When you advertise on Facebook, you can target your ads to three types of audiences: saved audiences, custom audiences, and lookalike audiences. Saved audiences let you target specific interests, behaviors, income levels, locations, and other criteria. With custom audiences , you can target people who are already familiar with your business such as people who are on your customer list, have visited your website, or have engaged with your content.
Lookalike audiences are another type of audience, but building them involves creating custom audiences, which act as your source audience. When you create a lookalike, Facebook takes your source custom audience and maps hundreds of thousands of people and millions of data points using an algorithm to find new people who share the same characteristics as your source audience.
It uses a set percentage sample which you specify of the population in your target country. Taking a step back for a second, the main reason why Facebook has such an effective ad platform is due to the volume of data users have submitted to Facebook and the ability for advertisers to target those data points. When compared to the other type of cold audiences—saved interest-based audiences—lookalikes outperform them because of how much data goes into building them and your ability as the advertiser to control the source audience. When you should use lookalikes depends on your Facebook advertising strategy and how you balance your demand for short- and long-term results from Facebook.
If you want quick results, which are often short-lived, you can target sales-based product or service ads to your lookalike audience right away. Ideally, deliver video content because you can easily remarket to the people who have watched your videos with video custom audiences. With this approach, you can effectively build awareness for your business and recognition in the Facebook news feed.
The key to long-term sustainable results using Facebook lookalikes is to position content first and then remarket to the most engaged content consumers. Now that you know what lookalikes are and why you should be using them, the next step is to decide what lookalike to test first. Because the source audience for a lookalike is a custom audience, you have lots of different options for building your lookalikes.
Within the engagement category, you can choose from six types of custom audience, from video, lead form, and full-screen experience to Facebook page, Instagram business profile, and events. To help you determine which source custom audiences—and therefore lookalikes—to create first, assess your marketing assets by answering the following six yes or no questions.
Pro Tip : In terms of source audience size, these are the best practices for a high-quality lookalike:. If your answer to this first question is yes, use a website custom audience based on a purchase or lead event to create your first lookalike. This is the most qualified and effective source audience because it uses your customers to match and find new similar people. If your answer is yes, use a customer file custom audience to create your first lookalike. Again, this is a very effective source audience because it uses the hottest audience temperature: your existing customers or a warm email list.
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Depending on your ad spend, I recommend once per day, week, or at least once per month. If your answer to question 3 is yes, use a standard website custom audience for your source audience. It will also include potential customers who have just visited your site. If yes, use a video custom audience as the source for your first lookalike audience. If your answer is yes, select your Facebook page in the source audience field when creating your lookalike. So for now, focus on using saved audiences in your ad sets and use the detailed targeting feature to target people by interests, demographics, and behaviors.
Start by navigating to your Audiences dashboard in the Ads Manager main menu. Under the Assets column, select Audiences. This will open your Audiences dashboard. Next, click Create Audience and select Custom Audience from the drop-down list. In the pop-up window, you choose the category of custom audience you want to create. From the criteria drop-down menu, choose the Purchase action in the events section.
Set your audience duration for the maximum days. You want to create the largest source audience possible, with enough data so Facebook can build the best-quality lookalike. Finally, name your audience and click Create Audience. It can take up to an hour to populate your audience.
As with the purchase website custom audience, select Custom Audience from the drop-down menu in the Audiences dashboard. The lower the duration, the warmer the audience, as those people would have been exposed to the content on your website more recently than some of the people in audiences of longer duration.
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You should also set up Website Custom Audiences for all of the opt-ins and products you have in your business, so you can exclude those people in any ad campaigns you create that promote them. You can create it based on how long people watched your native Facebook videos and FB lives for. The quality of your audience usually goes up as the percentage of the video watched increases. However, the size of the audience usually goes down as the percentage of the video watched increases, so you might have to make a trade-off between the quality of the audience and the size of the audience you create.
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The key to creating Video Engagement Custom Audiences for use in your Facebook Ads is to choose those videos that are most relevant to what you are promoting in each of your ads. Therefore, you may need to create quite a few audiences in several topic areas for use as required. For many businesses, the other options return audiences sizes that are too small for use in advertising. However, if you have high engagement on Facebook, then you could choose one of the other options, particularly if it is more specific to the type of ad you wish to run. You will usually find that you get the best ROI for your ad spend when re-targeting those audiences who already know who you are i.
For some businesses, they may be big enough to use in ads, but the audience may be exhausted very quickly even on a low budget. The power of these custom audiences for most businesses is when they are combined. You can then use any of the further targeting options that Facebook provides to further narrow your audience. This is particularly useful if you only service a particular geographic area or if your ideal customer is of a specific age, gender, or speaks a particular language.
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You can add further detailed targeting options such as Job Titles, Fields of Study, Demographics, Interests or Behaviours as appropriate. Are there any other custom audiences you would recommend businesses set up? Let us know in the comments. Loren Bartley is as a social media strategist, speaker, trainer, consultant, Facebook Ads specialist, blogger and podcaster.
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As the founder of Impactiv8, Loren helps businesses leverage the power of social media and online marketing to generate more fans, leads, customers and sales. Loren is also the producer and co-host of BusinessAddicts The Podcast. Follow Loren Bartley on :. Download reports for Instagram Stories! Learn more.
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