One of the tools we use a lot when targeting potential customers for our clients on Facebook is the lookalike audience. Essentially a lookalike audience is one that is demographically similar to your current custom audience or mailing list. When we create a Lookalike Audience, we take your source custom audience and we use Facebook to identify the common qualities of the people in it, such as demographic information, location or interests. Facebook then finds people who are similar to (or “look like”) them in the locations we are targeting.

As a result, a Lookalike Audience is a very powerful way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to people who already are.

We manage the size of Lookalike Audiences during the creation process and smaller audiences are more defined and will more closely match your source audience. Creating a larger audience increases your potential reach, but reduces the level of similarity between the Lookalike Audience and source audience.

As with so many things in Social Media Marketing, the better the quality of your source material, the better the performance you can expect from your lookalike audience. For instance, if your source email list is properly defined and segmented by value (for example, actual customers instead of just newsletter signups or people in the actual location you’re trading in) you can expect to get a greater level of performance from the created lookalike audience.

Here’s an example of how we can use it effectively:

We’re working with a housing developer who builds 3 & 4 bedroom homes in the Herts, Beds & Bucks region in the UK. They had a development last year of 10 houses in Bedford and in the process of marketing the development they amassed 300 email addresses of people who wanted more information on the development. The site sold quickly and the developer was now looking to release another development to the market, just 9 miles away from the first site.

The first job we did was clean the data, then we imported the email list into Facebook, creating a custom audience (Who we also marketed to directly). From this custom audience, we were then able to create a lookalike audience of 1000 people who matched the demographic profile of the people interested in the first site. We created a series of creative adverts to test tone and image preference and began marketing to this lookalike audience directly. Through a process of A/B testing, we were then able to narrow down to just 4 effective adverts that drove clicks to the landing pages on the mini-site for the development.

In just 2 weeks we had created a marketing funnel for the new development that drove traffic to specific landing pages where visitors were required to sign up for more information on the new development. At the end of our initial 1 month marketing period, we had acquired over 4000 visits to the mini site, acquired over 700 email addresses of interested parties and the developer was have active conversations with potential customers. By month 3, the developer had sold half of the development off plan before completing groundworks.

As you can see the lookalike audience is an incredibly powerful social media marketing tool that finds and creates likely customers based on your known customer base. You can create up to 500 Lookalike Audiences from a single source audience and importantly those people already in your source audience will be excluded from your campaign.