What is a Lookalike Audience?

Facebook offers enough resources and tools that it can sometimes be hard to wrap your head around them. However, as a marketer, you definitely need to know what lookalike audiences are and how they work.

Facebook is a rich depository of demographic and behavioral data on how individuals interact with brands and choose products. Lookalike audiences allow you to amplify your first-party data (your customer information) by connecting it to Facebook’s vast data. Basically, you can take a set of users and customers who have proven valuable to your brand and use Facebook to build a much larger audience that shares similar interests, behaviors and demographics. This gives you the power to reach the type of user that you know is likely to purchase from and interact with your brand.


woman shopping online in the park

Lookalike audiences help you reach more users who are similar to your current customers.


What you need to build a Lookalike Audience

When Facebook first introduced the lookalike audience tool, marketers needed to upload lists of emails containing their customers’ addresses. The platform then matched the emails to Facebook users and created a Custom Audience. The Custom Audience served as a reference point for what type of user the company wanted to reach.

As the tool matured, Facebook added more features so that today lookalike audiences can be built from several types of user sets:

  • People who have converted on your website or landing page. If you place a conversion pixel (also known as a cookie) on your web pages, you can create lookalike audiences that target the type of user most likely to click, submit or purchase on your site.
  • People who took action on your Facebook campaigns or ads. If you’ve run a Facebook campaign in the past, you can create a lookalike audience based off of users who met the campaign goal.
  • People who take a specific type of action on a Facebook object. You can build a lookalike audience similar to the users who chose to watch a specific video, downloaded an app on mobile or even spent money in an app.
  • People who are fans of a Facebook page. Use your current fan base (or even your competitor’s) to grow a receptive audience.

Once you’ve decided how you want to build your lookalike audience, you need to set the location and the size.  First, Facebook allows you to create an audience only for one country at a time. If you want to build your audience in the US and Australia, you will need to create two separate lookalike audiences. Second, defining the size depends on your campaign goals. A larger lookalike audience means you’ll have greater reach, but also less precise targeting and vice versa.


You are not alone

Use Facebook’s data to grow your reach.


The Benefits of Using Lookalike Audiences

Facebook will take from 6 to 24 hours to finalize your lookalike audience, but once it’s done you’re ready to launch your campaign. Benefits from a Lookalike Audience campaign include :

  • an increase in your current audience size
  • your ads will reach promising new prospects instead of just current customers
  • on average, a higher conversion rate and a lower CPA
  • greater brand awareness

Lookalike audiences are a powerful tool, just remember to monitor and analyze the results of your campaign, so that you can continue to refine your reach.