In an earlier article, we discussed finding your target market through their interests by using Facebook Audience Insights.
One way to use this tool is to input your custom audiences and let it tell you the demographic breakdown and interests shared by your audience. You can then reach out to more people by creating new ads targeting the results of your research.
This strategy for growth has been an effective one for us in the past. But in this article, we’ll share with you one other way you can reach more people and that is through what we call Lookalike Audiences.
What are Lookalike Audiences?
Lookalike Audiences are groups of users whom Facebook sees are most like a selected custom audience.
Let’s use an example.
Say you have a van rental business and you have 10 customers who are all 30-year old males who are married with 2 kids and are interested in beaches and resorts near Manila. That is your custom audience of existing customers. You then go to Facebook and ask it to help you find 100 more people like these 10 people. Facebook will then create a group of people who are also 30-year old males who are married with 2 kids and are interested in beaches and resorts near Manila. This new group is now your lookalike audience and you can now reach out to them and offer them your products or services.
That example was a small scale version of what actually happens but it illustrates the basic concept.
Lookalike audiences are used by businesses to reach out to people who are most like their current set of customers since these people may be more likely to take action on your offers. This is a powerful tool you can use to continuously find people to bring into your business and gain their interest.
How to Set Up Lookalike Audiences
It’s actually quite easy.
First, you have to make sure that you already have your custom audiences ready. You can either upload an e-mail list of your existing customers or you can use website custom audiences if you have them in place already.
Once you have that set up, proceed to the Audiences tab on Ads Manager, select ‘Create Audience’ and choose ‘Lookalike Audience’ from the drop-down.
A pop-up will appear asking you for 3 things.
The first thing you need to provide is the custom audience you want to target. For most cases, the custom audience here would be your existing customers but feel free to pick any custom audience.
Next, you will be asked for the country you would want to create the lookalike audience for. For me for example, I operate mainly in the Philippines so I’ll select the Philippines as my location. If you’re looking to expand to a different country, you can select a different country here.
Previously, you can only select one location and it had to be a country. Facebook now is slowly rolling out the ability to target multiple countries and even specific regions.
The last thing that will be asked is the audience size and this will differ depending on the total population of the selected location(s). You get to choose between creating 1-10% of the total population. For example, for the Philippines with a little over 60 Million active Facebook users, I can create a lookalike audience of about 600,000 People – 6 Million People.
My personal recommendation is that you go for the 1% because these are the people who are the most like the people in your custom audiences. By increasing the audience size, the group gets broader and less similar to your custom audience.
Once you’ve selected, click on ‘Create Audience’ and it will start to populate. Give it about 30 minutes and it will be ready for use.
How To Use Lookalike Audiences
The main use of Lookalike audiences is for businesses to be able to expand their reach to more people who are likely to take action on your offers.
This makes the process of audience researching so much easier because you’re asking Facebook to find the people for you.
One of the great things about it is that it updates itself. As your custom audiences grow, Facebook gets more data on them and it continuously searches for people who are more similar to your target custom audience.
Here are the 4 lookalike audiences I personally have found much success with:
- Lookalike audience of people who have purchased before
- Lookalike audience of people who engage with my business and my posts
- Lookalike audience of the top 5% most active users on my site
- Lookalike audience of the fans of my business page
If you want to get very specific, you can even choose to add in additional targeting such as targeting people in your lookalike audience who are interested in your competitors. Don’t limit yourself to just targeting your lookalike audience. Feel free to narrow them down by their demographics, interests and behaviors.
Lookalike audiences help take out the guesswork in audience research if you already have a reliable custom audience which is rich in data. If you are just starting out and you don’t have well-defined custom audiences yet, you may want to hold off on lookalike audiences first.
If there is any confusion on the concept of lookalike audiences and how they work, fee free to reach me by commenting, e-mailing or sending me a message on my Facebook Business Page and I’ll be happy to help out.