The Power of Lookalike Audiences: A 2016 Guide for Facebook and Twitter

Cartoon of an audience where highlighted members are holding positive placards

So your company is on Facebook or Twitter. The dream is to find the people who understand your message, take part in conversations, and become loyal customers who represent your brand.

One way to reach your ideal audience is to take inspiration from the people who already support you. This is where the concept of the ‘lookalike audience’ comes in.

This potential audience can become the lifeblood of your business, and social media is the ideal way to reach them.

Using the advertising tools available on Facebook and Twitter, you can easily reach customisable lookalike audiences and find your best customers.


Defining the Lookalike Audience

What is a Lookalike Audience, and why are they useful for businesses? The Facebook Help Centre provides us with a short and simple definition:

“Lookalike Audiences are a way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to customers you care about.”

Seems simple enough. The trickier part comes when you want to use Facebook and Twitter to reach these audiences (though it isn’t too tricky, honest!)

Lookalike Audience Targeting is the act of marketing and advertising to people who are similar to your own audience. With a bit of research and tweaking, you can reach optimal audiences on Facebook and Twitter who will love what you’ve got to offer.

Creating Lookalike Audiences on Facebook

An audience with highlighted members holding Facebook related placards

Facebook is a flexible and comprehensive platform to use for lookalike audience targeting. You can target lookalike Facebook audiences for increased brand awareness, page likes, conversions and more.

Using Facebook Adverts Manager, under the Audiences tab, you can choose a customised source audience (your Facebook page audience, or an uploaded audience list) and Facebook will create a lookalike audience in 6-24 hours.

Screenshot of Facebook lookalike audience targeting

Once it’s ready, you can further edit this audience for targeted adverts by:

  • Size: a smaller audience will be more likely to share interests and behaviours with your audience. However, with a larger audience you can reach more people, so audience size is worth consideration.
  • Location: you can choose to target by country, province, city and postcode.
  • Key Demographics: Facebook has very flexible demographic targeting so you can advertise more accurately to the people you want to be interested in your business. Demographics include age, gender, relationship status, workplace and education.
  • Interests: this is where you can really tailor your lookalike audience. Interests can include a person’s listed interests and activities, pages they have liked, or groups they have joined. Targeting by interest can really tap into those key audiences for your own business.

Facebook lookalike audience targeting is a great way to increase your online reach to relevant audiences who are more likely to convert into customers. We offer audience targeting as part of our Facebook Ads service. If this sounds good to you, get in touch and let’s talk targeting!


Creating Lookalike Audiences on Twitter

An audience with highlighted members holding Twitter related placards

For Lookalike Audiences, the best ways to market on Twitter are via Follower Targeting, Interest Targeting and Behaviour Targeting. They give you a lot more access to audiences who don’t know you already.

Note: using Tailored Audiences is a different way to target on Twitter. This type of marketing involves targeting individuals who have already expressed interest. This isn’t quite the same as targeting lookalikes as potential customers.

Let’s have a look at these powerful advertising processes.

Follower Targeting

Under the Add Followers tab on Twitter advertising, you can add any Twitter account to target their followers, and users similar to their followers. Of most interest to creating a lookalike audience based on your own followers, you can also opt to ‘target users like your followers‘.

Screenshot of Twitter follower targeting options

This is a great shortcut to creating a lookalike audience! However, you may not want to target based on the entirety of your followers. The two other types of targeting will help you tailor your target audience by choosing the interests and behaviours of core importance to you and your followers.

Interest Targeting

This type of lookalike audience targeting involves targeting users who talk about the same things you and your audience do. With interest targeting, you can tap into Twitter communities and speak to people who understand where you’re coming from and what you can offer them.

To use Interest Targeting for lookalike audiences, check your followers’ interests on Twitter Analytics. Under the Audiences tab, there’s a list of top interests. Our Twitter account has Tech News, Startups and Leadership listed as top interests. We can use this information for our topic and sub-topic choices, based on a tried and tested audience.

For example, if you ran a Twitter account for your independent American-diner style restaurant and have followers with interests in this, you may want to target by:

Screenshot of interest targeting options on Twitter advertising

  • You can choose from 25 topics, from Food & Drink to Technology, and 350 related sub-topics.
  • Twitter recommends you limit each campaign to 2 interests and 10 sub-interests max. However, you can always create a few campaigns and follow up the best results.

Behaviour Targeting

With behaviour targeting, things get even more customisable. Twitter and their partners can provide information on people’s online and offline habits. This includes behaviours such as:

  • Shopping habits
  • Favourite brands
  • Household income
  • Preferred charities

For example, if your current customers have particular car buying habits, you may want to target similar Twitter users based on an automotive behaviour:

Screenshot of Twitter automotive behaviour targeting

Note: under Behaviour Targeting options you can opt to ‘Expand reach by targeting similar users’. This will widen your audience even further, again based on the power of similarity.

When paired together, Interest and Behaviour targeting provide a powerful catalyst for creating lookalike audiences. These far-reaching methods also create audiences based on people’s actions inside and outside of the Twitter-sphere.

Want to get a better reach on Twitter? We can help you with lookalike audience targeting on this powerful social platform, as part of our Twitter Ads service.


Go Forth and Find Great New Customers!

There’s a whole host of people to target out there, but with lookalike audience targeting you can reach the people who are more likely to become solid fans of your brand.

Here are some bitesize tips for you to take away on finding Lookalike Audiences:

  • Go to Facebook Ad Manager or Twitter Adverts to create Lookalike Audiences and target them in advertising campaigns.
  • Find Lookalike Audiences based on your social media followers or a customised list of your clients.
  • Intelligently target potential customers via their interests, behaviours, demographic information and location.
  • Create a variety of lookalike audience lists on Facebook and Twitter to see which types of people respond best to your business and brand.
  • Follow up successful campaigns with further advertising to gain and convert a core part of your client base.

If you have any questions about lookalike audiences and how to implement social media advertising strategies, we’re only an email or a phone call away.

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