How to Use Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Facebook gives advertisers a near-infinite number of ways to reach potential customers. But while layered targeting can introduce your brand to total strangers and remarketing is the perfect way to push prospects further down your marketing funnel, sometime what you need is something in between.

Enter Facebook lookalike audiences, the perfect way to supercharge your online advertising without breaking the bank.

What are Lookalike Audiences?

Lookalike Audiences are a way to reach brand new people on Facebook; if you're familiar with AdWords Similar Audiences, Lookalikes are just like 'em (except better). The best part about them, though, is that these new people aren’t simply defined by a set of targeting parameters; instead, they actually share traits with a specific group of existing prospects (chosen by you). The possibilities for lookalike audiences (and the degrees of similarity they represent to your chosen source audience), are endless.

If you sell widgets, uploading a list of customer email addresses can help you find Facebook users who act like past widget buyers. If you’re trying to generate leads, creating a lookalike audience based on form fill completions will help you reach folk on Facebook more inclined to fork over their info.

Things to Know About Lookalike Audiences

The size of a lookalike audience is determined during the creation process (more on that later). While you might be inclined to maximize the size of your lookalikes, be aware that smaller audiences often perform better. After all, they match your source more closely. Facebook recommends using a source audience of between 1,000 to 50,000 people when creating lookalike audiences; for a small business, this can be a challenge. Luckily, you can still create smaller lookalike audiences: just be mindful of the quality of your sources.

facebook lookalike audience relevance score 

For top of funnel prospecting purposes, creating large lookalike audiences can amplify your reach; if you’ve exhausted your tightly-knit lookalike audience options, a broader source and greater degree of difference—layered with some of Facebook’s other targeting options—makes for phenomenal brand building through content boosting.

A few extra bits of information to keep in mind:

  • Your lookalike audiences will only consist of prospects from countries you explicitly identify in the audience creation process.
  • Source audiences must contain at least 100 people to be eligible for lookalike audiences.
  • There doesn’t need to be a geographic relationship between your source audience and your lookalike audience. If you have a source audience of 500 people from the United Kingdom, you can use it to create lookalike audiences for prospects in Canada.
  • A single source audience is eligible to be used in the creation of up to 500 lookalike audiences.
  • Members of your source audience are automatically excluded from your lookalike audience.
  • When you layer lookalike audiences in a single ad set, your ads will target Facebook users who are members of any (not all) of the selected lookalike audiences.

With that, let’s dive into creating lookalike audiences in your Facebook Ad account…

Creating Lookalike Audiences for Your Facebook Ad Account

In Facebook Ads Manager, click the hamburger menu in the top left-hand corner of the screen; in the subsequent dropdown, select “Audiences.”

facebook lookalike audiences location 

If you’ve got a ton of custom audiences in your account already, you should see a vast sea of blue audience names populate on this page; if not, it’s a clean slate. Regardless, click the blue “Create Audience” button above your columns and select “Lookalike Audience.”

 facebook lookalike audiences creation

This will bring up Facebook’s Lookalike Audience creation interface, which looks something like this:

facebook lookalike audience size 

Blank fields and sliders, how fun! It’s worth taking a moment to discuss what you’re looking at here.

The “source” field is the foundation of your lookalike audience. Regardless of what you’re using as your jumping off point—whether it’s a list of customer emails or website traffic over the last six months—make sure that it represents actual value to your business.

 facebook lookalike audience source audience

Potential sources for lookalike audiences include:

  • Customer file- Upload customer email addresses.
  • Website traffic- People who visited or took a specific action on your website.
  • App activity- People who launched or performed an action within your app.
  • Offline activity- People who called, visited your business, or interacted with you through some other offline channel.
  • Engagement- People who engaged with your business on Facebook or Instagram

For example: if you choose to use website traffic to create your lookalike audience, don’t mirror users who simply visited your home page and nothing more. Instead, use traffic to high-value pages or folks who have completed a form fill as the source for your lookalike audience; while this will result in a smaller subset of similar Facebook users, the ones surfaced will be more qualified.

“Location” is exactly what is sounds like: where your lookalikes live. Currently, Facebook only allows you to choose from countries or regions (you can’t get state or city level granularity, but you can layer geotargeting on top of your lookalike audience when you put it to use).

Finally, we’ve got that “Audience Size” slider. This will show you how big your new lookalike audience is. It also gives you the ability to create multiple seed audiences from a single source. 

facebook lookalike audiences advanced audience creation 

A 1% lookalike will be your smallest audience, and the one that most resembles your source audience; a 10% lookalike will be massive, but Facebooks users targeted will bear only a tangential resemblance to your source audience.

Once your lookalike audience(s) is complete, create a new ad set and get ready to market to more qualified prospects!

Final Thoughts

If you’re using Facebook Ads, you should be using lookalike audiences. It’s that simple. They’re one of the most effective ways to derive immediate value from Facebook; they give you an immediate leg up on your comeptitors. If you’d like to skip over the part of digital marketing where you contribute to white noise and, instead, focus on introducing your brand to interested prospects at the top of your funnel, implement them in your account today!

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