Ad Targeting: Are Facebook lookalike audiences effective?

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Paper cutout of people - What is Facebook Lookalike Audience?
Christine LeeChristine Lee
May 24, 2021
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Advertise smarter, not harder! Facebook lookalike audiences may seem confusing, but our quick guide to this useful targeting tool can improve your conversion rates dramatically.

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With custom audiences and targeting, Facebook is a powerhouse advertising platform for any business. There are over 500 million daily visitors to this social network, so if you haven’t considered uploading your email list and creating custom audiences, you’re missing out on leads, traffic, and conversions.

Facebook also has multiple ways to create and save audiences, which leaves one question: are Facebook lookalike audiences effective? When you want to reach new users that share the same demographics as your current audience, this audience creation tool can be super powerful.

What is Facebook Lookalike Audience?

A Facebook lookalike audience is an audience segment based on a custom audience you’ve uploaded previously. It’s called a “lookalike audience” because Facebook matches the users in your custom audience to the demographics and other targeting factors of similar Facebook users.

The typical way to create a lookalike audience is to upload your email subscriber list or a phone number list into Facebook’s audience tool. Once uploaded, you can create a lookalike audience off of your audience segment.

This is a helpful tool whether you want to create a lookalike off of your entire customer base, or you want to create audience segments within your CRM, upload each audience segment, and then create lookalike audiences based on different segments.

Why Create Facebook Lookalike Audiences?

There are some huge benefits to using Facebook lookalike audiences for your social media campaigns. For one, you can uniquely target your customers and lookalike customers, reaching new audiences who will likely share the same interest in your brand. This is a quick way to target all of the unique factors that make up your current customer list without having to individually select targeting factors on Facebook.

Here are some of the other benefits of using this custom audiences feature:

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1. Improve Conversion Rates

Facebook’s targeting and custom audiences tool make it easy to create all kinds of audiences with different demographics, geolocation, and interest-based targeting factors. However, you don’t really know if these targeting factors will work, and there’s a huge risk that they won’t work resulting in a loss of marketing dollars

That’s why it’s easier and more effective to use lookalike audiences to test against your manually selected targeting factors. It’s also better for your conversion rates, as your ads will be seen by users who are most akin to your current customers.

This means that they share the same interests, follow similar pages, visit the same web pages, and have the same demographics as your average customer.

You can also choose different settings for your lookalike audiences, like choosing how users should be targeted by what they have in common. For example, you can set your lookalike to be based on what users follow the same pages or interacted with certain profiles in the past 90 days.

2. Choose Specific Audience Segments for Qualified Leads

Let’s say you want to run a lead generation campaign on Facebook. If you have audience segmentation in your CRM, you can create a query of users that are the most qualified, whether that’s through income or even how quickly they closed. You don’t want to get too granular, but you’ll need at least 100 contacts in your list to upload to Facebook.

Once you’ve created this highly qualified audience segment, you can upload to Facebook and generate a lookalike audience. Now you have a group of users who matched your most qualified leads’ demographics.

Depending on how you segment the audience, you can also set different advertising goals and use the best creatives with an offer that will really attract this lookalike audience as well.

3. Automatically Adjust Audience Size

In settings for Lookalike Audiences, you can also control how similar the audience will be to the original. This is helpful if you’re trying to reach a new audience but don’t want to get so granular, which can limit your reach.

If you set the required percentage of affinity or similarity to the original audience to be highly similar, you’ll narrow the reach. This can be effective if you only want highly qualified leads and have the perfect offer to engage with them. However, you can lower the affinity if you want to attract all users who have certain interests in common but may not share all traits.

4. Lower Costs and Higher Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

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Are Facebook lookalike audiences effective? Yes! One study found that Facebook lookalike audiences receive higher CTR 90% of the time.

One of the most noticeable ways that campaigns improve with these audiences is with Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and Return on Investment (ROI).

In most cases, using a lookalike audience will decrease the number of times an ad is shown before a conversion. Over time, you’ll monitor the performance of the audience and set up tracking to hone in on the users who are engaging with your campaigns.

From our experience, lookalike audiences cost much less and have higher conversion rates. Additionally, Facebook tracks ad performance and likes when you target users who are most likely to interact positively with your campaigns.

How Do Lookalike Audiences Target Your Audience

Facebook doesn’t exactly go in-depth about what’s used to target lookalike audiences. It’s assumed that they use a variety of targeting factors that match your custom audiences. However, we do know that you can set lookalike audiences to match by certain affinities, such as pages followed or how often a user has interacted with a certain profile.

These are some of the other ways that Facebook has been found to use custom audience data to build your lookalike audience:

  1. Purchasing services
  2. Likes, comments, shares
  3. Videos viewed
  4. General behavior and interactions
  5. Interests
  6. Page likes
  7. Previous ads clicked
  8. Pixel data
  9. Activity in groups
  10. Demographic data such as age, gender, income, and location

Lookalike audiences are also better when considering Facebook Ads vs boosted posts. The number one targeting factor for lookalike audiences is quite intuitive. Facebook lookalike audiences are built with users who are most likely to sign up for your email list. This makes it super effective for customer acquisition and lead generation.

CRM Data from audience

How Do You Create a Facebook Lookalike Audience?

Another beautiful thing about this audience tool is that you can build and test a variety of lookalike audiences based on your current CRM data or audiences that you’ve tracked and saved on Facebook.

Within Facebook, there are a variety of ways to segment your audience and build lookalike audience types. Here are a few of the audiences you can build below.

  1. Value-based sources
  2. Video lookalike audiences
  3. Conversion lookalike audience
  4. Email list lookalike audience
  5. Page likes
  6. Specific product page with high intent to purchase

Facebook offers a ton of methods to target and build lookalike audiences. If you need help setting up these audiences, Facebook Help for Lookalike Audiences offers a ton of guides and valuable information to get started or look at advanced ways to target.

Get Smarter with Your Facebook Ads

Lookalike audiences are just one way to improve your conversion rates on Facebook ads and reach customers most likely to engage with your brand. If you want to sell more and lower your advertising costs, our e-marketing site and blog have some incredible resources to help small businesses grow. By working with our team, your campaigns could be reaching hundreds of thousands of new customers within days!

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