Facebook Lookalike Audiences: What Marketers Need to Know

If you’ve ever been in charge of running ads for a business, I’ll bet you’ve wondered how to get cold audiences to interact with your ads. It’s the age-old problem of online advertising.

With Facebook ads, one of the best ways to target a cold audience that is likely to interact with you is to use lookalike audiences.

Don’t worry if you’ve heard of this concept, but have been slightly worried about getting started with the process. I know I thought the process would be more complex when I was working at an agency. Lucky for us, it’s actually really simple.

Below, let’s learn everything you need to know to get started with Facebook lookalike audiences.

What are Facebook lookalike audiences?

So, how does it work?

How does Facebook create lookalike audiences?

Well, Facebook will look at your custom list of people (called a source audience), then match emails with those Facebook profiles, and then find users who have similar interests or are in a similar demographic.

With a lookalike audience, you can reach a cold audience that is highly targeted (reaching only the top 1% of people who most closely match your custom list) and more likely to convert than other audiences because they’re similar to your warm audiences.

When you create a lookalike audience, you’ll be able to maximize your reach and improve your cost per acquisition for new leads since you’re targeting warmer audiences.

Additionally, when Facebook is creating the lookalike audiences that your ad will show up for, it makes sure to exclude anyone from the source audience (the list you uploaded).

You can use several lookalike audiences even for one ad set, that way your ad can show up to people who are similar to your web visitors as well as your email list.

Now, how do you create a lookalike audience?

How to Create a Lookalike Audience on Facebook

1. Go to Audiences.

The first step is to log on to Facebook Ads. Then, click the nine dots in the left-hand corner, and click “Audiences.”

Facebook Ads manager dashboard.

2. Select Create Audience and choose Lookalike Audience.

Now, click the blue button that says “Create Audience” and then scroll down to “Lookalike Audience.”

Facebook ads audiences.

3. Upload your source audience.

This step is where the magic happens. Now it’s time to upload your custom audience source. You can upload a .txt or .csv file or choose a Facebook source. This audience source can be from:

  • An email list
  • Website visitors (based on a Facebook pixel you’ll need to install on your site)
  • App activity
  • A customer list
  • Facebook sources (people who have watched your videos, filled out a form, Instagram followers)

To determine which source you want to use, think about your goals. Are you trying to get new email subscribers? Then maybe your email list would be best. If you’re trying to increase sales, maybe you should use your website visitors list.

Either way, it’s important to think about the goal of your ad before you choose your source audience.

Facebook audience lookalike source audience.

Facebook ads custom audience source.

4. Choose the country you’d like to find a similar set of people in.

Once you’ve uploaded a list, choose the country that you want to target. This doesn’t mean that people in your source audience need to be from this country. This is just the country or countries you want to target for the ad.

Facebook ads audience location.

5. Decide your audience size.

Now, you can select your audience size. For example, if you choose 1%, then the people you target will include people who are most similar to your lookalike source. If you increase the percentage, then you increase your audience size. The bigger the audience size, the less precise the matching details are.

Facebook ads audience size.

6. Click Create Audience.

Last but not least, click the blue button that says “Create Audience.” It might take up to a day for the audience to be created. But once your lookalike audience is being used, it will refresh every 3-7 days as long as you have ads that are currently targeting it.

Once you’re done creating your lookalike audience, you can set even more parameters by going into the Power Editor tool and choosing a specific age, gender, location, etc.

Before I set you off to the races, though, let’s first discuss some of the requirements of creating a Facebook lookalike audience.

Facebook Lookalike Audience Minimum Size

To create a Facebook lookalike audience, your source audience needs to include at least 100 people from a single country. Additionally, it’s recommended that your source audience contain 1,000 to 50,000 people. You can also create up to 500 lookalike audiences from a single source audience.

If you’re looking to create a Facebook ad, using lookalike audiences is one of the best ways to target cold audiences. These audiences will be more likely to engage with your ad based on their similarities to your other audiences.

If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can use HubSpot’s ads tool to manage your digital ads, including ones run on Facebook.


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