What is a Facebook Lookalike Audience?
A Facebook Lookalike Audience is an audience made up of Facebook users who, although they have not yet come into contact with your brand and your services, have similar characteristics to those who have already done so.
You can create a lookalike using different sources, that is sources that will serve as a model for the research of the components of the new audience. You can use standard origins:
- a standard custom audience ;
- a Facebook page.
Or use value-based sources:
- a personalized audience based on value;
- a Facebook product catalog;
- a Facebook tracking pixel ;
- a Facebook app.
In all cases where the origin is based on the value, the Life Time Value (LTV) of the users will be used to determine the specific weight they must have within the resulting lookalike.
Facebook will therefore identify the characteristics of the users included in the original audience and will create a new audience composed of users as similar as possible to the original ones.
Remember that the source audience is never included within the resulting lookalike, so there are no overlap issues between the various Ad Groups.
How to create a Lookalike Audience?
To create a new Lookalike Audience you need to access the Ads Management tool related to the Facebook account that you will use to create Facebook ADS campaigns and, after selecting the Tools menu at the top left, click on Audience. From the screen that opens, select Create audience and then Similar audience. We must first specify the source from which to generate the new lookalike audience. As mentioned, you can choose between sources based on value or others without this aggregate data.
Once you have selected the source you need to select a venue for your new audience, which does not necessarily have to be the same as the starting audience. In fact, suppose we have e-commerce that until now has always sold only in Italy and that is expanding into other markets.
You could imagine creating a custom audience based on Italian customers (possibly also using their Life Time Value) and using it as a source for a lookalike made up of users from the new country where you will need to start spreading the brand.
Size of the Facebook Lookalike Audience
The last step is the decision about the sizing of the new similar audience .
As Facebook explains directly on the creation interface, the percentage you will select refers to the total number of the combined population of the places you have selected. In the case of Italy, for example, 1% corresponds to ~ 326,000 people.
You can also decide to create more than one lookalike. In this case, you will have audiences without overlapping that will be composed according to the percentile ranges you choose. Let’s take an example.
In this case, we are creating three similar audiences:
- the audience consisting of ~ 326k people, which comprises the first 1% by the similarity of the public included in the place of destination;
- the audience made up of about ~ 652k people which includes the range from 1% to 3% by the similarity of the public included in the destination;
- the audience is composed of about ~ 326 people which includes the range that goes from 3% to 4% for similarity of the public included in the place of destination.
As you may have already guessed, the further we move away from 1%, the less the audience components will be similar to the starting audience. Lookalikes are worth thinking carefully about. In particular, I suggest you take into account at least two parameters: the size of the original audience and your budget.
If the original audience is composed of a few hundred people, it is obvious that Facebook will not have a lot of information on which to base their choices. So it is useless to look for a similar audience that is too large, we would risk a selection with too much variance.
At the same time, it is useless to create audiences with millions of users if your budget does not allow you to reach a significant percentage in good time.
Once you have finished selecting the ideal size for your needs, click on the Create audience button. The new Lookalike Audience will appear on the list waiting for Facebook to finish building it.
Using Facebook Lookalike Audience: some ideas
Lookalikes group users similar to those who have already established a connection with your brand. However, they are basically cold audiences, which must be cultivated and from which (in general) we cannot expect an immediate economic return. We cannot, therefore, create an audience similar to our customers and introduce ourselves to them with a message like: “Hi, buy now!”.
The concept is that these audiences are perfect for activities related to the upper part of the funnel or, to put it another way, to all those peripheral activities necessary to enter the horizon of knowledge of users. You need to take into account these characteristics of a similar audience, to balance the message you will convey through the campaigns and create a specific strategy to bring these users closer to conversion.
Clearly, where possible, it is good to create lookalikes according to the specific action you are asking users. If, for example, you need to carry out a contact collection campaign, creating a similar audience based on the custom audience of newsletter subscribers is certainly a good idea. As always in these cases, my advice is to do several tests and let the data collected give you useful information.
The update of the Lookalike audience
Lookalikes are dynamic audiences. This means that Facebook will periodically update them by adjusting them based on the changes suffered by the original audience. Obviously, if your source audience is static, the lookalike will always be identical to itself as well.
In case you have created a lookalike using a dynamic source (for example based on the data collected by the tracking pixel) it will be updated every 3-7 days as long as you are still using it in at least one ad group. If you stop using the audience, its updates will also stop but will resume as soon as you start using it again.
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