Facebook Launches Lookalike Audiences, Lets Marketers Target Similar Users

By Justin Lafferty 

Through custom audiences, Facebook pages can launch highly targeted marketing campaigns. Sister site Inside Facebook reported Monday that Facebook has launched lookalike audiences, allowing advertisers to target users who are similar to those in the custom audience database. Currently, this is in beta for U.S. users.

Inside Facebook notes that lookalike audiences can be created after an advertiser has uploaded a list of first-party data (email addresses, phone numbers, or user IDs) to make a custom audience. Facebook will then analyze this custom audience and produce another group that has a similar profile. Advertisers can then create a Facebook ad to target to this lookalike audience.

According to Inside Facebook, no personally identifiable information is shared back with advertisers, and these lookalike audiences can only be used within Facebook. A marketer cannot use a member of a lookalike audience for email marketing or other forms of ad targeting.

Right now, this feature is in limited beta for U.S. marketers in power editor. Lookalike audiences can’t be created yet through the main self-serve ad platform or through the ads application-programming interface. Marketers can optimize their lookalike audiences for reach, widening their net, or for similarity, making sure they’re targeting just the people who will be most likely to engage. This technology can be combined with other interest or demographic targeting options.

Advertisers who have used lookalike audiences have reported a lower cost per action in comparison to traditional targeting methods. Facebook told Inside Facebook that an online travel site witnessed 70 percent lower CPA using this feature, and an online shopping site experienced 56 percent lower CPA and 94 percent lower cost per checkout.

Readers: Will you take advantage of lookalike audiences when it rolls out to you?