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Utilising Lookalike Audiences in your Facebook Advertising Campaigns Perfectly

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Facebook advertising has drastically changed the game for businesses and consumers alike. While it may seem daunting to small businesses just starting out (looking for advice? Contact us (insert hyperlink here)), social media advertising is helping business owners everywhere to scale their businesses to their maximum potential. The most underused tool in all of this is the Facebook Lookalike Audience – yet, it’s possibly the most game changing. The Lookalike Audience is often overshadowed by an Interest-based Audience, which doesn’t sound like a bad idea on the surface.

With an Interest-based audience, you’ll be targeting consumers who demonstrate an interest (according to Facebook’s algorithm) in some of the topics you select. The downside? Facebook is old, and while it’s frequently updating and expanding, the inherent nature of its age is that some of the data collected on interests is also old. Similarly, many Facebook users have had their accounts for years, therefore, the data on their “likes” and interests may be outdated. Feel free to test this out here by taking a peek at some of the “About” sections of your friends’ pages and seeing some of the embarrassing movies, music, and old page likes they have. All of that being said, while Interest-based audiences can help grow your sales funnel, it’s not as effective as a Lookalike Audience. A Lookalike Audience takes a predetermined source audience – website visitors, customer file, those who “like” your page, video views, etc. – and creates an audience based off of those users to develop a new audience that shares characteristics with those in the source audience (hence why it’s called a Lookalike). These characteristics can include user behaviour on Facebook and other Facebook services; profile data, such as gender, age, location, university attended; interests; ads clicked on and other pixel data; pages liked, and more.

The result? A high-quality audience that shares characteristics with your warm audience, growing your sales funnel and increasing your odds of transactions. As a bonus – if your source audience dynamically changes and expands, your Lookalike Audience will also dynamically change and expand. Looking to get started? Start by creating a source audience to target with an ad.

Crash Course in Creating an Audience in Facebook Business Manager

There are three highly effective ways that you can start building an audience in Facebook Business Manager: using website traffic, engagement on your business’ Facebook properties (pages, past ads, etc.), or by uploading your own database of customers. To get started, open your FBM and choose “Audience” from the top left dropdown menu to get to your Audience page; then click the blue “Create Audience” button, then selecting “Custom Audience” from the dropdown menu.

Method 1: Website Traffic

If you’re keen on this method, you will have to have a Facebook pixel installed on your website pages in order for it to work. Working with us here at 24? We’ll take care of that for you. This method is great for targeting and retargeting those who have visited your website and it ensures that your ad is constantly shown to different people as the visitors to your site constantly change. You can choose to target up to 100% of visitors in the past X many days (as a rule of thumb,  we recommend targeting all visitors in the past 30 day period, that way you can capitalize on recency to make sure that you’re staying fresh in their minds).

Method 2: Facebook Engagement

This is the best for retargeting people who already really like you – a warm, friendly audience that will be more receptive to your advertisement than others who’ve never heard of you or don’t have a favorable opinion of your brand. With this method, you can easily capture an audience comprised of people who have engaged with your Facebook page, photos, posts, events, lead forms, ads, and even your Instagram account. It’s pretty straightforward to set this one up once you’re on FBM – simply select which of the aforementioned options you want to use and get cracking.

Method 3: Customer File

You can use a customer file or Mailchimp contacts for this one. Whichever you decide to import, make sure that each file has voter names, cities, and ideally their email addresses or phone numbers at the very least (feel free to get more specific if you’re feeling up to it, but having just these details is still highly effective). Once uploaded, Facebook will scan through these databases and cross-reference them with Facebook users, identifying those on your list who have a Facebook account.

Be prepared for this to take a bit of time, especially if you have a ma-hoo-sive list. Once generated, you’ll be asked to name the list. Be smart with naming them by creating a consistent naming system – there are few things more annoying than having a “Customer File Round One”, “Real Customer File Round One”, “Final Real Customer File Round One” and so on. You’ll be most effective if you update these lists regularly – no less than once every 30 days, depending on the size of your business and web traffic. If you’re a larger business or experience a lot of traffic, we recommend updating this more frequently.

Creating & Using a Lookalike Audience

Once the audience you’ve created no longer says “populating”, you can launch your ad to that audience and then you can start broadening and diversifying your reach through Lookalike audiences. Lookalikes are location specific and will be either very broad or incredibly precise, depending on whether you choose Level 1 or Level 10 specificity, depending on your business needs – a Level 1 being very specific and a Level 10 being very broad.

To create a Lookalike audience, simply check the audience checkbox for your chosen source audience, then select “Create a Lookalike” from the “Actions” dropdown menu. Congrats! You’ve created a new audience in less time than it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn. Wanting to do a bit more? Click the “Advance Options” section and create up to six different percentage audiences as you want. Feel free to create several different Lookalike Audiences at once to really expand your reach or to have ready-to-go for future ad campaigns.

For starters, one of the simplest ways of utilising a Lookalike Audience is by creating one based off of your website traffic. As it changes dynamically, it will save you time and ensures that your ads are continuing to see fresh, relevant faces. It’s easily the most “low-maintenance” way of improving your sales funnel.

A great but often underused way of creating a Lookalike is creating one based on engagement with videos on your Facebook page. Typically, those who actually bother to sit and watch at least 60-75% of a video you post are going to be people who actually like the candidate or, at the very least, agree with your message. Therefore, creating a Lookalike audience based off of these metrics will yield more people who likely agree with the message and will therefore be interested in the candidate behind it. As your engagement increases with that video, the larger your core audience will become, thus the larger your Lookalike audience will become – if the video you’ve chosen goes viral, all the better.

A customer file is also great to use for creating a Lookalike audience as the Lookalikes will likely share some of the same characteristics as donors, such as those who enjoy online shopping or share similar tastes. When you’re setting up your source audience, use Facebook’s Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) option to create a Lookalike set-up for your best customers. This will help you better target audiences that contribute a greater value to your business (read: those who are willing to pay full price or pay £100 for a jacket as opposed to £10 for a clearance bracelet) and who frequently visit, engage with, and purchase from your site. To add to this, you may try keeping a customer file of those who use discount codes on your site and then creating a Lookalike Audience based off of them, targeting the source and the Lookalike with a discount code ad or sale ad.

Have you used Lookalike Audiences in your Facebook Ad campaigns? How do you think you can use a Lookalike Audience effectively for your business? Let us know below!

Not keen on digital marketing or simply too busy? Contact us and let us help you build your brand.

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