Facebook lookalike audiences are an advanced segmentation tool Facebook advertisers use to build new audiences that match the profile of their top customers. They allow advertisers to reach high-converting audiences, leading to more sales. They are great for businesses looking to reach more users on Facebook who are likely to engage their brand.
Creating and using lookalike audiences in Facebook can be complicated. For that reason, small businesses often leave their Facebook advertising to the pros. Using a Facebook ad management service like Hibu not only saves you time but also money as Hibu-created ads are more effective, leading to higher returns.
How Lookalike Audiences Work
Facebook lookalike audiences are created using an advertiser’s existing data collected from a variety of sources, from custom audiences to customer contact lists. Using an existing audience or group of customers, Facebook automatically finds and replicates that audience to build a new one, giving advertisers a new set of users who match their ideal customer. This process takes the guesswork out of building audiences and gives advertisers more qualified users.
Lookalike audiences use what are called sources to build new audiences. These sources can be an existing custom audience — using recent website visitors or email lists — mobile app data or your Facebook page fans. The most commonly used, and arguably most effective source, is a custom audience comprised of recent website visitors and customers, which uses the Facebook Pixel to collect your website data.
Facebook advertisers not already using a custom audience will need to begin by creating one. To do this, create and install the Facebook Pixel. Then, confirm the Pixel is working by downloading the Facebook Pixel Helper plug-in tool. Once the pixel is embedded properly on your website, it will begin tracking your website visitors, and this data will be synced to your Facebook Ads Manager account.
Using the data from the Facebook Pixel, you will then be able to create a custom audience in Facebook Ads Manager. Go to “Audiences” and select “Create Audience.” Follow the steps to create your custom audience. Next, create a lookalike audience by creating a new audience. This time, select the option to create a lookalike audience. Using the data from your custom audience, you can now create a lookalike audience to replicate your existing customers.
Who Lookalike Audiences Are Right for
Facebook lookalike audiences are for businesses advertising on Facebook who have data on their best customers that they can use to target new prospects of a similar profile. This helps to create a warmer audience that is more likely to convert.
Businesses that would benefit from using custom audiences are those with:
- Custom audiences: Businesses with high-converting custom audiences looking to cast a wider net
- Website traffic: Those with website’s who see a consistent volume of site visitors
- An online conversion point: Advertisers who have a way of knowing which site visitors become customers, such as an online checkout or new user registration
- Contact lists: Advertisers with comprehensive and up-to-date contact lists, such as email lists
Choose the source that best fits your business and the user data you have available. For example, while creating a lookalike audience from website traffic is the most common choice, if your business, for example, recently attended a trade show or conference and have an entire email list available, then it could be a good resource to use to find more users similar to those contacts.
“One of the best ways to target Facebook ads is to use is lookalike audiences. This allows you to upload data like a file of your current customers or people on your email list, and then tell Facebook to target people that are similar to those people. You can also limit your range to people within a certain geographical area, so you’re only reaching potential customers that are relevant to your business.”
— Taylor Kincaid, Social Media Director, Online Optimism
How to Create a Facebook Lookalike Audience in 7 Steps
Lookalike audiences are the most effective way of finding your ideal customer on Facebook as they get your ads in front of high-converting leads by finding new users who match the profile of your best customers. While lookalike audiences are considered to be an advanced audience segmentation tool, setting one up is easier than it sounds.
Create your Facebook lookalike audience by following these seven steps.
1. Create a Custom Audience
A custom audience is a targeted audience in Facebook based on traffic to your website. If you want to create a lookalike audience based using a custom audience as your source, you will need to create a custom audience first. To do this, you will first need to get the Facebook Pixel and then, using the pixel data, you will create a new custom audience in Facebook Ads Manager.
Create & Install the Facebook Pixel
Download the Facebook Pixel Helper
To confirm that your Facebook pixel is firing correctly and tracking your website visitors, download the Facebook Pixel Helper. It is a free and useful Google Chrome troubleshooting tool that monitors pixels and helps you troubleshoot when things go wrong. Go to the Google Chrome Store and download the Facebook Pixel Helper. Setting it up is easy; learn how in our Facebook Pixel Helper article.
Build a Custom Audience in Facebook Ads Manager
From your Facebook Ads Manager account, go to audiences by expanding the menu in the upper left-hand corner of the screen and selecting “Audiences.” On the audiences page, click the blue “Create Audience” button. Choose your audience source from the drop-down list and follow the steps to create audience rules. When you’re finished, click the “Create Audience” button at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen to save your new custom audience.
For an easy-to-follow list of steps, including screenshots, visit How to Create Facebook Custom Audiences.
2. Go to Audiences in Facebook Ads Manager
Login in to your Facebook Ads Manager account. From the home screen of Facebook Ads Manager, click the menu icon in the upper left-hand corner of the toolbar to the right of the Facebook icon. This will expand your menu options, where you will then find and select “Audiences” from the “Assets” column, as illustrated below.
3. Click ‘Create Audience’ Button & Select Lookalike Audience
From the audiences page, find and click the blue “Create Audience” button in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. A drop-down list will appear and from the list, choose “Lookalike Audience.”
4. Choose Audience Source
Next, choose your audience source. This is where you decide what data you will use to create a lookalike audience. While this article focuses mostly focus on pixel data, or website traffic, as a source because it is the most commonly used source for lookalike audiences, there are other options from which to choose.
5. Select Audience Locations
Next, you will define the location parameters of your lookalike audience. Advertisers can tailor their lookalike audience to include only certain users from the pixel data. Keep in mind that while a lookalike audience will generate a new audience automatically based on your source audience, you still need to target specific locations to ensure your audience makes sense for your business.
6. Determine Your Audience Size
Selecting your audience size with lookalike audiences is unique in that audience size is based on a percent of users from your selected locations. Instead of being an actual number of people, your audience size can be narrowed down to focus on the most closely related matches. While all users in a lookalike audience will closely resemble the customers from your source data, it is possible to limit ads to only the absolute best matches.
7. Click ‘Create Audience’ to Save Lookalike Audience
Finally, save your lookalike audience by clicking the blue “Create Audience” button in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Once you do that, your new lookalike audience will be listed as one of your audience options, allowing you to use it when you create new ad campaigns.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do I Set Up Facebook Retargeting Campaigns?
Retargeting campaigns are set up the same way all Facebook campaigns are, with the difference that when you get to the audience section, you will select a custom audience or a group of “warm” users. Learn everything you need to know about retargeting in our article, How to Create Facebook Retargeting Ad Campaigns, which includes easy-to-follow instructions.
What is the Difference Between Lookalike Audiences & Custom Audiences?
The difference between a Facebook lookalike audience and a custom audience comes down to user awareness. Custom audiences are already familiar with your business because they have already taken an action related to your brand like visiting your website or may already be customers. On the other hand, lookalike audiences are groups of new users created to replicate the demographic and buying characteristics of custom audiences, providing advertisers with a larger, high-converting audience.
What Kind of Results Can I Expect From Using Lookalike Audiences?
Assuming your lookalike audience is built using a source with high-converting leads, you can expect to see better results from lookalike audiences than standard Facebook audiences. While a lookalike audience isn’t exactly comprised of warm leads, they are warmer and more likely to convert than cold leads.
What Other Ways Can I Target Facebook Ads?
Facebook has a slew of different targeting options from basic user demographics, such as age and location, to targeting users who added an item to their wish list on your site. Not only do advertisers have many targeting options, but they can also combine these options to create a really sophisticated audience. Learn more by reading our article on the Top 7 Facebook Ad Targeting Options.
The Bottom Line
Facebook lookalike audience uses warm leads or existing customer audiences to create new audiences of a similar profile. This increases the likelihood of conversions and engagement, which ultimately increases a business’s return on advertising investment. Every business that advertises on Facebook should consider how they can best use lookalike audiences to capture these benefits.
Creating lookalike audiences is relatively simple, although implementing a successful ad strategy can be more complicated. It’s common for businesses to outsource their Facebook ad management to professionals to ensure the success of their advertising. Hibu is a great source for full-service ad management and, with no setup fees and a low required monthly ad spend, they are an easy and cost-effective choice.