What Is a Lookalike Audience on Facebook? A Comprehensive Guide

What is a Facebook Lookalike Audience? A Lookalike Audience on Facebook can increase conversion rates, decrease ad spend, and improve ad relevance. Keep reading to learn about Lookalike Audiences on Facebook, its benefits, and how to create a custom lookalike audience with this powerful tool.

Key Takeaways

  • Facebook Lookalike Audiences target potential customers who share characteristics with an advertiser’s existing customer base, offering a helpful way to reach people likely to be interested in their business.
  • Benefits include increased reach, more effective advertising, better ROI, improved personalization, and streamlined targeting.
  • Best practices for success include regularly updating source audiences, testing multiple sources for better results, using interest and behavior targeting, and tracking KPIs.
  • Advanced strategies for making lookalikes even more effective include creating tiered lookalike audiences and leveraging value-based lookalike audiences to identify high-value customers.
what is a lookalike audience on facebook

Lookalike Audience Definition

A Facebook Lookalike Audience is a targeting option that allows advertisers to find new potential customers similar to their existing customer base by analyzing their current audience’s demographics, interests, and behaviors.

It’s a great way to reach potential customers who are likely to be interested in your business. Lookalike Audiences are created by analyzing the traits of your existing audience and finding people who match them. In this way, you can expand your customer base and grow your business by reaching people more likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

Lookalike Audience vs. Custom Audience

It’s important to note that Lookalike Audiences differ from Custom Audiences, which target people who have already interacted with your business. 

  • Custom Audience: A Custom Audience is created by uploading a contact list to Facebook. This can include emails, phone numbers, or Facebook user IDs. Facebook matches this information to the users on the platform and creates a Custom Audience from that data. This allows you to target existing customers or subscribers with tailored ads.
  • Lookalike Audience: These are created by Facebook, using the data from your Custom Audience or website visitors. It uses data like interests, demographics, location, behaviors, and social activity to find users on Facebook who are similar to your existing audience or website visitors.

If you want to reach your existing audience or subscribers with tailored ads, then a Custom Audience is the way to go. However, if you want to expand your reach and find new customers similar to your existing ones, then a Facebook Lookalike Audience is the better option.

Benefits of Using Lookalike Audiences

Why should you use Facebook Lookalike Audiences? Check out the benefits below:

Increased Reach

With Facebook Lookalike Audiences, you can target a larger group of people with similar characteristics to your existing customers. This means you have the potential to reach new customers who are more likely to be interested in your product or service, resulting in an increased reach for your marketing efforts.

More Effective Advertising

By targeting individuals with similar interests, behaviors, and demographics as your existing customers, you are more likely to create effective advertising campaigns that resonate with your Lookalike Audience. With this approach, you can expect increased engagement, click-throughs, and better overall conversion rates.

Better ROI

Facebook Lookalike Audiences can be a cost-effective method for reaching new customers. Because you’re targeting individuals who share characteristics with your existing customers, you’re more likely to see a higher conversion rate, resulting in better ROI.

Improved Personalization

With Facebook Lookalike Audiences, you can create hyper-targeted ads that speak directly to your potential customers’ needs and interests. Personalizing your messaging will increase the likelihood of driving sales and creating lasting customer relationships.

Streamlined Targeting

One of the benefits of Facebook Lookalike Audiences is that it can help streamline your targeting efforts. Rather than targeting a wide audience, you can focus on reaching a specific group of individuals with similar characteristics to your existing customers. This means you can create highly-targeted campaigns that use your marketing budget more efficiently.

How to Create a Facebook Lookalike Audience

facebook lookalike audiences

Ready to get started? Here are the steps you need to follow to create a Facebook Lookalike Audience. If you don’t already have a Facebook Ads account, you’ll need to create one and install a tracking pixel before following the steps below.

Create a Custom Audience

Before you can create a Facebook Lookalike Audience, you have to create a Custom Audience. Unless you already have a custom audience, go to Ads Manager, click “Create audience,” and select “Custom Audience.”

From there, you can choose the criteria and set a time frame for how long you want people to remain in the audience.

Access the Audiences Tab in Facebook Ads Manager

The first step to creating a Facebook Lookalike Audience is to access the Audiences tab in Facebook Ads Manager. Once you have logged in to Facebook Ads Manager, navigate to the Audiences tab located on the left-hand side.

Select “Create a Lookalike Audience.”

When you’re on the Audiences page, click the “Create Audience” button and select “Lookalike Audience” from the dropdown menu.

Choose a Source Audience

Now you will need to select your source audience. You can create a Facebook Lookalike Audience from a Custom Audience or Page Engagement. You can also create one from App Activity. 

Select the Target Country

Once you have selected your source audience, choose the target country you want to reach. Remember that the larger the target country, the larger your lookalike audience will likely be. 

Adjust Audience Size and Similarity

Now it’s time to adjust the audience size and similarity. Facebook offers a scale of 1% to 10% for audience size, where 1% represents the people who most closely resemble your source audience, and 10% represents those who are less similar but still share commonalities. 

Keep in mind that the more similar you make your audience, the smaller the target size will be. However, if you reduce the similarity, the audience size will increase, making it less accurate for your source audience. When deciding the perfect balance between similarity and size, consider the potential trade-offs between accuracy and reach. Remember that the more accurate your audience, the higher your conversion rate will likely be. 

Click “Create Audience”

And you’re done! Keep in mind that it can take up to six to 24 hours for your audience to be complete.

Best Practices for Lookalike Audiences

Now that you know how to create Lookalike Audiences, let’s go over best practices for success.

Regularly Update Source Audiences 

Keep your source audiences fresh to ensure your lookalike campaigns remain relevant and practical. As Facebook users’ behavior and preference change over time, your source audience may no longer reflect your target audience accurately. 

You may need to refresh your source audiences periodically by adding or removing data, testing new segments, or uploading recent customer data. By doing so, you can improve audience accuracy and increase campaign performance.

Test Multiple Sources for Better Results 

Don’t limit yourself to a single source audience when creating Lookalike Audiences. Instead, try testing several sources to identify the best for your business. 

For example, you can experiment with different segments, such as website visitors, email subscribers, or social media followers, and see which generates the best results. Consider combining several sources to create more comprehensive and diverse source audiences.

Combine Lookalike Audiences With Other Targeting Options

Facebook Lookalike Audiences are most effective when layered with demographic targeting. Demographics can include personal characteristics, such as gender, age, income, and geographic location. 

By layering demographic targeting with lookalikes, businesses can hone in on more specific groups of people more likely to engage with their products or services.

For example, a company targeting a younger demographic can use a lookalike group aged 18 to 24 while excluding older age ranges. This will help ensure that the business’s ads are shown to the right people who are more likely to convert.

Use Interest and Behavior Targeting

Interest and behavior targeting is also effective when combined with Facebook Lookalike Audiences. Interest targeting involves directing ads toward people with specific interests, such as fitness or travel, while behavior targeting directs ads toward people who have taken specific actions, such as visiting a particular website or making a purchase. 

Businesses can target ads by using a lookalike group with specific interests or behaviors. For example, a business targeting people interested in fitness can combine a lookalike audience with interest targeting to reach potential customers who have shown an interest in fitness.

Exclude Existing Customers

One of the most essential practices when using Facebook Lookalike Audiences is to exclude your existing audience. This is because existing audiences know the business’s products or services and may be less likely to engage with advertising efforts. Excluding this group will help ensure ads are directed toward new potential customers.

Track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

One of the most important ways to monitor the effectiveness of your campaign is to track KPIs. KPIs give you insight into click-through rates, conversion rates, and engagement. 

These metrics will enable you to identify areas where your audience may not perform as well as you would like, allowing you to adjust your audience source or size accordingly. Some KPI tracking tools include Google Analytics, Facebook Ads Manager, and Hootsuite.

Adjust Audience Size and Source

Once you have tracked and analyzed your KPIs, you may need to adjust your group size and source. Doing so lets you refine your audience targeting to suit your campaign goals better. 

For example, suppose your KPIs show low engagement from a specific source or size. In that case, you may need to adjust your audience criteria to one that closely matches your target audience.

A/B Test for Continuous Improvement

A/B testing is a vital aspect of monitoring and adjusting your Lookalike Audiences. Testing different audience sizes, sources, and ad creatives can provide insights into what works best for your campaign goals. 

Additionally, by testing different variations of your audience targeting, you can continuously improve your results and optimize your campaigns.

Advanced Strategies for Lookalike Audiences

facebook lookalike audience strategies

For your lookalike campaign to be effective, you need to be strategic. Here’s how you can effectively use a Lookalike Audience.

Create Tiered Lookalike Audiences

Tiered Lookalike Audiences involve creating two or more custom audiences that contain different levels of similarity to your source audience. By doing so, you can reach highly targeted groups of people most likely to convert. 

The benefits of a tiered approach include improved cost-effectiveness, increased engagement rates, and more opportunities for optimization.

To get started, first, determine your source audience and create a Lookalike Audience with a similarity percentage of 1%. Next, create additional Lookalike Audiences with similarity percentages of 2% to 3% and 3% to 5%. 

Finally, use each tiered audience for different campaigns and monitor the results to refine your targeting further. With a tiered approach, you can take your Lookalike Audiences to the next level and achieve even greater success.

Leverage Value-Based Lookalike Audiences

By identifying your high-value customers and creating a Lookalike Audience based on their characteristics, you can ensure your ads reach the most likely to convert people. But what exactly is a value-based Lookalike Audience? Essentially, it’s an audience created based on the actions and behaviors of your highest-spending customers.

To create one, you’ll first need to identify those customers and collect data on their buying habits. Then, once you’ve built a strong foundation of data, you can start piecing together a Lookalike Audience.

 The result is a targeted audience filled with Facebook users statistically more likely to engage with your brand and make a purchase.

Expand Internationally With Lookalike Audiences

Expanding your audience internationally with lookalike audiences can be a game changer for your business. First and foremost, take the time to research and understand your new global audience. What works in one region may not necessarily resonate with another. 

Next, consider adapting your ad creative for each market to ensure maximum impact. Analyzing data is also critical in this process — track your campaigns closely and adjust your strategy accordingly. 

Being strategic and thoughtful about your global expansion efforts will reward you with a broader audience and increased business success.

Ending Summary

What is a Facebook Lookalike Audience? A Lookalike Audience on Facebook can improve return on ad spend and boost website traffic. Now that you know how to create a custom Lookalike Audience on Facebook, test it out for yourself. 

You just might find that Facebook Lookalike audiences are a high-performing paid ad strategy for your brand.