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  • Writer's pictureDavid Tsatava

How To Best Use Lookalike Audiences — A Startup Founders Guide

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

🎉Congratulations, you’ve succeeded in generating traffic to your website or e-commerce store and you’ve (hopefully) captured all of the important activity though an existing Facebook pixel.

Lookalike Audiences allow you to easily scale your ad and reach, while targeting people with similar interests and shopping patters as your current customers.

Now it’s time to put all of that data to good use and help you scale and capitalize on your ads. So, where do you start? You used to have to cast a wide net when looking for new leads and fish through a rather cold audiences. Now, with the help of Facebook’s robust analytics & the power of the Pixel, you can easily turn your existing customer data into what’s called a “lookalike” audience (LLA).

Essentially, an LLA a snapshot copy of your target audience based on your existing warm leads. It allows you to easily scale your ad and reach, while targeting people with similar interests and shopping patters as your current customers. You can create a lookalike audience based on data captured from your web traffic, your social media followers or an existing email list. This will not only make your ads more effective, it can also save you money in the process. So how do I work this magic?

💪 The Step-By-Step Overview

First, we’ll take a general overview and cover what buttons to push and when. Later we will delve a little more into strategy.

First off, you’ll need to log into your Facebook Ads Manager ( and go to the “Audiences” tool.

From there, click on “Create audience” and select “Lookalike Audience”Select your source audience. For this, you’ll need a list of at least 100 people from the same country.

Choose the countries or geographical regions you’d like to target. Your source audience doesn’t have to match the country you are targeting, so this can be anywhere you wish to grow your brand.Adjust the size of your audience on a scale of 1–10; with one being the most precise but small, and ten being the largest reach but with minimal resemblance to your source group.

(Note that it might take Facebook a bit of time to put together your new lookalike list, but you can take that time to start on your ads.)We recommend creating “buckets” with LLA’s, so 0–1%, 1–2%, 2–3%, etc.This way you can accurately test different pools of potential customers

✏️ Choose A Quality Source

Ok, so with the basic steps sorted, let’s get further into the strategy of developing a lookalike audience. In order for Facebook to generate a lookalike, they require you to have captured the information of at least 100 individuals. However, for the algorithm to really work at its full capacity, that number has to be at least a few hundred, if not thousands.

If you don’t have that kind of engagement yet, don’t worry — a quality source will always perform better than a high number of unengaged users. In that sense, a list of 250 loyal, consistent customers is far better than 50,000 random online visitors from years ago.

That’s why it’s also important when you’re choosing visitors from your website to only select those who have visited the site within the last 30 days or so.

👩‍💻 Focus On Top Engagement

If you’ve put in the work and have a healthy, robust pixel — congratulations, you can zero in on your most engaged website visitors to create a lookalike of your hottest audience. To do this, you’ll first need to create a custom audience based on time spent on your website.

Start in Ads Manger and select the “Audiences” tool.Click “Create Audience” and then choose “Custom Audience.”Select “create your audience from website traffic.”

In the parameters window, choose “create an audience based on Visitors By Time Spent,” and then select “Top 25%.”

Select a time period; 30 days is standard, but if your traffic is through the roof, you may want to narrow it down to a shorter time period.Find your top most engaged customers for a specific product page by entering a URL to the specific page.

That takes care of your custom audience. Note, that this represents the warmest selection in website visitors so any lookalike will be a rich source of return. Now, you’ll need to do the following to turn this custom audience into a lookalike. Keep in mind that your custom audience still needs a minimum of 100 people in order for this to work.

Go to Ads Manager and select the “Audiences” tool.Click on “Create a Lookalike Audience.”Select the custom audience you created in the previous steps.

Select which countries you wish to target.Choose the size of your lookalike audience. Generally speaking, 1% of U.S. population gives you an audience size of roughly two million people. The higher the population size the less tightly your lookalike matches the source audience.

The Time Spent parameter is significantly underused and could have amazing results on your targeting. If you have lots of data on your pixel, this is an easy way to target people who are most likely to engage with your ads and products.

💥 Double Up On Your Targeting

Just because you already have a focused target in your lookalike audience, doesn’t mean you should forego the other useful features you have at your disposal. For example, you can narrow down your lookalike audience by specifying gender, age, or any number of interests.

A popular and effective tool is too run a series of ads based on the previous ads/ posts engagement.

For example, if you’ve put out a video ad to your target audience, you can collect the engagement data, retarget and choose to retarget to the audience who interacted with your video. Facebook even lets you focus in on the people who watched at least 75% of your video. By learning, tweaking and retargeting you’re bound to see consistently improve your return on your investment.

Creating lookalike audiences lets you maximize your conversions and could potentially save you a ton of money on Facebook ads. As long as you choose a quality source of customers and get creative with your targeting, you’re likely to see a boost in your ad engagement and conversions.

So if you’re tired of expensive guesswork, and are eager to push your potential customers through the funnel, you should make retargeting campaigns your top priority. Soon you’ll be feeding ads directly to your most valuable potential customers!

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