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Lookalike audiences, which Facebook began beta-testing last month, will launch this week as a targeting option on the social network’s power editor, allowing advertisers to reach out to potential customers with similar characteristics to their current customers.
Facebook launched custom audiences last fall, which allowed brands to show ads to their current customers who were on the social network. Lookalike audiences extend this ability to other Facebook users with similar attributes.
Both custom audiences and lookalike audiences work off hashes, which are bits of text that uniquely identify data (such as an email addresses) but are designed to protect against reverse engineering that would reveal those data, so no customer information is shared with advertisers or any third parties.
The social network said in a post on the Facebook Studio blog announcing the launch of lookalike audiences:
Both online and offline, lookalike targeting has worked well for businesses, so we are excited to launch...