What is a Facebook Lookalike Audience and how do I create one?

A tale by

Ryan O'Neill

Not sure whether or not you are targeting the right group of people in your ads on Facebook? Well, using a Lookalike Audience will certainly help you get closer to the right audience.

What is a Facebook Lookalike Audience exactly?

You may or may not have heard of a Facebook Lookalike Audience. In case you’re not sure, simply put, it is an audience that looks like your ideal customers.

Why should I use a Facebook Lookalike Audience?

Using a Lookalike Audience will help you reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to your current customers.

What do I need to build a Facebook Lookalike Audience?

  1. You will need to have a Facebook Business Manager Account or Facebook Ads Manager. Don’t have a Business Manager Account? Create one here.lookalike audience
  2. You will need to have admin access to the relevant Ad Account as well as the Facebook Page you want to use this targeting for.
  3. You need a seed containing info and data of your current customer:
    1. Use a database
    2. Use a Facebook Tracking Pixel

Once you have the above you can get started on creating your Facebook Lookalike Audience.

First, you will need to create a Custom Audience aka ‘the source’.

lookalike audience

  1. Go to audiences in your Business Manager or Ads Manager
  2. Click on the Create Audience button. 
  3. A drop-down will appear – select Custom Audience.
  4. You now need to select your seed. Facebook will present multiple options (or multiple seeds). Before selecting your seed, bear in mind that we want to find new customers that are similar to your ideal customers so consider your seed carefully and ask yourself if the seed you are selecting are people that you would consider good customers.
    We recommend the following seeds:
    1. Website Traffic (using your Facebook Tracking Pixel)
    2. Customer File (this can be an export from MailChimp or an export list from your eCommerce website)
    3. Facebook Page (people who have engaged with your page in some way)

Depending on what option you chose, the set up of your new Custom Audience will vary slightly. Once you have finished creating your Custom Audience, it should appear in your audience list. It can take some time to populate so don’t be alarmed if it says ‘populating’ where the size of your audience should be. You can proceed to the next step even if it is still populating.

lookalike audience

Create your Lookalike Audience by following these steps:

  1. Click the Create Audience button and select Lookalike Audience.
  2. Choose your source. This will be the Custom Audience you’ve created.
  3. Choose the country or region where you’d like to find a similar set of people to your source. You can only target a country at this level. 
  4. Choose your desired audience size with the slider.
    If you are optimising for similarity, choose a number closer to 1 – your Lookalike Audience is likely to be small, with a high resemblance to your seed.
    If you are optimizing for reach, you’ll want to choose a number near 10 – This Lookalike Audience will be larger, but less similar to your seed.
  5. Click Create Audience.

TIP: Audience quality is more important than audience size

A Lookalike Audience source of between 1,000 and 50,000 people is ideal. However, having a high-quality source is more important than any specific number. For example, if the source is good, it doesn’t matter if it’s 20,000 people or 30,000. You may even be able to succeed with 100 people.

Lookalike audiences perform best when a seed audience is significantly smaller than the pool that the Lookalike Audience will be drawn from.

The more up to date your data is, the better Facebook can match your ads with the right audience with high accuracy. This is not a concern with using Facebook data, such as Page likes or your pixel because this is updated every 5-7 days, but this does apply to a customer data file.

Now that you have your lookalike audience you need to create a Saved Audience in order to refine your targeting.

lookalike audience

Create your Saved Audience by following these steps:

  1. Click the Create Audience button and select Saved Audience.
  2. Give your audience a name.
  3. Click on the Custom Audience window and select your new lookalike audience.
  4. Select the cities and locations you want to target.
  5. Select the age you want to target.
  6. Add in interests (avoid adding too many because you don’t want the audience to be too specific).
  7. Save your audience and voila! You now have an excellent audience. 

I hope that this was informative and helped you create a Lookalike Audience for advanced targeting. If you’re still not sure and would like to join us for some training, we have a Facebook Advertising Course available. Book here on our website now, or, for further assistance contact us at hello@brandcandy.co.za.

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