How To Use Lookalike Audiences In Facebook

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If there’s one thing to applaud Facebook for is that it never runs out of ideas to help businesses reach their target audience. If they aren’t working on something entirely new, they’ll be making necessary changes to their algorithm to [again] help you increase brand recognition, sales, and customer loyalty.

As an online marketer, every time you sit down to create an ad campaign, what’s important is to make sure you’re targeting the right group of customers. With layered targeting, you’ll be introducing your brand to a group of total strangers, majority of which are NOT remotely interested in what you’re offering.

It’s also important that you develop a plan to push your prospects into taking an action. That’s where remarketing comes in.

But there comes a time when you want to look for something that fits in the space in-between. Something that bridges the gap between a total stranger and someone on the verge of making that big final decision.

That’s where Facebook lookalike audiences comes in – the much-needed catalyst that speeds up the decision making process.

So what exactly is “Facebook Lookalike Audiences”?  

Lookalike audiences is a simplified way of reaching an entirely new group of interested audiences on Facebook. The concept employed isn’t much different from that of AdWords Similar Audiences, just better.

Instead of defining audiences based on targeting parameters, Lookalikes audiences focuses on shared traits and interest, all of which are chosen by you.

What happens is that the tool helps you track down users whose interests and demographics match those of your past customers or followers.

Besides being extremely powerful for finding high-converting users, lookalike audiences are a cinch to both create and implement.

Why are they Important?

There’s a good chance you know what your target customers want. You know their preference, interest, and everything else that might help you better your marketing campaigns.

Lookalike audiences, however, go much deeper than this. First, they help you dissect your current followers and user base in a bid to find out what is it that they have in common. Facebook will then dig through its data trenches, connecting the dots to cherry-pick a group of users with interests that are similar to those of your existing customers.

Mind you, this is a group of users with a strong purchasing intend, a group you wouldn’t have otherwise reached hadn’t it been for the tool.

The good thing with informed targeting is that it helps you optimize your social media campaign, thus lowering your acquisition cost and everything else.

Building a Lookalike Audience

A. Start by choosing a group you wish to build your lookalike audience from.

This includes: 

  • The people who like your Facebook page
  • Your website visitors
  • A list of your past customers

The group you create must at least have 100 people in order for you to be allowed to create a lookalike audience on Facebook. For a more efficient spend, it’s recommended that you include more than 100 people or focus on making the sample size much bigger.

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B. Choose an Audience Size

Larger audiences stretch your reach. The problem is that the matching done will be less accurate.

If your plan is too reach a much larger group of people, but happen to be less concerned about the matching accuracy, then purpose to make the sample size bigger. The opposite still applies for a smaller sample size. The smaller the lookalike audience the more targeted your campaign is. Of course the ad will be viewed by fewer people, but there’ll be so much semblance between the people you’re reaching and your current customers.

C. Target a Specific Demographic

You can choose to target users that snugly match your current customers. For instance, if majority of your follower are 25 years old and live in Singapore, you’re allowed to include those parameters using the drop down menu on the Power Editor tool.

Besides age and geographical location, you have the option to include parameters that target users by gender.

D. Create Your Ad

Use power editor to edit the texts and images you’re planning to use for the ad. And while at it, make sure you’re complying with the standard Facebook practices and policies. It’s also important that you use attractive images and engaging language to draw visitors to your profile.

Insider Tips for Facebook Lookalikes Audiences

The size of the group you’re targeting to reach is always determined during the creation process of the Facebook lookalike audience. You’ll of course be tempted to target the largest group of people by working on coming up with a larger sample size, but keep in mind that a smaller lookalike will most likely perform better – considering they’ll be matching your source more closely, unless otherwise.

A source audience of 1000 to 50000 people is widely recommended. Of course, this can be pretty tough for small businesses. But then again, the smaller lookalike audiences target better. All they have to do is pay extra attention to the quality of their sources, and they have a better chance of scoring it big in terms of conversion.

While at the top of your funnel or still working on raising product awareness, you’d want to create a larger lookalike audience for a widespread reach. You of course want more and more people to find out about your products and services. So you target as many prospects as it’s humanly possible.

After this it’s possible to narrow down your list of target by pruning your sample size for a more precise targeting. That, coupled with other targeting options at your disposal, including content boosting, should help you clock an insane amount of sales by the end of it all.

A Quick Rundown of Extra Bits of Information to Have

The lookalike audience you create will only attract prospect from a list of countries your source followers happen to be from. For instance, if your source only contains people from Singapore, don’t expect to attract prospects from any other country other than Singapore.

  • You’re required to at least have 100 people in your source audience to be allowed to set up a lookalike audience. So until you work on making your lookalike source hit this number of people, you won’t be eligible to create a lookalike audience.
  • It’s possible to use a lookalike source from one country to target a similar audience but in a different country. For instance, say you have 100 people in your Singapore source, you can use the same sample to target a similar audience in Canada.
  • Once you’ve created one source audience, you can use it to create up to 500 lookalike audiences.
  • The people you have on your source audience will automatically be excluded in the lookalike audience you create.
  • You have the option to layer a lookalike audience in one ad set. With this, you’ll be targeting selected users of a selected lookalike audience instead of targeting everyone, thus making your source audience even more effective.

A Step By Step Guide for Creating a Facebook Lookalike Audience

Creating a Facebook Lookalike audience is a cinch.

Here are simplified steps to follow:

Head to Facebook Ad Manager and click on the hamburger menu (found at the top-left side of your screen). In the dropdown options presented, select ‘Audiences.’

If you once created a custom audience or a ton of them, their names will listed in blue on the page shown. Otherwise you’ll be presented with a completely blank page. To create a lookalike audience, just click on the blue ‘Create Audience’ button — found above your columns.

In the next page that loads up, you’ll be required to choose a source or page, select a location and determine your audience size by moving the audience slider.

The source you choose is like the lifeblood of your lookalike audience. Regardless of where you’re drawing your list from – whether it’s from people subscribing to your mailing list or the people liking your page, what’s important is for the list to represent the actual value of your business.

Possible Audience Sources You Can Use?  

The email addresses of your customers. This can be a list of email addresses you collected using the subscription form on your website or from the information they entered while transacting with you.

  • The traffic to your website. These are the people who visit your site or take an action on your website as specified.
  • App Activity. This includes a group of people that either installed the app or performed a certain action within the app.
  • Offline Activity. This includes a list of people who interact with your business on regular basis or those who’ve visited your business premise before in person.
  • Engagement. This includes a list of people who’ve engaged you directly or on social media.

Creating an effective audience source requires that you be extra keen while at it. You can’t just randomly pick a list of potential customers and be done with it.

If, for example, you want to use your website traffic as your audience source, then common sense dictates that you avoid mirroring the people who land on your page and immediately click the exit button without checking out anything else.

A wise approach would to cull the list you have to high-value prospects or customers, and who have at least made an attempt to complete an action. Of course this puts you at risk of condensing your audience source, but the audience mirrored will most likely have a higher intent to take action.

For location, you get to choose your lookalike audience based on where they live. At the moment, you can only choose your audience based on their countries or regions, with no option to narrow the list further.

Coming last is the Audience size slider, which shows you how big your lookalike audience actually is. Besides, this option allows you to create multiple seed audiences from the source you have for a more specific targeting.

A 1% lookalike is the smallest audience you can create. It’s also the lookalike that mirrors an audience that bears the most semblance with your source audience. This option works better when you’re at the bottom of your funnel or happen to be more concerned with getting your prospects to take action.

At 10%, the lookalike is massive. Your source audience is likely to mirror a larger audience, but the resemblance between your source audience and lookalikes is likely to be at the bare minimal, hence a lower conversion rate. This option works even better if you’re working at the top of the funnel and happen to be more interested in raising brand awareness rather than winning converts.

It’s a Wrap

Once you’re done setting up your lookalike audience, you can go ahead and create a new ad set as you prepare to get your product or services in front of qualified prospects.

For more information or help setting up a lookalike audience, feel free to contact MediaOne today for a free SEO consultation.

Author Bio

Tom Koh is widely recognised as a leading SEO consultant in Asia who has worked to transform the online visibility of the leading organisations such as SingTel, Capitaland, Maybank, P&G, WWF, etc. Recently he was instrumental in consulting for a New York-based US$30B fund in an US$4Bn acquisition. Tom is a Computational Science graduate of the National University of Singapore. In his free time he performs pro-bono community work and traveling.
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