT Administration
    2. Follow the confirmation prompts to connect your Facebook account to ONTRAPORT.

    3. After your Facebook account is connected, you can paste the Facebook App ID, App Secret and AccessToken obtained earlier in the Configuring Facebook section.

      Facebook App ID, APP Secret and APP Token in ONTRAPORT
    4. If you have successfully connected your ONTRAPORT account to Facebook the Contacts Actions drawer will include a Facebook Audience button.

      Facebook Audience Actions Drawer Icon
    Adding Contacts to Facebook Using a Group Action
    1. In the Contacts database, select the contacts to add to the Facebook Custom Audience. The Actions drawer will display. Click the Facebook Audience button.

      The Actions Drawer

    2. Select to Add the selected contacts the Custom Audience.

      Add Contacts to Custom Audience
    Adding Contacts to Facebook Using Rules

    Use the new Rule action Update Facebook Custom Audience to automate adding or removing contacts from any Facebook Custom Audience. The new Rule Action is found in global Rules, and Step and Date Sequence Rule Steps.

    Update Facebook Custom Audience Action


    • Add all new contacts to the Facebook Custom Audience named "ONTRAPORT Contacts" using a global Rule:

      Global Rule Action

    • Add contacts with tag "Tax" or "Tax Spouse" to the Custom Audience using a Rule Step in a Step Sequence:

      Using a Rule Step to Add Contacts to a Custom Audience

    Q. What about security? Does Facebook use the emails we give them for their own marketing?

    A. According to Facebook, the email addresses are encrypted and only a "hash" is used to make the matches. When you submit a new Contact, Facebook hashes that email address and then looks for a match.

    Q. I don't want to give Facebook my credit card. Can I still do this?

    A. Facebook Custom Audiences are for advertising, so their rules regarding account set up must be followed. They will allow you to set up and verify your account, but before you can start advertising you will have to provide a payment method.

    Q. Facebook is so confusing! Can Support set up my business and ads account?

    A. No, we cannot provide free support for configuring Facebook. Our Certified Consultants can certainly help you!

    Q. Hey, your image of Facebook's interface is different. What gives?

    A. Facebook frequently updates their user interface. We make every attempt to keep the articles updated. While the position of an item may change, they usually do not rename them, so you should be able to use the image and text as a reference to find the menu item or link to click.

    Q. Does this give Facebook access to my ONTRAPORT account?

    A. No, there is no data transferred to Facebook that you do not authorize using a Group Action or using a Rule. Facebook has no access to your Contacts, sales data, or any other part of ONTRAPORT in any way.

    Q. I manage multiple Facebook accounts. Will this work with Facebook Business Manager accounts?

    Yes, this integration will now work with Facebook Business Manager accounts. The instructions above have been modified to show the steps to integrate Facebook Business Manager accounts.

    Q. I have multiple ad accounts. Will this work with that setup?

    A. It will, but ONTRAPORT will only recognize the last ad account added to the Ads Manager page.

    Q. Not all of my Custom Audiences appear in ONTRAPORT!

    A. We only list the Custom Audiences that we can add Contacts to, so Look-Alike and Saved Audiences will not be visible. 

    Q. My Custom Audiences that used to appear in ONTRAPORT are no longer in the drop down!

    A.  Facebook may deactivate a Custom Audience. Verify the health of your Custom Audiences by logging into your Ads or Business Manager account and selecting the main menu, All Tools and then Audiences under Assets. The Availability column will show if the Custom Audience is available. 

    Custom audience status

    Q. My Custom Audiences are active, but they still don't show up in ONTRAPORT!

    A. Facebook may have suspended your app. Log into Facebook and paste into the address bar. Select your app and look to see if the solid green circle appears next to the app name. If not, click on the App Review link usually in the left column and note any error messages from Facebook. In this image, the app name has an empty green circle indicating the app is not active (to the right of the word "Audiences" in the app name):

    Facebook App status page

    After correcting the issues with the Facebook App, return to steps 5 through 8 in the Create the Facebook App section and regenerate the User Access Token. Return to ONTRAPORT and add the new User Access Token to ONTRAPORT as described in the Connecting Facebook to ONTRAPORT section. You do not have to re-create the Custom Audiences. If they do not show up, please contact Support using the Help (question mark) menu in ONTRAPORT.




    Have more questions? Submit a request


    • Avatar
      Simon Browning

      Are these instructions still accurate? I believe I've followed correctly but am not getting the custom audiences showing up in ontraport, though I do have the facebook button.

    • Avatar
      Frank Hagan

      Yes, they are recently updated within the last two weeks. We do support this integration so please feel free to create a support ticket and have our team get it working for you!

    • Avatar
      Simon Browning

      Awesome, thank you.

    Powered by Zendesk