Facebook Lookalike Audiences 101

So, what exactly is a ‘lookalike audience’?

It’s an audience composed of people who are expected to behave like your current customer base – i.e. buy your products.

Facebook combines the power of its algorithms and user database to match brands with new users.

This fosters a symbiotic relationship between marketers, users, and Facebook itself.

According to Facebook, “A lookalike audience is a way to reach new people who are likely interested in your business. They behave like you’re best existing customers.”

Let’s take a look at how you can best incorporate lookalike audiences into your next ad strategy.

How Do Lookalike Audiences Work?

You need to have an existing custom audience with specific parameters in order to build a lookalike audience. And when you build these custom audiences, Facebook finds other users to match them.

This creates custom avatars of individuals most likely to behave like the customers you currently have.

For example:

You have a Disney-themed princess party package product that you sell to moms with daughters under the age of 10.

Facebook’s algorithm will use its predictions to place your ads in front of other mothers within that demographic.

This is a gross oversimplification of the process, I just wanted to give you a general idea of the inner workings.

Basically, Facebook finds people whose interests align with those of your current customers. It then takes those people and creates a group out of them.

How To Create Your First Lookalike Audience

You can choose 4 different tracked events to base your lookalike audiences on:

  • Engagement
  • View Content
  • Add to Cart
  • Purchases

These are the basics steps of the funnel from viewing an ad to buying the product. In order to create a lookalike audience for them, you’ll need 100 occurrences of each event to happen.

So for this example, we’re going to create a custom audience for engagements – this is the metric you’ll likely get 100 events for first.

When you choose to create a custom audience for engagements, there are three options you should choose:

  1. Video
  2. Facebook Page
  3. Instagram Business Page

Out of all three of these, I recommend selecting the Video option – but only if you’re currently running video ads. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use this option.

So, let’s begin.

How To Create Your Engagement Custom Audience: 

Step 1: Head to your Business Manager and select the Audiences tab located in the left-side navigation

Step 2: Click the ‘Create Audience’ drop-down and choose ‘Custom Audience’

Step 3: Choose the Video option in the ‘Facebook Sources’ section

Step 4: In the engagement field, choose the option of 50%, 75%, or 95% of video watched

Step 5: Click the ‘Choose Video’ link and select the video you’d like to create the lookalike audience off of

Step 6: Choose the date range you’d like to measure for

Step 7: Name your audience and click Create

How To Create Your Lookalike Audience: 

Step 1: Head to the Audiences section of your Business Manager

Step 2: Click the ‘Create Audience’ drop-down and select ‘Lookalike Audience’

Step 3: Your audience source will be the custom audience you’ve just created

Step 4: Choose the location of the audience you’d like to target

Step 5: Start with a 1% lookalike audience. Once this audience is proven to work, you can scale higher

Incorporating Lookalike Audiences Into Your Ad Strategy

You may be wondering what you should do with your lookalike audience now that it’s created.

And it’s super simple – incorporate it into your next ad strategy!

You’ll be using the same setup that I outlined in Section 2, Chapter 3: Ad Budgeting.

You’ll create new ads at $25 a day and layer on a broad interest for each lookalike you create. Layering on interests will help refine the people within your lookalike audience. This allows Facebook to deliver your ads to qualified leads.

I recommend that you use the same interests you used in your interest-based ads.

Once you’re at this stage, your budgets will grow quicker and you may very well find yourself spending over $150 a day. Don’t worry though, this advanced scaling method will bring back greater returns.

Some Facts About Lookalike Audiences

There are a few important notes you should keep in mind before getting started with lookalike audiences:

  • You can create up to 500 lookalike audiences from a single source audience
  • Lookalike audiences exclude people within the source audience unless you use a pixel as your source
  • You can use multiple lookalike audiences at the same time for a single ad set. The ad set will target your ads to people who are in any of the selected lookalike audiences.
  • The process of creating a lookalike audience may take some time. Your lookalike audiences will be created between six and 24 hours.
  • After the creation process, your lookalike audiences will dynamically update every 3-7 days based on incoming data

Tying It All Together

Well, that about wraps up the basic overview of lookalike audiences.

In the past, customer acquisition for a cold audience was a slow, painstaking process. It required a lot of trial and error.

But now, by leveraging Facebook’s user data we can find targeted customers and send our ads right to them.

The ability to hone-in on high probability buyers makes lookalike audiences a great tool to add to your arsenal!