Getting started with Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences

19. 11. 2018

Lookalike Audiences help you find more people who are similar to your current customers, your website visitors, your mobile app users and/or your Facebook Page’s fans. Creating a Lookalike Audience is a great way to scale your campaigns and find relevant/receptive audiences (warm audiences) in specific countries or regions. Facebook enables you to set different percentages ranging from 1% to 10% of the Facebook users in the selected country who are the most similar to your seed audience. In this tutorial, we will learn how to create and use Facebook Lookalike Audiences effectively.

What is the ideal audience to base a Lookalike Audience on?

In order to create a Lookalike Audience aka LaL or LA, you need to provide Facebook with a “seed audience”. Facebook requires that the seed audience should have at least 100
people in one country. This means that if you want to create a Lookalike Audience in the UK, then you need 100 people from one single country, regardless of if that country is the UK, Canada, Australia etc.

The quality of the seed audience heavily affects the quality of your Lookalike Audience, so be sure to choose wisely. From our experience, we suggest creating the following to use as seed audiences for our Lookalikes:

  1. Custom Audience based on customer file of customers
  2. Website Custom Audience based on Facebook’s Pixel Add To Cart event
  3. Website Custom Audience based on Facebook’s Pixel View Content event
  4. Website Custom Audience based on Facebook’s Pixel View Category event
  5. Engagement Custom Audience based on time spent watching your videos on Facebook
  6. Engagement custom audience based on people who opened or completed a form in your lead ads

Here are some things that you need to have in mind when creating the above audiences:

  • The events mentioned above need to be implemented prior to creating the audience with a Facebook Pixel.
  • You should adjust the window (last X days) field to the maximum possible, to ensure a big as possible an audience size. You should consider using your custom list of people who purchased in the last, say, 6 months rather than 30 days. The more people you provide to Facebook to create a Lookalike, the better.

The good thing about Lookalike Audiences is that they are dynamically updated based on when changes are made to the source audiences (usually when new people are added or deleted from the source audience).

For more ideas on advanced audiences that you can use as a basis for your Lookalike Audiences, you can check out this tutorial on the 13 Custom Audiences with really high ROI.

How to create a Facebook Lookalike Audience

Now that you’ve created quality source audiences, it is time to create a Lookalike Audience based on those. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Head over to Ads Manager and from there hover over “All Tools” and click on “Audiences”.
  2. Select the source of the Lookalike Audience. This can be a page, a .csv file or a conversion tracking pixel.
  3. Then, enter the country you want to target and move the slider to the appropriate value.
    Pro tip: Create a Lookalike Audience with 1%, %3% and 5% or more in order to see how these audiences perform and adjust your bid accordingly
  4. There you have it! You just created your first Lookalike Audience.

Your Lookalike Audience will be ready to use shortly after you create it (it usually takes 20-30 minutes).

You may wonder what the percentage in Lookalike Audience creation means. As already mentioned, Facebook enables you to create Lookalikes ranging from 1% to 10% of the population of your target country. Therefore, Facebook will find 414,5k Facebook users in the UK who are the most similar to your seed audience. The higher you go, the bigger the audience that Facebook will create for you to target.

Depending on the source audience, the quality of your LA may differ greatly. Why? Because, 1% of, say, a website custom audience is different from a customer list you get from your CRM.

One other thing to have in mind that depending on your website you may need more than 100 people.

  • Case #1 you provide services or products in one category/niche
  • Case #2 you provide services or products in many categories/niches, kind of like an e-commerce store that sells sports apparel, evening gowns etc. (a wide variety of products).

Having 100 customers from case #1 is better than having 100 customers from case #2! The reason is that the first audience is more “homogenous” and shares far more characteristics that will help Facebook’s algorithm create a better, quality Lookalike Audience.

The above highlight the reasons why you should always test your audiences. Remember that there is no one set of audiences that fits all.

How to structure your prospecting campaigns using Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audiences are an essential element in your Facebook prospecting strategy because it helps you bring new people, who are similar to an existing audience segment, to your website. Remember our previous tutorial on how to structure your Prospecting and Remarketing campaigns? We mentioned creating ad sets targeting 1% LA purchase, 3% LA purchase and 5% LA purchase. These LAs are the most common ones to use to get started because the increments help segment lookalike thresholds in a way that makes sense. For example, excluding a 1% LA from a 3% LA leaves a bigger audience to target than excluding a 1% audience from a 2%.

Depending on your budgets and advertising goals you can scale your campaigns by creating even higher percentages of LAs, such as 7% and 10%.

In all cases, do make sure that you are making the necessary exclusions to make sure that your audiences don’t overlap but to also make sure that your Facebook ads won’t experience any delivery problems.

A version of this article first appeared on WERSM.


In Business Factory, I work as a Facebook Marketing specialist helping both Czech and international clients to enhance their Facebook advertising efforts. For you, I wear my data-glasses and creative ideas-hat and share with you the tips, suggestions and tutorials that will help you step up your Facebook marketing game.


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