2 February 2016,

Facebook Lookalike Audiences: How to build one


Facebook Lookalike Audiences: What they are, why you should be using them, and how to get started.

By Curtis Kitchen, NAA Director of Publications and Trade Show

Quietly tucked under “Tools” and a couple of additional clicks, Facebook’s Lookalike Audience generator is wholly unassuming in its appearance. It is also criminally understated in its importance for auction professionals, and marketers in general, who are desperate to better connect with Facebook’s massive, and daily-growing user pool.

Simply put, the Lookalike Audience tool has the ability to permanently change how you market to new and old buyers and sellers alike.

Why? It eliminates the 100-percent “new” element in your quest for new clients and customers. How? Facebook allows you to build new target lists and groups that are based on similar or “lookalike” information that your current clients and customers (you can upload their email addresses and match them to Facebook profiles!) have already submitted in their very own profiles.

The Lookalike theory is that if Person A is a customer of yours, and Person B has similar profile characteristics to Person A, then the chance increases that Person B would also be interested in your product or business because both people have exhibited similar interests.

Now, think about how many hundreds or thousands of people you know currently use or visit your business. Think about how massively awesome it is that you could build an entire new target group based on what you know about your buyers and sellers – what they like, how much they spend, what kinds of sales are the most popular, etc. Think how exponentially big that list could grow to in a short time based on common interests?

Pretty cool, isn’t it?

iSeries talks Facebook Lookalike Audiences

The National Auctioneers Association caught wind of this handy feature awhile back, and it was lucky enough to have a current member – John Schultz, ATS – who took the full Lookalike plunge more than a year ago.

Schultz and Grafe Auction, in Chatfield, Minnesota, decided to go all-in with Facebook advertising (dropping print ad strategies along the way) in 2014. The results were astounding and far better than expected. Website traffic – up. Auction participation – up. Sales – up. All because the company found a way to build off of its current buyers and supporters and expand their extremely targeted base instead of hoping a complete faceless public happened to drop semi-interested parties into their laps.

As part of its popular, free, 30-minute iSeries webinar program, NAA dedicated a session in October 2015 (members can download the replay at auctioneers.org. Under the “webinars” tab, click “Marketing with Facebook.”) to having Schultz walk through how to set up a Lookalike Audience. Before that, however, NAA decided to put the Lookalike product to a bare-bones test.

Instead of relying on regular marketing vehicles, the decision was made to build custom audiences on Facebook. An ad about Schultz and encouraging registration to the upcoming iSeries would be served to two Lookalike groups built from the custom audiences.

It was decided that one Lookalike group would be built from Facebook users who like and follow the NAA Facebook page. The other group was built based on current NAA members.

Each group was targeted for 9 days, at $5 per group per day. The result? More than 400 clicks took interested users to the iSeries registration page, and the campaigns had a total reach (how many people saw the NAA/iSeries ad in their Facebook feed) of 24,464. The larger result was a new record number of registrations for iSeries, with more than 300.

The NAA brand and iSeries program was seen more than 24,000 times with more than 400 clicks. It was all done for a scant $95.23 – or about $10 per day. (Yes, all of that is a good thing.)

While there are some specific nuances that help further ensure a successful Lookalike campaign, the bottom line is that auction professionals now have a way to drill down in their buyer and seller lists – leveraging them into a wider group that has never been so targeted.

How to build your custom Facebook audience

1. At your Facebook profile page, go to the top-right corner and click the small downward-facing triangle. In the dropdown menu, select “Manage Ads.”

2. At the top of the page, click “Tools” and then click “Audiences”.

3. Click the blue box labeled “Create Audience.” From here, you can upload emails, phone numbers, Facebook IDs, etc., or use other listed ways to create your audience. Facebook combs its profiles and returns an audience of those matches.

4. Once your custom audience is built, click that same “Create Audience” blue button and this time select “Lookalike Audience”. You’ll add some parameters for your list (including budget, size of list, etc.) at this step.

5. Facebook will create your list and notify you when the Lookalike Audience is ready.

6. On the “Audience” page, at the top right corner is a green “Create Ad” button. Click it to build your Facebook ad, or use one you have already.

7. Target your ad using your newly created Lookalike Audience.

8. Repeat as often as you would like to upload a new list, create a new segment, have a new ad for an old group… you can create as many lists as you like!

Download a PDF of these steps!