Finding new customers with Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Laurence Burden | 25th November 2020 | Paid Media

The Facebook Ad platform is a powerful tool for reaching customers across a wide range of different audiences on Facebook and Instagram. At a basic level, businesses can target fans of their page, users who have visited their website or people who fall within predefined audience segments. 

With Lookalike Audiences, you can expand the reach of your campaigns to target users identified as similar to, or who “look like”, a given audience. Lookalikes are created by linking to a Custom Audience built from your pixel, mobile app data or fans of your page. Facebook will then identify common characteristics across this audience and create a Lookalike from this data.

How It Works

To set up your Lookalike Audience, you will first need to identify a source audience. Facebook recommends that this consists of between 1,000 and 50,000 users in order to yield the best possible results from your campaign. The different options for creating this audience are as follows:

  • Fans of Your Page: An ideal place to start would be with users who have already liked your page, and already engaged with your brand.
  • Custom Audiences: If you have an existing database of customer contacts, you can import this data directly into Facebook

Custom Audiences can also be built from website visitors or app users.

  • Facebook Pixel:  By placing this code on your website, you can build an audience of users who have completed specific actions such as completing a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

Each of these options is slightly different, but provide an initial audience of users who have engaged with your business in some way. The Lookalike Audience generated from these sources is likely to be users who your brand will appeal to.

But what signals determine who should be targeted by a Lookalike Audience? Whilst Facebook does not provide a definitive breakdown of how the algorithm works, several data points are likely to come into play here. These include:

  • Demographic and location data from profiles.
  • Behaviours on Facebook such as pages liked or activity in groups, as well as likes or comments on specific posts.
  • Interest category data.
  • Data from ads that a user has clicked on.

Implementing Your Lookalike Audience

Creating a Lookalike Audience is a simple and straightforward process. Begin by navigating to the Audiences dashboard on Facebook Business Manager, then click on the Create Audience dropdown and select Lookalike Audience.

From there, simply select your source audience, audience location and audience size, depending on how similar you want your Lookalike Audience to be. An audience size of 1% will consist of only the most relevant users, whereas 10% will create a broader audience that is less similar to the source data.

Taking Advantage of Lookalikes

Even the most diligently planned campaigns that cover all of your key audiences, will inevitably reveal gaps where targeting falls short. Creating Lookalike Audiences to broaden your reach and get ads in front of potential customers identified as likely to convert is relatively easy to achieve. Testing will enable you to increase your reach, optimise your spend, whilst maintaining strong conversion rates and ROI.

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