How to Use Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Targeting has quickly emerged as one of the most important factors of online marketing.

Though all businesses need to be advertising in 2019 to see success online, there’s one thing you shouldn’t be doing: aimless advertising. The way that online advertising works, you could have a marketing budget larger than Amazon but if you aren’t doing it correctly, you just aren’t going to see the results.

Why is this the case? Because targeting has quickly emerged as one of the most important factors of online marketing. For brands who implement the strongest marketing campaigns, they’re continually asking these questions:

  • Can we test a different audience to increase our conversion rate?
  • Which is the right group to target?
  • Can we change the settings of our campaign to utilize every cent of our advertising spend?

When these types of questions are asked, it seems that more and more people are being pointed in the direction of Facebook Lookalike Audiences. With this tool growing in popularity, we thought it was about time we produced an extensive guide on the topic so even beginners to online advertising can access the right audience at the right time.

In this guide, you’re going to learn:

  • What a Facebook Lookalike Audience is and how it works
  • Why you should create a Lookalike Audience
  • How you can create a Lookalike Audience
  • The features of a good Lookalike Audience
  • Tips to increase the chance of success

What’s a Facebook Lookalike Audience?

For those who have used AdWords Similar Audiences, you’ll recognize the premise of Facebook Lookalike Audiences because the two have many similarities. For those who have no idea what either are, these types of tools aim to create groups of potential customers for your product/service. By bringing together people who have similarities to your existing customers, the shared interest in your niche means that the new group will probably have an interest in your brand and what you have to offer.

If you don’t know whether to use the Facebook or AdWords version, we highly recommend the Facebook platform because it allows you to choose the traits of existing customers that you want to focus on when finding new customers. Depending on how intense you want the search to be, your existing audience and the new audience may share one specific trait or they may have a number of similarities.

These Lookalike Audiences can range from 1% — 10% of the population for the country that you are targeting within. In the United States, a 1% Lookalike Audience will include about 2 million users.

Why Create a Lookalike Audience?

According to Bamboo, who analyzed millions of dollars of marketing campaigns and online ads, Lookalike Audiences have the best click-through rate (CTR), cost per impression (CPI), and cost per action (CPA) in the majority of cases. While Lookalike Audience had the best CPI and CPA in 60% of all campaigns, this increased to an impressive 80% of campaigns for CTR.

For this reason, more businesses are now choosing to increase the percentage of marketing spend that goes towards Lookalike Audiences. Not only is this marketing technique successful, it also offers a number of different possibilities. Just focusing on one trait, or looking for a number of traits, is a great way to find people who have similarities to your existing customers, which can’t be achieved as efficiently or effectively without technology.

Facebook is constantly changing and updating features like the Lookalike Audience platform. One of the biggest additions over the years has been the ability to build an audience that has been on your page. If they’ve clicked a CTA or even just watched a couple of seconds of a video, an audience can be built around these activities.

Advice for Building Lookalike Audiences

Before we start looking at how you can get started on Facebook Lookalike Audience, we want to cover some basic advice so you understand the finer details of the groups you’re creating.

Like briefly mentioned earlier, you can ask Facebook to search for the top percentage of people that have similarities to your source file. While you might feel the urge to select 8–10%, we highly recommend choosing 1%. Although a smaller group, they should be more relevant and, ultimately, more willing to buy your products/services.

After the refined searches have been targeted and your options exhausted, then you can move on to expanding the search. This new group will have fewer similarities; however, they may still have an interest in what you have to offer.

Additional Tips:

  • Everybody in your source audience will be excluded from your Lookalike Audience, so don’t worry about your Lookalike Audience targeting existing customers.
  • For Lookalike Audiences to be generated, your source audience will need at least 100 people.
  • When creating the settings for the desired group, you can identify specific countries and other parameters so all results are relevant. You can also search for prospects in a different country to your source audience which is a great tool if you’re expanding into a new market.
  • Because there are so many users on Facebook, you can generate hundreds of Lookalike Audiences with one source list.
Learn more about Lola Targeting AI

How to Create a Facebook Lookalike Audience

If you’ve been worried about starting with Facebook Lookalike Audience, you have nothing to fear because the process is actually very simple.

Step 1 — Go to your Facebook Ads manager, click on the Ads Manager menu in the upper left hand corner, and find ‘Audiences’ underneath ‘Assets’ header.

Step 2 — If you’ve never been on this page before, the page should look clean. Once custom audiences have been built, this is where you’ll see them listed in the future. By clicking the ‘Create Audience’ button, you can then click ‘Lookalike Audience’ to get started.

Step 3 — Here, you’ll see three different Lookalike Audience features: Source, Location, and Audience Size. All three of these have equal importance, but everything can go wrong if you don’t choose the right source because it is the foundation for the new audience. Luckily, you have plenty of options and can create an audience with the following:

  • Facebook/Instagram engagement
  • Customer emails
  • Website traffic
  • Offline activity (phone or in-store)
  • App activity

Whether it’s anybody who watched a video on your Facebook page or a list of customer email addresses, this will act as your source audience. The more detailed you are with this part, the better the results will be. Don’t just select everybody who has been on your website’s homepage. Instead, choose a more refined page or those who have completed a contact form.

Next, the location is where you want your lookalikes to be based. Do you want to target a specific region in the United States? Are you looking for Canadian customers? Are you even pushing your brand into Europe?

Finally, your audience size will be measured by a small slider. As you move it from left to right, it’ll display the size of your new audience. As recommended earlier, we highly recommend starting with 1% because this will be a refined search of all those who bear the closest resemblance to your source audience.

Once you click ‘Create Audience’, you’ll have taken the first step to new customers.

Key Takeaways

To finish, we want to offer some basic strategies as a recap on what we’ve learned about Lookalike Audience today.

Reassess Your Marketing Spending — With Lookalike Audiences performing so well, 2019 is all about having your investment in the right place. For many businesses, they’re now placing a large percentage of their budget into Lookalike Audiences thanks to the boost we saw earlier in CTR, CPI, and CPA.

Experiment — If you tried one source audience and you didn’t get the results you expected, try again. There are so many variations and places from which you can pull source audiences that it makes sense to play around until you find a source audience that attracts the very best lookalike audience. As starting advice, try building a source audience out of your top current buyers.

Reduce the Percentage of Lookalikes — It’s true that a larger percentage will offer a wider audience, but they won’t be as relevant as a smaller percentage.

If you can work with these strategies and find the source audience that works for you, there’s no doubting Facebook Lookalike Audience’s ability to generate new customers for your brand.