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How Facebook Lookalike Audiences Can Boost Your Ad Campaigns

Learn what Facebook lookalike audiences are and how to use it as part of your marketing strategy to boost your ad campaigns.

Social media advertising is a cost-effective method for reaching your target audience, driving website traffic, and boosting sales. Facebook is the leader in social media advertising because it offers an effective and shockingly simple way to create customizable ads and audiences.

Anyone can start using Facebook advertising today with a budget as low as $1 per day. This platform also offers actionable insights with easy-to-track campaigns that help you grow your audience and retarget customers who have already engaged with your brand.

If you want to reach a wider market, consider trying Facebook lookalike audiences that help you target new users based on similarities they share with your existing customers.

But what are lookalike audiences on Facebook, and how can you leverage them to grow your brand? Keep reading to learn more about Facebook lookalike audiences and how to create them.

What are Facebook lookalike audiences?

With Facebook for small businesses, you can find new prospects with a few clicks of a button. So what is a lookalike audience on Facebook?

Essentially, lookalike audiences describe a group of potential customers representing your target audience. You already have existing customers, so Facebook leverages this information to find new customers based on similarities between the two groups.

Are Facebook lookalike audiences effective? The performance of your ad depends on several factors, but using lookalike audiences on Facebook can help you attract and convert new customers because these individuals are more likely to be interested in your products and services.

Social media management is complex, but you should already have some information about your target audience from investing in organic social media posts, website tracking, and email marketing.

Before creating a Facebook lookalike audience, you need a source audience, which you can pull from any source where you collect information about your customers. You can even create a lookalike audience using an existing Facebook audience.

Importance of lookalike audiences in ad campaigns

If you’ve successfully run Facebook ads in the past, you can create a lookalike audience from those campaigns based on your followers, conversions, and existing custom audiences you’ve already created. The main purpose of a lookalike audience on Facebook is to accurately target new audiences without necessarily having to do any extra work.

So if you already have a Facebook custom audience, why would you need a lookalike audience? Here are a few reasons why you should create ads using Facebook lookalike audiences:

  • Saves time: If you use Facebook for your business, you’ve probably already built an audience to create ads for. Any time you create a Facebook ad, you can create a custom audience based on demographics and interests. But with lookalike audiences, you don’t have to repeat the processes to attract new customers. Instead, you can let Facebook do all the hard work, saving you time.
  • Improves lead generation: With lookalike audiences, you can enhance your lead generation efforts by using a list similar to your existing customers. Lookalike audiences are proven because they have something in common with your existing audience, which makes them more likely to take action on your ads.
  • Better value: Saving time saves your business money. Since you don’t have to create a separate campaign to target a lookalike audience, you’re not wasting time trying to create new audience segments. Instead, you can use lookalike audiences to test various elements of your ads without creating additional campaigns to reach new customers.

How to create lookalike audiences in Facebook

If you’re convinced lookalike audiences are the right option for your Facebook marketing strategy, you need to learn how to create them.

Luckily, if you’ve used Facebook ads before, the process is similar to creating a custom audience. Follow these steps to set up your first Facebook lookalike audience:

Create a custom audience list in Ad Manager

Before you create a Facebook lookalike audience, you need a list of your current audience. You can create a custom audience from customer lists, your website data or mobile app, and your organic Facebook audience.

The easiest way to create a custom audience list is to use your customer lists, which you can download directly from your e-commerce website. You can also make an audience from individuals who have already interacted with your brand on Facebook or Instagram by viewing a video, following your page, or clicking an ad.

Once you have your list, you can upload it to Ad Manager, which you can access through the Meta Business Suite, formerly Facebook Business Manager.

Create a lookalike audience

You can create a lookalike audience in the Ad Manager the same way you created your custom audience. From there, Facebook will walk you through a series of steps.

Select your source

To create lookalike audiences in Facebook, you’ll need to select an existing audience or data source or create a new source. Your source must contain at least 100 people from the same country for Facebook to have enough data to generate your lookalike audience.

Choose location

You can target specific locations for your lookalike audience, ranging from countries to specific regions for local businesses. Your chosen location means Facebook will only target those within the selected geographic area.

Select audience size

The last step before creating your lookalike audience is to select the audience size ranging from 1 to 10 percent. The smaller your audience size, the more targeted it will be since it’ll be most similar to your original source audience. A larger audience size means potentially reaching more Facebook users but with fewer similarities between them.

Create and publish your ad

After going through the process, you can click “Create Audience.” Your audience can take several hours to generate, giving you enough time to create your ad. Then, you can check back within a few hours or the next day and publish a new advertisement with your lookalike audience.

Benefits of Facebook lookalike audiences

Facebook lookalike audiences can enhance your social media marketing strategy by allowing you to find new customers and market to individuals similar to your existing audience. A few benefits of using lookalike audiences include the following:

Increases reach and engagement

The main purpose of Facebook lookalike audiences is to increase reach and help you find new customers by targeting individuals similar to your source audience and existing customers.

But now, you can find new users to advertise to without additional effort, allowing you to make the most of your social media marketing efforts in less time.

Improves ad targeting

Lookalike audiences improve audience targeting because they are similar to your existing customers. Think of lookalike audiences as warm leads. You already know you have a target market, but you might not know how large that target market really is.

Luckily, by using your existing customers as a source, Facebook can help you find new customers based on similarities.


Lookalike audiences on Facebook allow you to maximize your marketing spend by protecting you from investing in the wrong audience.

In addition, since your lookalike audience is similar to your customers or source audience, you won’t risk accidentally targeting individuals less likely to purchase your products and services.

Better conversion rates

Using similar audiences increases your ad relevance, which can positively impact your ad conversion rates. Since you’re only targeting those with similar characteristics to your real customers and other successful audiences, you can avoid targeting individuals who won’t convert.

Best practices for using lookalike audiences in ad campaigns

Using lookalike audiences in ad campaigns is ideal for businesses that want to maximize their ad spend and reach new customers. Here are a few best practices to help you make the most out of these new audiences:

Choose the right source audience

Your source audience determines your lookalike audience, so you should ensure your source audience consists of individuals most likely to purchase your products and services. Uploading your customer email addresses is one way to create a lookalike audience, and it’s effective because you already know these people are interested in your offerings.

You can also target individuals who visited your website, performed an action in your app, and engaged with your brand offline. You can also use your editing audience data from Facebook as a source audience, targeting individuals that have recently interacted with your brand.

Use multiple source audiences

Using multiple source audiences can make your Facebook lookalike audiences more targeted based on the similar characteristics of each group.

For instance, you can upload prospect information for individuals who have interacted with your brand offline and use Facebook audience data to create a new lookalike audience using similar characteristics from both groups.

Monitor your campaign

Monitoring your campaign is crucial. While lookalike audiences can help you attract and convert individuals interested in your products and services, it’s not a perfect strategy. You should start with a successful source audience, which requires you to test ads and monitor their performance with the source audience first.

Then, once you know you’re using a successful source audience, you should continue to monitor your campaign performance. Facebook ads can be updated in real-time based on insights, allowing you to determine whether you need to add or remove additional targeting filters.

Test and optimize your ads

A/B testing your lookalike audiences using the same ad for each one allows you to determine which audience is the most effective. You should also A/B test your ads to ensure you’re using the best version of each, helping you increase conversion rates while boosting brand awareness.

Leverage Facebook lookalike audiences to boost your ad campaigns

Facebook lookalike audiences can enhance your ad campaigns by leveraging existing customer and audience data to target new audiences.

A comprehensive social media marketing strategy focuses on attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. You can create more effective marketing campaigns with Mailchimp.

Mailchimp data integrates with our Facebook advertising tool to help you effectively target your contacts and use them as a basis for lookalike audiences. Try Mailchimp today and take your ad campaigns to the next level.

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