The short story is this: starting this week, Facebook advertisers will have the option of sending their message out to non-customers who share similar characteristics as their current customers.
You’ll find the option in the Power Editor under Ad Tools –> Audiences.
The lookalike audience works with the custom audience tool Facebook launched last year. The new option can match up data such as location, Facebook interests and demographics. If you use Facebook Conversion Pixels, you can create a lookalike audience based on a subset of your current audience that performed a specific behavior.
Now I feel like a lecturing professor.
Thankfully, Facebook provided easy to understand, real world examples:
Say you’re an online florist that wants to reach people similar to those that made purchases on your website. Now you can use data from your Facebook pixels to reach people who are most similar to people who previously made purchases on your website.
Perhaps you’re an app developer that’s looking to find more people to purchase car rides in your rides on demand app. You can now create lookalike audiences based on people that have previously purchased taxi rides in your app and reach those audiences with mobile app ads.
For many businesses, engaging customers and prospects in ongoing conversation through their Page is an important part of their marketing strategy. These advertisers can now use lookalike audiences to reach people like the fans connected to their Facebook Page.
Note on that last one: you can’t actually look for people similar to people who like you Page. You have to create a custom audience based on specific Page actions, then use that to create your lookalike audience.
Sounds complicated but probably less so when you’re following the step-by-step instructions in the Power Editor.
Once you get into all of that, you’ll be given the option of optimizing for Similarity or Greater Reach.
When you optimize for Similarity, your lookalike audience will include the top 1% of people in your selected country who are most similar to your custom audience. The reach of this new audience will be smaller, but the match will be more precise. This option is best when you want a very specific match or have a limited budget.
When you optimize for Greater Reach, your lookalike audience will include the top 5% of people in your selected country that are similar to your custom audience, but with a less precise match. This option is best if you want to get your message in front of more people who are likely to be interested in your business.
What I like is the generous use of the word “option”. Because what works for you and your mobile app might not work for me and my website or him and his pizza shop, etc. There’s no guarantee with any of this, but there are logical leaps. If you sell organic baby food, creating a lookalike audience of new moms who have shown an interest in organic products is a good bet. That pizza shop owner would do well to target lookalike audience members who live in the same town as his current customers.
Trial and error. Trial and success. That’s how you make this thing work. Take your best shot and make sure you have the tools in place to properly gauge your results. You might have figured out the secret to success but you won’t know it if you can’t measure it.