As Internet advertisers we are slaves to the numbers, and nothing makes us happier than to see a target audience perform with high conversions and a low CPL. (Seriously, don’t you dream about that?)

So, what happens when you are advertising on Facebook for a super niche market and have exhausted all of your targeting options?  You could go for the really strange (and really small) audiences, but chances are they may not work very well and you will probably reach all of them within a week, if you are lucky.

When options and ideas are running dry, it may be time to implement Facebook’s lookalike audiences. (In all actuality, it is a good idea to use these earlier on, but I digress.) Let me delve into the awesomeness that is Facebook’s lookalike audiences.

What Exactly, Are Lookalike Audiences?

I may not often have nice things to say about Facebook’s advertising platform, but I will say that most of the time, these lookalike (or “sim” as we call them) audiences are pretty stellar.

Facebook takes data from any custom audience you have created (say, a Buyer audience) and is able to find other people with similar qualities and targets them. Basically, Facebook does most of the targeting work for you. As Facebook describes it, utilizing these audiences creates “more paths to customers” by reaching more interested prospects who may not be currently targeted.

These sim audiences or groups can use data from website custom audiences (such as an “All Website Traffic” audience), page fans, conversion pixels and even uploaded customer database lists.

These audiences are like homing missiles for new leads.

How Do I Make a Lookalike Audience?

As luck would have it, creating these lookalike audiences is SUPER simple (thanks Facebook). I will provide a quick lesson on populating one of these bad boys:

  1. Once on the Audiences page in Business Manager, click the Create Audience button and select “Lookalike Audience”.
  2. Then, select a custom audience that you would like to find similar customers to as well as an appropriate target country. (ProTip: Currently, you can only choose one country at a time, but you can create lookalike audiences for other countries separately and combine them within your campaign audience targeting.)
  3. Using  the slider tool, you can select different sizes of lookalike audiences ranging from 1% to 10%. (These audiences take some time to fully populate but once they do, it’s like Santa just dropped his sack of gifts right onto your lap.)
  4. Click “Create Audience” and you are DONE! That is easier than creating a regular ol’ custom audience. And BOOM, there it is, just waiting – no – begging to be added to your campaign!


This is a picture metaphor of your audience begging to be used.

So now what?

Now it is time to start using these lookalike audiences in your campaigns. These audiences are like Type O blood; they are universal and can be combined with anything. You can use them by themselves, or better yet, paired with an interest or a behavior. The combinations are endless and it is really up to your imagination, creativity and ingenuity to find the best possible recipe to find you new favorite audience.

A great place to start is pairing these babies up with the top performing audiences that are currently running. For example: we like to start with 1%, 2% and 3% lookalike audiences paired with the top two or three performing interest (or behavior, or demographic, whatever is providing the most leads at the cheapest price).

Generally, this seems to work very well across all of our various types of clients’ campaigns. Sometimes there are hiccups where a 5% sim group performs great while the same 1% does not at all. But that is just one of the many quirks of Facebook, amirite?

However, once you find the right mixture of sim group and other targeting pairings, you can really hit the jackpot!


Now Go and Win at Facebook Advertising … 

If you have not been using Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences yet, there is no better time to start than NOW.

These are great tests to implement within your campaign once your list, WCA, conversion pixel, etc. has enough data to populate a sim audience. Don’t necessarily wait until your campaign is stagnant either; these lookalike audiences can add a lot of value and really help you hit your advertising goals. In fact, we have whole campaigns running using ONLY sim audiences because they are just so fantastically great.

So go experience for yourself the excellence of using lookalike audiences and celebrate because your campaigns will be unstoppable!