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Create a Flawless Lookalike Audience

One of the largest benefits of Facebook ads is audience targeting.

Facebook knows in depth, personal information about its users. When setting your audience, you are able to zero in on not only demographics such as location, age and gender, but also more intimate information such as relationship status, occupation, interests and behavior.

It seems invasive, but all it’s doing is pulling data provided within its platform. Every time a user ‘likes’ a brand, ‘checks in’ to a store, or ‘shares’ an article, they are feeding the behavior data machine. Facebook is designed for the individual user. Ads are integrated seamlessly into the user experience, displaying ads that are geared towards the user, selected based off their interests.

Figuring out who your users are is half the battle of a successful Facebook ad. Specifying your audience in Ads Manager based off interests that match your business is a good start, but more advanced audience targeting will enhance your ad’s visibility, potentially increasing conversions, giving you more bang for your buck. One of the most powerful ways to accomplish this is through Facebook Lookalike Audiences.

Lookalike Audiences

Facebook Lookalike Audiences use data from a variety of provided sources to identify users that are likely to be interested in your business. You can generate your Lookalike Audience through your Facebook Page ‘likes’, integrating Facebook Pixel into your website to connect your visitors, uploading email lists, or anything that involves registering or signing up such as webinars, newsletters, e-blasts, events, etc. Facebook then takes the data and produces a new, complementary audience.

Email Lists

Most retail businesses often take Lookalike Audiences for granted, not realizing its potential. If you are a retail business, upload your shopper’s emails from special offers or transactions. Facebook can then identify future shoppers and grow your audience.

However, in order for email lists to create substantial Lookalike Audiences, the initial list needs to have thousands of emails to successfully figure out similarities among them. Also, a significant amount of those emails will not match a profile, or may be inactive.


Lookalike Audiences can be massive. They typically capture millions of users. Layering in other audiences to narrow your audience helps draw users that will be genuinely interested in your brand. Layered audiences are about quality over quantity.


You can also combine custom audiences, website visitors and page fans to develop your Lookalike Audience. You don’t have to limit your Lookalike Audience to your Business’s fans. Include fans from your competitor’s or a similar brand’s pages to attract similar users.


If your goal is to lure new users, then ‘exclude’ your custom audience. This option is shown in Step 2 under ‘Custom Audiences’ when creating your ad.

Before You Get Started

Before creating your Lookalike Audience, give yourself at least an entire day before you need to start your ad. Lookalike Audiences require six to 24 hours to populate. Once it’s created, it will refresh every three to seven days, as long as the target audience is still in use.

There are always opportunities to improve your ad’s performance. Remember to let your ad run for 48 hours before making changes, so that it has ample time to integrate into Facebook’s algorithm. Another way to create the a flawless Facebook audience is by running one ad with your Lookalike Audience and one with a custom audience. Let them run for a week, checking the analytics daily to compare performance results. Once you get it right, you can make a Saved Audience, and use it at your disposal.

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