A Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Custom and Lookalike Audience Sets


A Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Custom and Lookalike Audience Sets

There are 2.7 billion people using Facebook every day, updating personal information, sharing likes and dislikes, opinions, lifestyle preferences, political and religious inclinations and a lot more. Facebook Ads uses this information to provide businesses with the opportunity of a targeted advertisement. 

You can now go right down to the micro-details of your target audience and show them ads that are relevant to their preferences. For this to happen though, you have to develop a strong, focused audience strategy and know exactly the kind of people you want to target with your ads. How do you do this? Here’s some action-oriented advice. 

Create a Customer Persona

Although you may have a generalized idea of who your target audience is, it’s not enough to really benefit from Facebook ads. 

The reason? 

FB has an extensive list of demographics that you could use to reach the right audience. 

If you opt to use only generic demographics like age, location, sex, marital status, religion etc, you’ll have a very broad range of millions of people who might not even be the customer you’re targeting. This is also how you’ll be losing money – when your ads are not reaching the right people with the right message. 

So the first step to successful Facebook advertising is creating a detailed customer persona. 

Details that should be included in your persona are: 

  • A personal name that you can take from the most common names of people born within a certain era. For example, men born in the 1970s, Michael is a popular name. 
  • Their job: What does Michael do? 
  • Their payscale: How much does Michael earn 
  • Their family dynamics: Is Michael married? Does he have kids? How many and how old? 
  • Michael’s underlying ambitions: Where does Michael see himself and how can your product help him. 
  • Michael’s motivations: What motivates Michael in his daily life. 
  • Michael’s fears: What are situations or things that he is afraid of. 
  • Michael’s consumption habits: Is he a spendthrift or does he save every penny. If he has a high paying job, owns a home and a car, chances are he may be willing to spend money. 
  • Michael’s hobbies or activities: Does he like sports, books or online games? If he’s 40+ chances are he is more into books than games. 
  • Michael’s interests: What popular brands does Michael follow? Coke vs Pepsi, Android vs iOS, Samsung vs Apple, etc. Knowing this can help you figure out what elements of your product or service may be crucial to Michael. 

The narrower you go with your persona, the better your chances of reaching the right audience. Use customer surveys, feedback forms, one on one interviews to create your persona. Never make assumptions when it comes to customer personas. 

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Create Your First Audience Set

Now that you’ve got your customer persona ready, you can start creating your first audience set. 

Head over to the Facebook Business Manager page, click on Create Ad, the click on Audiences. 

Remember to select the right Objective before you select an audience.

create new audience samit patel

To create a new audience set, Click on Creating New Audience. 

There will be three audience options to choose from: 

Custom: You use an audience set from various sources such as website traffic or from previously run ads.  

custom audience

Lookalike: An audience that shares similar traits to your custom audience. 

creating lookalike adience

Saved: Audience set that you save to be used for other campaigns. 

You can also choose to create a generalized audience based on location, age, gender, and language.

creating new audience

Lookalike audience

So in summary, there are three ways to go about creating your audience set. 

  • Use a generalized audience based on Facebook’s recommendations 
  • Use a custom audience based on pre-defined parameters and sources
  • Use a lookalike audience based on your core audience set
  • Use a saved audience (a set you’ve used before)

If you take a look at each of these options, you’ll understand why you needed a detailed customer persona. 

Even if you select preliminary features like age, location, gender, you’re still targeting a very broad audience. So let’s say you’re targeting 20-30-year-old male in Hampstead, London. There are thousands of 20-30year old men in Hampstead, but are they all your target audience? No. 

In the Detailed Targeting box, you’ll find options to target people based on demographics, interests, behaviors. Click on the box and you’ll see a long list of target options. 

Facebook Custom and Lookalike Audience

The level of in-depth targeting options FB offers is remarkable. You can reach the right audience if you are able to create a detailed customer persona. 

Making Use of the Exclusion Option

Facebook has an exclude option that is often underlooked because it seems confusing. Why would you want to exclude anyone? 

FB Beginner's guide

The reason is quite simple actually. When you’re running Facebook ads with the objective of increasing brand awareness or acquiring new leads, you do not want the ads to be viewed by the people who have already interacted with your page. 

The exclude option then prevents the algorithm from displaying ads to people who are already customers. 

There are three ways you can exclude people: 

  • those who have already followed your page
  • those who have already converted on your website  
  • those on your mail list. 

This level of detailed segmentation lets you spend your ad money on the audience that is most likely to convert. 

Be warned though, do not use the Exclude option to exclude groups based on discriminatory factors like religion or race. You’ll get in trouble with FB. Use the option wisely to reach the people who care about your product. 

Why You Need Lookalike Audiences

The lookalike audience is one of Facebook’s most powerful features. 

Samit Patel Facebook marketing

It allows you to use pre-populated data by Facebook to reach people who share a similar interest to your custom audience. This tool helps you reach your ideal target audience even if they’ve never heard of your brand. 

Lookalike audiences are tied to your custom audience. This means once you’ve defined your custom audience, you’ll just need to create a lookalike audience following three simple steps. 

  1. Choose an existing data source. If you click on choose a new data source, you’ll have to create a new custom audience set. So for example, you can create a custom audience based on video views of your video ad and then create a lookalike audience for the same. Facebook will then target people who share a similar interest to the people who watched your video.
  2. Select the location of your audience.
  3. Select audience size. This means expanding your lookalike reach. Facebook recommends a 1% size which consists of the people most similar to your lookalike source. Increasing the percentage creates a bigger, broader audience.

There’s another advance option in the Lookalike audience called the Customer Lifetime Value (LTV). This option targets your high-value customers – that is customers who buy quite frequently, who are your long-term supporters, who are your premium members etc. 

A Beginner s Guide to Facebook Custom and Lookalike Audience Sets - Samit Patel

The LTV option requires you to state your source of data. Because you’ll be uploading very specific and personal information such as email addresses, phone numbers, zip codes etc, you are required to state where you’ve obtained the data from. 

Once you’ve filled in the relevant data, Facebook will determine the people who share similar traits to your LTV customers and show them your ads. This is a great way to acquire new leads who you know have the capacity to convert into clients. 

Lookalike audiences are one of the most effective audiences targeting strategy for lead generation. If your objective is to get leads who may convert to buyers/donors/investors, use the custom + lookalike combination to get maximum benefits. 

The success of your ad strategies is tied to your audience segmentation. There are dozens of options you can use to get your ads to the right audience – the only requirement is, you know exactly who you want to target and why. 

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It is highly recommended that you spend time creating a detailed persona based on the demographics, interests and behaviors options given on Facebook. It is only when you’re able to narrow down your audience persona that you can run a successful & profitable ad campaign.

You can also read:- Facebook ads for Crowdfunding

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