The Power of Lookalike Audiences
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Intermediate Facebook Advertising – How to Master Custom and Lookalike Audiences

In this lesson, we cover Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences. You’ll learn:

  • Why you should use lookalikes
  • The step-by-step creation process
  • Targeting strategies to increase performance
  • Lookalike Layering and why it’s so powerful

What are Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audiences are built off of Facebook’s vast amounts of user data. Using audience data you provide, Facebook will generate a list of people who closely match your audience that you can target with ads.

The goal of Lookalike Audiences is to quickly find new people who are similar to your inputted audience, with the idea being they will be more likely to purchase or become a subscriber.

Lookalike Audiences are incredibly powerful and can:

  • Help expand potential audience targets
  • Find new customers in different countries
  • Narrow down to specific audience groups within larger targets (Ex: reach small business owners who are also part of your Lookalike Audience)

How to Create Lookalikes

Lookalike are easy to make. First, go to the audience section under the Ads Manager Tool Selection. Select Create Audience and choose Lookalike Audience.

creating lookalike audiences

Next you’ll need to choose your Lookalike Audience source. You can choose from the following audience types:

  • Website visitors and conversion pixel
  • Facebook fan page
  • Customer list
  • App users
  • Video views

Next you need to choose the country. Unfortunately, you can currently only target Lookalike Audiences by country.

lookalike country

Lookalike Audiences are also based on percentage of a population that is similar to your source audience. The closer you are to 1%, the more similar your customers. The closer to 10%, the less similar.

Which Percentage Should You Use

So which percentage should you choose? It depends on the country you choose to target. 1% in New Zealand is only 30,300 people, while in the United States, it’s 2.1 million. We recommend sticking with the top 1-4% of Lookalikes at the beginning. Smaller countries should be larger while bigger countries should be smaller.

Finally, you can choose advance options to quickly create multiple segmented Lookalike Audiences.

For example, let’s say you want to target 1%, 2%, 3%, and 4% Lookalike Audiences, each with a separate ad set to ensure they don’t overlap. To do this, you would select Advanced Options, choose the number of audiences, and move the toggles to separate each audience.

lookalike audiences advanced

Why Create Audiences Like This

You should segment audiences into precise individual percentages to understand how each performs. You can’t do that if you create an audience that includes everyone from 1-4%. For America, that would be over 8 million people!

So if you plan on using and testing Lookalikes, create individual segmented audiences so you can understand which universes drive more leads and sales at a lower cost.

Targeting Lookalikes

Targeting Lookalike Audiences is exactly like targeting Custom Audiences. In your ad set, go to Custom Audiences, select Lookalike Audiences and choose your audience.

lookalike ad set

How to Improve Lookalike Audience Performance

1. Don’t Use Bad Data

Lookalikes are built off of your data – if you use bad data, you’ll get bad a bad audience.

For example, let’s say you purchase a bunch of cheap Facebook page likes, then never communicate with them. None of these people have any connection to your business, and haven’t purchased any products.

Because these people have never purchased from you or even taken a lower level action like giving you an email address, targeting them with sales ads probably won’t work, since these people don’t share characteristics of purchasers.

2. Build Lookalikes Based on Your Objective

Lookalike Audiences work better when you match the right audience base data with the right objective. Audience base data is the audience you create a Lookalike from.

For example, if you want more people to visit your website, you should build a Lookalike Audience based on website visitors, not Fans. To do this, you would create a Lookalike Audience of everyone who visits your website.

This is the same for product purchases. When targeting for offsite conversions and purchases, build a Lookalike Audience from your conversion page, conversion event or your customer data.

We’ve found matching Lookalike Audience base data to objective improves results.

3. Use Larger Audiences

Facebook requires a Lookalike Audience to be created from an audience of at least 100 people.

But that doesn’t mean you should use 100 people. We recommend using as big an audience as possible – it should at least be 500 people. That way Facebook has more data to draw from.

4. Use These Audiences First

Not all base audiences are created equal. Lower funnel audiences are better to start with than upper funnel audiences. Use this list as a reference for which audience to target first. Remember – the more data, the better:

  1. Website conversion purchases
  2. Customer purchase data
  3. Website conversion leads
  4. Customers who click on emails
  5. Customers who open emails
  6. Website visitors
  7. Facebook Page

5. Layer Interest Over Lookalikes

Lookalike Audiences are powerful because they help find similar audiences. But what if you could target lookalikes who also fall under specific Interest or Behaviour groups? Pretty cool right?

To do this, add your Lookalike Audience to an ad set. Then add an interest. In our example, we started with a 1% Lookalike Audience of 2 million. When we add Power Editor, that shrinks to 97,000 (from an original U.S. Power Editor audience of 180,000).

Using Layering can help you find potentially better performing audiences.

lookalike interest targeting


That does it for our Intermediate Facebook Advertising Course. We hope you enjoyed it.

If you have any questions, be sure to email us at

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