Lookalike audiences are just what they sound like; targeted prospects that will receive your ads, based on what others who share their characteristics prefer. No platform leverages lookalike audiences better than Facebook.

Facebook has a vast collection of data to draw on and can swiftly create an audience for your ad that mimics those who already buy from or engage with you. Facebook ads are so successful because they harness data to ensure success – and the better the data they have to work with, the more successful your campaigns will be.

Since Facebook collects so much user data, its conclusions and details are useful for many different applications, including building lookalike audiences. Data collected by Facebook extends to occupations, hobbies, favorite teams, foods, music, and movies. Additionally, the data collected encompasses political views, income, brand preferences, and susceptibility to marketing. All this information means that Facebook can build lookalike audiences with robust data behind them, boosting ad ROI and performance considerably.

What are Lookalike Audiences?

A lookalike audience is a copy of an existing group of prospects or buyers who already engage with you, based on specific segmented criteria. For example, if your segment is comprised of dog owners who play frisbee golf and are between the ages of 18 and 30, then your lookalike audience will contain members with these preferences. Need ladies who knit, love jewelry and shop for grandkids each holiday season? No problem, Facebook can create an audience just for you.

Lookalike audiences are incredibly useful for marketing, provided they are used properly. Each time Facebook creates a lookalike audience that matches your own brand, they draw from the users who look and act most like your followers. This means that eventually, your lookalike audience can contain repeat viewers, who have not expressed any interest. The more time passes, the more your audience needs to expand to find fresh new targets. Because of this, your lookalike audience can erode over time, negatively affecting your KPIs, which is why you'll need to take a more strategic approach.

The best way to make the most of the early, most successful stages of lookalike audiences is to have a steady stream of new arrivals to your page. This creates more data, which in turn leads to changes in your lookalike audience – so your ads reach new users and stay fresh, too.

Creating Authentic Lookalikes for your Brand

Your lookalike audiences are created by your followers' characteristics and preferences, so the best way to grow is to feed lookalike algorithms authentic data. Two ideal ways to accomplish this include uploading your own full customer lists and choosing strategic segmentation – and breaking your lists down into specific groups based on spending and buying patterns.

Upload and Update your Customer Lists

Your shopping cart contains lists of your happy, ongoing customers; you should upload this list into Facebook to create an accurate idea of who is buying from you. Facebook can use this data to create a reliable lookalike list to target for your brand. If you are not using DataQ to keep your targeting lists updated, make it a point to update your list at least once a month. If you are using DataQ, you'll never have to manually upload lists to Facebook as our syncing features will maintain your audiences updated.

Maintaining fresh targeting lists is essential as you are continually acquiring new buyers, so your lookalike audience will adjust automatically. This is the most authentic audience you will ever find, so your own buyers are the right place to start.

Segment Existing Lists

To ensure that you get the best possible lookalike audience, you must specify which members Facebook should use. And the best way to determine which Facebook members to include is by segmenting your customers.

Breaking your existing customer base into smaller segments allows you to create smaller, targeted audiences. Not every customer you have is alike, even though they have similar behaviors. And not all customers hold the same value (Lifetime Value).

Segment your customers in ways that make the most sense for your brand. One group could be those with the highest customer lifetime value another could be based on frequency of purchases. These groups may have some crossover, but between them, they are the people who spend the most money on your brand or who visit you most often. These are both characteristics to pursue, so creating segments using these factors will generate successful lookalikes for your brand.

Conclusion

Understanding how lookalike audiences work helps you optimize them and use them properly. When you do, your ROI from Facebook ads will improve – as will your revenues and sales. Still not sure how to leverage Facebook ads for your marketing? Get in touch with our team – we can help you create sound data-based strategies that get amazing results.