Facebook Lookalike Audiences
Published February 2022
One woman in the foreground and similar women in the background
Lookalike audiences are a powerful tool in the modern marketer's repertoire. They are often used to expand existing audiences to new locations and products. However, their true potential is much broader and can help scale virtually anything.
With a Lookalike Audience, you can reach new people with your ads who are likely to be interested in your business because they share similar characteristics to your existing customers.
Lookalike audiences allow the social media algorithms to deliver ads to people who have similar characteristics to the people in your other audiences. This increase in audience liquidity gives the platform's algorithms more opportunities to find the best results for your desired campaign objective.
Learn more about Facebook advertising and why it’s still the best place for paid social here
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How a Lookalike Audience works
A lookalike audiences (LAL) is a way your ads can reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business, product, or service because they share similar characteristics to your existing customers. It uses an existing custom audience that you select for its source audience.
Visualization of how a lookalike audience works
They work quite simple: take the top percentile of users who share the most common characteristics as your source audience. Choosing the top 1% results in a smaller but more homogeneous audience. Choosing a larger percentile, such as 5% or 10%, gives you a larger audience that is less homogeneous. We recommend a percentage between 1% and 3%, because the scattering loss is too high if you go beyond that.
The source audience, or seed audience, is the foundation of a lookalike audiences. Thus, it should be a high-quality audience to get well performing lookalike audiences. High-quality is when you use the most current data to match your ads with the right audience. Rather than use multiple sources, segment your audience and expand on good data sources. Choose a seed audience that directly relates to the objective you want to achieve. To increase online sales in a mobile app, use the SDK to generate a Custom Audience of your highest-value app users.
Meta recommends a size between 1.000 and 5.000 users in your source audience. Because if it’s to large the ad platform will have a difficult time finding users that match with everyone in the group, resulting in a less accurate lookalike audience. And you know that a less accurate audience can cause scattering loss and budget wastage.
Best practices for Lookalike Audiences
There are many best practices for creating lookalike audiences. These are often effective for one particular use case and less so for another. So, there is no clear standard solution that works for everyone. Rather, it’s important to align the lookalikes to the available data, metrics, and business goals.
You can create value-based Lookalike Audiences via your Pixel, SDK, from offline conversion data, or from your catalogue to find new high-value customers for your business. We can automatically create value-based Lookalike Audiences for you. To do this, we use the signals from these data sources as well as the values you provide to calculate the lifetime value of your customers and create new audiences. The created Audiences consist of people similar to your most valuable existing customers. You can create value-based Lookalike Audiences in the Ads Manager.
You can also create international lookalike audiences. With international or cross-country lookalike audiences, companies looking to expand into new markets can find people in their target countries who are who are similar to their best customers. International lookalike audiences also enable you to optimize your advertising spend by allocating your budget to the countries where it will have the greatest impact. You can Create Lookalike Audiences in a desired country or countries, in a region, or in a trading area—such as EEA or NAFTA.
Enables the Facebook algorithms to reach a broader set of people than those defined in the detailed targeting section. You can use this option when you want to show your ads to additional people who their system determines might yield more results or a lower cost. Targeting expansion is specific to detailed targeting and doesn't apply to location, age or gender targeting options
Enables the Facebook algorithms to reach a broader set of people than those you defined in your lookalike audience. Similar to targeting expansion, this option can help improve your campaign when their system determines you might obtain better results with an expanded audience.
Additional information for Lookalike
Lookalike targeting limitations
Since 23. August 2021, many targeting options such as detailed targeting, custom audiences, lookalike audiences, as well as saved audiences that include any of the above options are no longer available to target ads to young people under the age of 18 globally, 20 in Thailand or 21 in Indonesia. You can’t use detailed targeting to these age groups. However, you should read through the country-specific advertising guidelines of your chosen social media platform and follow the relevant points.
Learn more about targeting and targeting limitations here
If you want to reach a larger number of people than you have in your custom audience, you can add a lookalike audience. They are powerful in addition to your other audiences and complement your advertising strategy. But, they require a solid analysis of your current audiences, your strategy, and your main metrics. Ultimately, you must test the performance of your lookalike audiences to learn how to optimize and use them successfully.
We help our clients build working lookalike audiences to achieve their business goals in the most efficient way. Contact us to find out if we can help you too.
Thank you for reading and have a nice day!