Lookalike audiences can be an incredibly useful tool for businesses and individuals looking to expand their reach through Facebook and other social media platforms.
But what exactly are lookalike audiences, and what benefits do they have?
Lookalike Audiences: The Facts
First initiated by Facebook in 2013, lookalike audiences are groups of social media users who are considered (and classified) as sharing the same key characteristics as an existing customer demographic a business already has under its wing.
Ultimately, they are used as a targeting tool, used by businesses to locate a clientbase made of like minded individuals who might be interested in what they have to offer.
This allows businesses to reach more people, while still being targeted, and without their customer/fanbase getting muddied with random fans or people who are not within the target audience.
However, there have been controversies, and many data protection groups question the ethics of third parties mining customer information for personalized targeting.
How Do They Work?
Lookout audiences anatomize existing customers, splitting them down into their key components, and using them as effective ‘coordinates’ to locate like minded people.
The best way to achieve accuracy in the search, a lookout audience needs to focus specifically on common, consistent behaviors that all of the customers in their existing base share.
This could be something simple, such as their gender, location, and age, or more sophisticated, taking into account their likes, dislikes, and commonly followed trends.
What Are The Benefits?
As you can imagine, there are many benefits for businesses to accrue.
Firstly, it gives a higher chance of the company coming into contact with customers who will actually be invested and interested in what they have to say, sell, or offer.
Whereas previously the search would be muddied by a mix of people, this increases the chance of paying customers and profits for the company, as their interests align with the product/brand.
While the search is honed to a person with specific needs and interests, lookalike audiences also have the benefit of furthering a company’s reach far beyond their local audience, allowing them to find new people who can then become potential customers.
The benefit of the internet is that it is the ‘world wide web’ – with an emphasis on ‘world’.
This means that companies can approach and sell to people from all corners of the globe, as long as they have a computer, access to the internet, and social media accounts.
Whereas once there might have been a limited market for a specific item or service within a local community or region, in modern times people and businesses can actively locate their audience, albeit with much more ease and much less hard work than would have once been required.
This can advance a company’s prestige in a much shorter period of time, and doesn’t require the same expense of energy that would have once been required by workers charged with finding new clients.
Much of the work is done by the format itself, and the clients are drawn in by targeted advertising, meaning that companies just need to sit back, wait, and be patient.
It also means that companies are spending much less on advertising costs, as they can employ basic advertising to attract customers from all around the world without having to pay magazines, newspapers, and other publications to print their ads.
Companies can effectively accrue a global audience with the same amount of effort and expense previously associated with a local business’ customer base.
Lookalike Audiences: The Process
Also, the actual process for using lookalike audiences is quite simple.
This is the first, and most important thing that needs to be paid attention to.
The audience ‘seed’ is the demographic you are targeting, based on existing traits in your customer base. For this, you need to make sure you are picking the right qualities to achieve the best results.
Choosing the wrong seed can mean you don’t reach the right people, or that you don’t reach as many people as you potentially could.
This seed can also be based on page fans, visitors to the page, likes, and comments.
It is better to choose larger pools of people as your base, as a higher accumulation of attractive qualities will lead to a greater chance of accuracy when it comes to expanding your search.
You then need to set your sights on a specific location. This could be a region or another country entirely, wherein you focus your search on them based on the criteria you have identified in the seed.
You can also customize the audience size, and Facebook offers a range of percentiles (ranging from 1% to 10%) indicating the number of like minded, potential customers in the specific area or country you are focusing on.
Larger audiences (in larger regions) provide a better chance of finding new customers, and gives you a potentially wider reach.
However, smaller audiences are much more targeted, and depending on the area you choose, you could have a better chance of connecting with and securing their custom.
This smaller audience means that the ads are more likely to be seen, and despite the smaller numbers, they are more likely to align with the seed.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about lookalike audiences, and the way they can be used by businesses and individuals to increase their reach and customer bases.
Despite taking a little bit of time to get used to, the process is fairly simple. So, if you are looking to increase the reach of your small business, or if you have a service to offer and need more clients, then why not try lookalike audiences?