​​​How To Use Facebook Ads For Cold, Warm & Hot Audiences


In order to use your ad spend as efficiently as possible you need to ​have different marketing messages ​for your cold, warm & hot traffic.​

You'll also need to know how to segment your visitors into their relevant audiences ​so you can actually deliver the right messages to them only.

This is because cold traffic campaigns, while necessary, are generally ​​less ​cost effective than warm & hot traffic campaigns.

Therefore, you want to make sure that you're only showing prospecting ads to cold traffic & ​directing your warm lead audience to cheaper retargeting ads. 

​Keep reading to find out how!

(also, make sure you have the Facebook pixel & conversion tracking set up)

Cold Traffic & Prospecting Ads

Cold traffic is the term used to describe people who have never heard of, or interacted with, your business.

​You'll need to run ​prospecting Facebook ads to cold traffic if you're​:

  • ​Starting a new business
  • ​Wanting to find new prospects
  • ​Trying to grow your brand awareness

​​If you're starting a new business you'll have ​to use interest & demographic targeting based on the customer persona ​you created for your target audience.

If you have website visitors & customers already, you should use lookalike audiences for more accurate targeting.

Your Goal For Prospecting Ads Should Be To:

  • ​Provide value first & foremost
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    Build ​trust, ​not ​sales (they're a bonus if they happen)
  • ​Pixel your visitors & segment them into custom audiences based on their onsite actions for relevant retargeting

To Do This Run Ads To:

  • ​Blog posts
  • ​Case studies
  • ​Free training videos
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    Social media updates
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    Quizzes that provide valuable insights for your visitors
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    High value lead magnets

Once someone has clicked on one of your prospecting ads & been introduced to your business via one of the free content types listed above they can now be considered warm traffic & added to a custom audience for retargeting.

Creating Custom Audiences For Retargeting Ads

​Custom audiences are simple to set up inside your Business Manager account:

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​The type of custom audience you select will depend on the source of traffic you're using.

1. People who have given you their details

​​​​​You can create a custom audience from a customer file. You can either upload the file yourself, copy & paste a list of emails/phone numbers/etc or import the data from Mail Chimp if you use it as your email ​CRM.

If you're uploading the file manually you ​must include one or more of the ​15 available identifiers in the correct format.

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​The easiest way to make sure you ​upload your customer information correctly is to download the file template & use it as an example.

Keep in mind that the data you have been given by customers doesn't always match the information they have on Facebook (eg. personal email vs work email) so you shouldn't expect a 100% audience match.

2. People who have visited your website

​This is the most powerful way to create your custom audiences for retargeting ​therefore, you need to have the Facebook pixel installed on your website correctly ​with conversion tracking​.

Unlike customer files, your website custom audience (WCA) data updates in real time so you can be sure that you're delivering the most relevant retargeting ads to your visitors without having to update anything.

You​ can create WCAs to segments your visitors based on actions such as:

  • ​Specific pages visited
  • Conversion events like leads or purchases
  • Purchase value (eg >$​100)
  • Time spent on your website
  • The device they used
  • ​How often they've visited
  • Language
  • UTM parameters
  • etc

You can also refine these audiences based on the time since they've performed the action, up to 180 days.

By creating specific WCAs you can retarget them with a very specific offer related to the action they've taken​ however, if you're using this to retarget people at different stages in a funnel sequence you'll need to exclude ​previous WCAs to prevent overlap.

3​. People who have used your app

​If you have an app that is connected to your App Dashboard inside your Ads Manager Account you can create custom audiences based on the following actions:

  • Anyone who opened the app
  • Most active users
  • Users by purchase amount
  • Users by segment

You need to create your own segments in your Facebook Analytics section.

Like WCAs, you can also refine these audiences based on the time since they've performed the action, up to 180 days & use retargeting ads that are relevant to the action they've taken.

4. People who have interacted with your business offline

​​​​​If you use Facebook ads to promote a business that ​makes sales in person, in a store or over the phone you'll need to use offline events to track the success of your ads.

Before you can create a custom audience for offline events you'll need to upload a customer data file that identifies the transaction type, value & customer in order for Facebook to match the purchase to any relevant ads.

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Once this information has been uploaded you'll be able to create custom audiences from this data & send them retargeting ads with relevant offers.

5. People who have engaged with your Facebook or Instagram content

Even if you have no funnel, website, app, store or online property except for your Facebook &/or Instagram profile you can still create a custom audience.

In fact, there's a number of different ways you can create custom audiences from the way people interact with your content:

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​​For example, one of our preferred ways to create custom audiences for specific topics is to make a video that introduces the topic & then create a custom audience for retargeting from people who watched at least 95% of the video.

Warm Traffic

​Warm traffic is the term used ​to describe people who have shown an interest in your content by interacting with your website, Facebook page, Instagram page, videos, etc but have not made a purchase with you.

Your goal here is convert them into leads or even low-cost sales.

To Do This Run Ads To:

  • ​Relevant lead magnets
  • ​A free trial
  • ​A webinar
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    A low-cost high value offer
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    Product/service testimonial videos
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    A flash sale or exclusive discount
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    Keep running ads to new content you publish

Hot Traffic

Ho​t traffic is the term used ​to describe people who have purchased something from you.

But while you have their contact details that doesn't mean you shouldn't ​use ads to keep them engaged with your content & ​turn them into repeat buyers.

To Do This Run Ads To:

  • ​Similar products/services they may be interested in
  • ​High value products/services
  • Recurring memberships or subscriptions
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    ​Sales or seasonal offers
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    Keep running ads to new content you publish

​Need More Help?

We offer ​free ad audits to help Facebook advertisers like you find hidden opportunities to generate more revenue from your ads (we call these 'profit pockets').


​This includes a free insights call where we can show you how to use custom audiences & retargeting to your advantage.