Facebook launches Lookalike Ad Targeting

New feature offers to find similar audiences based on existing customer profiles


Recommended link: Facebook Announcement

This new feature from Facebook for advertisers promises more relevant ads through extending the custom or Similar Audience targeting feature to now include what it calls “lookalike audiences.”

Advertisers will be able to upload their customer profiles, referenced by emails or phone numbers, and then Facebook will automagically target a similar profile of Facebook users based on similar interests, demographic data or location. Inside Facebook has a few examples of companies using Lookalike Audiences who have seen sizeable improvements in cost-per-acquisition through this approach.

We had a discussion on this new Facebook Ad targeting feature in our Answers forum recently when this was first announced. There seemed some enthusiasm for it.

Marie Page said:

“I’ve been looking at custom audiences recently and am planning on using the feature. The Lookalike option looks really promising. The more targeted our advertising efforts the better, particularly to a proven segment.
Personally I’m really fed up with seeing irrelevant ads in my newsfeed. Very happy to see ads of relevance and find it strange that there is so much public resistance to what they perceive is a Big Brother approach. I found the freelance site People Per Hour recently as a result of a Sponsored Story (a friend is a fan of theirs) and ended up recruiting a freelancer as a result”.

Rhian Simms added:

"Facebook targeting is built on characteristics they think (or would like to think) reflect their ideal customer, but where they don’t have 100% data derived the profile, ad spend may be burned on either weak segments, or those that are just not quite relevant to the audience (but perhaps how the board would like to perceive them to ‘look’!).

In my opinion, providing it is clean and of good quality, recommending the data on which to make these decisions can only be a positive!"

Share your thoughts

  • Does this include evaluation of which brands a consumer likes?

    Which would mean that any brand that works hard to get lots of likes and collects fans is also making them more easily targeted by their competitors. This is a risk with a Facebook fan base… Facebook own and decide what to do with it, not the brand.

    • Hi Tim,

      I think it will likely target competitors – it mentions “interests” as a targeting criterion – which is likely includes Brand Likes.
      I can’t disagree with what you say about building your own list/lack of control, but I still think it’s an innovative targeting approach which should reduce advertising wastage and CPA based on the case studies.

  • Some of this appeals, I dare say, but I would worry about associating my brand with this tactic. As mentioned, this can worry chaps about ‘Big Brother.’ Even if one thinks it is non-sense, there is no reason to think targeted potential customers will think the same. If a chap detects he is receiving targeted ads (which I presume one would if the service is accurate) then it might produce a backlash.

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