Understanding Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences

Understanding Facebook's Lookalike Audiences
Apr 27 2017

With 1.86 billion active users a month, Facebook has the largest audience of any social media platform in the world. A major advantage to advertising on Facebook is the ability to reach a large group of people who are similar to your target customer, based on their interests and behavior. Facebook Lookalike Audience targeting is one of the three types of “Custom Audiences” available for ad targeting. Using Lookalike Audiences, there’s no need to manage keywords or guess about customer interests. You can identify and target your audience by simply leveraging existing email addresses or phone numbers.


Facebook’s lookalike audience feature allows you to:

fb lookalike audience set up

— Target the type of profile that is most relevant to your brand
— Expand your reach beyond your current audience
— Learn about new audience behaviors
— Perform better than audiences that are defined only by their demographic markers


What is a lookalike audience & why should you create one?


Facebook defines its lookalike audience as “a way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to people who already are.” This can be better understood when you consider how the lookalike is created:


— Upload a list of people who are interested in your business. An example could be a list of email addresses you’ve obtained that has been approved for marketing efforts. Facebook prefers a source audience that’s between 1,000 and 50,000 people.


— Facebook then matches what they know about those email address owners with profiles of people who have used that address to create an account. Not all email addresses will offer valid data. Depending on the list, you may find that many of the email addresses are invalid.


— Next, Facebook identifies common characteristics between these profiles. It is a similar process to making a new persona, except instead of being based on demographic traits like age, gender and income level, Facebook uses its enormous database of information to base lookalikes on common traits it can identify.


— Lastly, Facebook will identify additional users who closely resemble this new persona and serves them to you as a potential new audience.


Lookalike audiences typically range in size from 1% – 10% of the total population of the country you choose. For example, if you choose the United States, the minimum size is 2.1M people and the maximum is 21M. Keep in mind that the smaller the audience, the closer the lookalike audience will match the persona created based on your list. Similarly, the bigger the lookalike audience, the larger the reach, but the less exact the audience targeting will be.


Lookalike audiences generally exclude the people on your original list. Remember to track the original and lookalike audiences separately simply because their behavior is very different.


— People on your original list are more difficult to reach and the cost is higher, mainly because there are fewer of them. But when they convert, they tend to be a more qualified lead because they already know the brand, are familiar with your product and understand your message.


— Lookalike audiences are often new to your ads, product or brand. They have great potential for conversion but may require a different tone, message or motivation to convert. We have noticed that once we reach lookalikes, they engage at a higher rate. The cost per click can be 25% – 40% lower for lookalike audiences.


fb lookalike audience cost



If you have an existing list of qualified leads, Facebook’s Lookalike Audience targeting is a powerful way to quickly and easily reach new potential customers. Its statistical approach also means fewer hit-or-miss factors found in interest-related targeting. Have you tried this feature to quickly and easily scale your campaign?


Want to learn more? Find out how Mambo can help you reach new customers through social media.

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