If you are struggling to work out what interests to target for your Facebook ads then a lookalike audience could be for you. A lookalike audience is where Facebook creates an audience that looks like one of your custom audiences, say your email list or people who have visited your website or Facebook page.

Rather than you guessing what interests your audience, Facebook does the work for you based on all sorts of data that it can collect. The audience probably isn’t going to be as good as one of your custom audiences – they are still people who don’t know you and they don’t always work but they are well worth testing out. You do need to have 100 people in your custom audience to get started with lookalike audiences

Tips for getting lookalikes to work:

1. A good sized custom audience. To get the most out of lookalike audiences the custom audience ideally should have 1,000 people in it – the more data Facebook has to work with the better. I know for some people 1,000 people seems like an impossible task to have in a custom audience but you can quickly build one through video engagement and even if you have less than 1,000 it can still be worth trying. I have had good results from targeting visitors to my website and those numbers aren’t huge.

2. Use a custom audience that has completed the call to action. When thinking about your lookalike audience and if you have options about the custom audience to use, I recommend using a custom audience who have taken the action you want the people you are showing the ad to, to take.

What this means is that if you want people to sign up for your email list then base the lookalike on your email list that is people who have already signed up for your list. If you are looking to get people to watch a video, then create a lookalike based on people who have watched your videos.

3. Refine your lookalike audience. When you create your lookalike audience, it can be quite large – over 1 million people if you select the United States as one of the countries when creating your lookalike audience. The trick here is that you are going to have people in your custom audience who are not part of your ideal audience.

If you predominantly work with women there is still a good chance that a guy has gotten on your email list. Or if you work with people aged over 40, a sneaky 30 year old may have signed up for your list. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. But when you are spending money on ads, you want to show that ad to your ideal client, the person who is most likely to want to work with you in the future. This isn’t to say you would never work with a guy or someone under the age of 40, just that you aren’t going to spend money on advertising to them.

When you have created your lookalike audience, you then want to make it more specific so that the ad gets shown to your ideal client. Create a saved audience and select the lookalike audience you want to use. Then add in the additional filters such as gender and age to narrow that lookalike down.

You could also add in interests if you want to target a particular portion of your custom audience. For example if you are a writing coach who works with fiction and non fiction authors and your call to action only relates to the fiction side of your business, then you could add an interest that you think will appeal to that particular side of your business.

Even better though is if you have your email list set up so you can identify people with specific interests then you can create your lookalike from a specific segment of your email list that is interested in writing fiction. Similarly, if you are using your website visitors you could create a custom audience of people who visit the pages specifically related to the fiction part of your business.

Facebook update to lookalike audiences

For those of you who are already up to speed with lookalike audiences, Facebook is rolling out a small update to how lookalike audiences work. In the past you had to select one country for your lookalike. This is all changing with Facebook allowing you to select multiple countries in one lookalike audience. I don’t have this function yet but some of my clients do so keep an eye out for it.

It could still be worth keeping your separate country lookalikes as it is then easier to select only certain countries when creating ads. For example if you want to test your ad on audiences in the UK compared to those in the US. You could do this through the country option as you refine your audience but I like to keep the lookalikes separate as well in case I forget to update that location section.

Creating lookalike audiences

If you are wondering how to create these lovely lookalike audiences then pop your email below. I’ll send you my guide on creating custom audiences and lookalikes.

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