4 Tips for Optimizing Facebook Lookalike Audiences

4 Tips for Optimizing Facebook Lookalike Audiences (and Common Questions We Receive)

Ashley Monk
Ashley Monk
CEO of Onya | Marketing Growth Strategist | Marketing Consultant

4 Tips for Optimizing Facebook Lookalike Audiences (and Common Questions We Receive)

Ashley Monk
Ashley Monk
CEO of Onya | Marketing Growth Strategist | Marketing Consultant

In a previous post, Facebook Lookalike Audiences is a sophisticated matchmaker between your brand and new fans — and a powerful advertising tool. It allows you to tailor content and ads directly to the people who will be most likely to consume it. 

As a reminder, a Facebook Lookalike Audience is a custom advertising audience that can be used to reach people similar to your current customers.

We spent last time looking at the practical side of how to set these audiences up on Facebook. Now, let’s take some time to focus on optimization!

1. Choose high-quality sources

It can be tempting to put every customer you have into your source audience. Larger audiences are the best, right? Not really.

Lookalike Audiences more similar to their source audience tend to be more valuable. However, the results can vary dramatically depending on the quality of your audience.

For example, you may want to put your entire email subscriber list to find a Lookalike Audience. But it won’t necessarily translate into sales if most of your email subscribers don’t purchase or even open your emails. Instead, you would create a higher quality Lookalike Audience if you only put active email subscribers as your source audience.

2. Optimize bids with A/B testing

You can create multiple Lookalike Audiences with ranging similarities to your source audience. This is a strategic method to find your most effective audience.

To begin, you should do A/B testing. Target the same ad to each of your Lookalike Audiences with initial bids. You can evaluate how well the ad did based on metrics like revenue per conversion or the lifetime value of each audience.

Once you’ve analyzed what is your best-performing Lookalike Audience, you can modify your bids for each audience. You can start bidding more for valuable audiences and less for lower-performing audiences.

It’s a win-win because you can stretch your social media ad budget for your more effective audiences while ensuring you are reaching your ideal customer.

3. Use Lookalike Audiences in combination with other parameters

Enhance your lookalike audience targeting by adding more targeting parameters such as age, gender, or interests. Fairly straightforward tip, but can yield many different results! 

4. Get creative with your source audience

You can create custom audiences around a variety of parameters. Start by evaluating your campaign goals, and then drill down to the most relevant audience options.

Ideas for source audience include:

Video audience: If you’re launching a video-based campaign, create an audience based on people who have engaged with your videos in the past.

Recent website visitors: All website visitors may be too broad of a list, especially if conversions are your objective. Target people who have visited your website in the past 30 days, or visitors who have put something in their cart.

Email audience: Newsletter subscribers are interested in receiving news and deals about your business. Use this audience to get more subscribers, or if you’re planning a campaign with similar content.

Common FAQs on Lookalike Audiences
  • What is the difference between a custom audience and a lookalike audience?

The difference between a Custom Audience and a Lookalike Audience is based on if there is a pre-existing relationship or not. A Custom Audience is based on people who already have a relationship with your business, while Lookalike Audiences are people who share characteristics with your Custom Audience but don’t know about your brand.

  • How many people do you need for a lookalike audience?

You need at least 100 people for a Lookalike Audience as long as they are all from the same country. If your source audience is based in multiple countries, you need at least 100 people from the same country to use it as a Lookalike Audience. Facebook generally recommends a source audience between 1,000-5,000 people.

  • How long does it take a lookalike audience to populate?

It takes between six and 24 hours for your Lookalike Audience to populate. Once your lookalike audience is created, it will appear as Ready in the Availability column. As long as your target ads with that specific lookalike audience, it will refresh every 3-7 days.

Looking to dedicate some time in the near future to working with lookalike audiences but don’t know where to start? Book a consultation with Onya today!


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