Lookalike Audiences can dramatically improve your Facebook ad targeting, helping you boost sales with each campaign.

lookalike audience

Social media advertising isn’t a new idea for most marketing professionals. You’re probably already busy with content planning and execution, as well as paid advertising to ensure you keep attracting new customers.

However, if you aren’t using Facebook ads properly, you could be wasting money on paid campaigns that don’t reach relevant audiences.

A feature in Facebook ads called Lookalike Audiences can dramatically improve your targeting, allowing you to get your ads in front of people who are most likely to become customers. This brings more qualified leads to your website, allowing you to convert more visitors to customers.

There’s more to Facebook ads than many people realize, but with the proper knowledge and support, you’ll be creating effective campaigns in no time.

What is a Lookalike Audience on Facebook?

A Lookalike Audience is a feature that helps you target new people likely to be interested in your business. How does Facebook know who to target? It creates audiences made up of people who are similar to your best customers.

Established customers are a valuable source of business, but there are limits to how much they buy. They may eventually disappear or stop purchasing entirely. Any company wanting to scale up needs to bring fresh potential customers into the sales funnel. This growth is achieved by prospecting, and Facebook ads are a popular tool for reaching new contacts.

There are two ways to target new people on Facebook. One is to use Ads Manager to manually target people you think might be interested in your business based on their demographics and interests.

The other option is to let Lookalike Audiences do the work for you. It creates audiences made up of people who are like your existing customers and at whom you can target ads.

Why are Lookalike Audiences valuable in your Facebook ad strategy?

Without proper targeting, you won’t be able to make the most of your Facebook ad campaigns and are likely to reach the wrong audiences. This can be a costly mistake.

How does this happen? Facebook collects information about users from the time they join. Over the years, their interests and circumstances can change dramatically. The information in their profiles may be outdated or incomplete. Also, things users post can sometimes be confusing to interpret. Did a user take a trip to Labrador or own a Labrador retriever? Did they use Safari as a web browser or dream of a taking a safari in Africa to see lions in the wild? If it’s hard to tell, Facebook might get it wrong.

On the other hand, Lookalike Audiences uses a more comprehensive range of data. While Facebook doesn’t outline the specific parameters, they likely include a user’s profile data, interests, behaviour on the platform, pages liked and ad clicks. They also include data from the Facebook pixel installed on most websites. This pixel feeds Facebook information about what is happening on the site to improve ads.

How to create a Lookalike Audience on Facebook

If you haven’t considered Lookalike Audiences, here is what’s involved in setting them up. Your Facebook Business Manager sets out the steps you need to take to create a Lookalike Audience.

The first step is to make sure you’re an administrator of the Facebook page. Then go to “Audiences” and select “Create Audience.” When prompted, choose “Lookalike Audience.”

Next, choose the source you want to base this audience on, choose the country or countries where you’d like to find a similar audience, and choose your desired audience slide. Select “Create Audience.” Within 24 hours, Facebook will create your Lookalike Audience. As long as you’re still actively targeting it, the audience will be refreshed to meet your paraments every three to seven days.

What are value-based Lookalike Audiences?

Another feature you can explore is value-based Lookalike Audiences. This is a new audience type you can create to reach people who are like your highest spending customers.

These audiences are set up similarly to regular Lookalike Audiences, but Facebook uses the information you provide about customer value to help find more of them. Compiling this customer data may require you to pull lists of your customers and establish their lifetime value to your business.

Tips for using Facebook Lookalike Audiences to help increase sales

Once you are using regular and value-based Lookalike Audiences, there are other steps you can take to boost the effectiveness of your Facebook ads.

Here are examples of source audiences you could use when creating Lookalike Audiences: 

  • Customer list
  • Newsletter subscriber list
  • Website visitors
  • People who have installed your app
  • People who have spent time viewing the product pages on your website
  • People who have interacted with your business off-line
  • People who engage with your content, such as watching a video

These tips will help you use Lookalike Audiences effectively:

  • If you use your customer data to create audiences, make sure it’s up to date. Ideally, you’re targeting people who are most like your best customers, so use data that will be helpful in achieving that goal.
  • Match the source audience to your goals for an ad. If you want awareness, you could base your audience on your Facebook page fans and followers. If your goal is sales, try using website visitors as your source.
  • Be open to testing your source audiences, the size of new audiences you want to target and other parameters to see what works best for your business.

Are Lookalike Audiences right for your business?

Using Lookalike Audiences will likely improve your ad targeting, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. It can only work with the data available to try to create similar audiences.

What if Facebook doesn’t quite understand your business or products? It doesn’t use human judgment when making decisions, so it’s a good idea to have someone experienced keeping an eye on things. Like other strategies and tactics, you may have to test different approaches to see which offers the best results.

While creating Facebook ads may seem easy, you may wonder why your ads don’t appear to increase sales without help. An agency with experience in social media advertising can help you make the most of your Facebook ad targeting. Once you improve the quality of the audiences who see your ads, you’ll start to see rewards.

Every marketing dollar you spend should count. Ensuring your Facebook ads hit the mark and will be seen by relevant audiences can save you money and improve your return on investment with every campaign.