Target Similar Users with Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences

We have talked about Facebook’s custom audiences in the past, a tool which enables you to upload a list of specific individuals as an audience for your Facebook Ads campaigns. Facebook’s lookalike audience takes this feature a step further to help you find new users that are similar to those you have already successfully established a relationship with.

Lookalike audiences pulls all of the demographics and specifications from your custom audience, and then targets new users with those qualifications.

Where your custom audience puts you in contact with people you already know, lookalike audiences put you in contact with a new audience identical to those who already have proven to be a good target for your business and your ads.

You are targeting new individuals to fit within an audience that has already proven profitable, expanding it further.

Creating a lookalike audience off of a custom audience that has already proven to be profitable increases the chances of success with your targeting efforts with Facebook Ads, boosting your chance of success with your overall campaign. You can also now create lookalike audiences off fans on your Page or off of website visitors (found with a conversion tracking pixel). This is the same idea, connecting you with new users that are similar to the target audience you already have a rapport with. This is a great way to target new users for your business.

How to Create a Lookalike Audience

The first step in the process of making a lookalike audience is to create the audience you want to replicate. You can see how to make a custom audience—or a custom audience from a website— in our guide here.

If you are going in through Power Editor, click on the Audience tab, which can be found in the navigation bar on the left side of the screen.

From the Audience screen, select “Create an Audience,” and choose “Lookalike Audience” from the options of audiences to create.

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Power Editor prompts you to “reach new people similar to an audience you care about.” You can choose to create a lookalike audience based on your Page, a conversion tracking pixel, or an already created custom audience. For this example, we’re going to create a lookalike audience based off our Page.

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You are required to select a country for your lookalike audience, as lookalike audiences can only include people from one country at a time (you can use Power Editor to easily create more lookalike audiences for different countries later).

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You then decide how much you’d prefer to prioritize similarity over reach, or vice versa. There is a sliding bar, so you don’t have to choose one or the other, letting you accomplish both on some level.

Audiences that are more optimized for similarity will be closer to being identical to your source audience (instead of kind of, sort of like them), while optimizing for reach offer much larger potential audiences. If you have a very specific niche, staying more optimized for similarity is probably a good idea.

As you adjust this sliding bar, Facebook shows you how many potential members of that audience there are.

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On the screen showing your Audiences, your lookalike audiences will appear under those they were created from. If you choose, you can then get into your audience to edit it.

Lookalike Audiences

You can either create an ad and choose this audience later, or you can click “Create Ad Using Audience” to take you right into the screen to make an ad just for that audience.

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If you choose not to use Power Editor, and you can create a lookalike audience through the Ads Manager. Click on the “audiences” button on the left side navigation. Hit “Create Audience” at the top of the screen, and select “lookalike audience.”

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Fill in the information, just as you would have through Power Editor.

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Your new audience will show up in your Ads Manager (though it will not show up as a branch off of another audience as it does in Power Editor).

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When to Use a Lookalike Audience

One question I’ve heard asked is this: if lookalike audiences are replicating current customers, why target them with ads instead of the customers?

Yes, using custom audiences to advertise to a list of specific individuals—whether off your page, your e-mail list, or a list of users who have visited your website—provides great opportunities for highly targeted ads, part of the reason you use the ad system sometimes is to find new customers so your business can grow.

Lookalike audiences gives you this opportunity to target new business. While Facebook’s targeting system is incredible, lookalike audiences makes your targeting recreation simpler and more accurate. Facebook targets users for you that are extremely similar to the ones already following your page, looking at your website, and making purchases from you. You get to target more people most likely to do that, and you can get choose whether you want to focus on similarities or numbers (reach).

Creating lookalike audience also gives you the benefit of predicting what they may respond to best in terms of your ads. When creating multiple audiences to target different groups, you may not know what works best for each niche. With target audiences, however, not only can you have an easier time predicting what they might respond to, you can actually take what you learned with past campaigns (and their original audience) to decide what will perform well.

Lookalike audiences is an incredibly useful tool, and it’s a feature we’ve used frequently, and we will continue to do so.

Facebook’s Audience Insights: Why You Need It

Facebook’s unbelievable targeting system can help put your ad in front of the direct audience you’ve chosen to be ideal.

Sometimes, though, the results from these ads come up a little short. Maybe there is little to no interaction, or limited conversion. Maybe click through rates are dismal at best. Either way, money and time and effort can all go down the metaphorical drain all too quickly, even if the misstep is only a slight one.
When this is the case, or even when you are having good results but want more insight and profit, Facebook’s incredible analytics system, called Insights, will give you just that, telling you everything you ever wanted to know about your audience.

Facebook has recently added a new, separate tool called Audience Insights, which can be found via your ad manager.

It is a similar but separate tool from its main tool Page Insights. You can see Facebook’s news page about it here.

This feature focuses exclusively and intensively on everything about different audiences. If you haven’t heard about it yet, that’s ok—it is relatively new, just being rolled out this month. It’s a tool you need to get to know, however, because it will provide invaluable information about your audience for free. This is the kind of information corporations and companies pay huge amounts of money for, and you’re getting it free and on demand. Facebook’s Audience Insights is just as useful for the irregular or newbie Ads user as it is for the pros that have successfully—and profitably—implemented Ads campaigns on a regular basis.

For more on helpful tips implementing Facebook Ads, you can see our beginner’s guide right here at our site. The Audience Insights tool gives you direct access to clear, concise data that can revolutionize everything about your campaign and boost it to higher levels than ever.

This is true whether it needs minor tweaks or a major overhaul. There is always room for improvement, after all. For a great video overview that walks you through a view of the screens step by step, check out our video discussing Audience Insights right  our youtube page.

What Can Audience Insights Tell Me?

It can tell you a lot. A whole lot. And everything that it’s telling you is extremely, ridiculously valuable. With Audience Insights, you can:

  • Build a brand new audience from scratch, or open and edit a previously saved audience.
  • Find out who’s on Facebook. You can filter your audience and learn about demographics, interests, and behaviors of those using Facebook in addition to those connected to your site already and those in different audiences you have created.
  • Compare your audience. Figure out the differences and similarities between your ideal audience, those already connected to your page, and the rest of the big bad Facebook world.

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  • Target the right people. You can create ads and target a saved audience designed specially for it. This can lead to increased conversion and click through rates, making sure that every ad lands in front of the people most likely to respond to it.

With Audience Insights, you can select your audiences and view amazing analytics on each one. With each audience, you can view their:

  • Demographics. This includes Age and gender, lifestyle, relationship status, education level, and job title.

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  • Page Likes. This includes viewing past likes per subject area, as well as projection of pages that are likely to be relevant to your audience based on their likes.

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  • Location. You can see your top cities, countries, and languages.
  • Activity on Facebook. You can see what specific devices are the most frequently used by your audience, as well as what actions they take, such as posts shared, ads clicked, and more. See how often your audience is logging into Facebook and what they’re doing while they are there.

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  • Household Information. You can evaluate the household incomes of your audience, as well as whether they own their home, how large the household is, what the home’s market value is, and their spending behavior.
  • Purchase Behaviors. Needless to say, this is a big one when it comes to having successful and profitable ad campaigns. View your audience’s amount of spending, with what frequency they make online purchases, their purchase behavior, and even vehicle purchase information (and yes, this last particular bit of information may not be relevant to everyone, but it’s a good example of how detailed and specific the system gets).

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A ton of companies have spent big money trying to get this sort of information on determining their target audience as well as how best to reach them. They have focus groups or offer rewards and incentives for customers to complete surveys. Depending on who these groups are consisted of, or who is doing the researching, this data can still end up skewed or just plain wrong even after all that money is spent.

When it comes to Facebook Ad campaigns, they’ve eliminated the need for focus groups. They have all of the needed information broken down into incredible specifics on Audience Insights. It is much more error proof than random studies and focus groups.

All of the information is private and anonymous, but you don’t need specific names in order to be successful with this information. Audience Insights takes the best of both world here, however. Customers get to retain their privacy, and you get information about their buying habits as a whole without crossing into any murky grey areas customers could feel violated by.

How to Create an Audience

Facebook’s Audience Insights makes creating and researching audiences a fast and simple process. It will continue to make everything about advertising on social media easier and more profitable than ever.

You can learn just about everything you ever wanted to know about those connected to your business (or those that you want to be connected to your business), all at the click of the mouse.

On the left side of the Audience Insights page is always an area where you can create an audience in order to evaluate their demographics and statistics.

You can evaluate this audience based on location, age and gender, interests, and connections (people connected to your page, or people not connected to your page, amongst others). These are all the basics of Facebook’s targeting system we are familiar with. All of these are important to narrow down your most ideal target audience wherever relevant.

You may just want to go past basic. You might want to get really, really crazy specific.

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You can now do that. After the basic audience builder, you then have the option for the advanced filter, which includes targeting by:

  • Behaviors, which is the same found in the ad targeting section we’re already familiar with
  • Languages spoken
  • Relationship status, such as single, married, in a relationship, and engaged
  • Education, especially high school, college, or grad school and up.
  • Work. Office titles and job positions can be singled out.
  • Financial status
  • Home status. Whether you own a home, the home’s market value, household size, etc.
  • Market segments
  • Whether or not you are a parent, which can also be narrowed down by the age of the child/children
  • US politics
  • Life events. Just recently engaged? Wedding planners, venues, and caterers just might target you in their advertising campaigns.
  • Device Owners. You can, believe it or not, target as specifically as what type of device users log in from.
  • The miscellaneous “more” category, as if all that wasn’t specific enough for your campaign.

You can also start at the top of the page, where it gives you the option to “create new.”

They ask you to choose an audience to start with, your choices being “everyone on facebook” and “people connected to your page.” If you have one available, you can also choose a previously made custom audience.

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By starting out with viewing everyone who is on Facebook, you can get an idea of how far your reach can go, and comparing them with your target audience can help you understand both how your target audience works and even who to target.

You can use Insights to evaluate those who like your page as well as those you haven’t reached yet. You can always take a look at your competitor’s insights by adding in their page in the “connected to ___” box.

Once you’ve narrowed down what you think is your target audience based on all the available criteria, you can evaluate the statistics.

Does that potential audience make purchases online? If they don’t purchase, but instead have high engagement, consider an ad where the focus is getting likes or comments, or even a free app download, on your page instead of a hard sell for a product or service that they’ll be unlikely to be. Even if they click on it, it does you no good if no results come out of it.

Is your potential target audience often on mobile, or almost never on mobile?

Using this information can help you decide how you want to target that audience, and whether or not the content you’ve designed is right for them.

Once you’ve created your audience (and taken a good look at all of the information available on it), you can save it up at the top in the header where the “create new” tab is found.

After saving said audience, you can reopen it at any time. Go to the “open” tab in order to access all past saved audiences. By hovering over the audience name, such as our example of Test1, you can see an overview of details before even opening it under the preview area.

How to Use The Data

By using Audience Insights and evaluating those who are currently engaged on your page, you might not have too many surprises and have been pretty close to the mark when you had been calculating your target audience.

A lot of times, however, even in strong campaigns, there’s always room for improvement. Audience Insights provides strong, clear data that can provide quick, drastic improvements without a lot of research or money spent.

Too often, advertisers aren’t targeting the correct people. They either get too broad or too specific, or just miss the mark entirely. This is especially true to advertisers new to Facebook marketing and advertising in general.

If you go too broad, your ad will not likely end up in front of your target audience, and if you get too specific, you could miss an entire sector of your ideal customers.

If you’re running an entirely online business, but what you thought was your target audience almost always only buys in person at a brick and mortar store and rarely online, some recalculating would need to happen in your marketing strategy. You’d need to reconsider who your target audience truly is.

Playing with the create an audience section on the side and comparing results can help you get closer to an audience whose needs would best align with what your business offers.

Similarly, maybe after doing research you’ve realized that some of your audience fits into an exact niche that you haven’t quite explored yet. You can base new products, or advertise more relevant products, to them using the Audience Insights data.

Sometimes our target audiences are all wrong. Maybe we got the age, location, interests, or demographics not quite right. That’s ok. There’s a lot of guesswork that can happen it when it comes to marketing, and Audience Insights helps to change and alleviate that.

Certain audiences will be more likely to respond to Facebook Offers than they will be to purchase something outright, while others will be more inclined to download an app.

Now you can make specific ads, with potentially varying goals, for specific audiences. This can increase click through rates as well as conversion rates in one fell swoop, as opposed to sending out one general ad to an audience that might not even be the right one. Your money can be more efficiently and profitably spent. Who doesn’t want that?