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What Is a Lookalike Audience?

Marketers are constantly on the lookout for means to expand visibility and brand awareness. Facebook is the most popular social media platform, making it an important channel through which to reach out to a larger target audience. 

Their lookalike audience tool allows marketers to present ads to users that share characteristics in common with their existing customers. Targeting such an audience makes sense as it is more likely they too will be interested in the products and services the business has to offer. This makes them more likely to convert. 

Lookalike Audience

How Does a Lookalike Audience Work?

Lookalike audiences are used for improved ad targeting on Facebook. Their creation allows businesses to broaden their reach and secure better ROI on their marketing investment due to the higher quality leads that are secured. This is built on tapping into what is known of existing paying customers and finding other users that match their traits and behaviours. Thus, the process starts by compiling a list of your best existing customers. 

This list can be compiled from various sources. These sources can include followers who have interacted with the business on Facebook, a client list uploaded onto Facebook, or even visitors to your website. From this list, Facebook will extract data on the source list such as demographics, interests, and behaviours. 

This data then helps to identify a lookalike audience of users that are not already on your list but share similar qualities with your source audience. Facebook allows marketers to set a percentage range on how closely this lookalike audience matches your source audience. The smaller the percentage, the smaller lookalike audience will be generated. When you choose a larger percentage, the larger audience you get. 

The lookalike audience tool enables marketers to create as many as 500 lookalike audiences from a single source audience. By manipulating the percentage range, you can control the number of users that will be on each list. Facebook recommends audiences that range anywhere between 1,000 to 5,000 users. 

How to Create a Lookalike Audience? 

1. Make your source list

A source list must have at minimum 100 people from a single country to form the basis of a lookalike audience. You can build this list from anywhere including your page following, website visitors, e-commerce clients, and other customer lists. You can make this list as large as you want, with 100 people being the minimum. The more people you add to your source list, the more data the tool has to work with in creating a clearer profile of what kind of Facebook user is suitable for your lookalike audience. 

2. Create a custom audience

Log into your Facebook Business Manager account. Under the Assets tab, you will find the Audience page link. Click through. This will lead you to the "Create a Custom Audience" page. Here you will be given multiple options on source lists to tap into based on such activity as website traffic, app activity, different types of engagement, or by uploading a customer file. 

Consider what goals you are trying to achieve when choosing your source audience. For instance, to grow sales you may focus on those that have completed purchases on your e-commerce site and if hoping to boost brand awareness, on those that have engaged you on Facebook and Instagram. 

3. Select the country

Once you have created your source list, the next action is to choose the country you want to target for your lookalike audience. The people on your source audience list do not even need to be from the same country. 

4. Set your audience size

As said, the smaller the audience size percentage you choose the smaller your lookalike audience will be. The larger the percentage, the larger the audience size you generate. However, with a bigger audience, you will have less matching of characteristics. 

5. Create audience

This is the final step. Once you click this button, you may need to give the system a few hours to a day to generate your lookalike audience. The list will be refreshed every few days as long as you keep having ads run for this audience. 

Once you have the lookalike audience you want, you can then proceed to the Power Editor that allows you to further refine who in your lookalike audience will view ads based on such parameters as age, gender, and location.  

Why Invest in Lookalike Audiences?

There are many online marketing tactics to choose from. So what makes lookalike audiences a feature worth investing time and money in?

• High ROI

The audiences created are closely tied to people who have already responded positively to your brand. No matter the goal of your campaign, you are sure to secure a high ROI by targeting audiences with shared traits that you know already perceive your brand well. They are more likely to convert and boost your business’s sales figures. 

• Control on audience size

As said, this feature allows you to manipulate audience size by controlling the percentage of similarity. The more similar an audience you want the smaller a lookalike audience that will be generated. However, even a smaller audience can be beneficial when you factor in that they share a higher degree of affinity that will likely make conversion more likely. If you want a broader audience, you can still alter this percentage accordingly. It all depends on what your marketing goals are.  

• Monitoring capability

The lookalike audiences feature comes with the ability to monitor how well the audiences you have created are responding to the ads you put out. This ability to track the responsiveness or performance of a campaign can help to identify possible flaws and make adjustments to optimize your content quickly.  

• Flexibility of sources

Despite being a Facebook feature, lookalike audiences can be developed from various sources. You can use client lists from your e-commerce platform, followers from your blog, compile customer details from manual sources, and so on. This takes lead generation to a whole new and comprehensive level.

• Better advertising campaigns

Paid ads often play to audiences that are not receptive as the viewers tend to be more random. Those that are channelled to lookalike audiences however tend to reap better results due to the similarity with clients that have already interacted with the business. This improves chances of engagement and conversion. It also means marketing money is better spent as there is a better quality of audience guaranteed. 

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