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How to create lookalike audiences to scale your targeting on Facebook

Yado Team – Social Media Marketing
21 December .  5 min read

Facebook Lookalike Audiences have long been a favorite targeting tool of online marketers, allowing them to find like-minded customers who are likely to be interested in the brand’s product/services  based on the characteristics of their existing customer base. 

The beauty of lookalike audience feature is that it allows advertisers to reach the right people even when the demographics are not known. In a way, it’s like a matchmaker for businesses: you tell Facebook what you are looking for in a customer, and it spews out a new customer segment based on the outlined criteria. Since this new audience segment is modelled based on your existing customers’ attributes, it is believed to have a higher chance of converting compared to audiences reached with advertising based on demographic and interest targeting.

Read on to find out how to scale your existing customer base using Facebook Lookalike audiences, plus tips that will help you to create an optimal lookalike for your campaign goals.

Creating Lookalike audiences for Facebook

Depending on how closely you want to match your existing customer base, you can select your lookalike audience size anywhere from 1% to 10%. The smaller your audience size, the more similar your lookalike audience segment will be, allowing for more focused targeting in your lookalike advertising campaign.

In contrast, larger audience sizes (moving towards 10%) are more suited for advertising campaigns that are aimed towards increasing brand exposure and boosting brand awareness as opposed to reaching a specific type of customer.

To set up your audience size, simply drag the slider to the percentage of the audience size you want to select. There is also an advanced option to generate up to 6 variants of that lookalike audience size.

You will also be prompted to select your source audience and the location. The source audience is your existing audience segment on which you want to model your lookalike audience. The location is where you want to source your lookalike audience from.

6 tips to get the most out of your lookalike audience targeting.

1. Select the source audience that best aligns with your campaign goals.

 For example, if your goal is to generate qualified leads, consider basing off your lookalike audience from your existing e-mail subscribers or your recent website visitors.

If you are planning a video campaign, generate a lookalike audience modelled from people who have engaged with your videos in the past. 

If you want to boost your brand awareness, you can model your lookalike audience from your FB page fans. You get the idea. Think about what you want to achieve from your lookalike campaign, and then choose the source audience that is best suited to that goal.

2. Prioritize quantity over quality.

 Facebook generates your lookalike audience segment by modelling it off the attributes of your source audience. Therefore, the better your source data, the more effective lookalike segment you will get.

In the case of lookalike audiences, better does not necessarily mean more. A source audience of 500 brand-loyal customers will perform better than that of 10 000 average customers.

If you are after conversions, the best candidates for lookalike campaigns tend to be right at the very bottom of your conversion funnel I.e. where your customers are at their most-purchase ready. For example, you can model your lookalike audience based on the group of existing customers who visited your website and made a purchase (or otherwise took a desired action). 

3. Factor in your Customer Lifetime Value data.

 If you have been tracking your customer lifetime value (CRM), you can also factor that data in when creating your lookalike audiences. This feature is powerful as It allows you to find new audiences that are most likely to have significant monetary value to your business. 

For example, if you were Sony you will probably want to generate a lookalike audience of people based on the attributes of your existing customers who bought expensive items such as laptops and cameras, not those buying a cheap $20 head set.

4. Bid according to the audience’s value.

 

Facebook also gives you the option to create multiple lookalike audiences from just one source audience. This allows you to subdivide your lookalikes into tiers so that you can bid differently on each.

For example, you can segment your lookalike audience based on the degree of its similarity to the source audience. You can then place your highest bids on the most closely matching tiers, and the lowest ones – on the least similar. 

5. Don’t filter at the ad set.

 Once you have chosen your source audience and selected your lookalike audience size, you will have the option to filter this data at the ad set level. If you followed the guidelines in this post, your lookalike audience should already include your desired targeting parameters; if you add filters, you could compromise your lookalike data set.

Having said that, there is one occasion when filtering at the ad set might be beneficial – that is, when you are targeting a specific geographic location. Often a lookalike, even when properly built, will still include people outside of the location you want to target.

6. Use the most recent source audience.

 If you’re uploading your own source audience data, make sure it is as current as possible. If you are using a source audience from Facebook (e.g. video views, page fans), make sure to specify date range parameters. For example, if you want to use your website visitors as your source audience, it makes sense to target those that visited you in the last 1-3 months – the more recent the better.

Lookalikes can be a great way to reach cold audiences on Facebook provided they are properly built, that is, modelled from a warm and up-to-date source audience that corresponds to your campaign goals. Follow the tips in this blog post to create a quality lookalike audience that most resembles your target customer for maximum chance of conversion.

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