Intercoastal Advertising Blog

A Look Into Facebook’s Awesome Lookalike Audience Technology

One of the most fascinating technologies available to marketers today on Facebook is lookalike audience targeting. Facebook lookalike audience technology is designed to find commonalities in certain traits of your desired customers. This could range from a user’s age, interests, lifestyle, and even purchase behavior. Identifying these similarities amongst people on Facebook that are not your customer, and serving ads to them, is an extremely effective strategy to increase conversions and boost sales.

Facebook tracks every single behavior that you do online. It tracks what terms you use, what you say in messenger, what pages you like, and what you buy through Facebook. In essence, Facebook knows its users almost better than they know themselves.

This is where savvy marketers come in and leverage this information through Facebook’s lookalike audience feature to extend the reach of their campaigns.

Lookalike audiences have amazing click-through rates, and if you’re tracking conversions (our favorite) it performs extremely well.

How to Set Up

There are a few ways to create a lookalike audience on Facebook. One way is a customized list of people who have interacted with your Facebook page. But the preferred, and more powerful method is uploading an email list of people that are your current or previous paying customers.

Think about it, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to serve ads to people that share the exact same characteristics as people who have previously paid you?

The size of the lookalike audience list is an important component of your campaign setup. Facebook’s minimum list size requirement is rather small, approximately 20 people. But in reality, that is not nearly enough people for Facebook to do the best job of finding lookalikes for you. The ideal list size is at least 500 people for upload. Any less and you might as well just use Facebook’s internal data catalog to target people based on demographics & interests.

There is a multitude of identifiers you can have in your list to upload to Facebook for lookalike audience modeling. Customer Data such as phone numbers, mobile advertiser ID, first name, last name, zip code, state, country, age, gender, etc…… but the email address is the most desired piece of data to create super-effective lookalike campaigns.

Quick Tip:

When you upload your email list to Facebook during the campaign setup phase, you will be asked to select the origin of your list. There are three options to choose from;

  • Option 1 – From customers and partners
  • Option 2 – Directly from customers
  • Option 3 – Directly from partners

What Facebook wants you to select is option two. They want to know that you got it directly from your customers, and in all likelihood will better position your campaign for performance.

After uploading your audience, Facebook then prompts you to select the size of the lookalike audience you want to deploy for your campaign. Facebook asks you to find a percentage of people (nationwide) that match your lookalike audience’s attributes. The options are 1% nationwide or 10% nationwide of people that fit your exact customer profile.

It is highly recommended that you start with the smallest percentage initially, 1%. In almost all cases the audience size will be at least 1million people, and if it works really well you can increase the percentage incrementally. This will ensure, initially, that your ads are seen by what Facebook deems as the most qualified prospect for your campaign. For that reason, then you can scale it up accordingly.

It typically takes 2-24 hours for the audience to upload successfully.

Quick Tip:

Facebook has a feature in the list upload called customer lifetime value. Essentially, you can create an additional column in your spreadsheet and assign a dollar amount to each person you upload to emphasize your clients by dollars spent. Crazy!

For example, let’s say you own a local print shop. And as part of the purchase process, each person is required to supply their email to you. Some people that buy from you are one-offs….. meaning they purchased $7 worth of copies and you never saw them again. Within your list, you would put a 7 next to their information (without comma’s or dollar signs) since that’s what they spent with you that year. Others are regular clients who buy from you frequently, say twice a week, with an average purchase of $20 per visit. Within your list, you would put 2,080 next to their information since that’s what they spent with you that year. Make sense?

Therefore, in essence, Facebook has the power to prioritize your audience targeting to people who match the profile of your more frequent, higher spending customers.


Hopefully, this article gets you excited to try the Facebook lookalike audience option. It’s fantastic for brick & mortar stores, eCommerce enterprises, B2B companies, and many more types of organizations. The entire structure of your ad campaign can revolve around lookalike audiences and will assuredly lead to more conversions and sales. Because of this, you will scale faster than you thought possible, and you won’t have to break the bank to begin. Just upload a detailed customer list with associative lifetime values….. and let her rip!