The percentage of a Lookalike audience defines what percentage of the people on Facebook in the target country will be included in the Lookalike to be generated.
For example, creating a 1% Lookalike for Germany would generate a targetable audience that contains 1% of people on Facebook in Germany who are most similar to the people in your origin audience.
In a nutshell, smaller percentage Lookalikes will be closer matches to your origin audience. Larger percentage Lookalikes will allow reaching a broader user base.
You can use extra targeting options together with Lookalike Audience to target more specific subgroups of Lookalike Audience.
Note for Special Ad Category (HEC) Advertisers: Lookalike Audiences are no longer supported in Special Ad Category campaigns. You need to create Special Ad Audiences instead.
Impact of origin Custom Audience
When you create a Lookalike Audience, select an origin Custom Audience in which the source is selective toward the kind of people you want reach with your campaign.
The more common attributes or shared characteristics the people in the origin Custom Audience have, the better the people in the Lookalike audience will match to those attributes and characteristics.
For example, a generic Website Custom Audiences of all website visitors is not a good source for your Lookalike audience.
Create Lookalike Audiences from origin Custom Audiences based on the people who are visiting specific pages or areas of your website or people performing specific actions.
If your Custom Audience consists of people from different countries, it needs at least 100 people from a single country to be usable for seeding lookalikes. Facebook will always try to create a lookalike using the people from the same country as the target country. If there are not enough people in the target country, then another country will be used for seeding. Currently, there's no control on how to choose which other country will be used, and the country will be shown once the lookalike has populated.
As a rule of thumb, a seed audience of about 5,000–15,000 people works for regular lookalikes. For value-based lookalikes, as long as the user values provided are accurate, you should use as large seed audience as possible.
We recommend testing with 1% or 2% Lookalikes to see if these yield good results. If the number of people in 1% Lookalike for a given country looks too small, then test with 2% Lookalike.
The smaller the Lookalike, the more closely the people in Lookalike will be to the people in the origin audience. This is why small Lookalikes usually bring better results, assuming the type of origin audience is right.
If the results are good with small 1-2% Lookalikes and you wish to get more volume, you can test larger Lookalikes, e.g., 4-5% to see if you can still sustain good enough results with those while getting more volume.
Lookalikes are per-country, so there should be one lookalike per every country that is targeted in a campaign.
Note: Lookalikes update automatically roughly every 3-7 days if the audience is in active use in a campaign.
Lookalike audiences allow you to target more people who look like your customers. A lookalike audience can use several kinds of user sets as a "seed" and an audience is built of similar users.
This article describes the different ways to create lookalikes in Smartly.io.
Lookalike Audiences can be created from Account Library → Custom Audiences → Add new lookalike audience. The exception is the Campaign / Adset conversion lookalikes (later in the article).
Preconditions for lookalike creation
- The seed audience for Lookalike Audience should contain at least 100 people on Facebook.
Note: Facebook will always try to use the same country to seed the lookalike.
However, if there are not at least 100 people from that country within the seed audience, then the lookalike will be created with people from another country. This allows expansion to new geographical markets with lookalikes before a local seed audience has been built there.
You can check if your lookalike is a normal lookalike or an international lookalike by looking at the lookalike audience in Library > Custom Audiences:
- The seed audience has been created in the same ad account which you are creating the lookalike audience too. Lookalike audience cannot be created from a shared audience.
Note: When you create Lookalike Audience from the Custom Audience you can then share the Lookalike Audience to the other ad accounts. Lookalike Audience is updated automatically on both accounts using it. Sharing audiences between ad accounts needs whitelisting from Facebook.
Lookalikes can be created up to 20 % of the audience in the target country. If you want to create several audiences at once, you can select multiple percentages and countries at the same time.
Note: Lookalike audiences can take 1-6 hours to be fully populated once created. While the audience is populating you may create ad sets which target the new lookalike audience. Once the lookalike audience is ready, delivery to the included people will catchup and work as normal.
Lookalike audiences can be combined with the rest of Facebook's targeting to narrow down with additional demographics or interests. This is useful when creating broad (>5%) lookalike audiences and narrowing them down with other targeting or using Instagram placement.
Country selection will be removed from lookalike audience creation in the future
Facebook is gradually deprecating the need to select specific countries when creating a lookalike. In the future, you'll only need to set the percentage and target the desired countries in your campaign.
Once you have this new capability, you won’t see the Select target countries field anymore while creating new lookalike audiences. Until then, creating lookalikes works just as before.
What actions do I need to take?
None. Facebook will automatically recreate your lookalike audiences and you’ll see no audience size in the size column. Instead, you’ll see “Size Varies.” This is naturally the downside of this change.
What will happen to my old audiences?
Old audiences do keep on working the way they have been working. When this new Lookalike Audience capability is enabled from Facebook, Facebook will ignore the Country values in the Audience and rely on the targeting defined in the Ad Set.
The first impact is that Facebook is disabling your current lookalike audiences. If you have an active campaign that’s using a lookalike created under the old process, it will still function as it did previously.
Using Country Bundles in Lookalike Creation
You can use existing country bundles to avoid manual entry of countries. This is helpful if you have long lists of countries that you'd like to include in your audience, or if you tend to create multiple audiences utilizing the same sets of countries:
From here, you can also save your current selection as a new bundle:
How to Create Lookalikes from:
A. Custom Audiences and Website Custom Audiences (WCA)
You can use your current Custom Audiences as a source for the Lookalike audiences. These include both Custom Audiences and Website Custom audiences. If you select more than one country you will create a combined lookalike for those countries, but you can also select to split those and create one lookalike per country. Selecting more than one percentage will create one lookalike per each.
B. Page fans
You can create Lookalikes Audiences from your Page fans.
C. Campaign conversions (based on Adset Based Conversion Lookalikes (ABC LAL))
You can create Lookalike Audiences from campaign conversions. This will try to find a new audience of users that are similar to the users that converted in your campaign, so if you have had some successful campaign or you want to launch campaigns in new countries where you don't have yet any user data you can use a campaign that has got a lot of conversions and use that data as seed to create the new audience.
In this view, you will get the list of all your campaigns sorted by the number of conversions, and you will see for each of those the campaign objective (Conversions, Product Catalog Sales, Link Clicks, etc.) and the number of conversions. You will have a limitation of a minimum of 100 conversions when creating a lookalike, and you will get a recommendation to select a campaign with more than 200 conversions for better performance.
You can use the search to find campaigns by name or by Facebook Id.
D. Adset conversions (known as Adset Based Conversion Lookalikes (ABC LAL))
You can also create Lookalike Audiences from ad sets conversions. This is done in campaign ad set list view by selecting the favorable ad sets as source and then selecting Create Lookalike audience. (See screenshot below) The same rules for the minimum number of conversions apply also for ad set conversions, so you will need to select and ad set or a group of ad sets that contain more than 100 conversions in total. The difference between creating a Lookalike Audience from ad sets or Campaign conversions is that if you have enough conversions you can select the best performing ad set and not select others with poor performance.
The precondition for this feature is that your Campaign Facebook objective and Optimization goal should be in line. For example, you can only create Lookalike audience from a campaign that has Facebook objective Website clicks and optimization goal Link Clicks but in some cases, if the optimization goal is reach the Lookalike creation does not work.
My lookalike won't populate. What's wrong?
Check these things:
- The seed audience must have at least 100 people
- The seed audience must be valid and ready to use — you can ask Smartly.io Support to check this
- If the lookalike seed source, % ratio and country are identical to an existing lookalike audience, Facebook won't populate the new lookalike audience! Use the original lookalike instead
I cannot create Lookalikes bigger than 10% on Ads Manager, why?
15% and 20% Lookalike audience creation are unique to the API (Smartly)