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What is a ‘Lookalike Audience’ & how do I make one?

It’s about time that we delved into the eye-opening world of Facebook audiences. Facebook’s intricate and deeply layered method of targeting people is one of the most powerful tools available to businesses and it is arguably what gives Facebook the edge compared to other forms of marketing.

Today the ASK series will tackle the ‘Lookalike Audience’. As the name suggests, a Lookalike Audience is a set of people gathered by Facebook that are likely to be interested in your company because they are in some way similar to an already-proven original audience. Once you specify a source to work from, Facebook will treat this original audience as a ‘seed’, and identify an array of data points from there, targeting new people that match with them.

The source of a Lookalike Audience is a pre-existing audience that you can be confident represents your target market. Facebook allows you to use a custom audience, such as an email list of customers or those who have liked your page. You can also create a Lookalike Audience based on website traffic too (via Facebook’s Pixel). Remember, your Lookalike Audience is only as good as the source, if you feed Facebook with an original audience that didn’t do so well you can only expect the same of your Lookalike Audience. We’re pretty sure there’s an Einstein quote to that effect but this isn’t the time to start acting clever.

Moving on…


Facebook is rather secretive about the algorithm and data points used for Lookalike Audiences, but it is likely to measure individual interests, education, demographic, buying habits and many more characteristics, including those from third parties.

You typically opt for a Lookalike Audience when your original audience is fully saturated and you wish to further expand your reach. This enables you to bring in fresh customers and fully meet the requirements of your campaign.


Great, so, how’s it done?

To generate your Lookalike Audience, select ‘Audiences’ from your Ad Manager:

  • Choose ‘Create Audience’ and then, in a surprising twist ‘Create a Lookalike Audience’.
  • Choose which of your sources you want Facebook to work with, i.e. a pre-existing audience, page likes, conversion pixel etc.
  • Select which country you wish this new pool of people to be gathered from.
  • Select the size of audience you’re after
  • Click ‘Create Audience’


Bear in mind it can take up to 24 hours for Facebook to retrieve a relevant data set for you, but once done it will persist in refreshing the data providing you’re still active with targeting towards it.

And that’s it. Lookalike audiences are simple and vastly powerful to utilise so make sure you do. If you’re original source worked well and you’re looking for the next step then creating a Lookalike is the obvious choice. So go, advertise and be merry.

Next, we’ll look at the Custom Audience for those out there that aren’t too sure.

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Nakita Mason

Author: Nakita Mason

Media Executive at Midas Media. When I'm not writing or reading, I'm wondering how I would fare in a Zombie apocalypse. Pretty sure I'd ace it.

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