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Lookalike audiences: the most effective Facebook targeting option for acquiring new customers

Choosing the right target group is crucial for the success of your Facebook ad strategy. Thanks to the large number of users, Facebook has higher quality data than any other advertising platform. However, the numerous different targeting options can often overwhelm advertisers who are just starting out with Facebook Advertising. That's why today I'm introducing audience targeting using lookalike audiences. Especially if you want to reach new people who have similar interests and characteristics to your customers, lookalike audiences are an exceptional idea.

What are lookalike audiences?

Lookalike audiences (twin target groups) are determined by the Facebook algorithm on the basis of existing customer and user data. Facebook looks at the interests and characteristics of your customers and searches for similar people.

In order to create lookalike audiences, you need customer or user data, as already mentioned. Facebook refers to this initial source as a Source Audience. After you have provided Facebook with a source audience, Facebook analyzes your customers and finds other people who could represent potential for your business.

Source Audience

The source audience, also known as the basic target group, is the initial data of your customers or users. There are different types of data that you can use as a source audience:

  • Fans of your fan page
  • Website Custom Audiences (visitors to your website)
  • Custom Audience (e-mail addresses & mobile numbers of your customers)
  • Mobile app custom audiences (users of your app)
  • Video Custom Audiences (people who have watched your video)
  • Post custom audiences (users who have interacted with your posts)
  • Canvas Custom Audiences

Please note that you are the owner of this data! 

Important notes on the source audience:

  • You can create up to 500 lookalike audiences from just one source audience.
  • The people in your Source Audience are not included in your Lookalike Audience unless you use the Facebook Pixel.
  • The source audience must contain at least 100 people from the country in which the ads are to be displayed.
  • Facebook usually recognizes 60-80 % of the Custom Audience you enter via email addresses and cell phone numbers. 

Different source audiences

Source audiences can be divided into static source audiences and dynamic audiences. Static audiences are non-automatically renewable audiences that are created on the basis of email addresses or cell phone numbers. This means that your lookalike audience only changes when you actively upload new customer data to Facebook. In contrast, with a dynamic source audience, the initial source is updated automatically. This can be the case if you use your website visitors or app users as the source audience. As a rule, the dynamic source audience is automated every 3-7 days.

Legal aspects of the use of lookalike audiences

The use of Custom Audiences violates German data protection law - even if the contact data is transmitted in encrypted form. In principle, personal permission is required for all personal targeting. This also applies to the use of custom audiences based on customer data such as email addresses. However, personal permission is very difficult to implement, so this is not a viable option. In contrast, the use of lookalike audiences based on your website visitors, i.e. via the Facebook pixel, is less risky. I recommend that you seek the advice of a data protection expert in order to consider all legal aspects when using lookalike audiences.

Conclusion Lookalike Audiences:

I have had unique experiences with the use of lookalike audiences. This tool not only helps you to find the right target group, but it also makes it much easier to scale Facebook ads. Especially if you already have customers, lookalike audiences are the best tool for acquiring new customers. However, pay attention to the German data protection regulations and seek legal advice.

Tobias Dziuba

My name is Tobias and I am the founder and managing director of the Amazon agency Adsmasters GmbH based in Düsseldorf.

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