Facebook Helps Marketers Find Lookalike Customers

similar meerkatsIf Susan, a suburban mom with 3 school-age kids and a college degree loves your product, then it’s likely that Gloria, a suburban mom with 3 school-age kids and a college degree will love your product too. . . right?

Facebook thinks so. That’s why they’ve introduced a new targeting feature called “lookalike audiences.”

It begins with their “Custom Audience” feature. This tool lets you carve out a subset of current customers based on certain criteria. You can choose only people who live in a particular city, a certain age range, a particular gender, or by interests.

My custom audience choice is short meerkats with smirky grins.

Next, I move to the “lookalike” portion.

similar-audience

If I choose “Similarity” – Facebook will search for meerkats who share many of the same characteristics as my original meerkat. It will pick up the one with the flat grin and the tall one because hey. . . they’re all meerkats, so I’m sure they’ll like my product.

If I want to cast a wider net, I can choose “Greater Reach.” This extends the search from the top 1% of matches to the top 5% of matches. So now, the meerkat-looking cat will also see my ad.

So, you can go with less impressions and tighter targeting, or more impressions and a broader reach. It’s a dynamic you’ll have to play with to see which works better for you.

Facebook has been testing this option with a select group of advertisers and it’s been a success:

We’ve seen this new type of targeting drive a wide range of success metrics for direct response companies like Fab, including lower cost per checkout, lower cost per acquisition, larger purchase size, and faster and increased return on investment.

I don’t believe everything I read on the internet, but I can see how this tool could help deliver a bigger return on your investment. Anything that helps you target a more likely customer is better than throwing a wide net into a random spot in the sea. (Hmm. . .now I’m mixing my metaphors. . . )

What really makes this work, is Facebook’s ability to scoop up and sort all types of personal data. Having a person’s zip code and age is nice, but knowing who loves dancing and who loves hockey goes a lot further in the ad world.

What do you think of Facebook’s new targeting tool? Bound to bring in a better result or just more marketing guess work?