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How to Target Your Ideal Customers on Facebook Using Lookalike Audiences

Struggling with Facebook advertising? Welcome to the club. There’s a lot to know, and it’s like striking gold when you come across help written for mere mortals that takes you step by step through the process. Lead Guru Founder and CEO Ben Heath has done this for Facebook’s tool to create custom audiences.

Ben’s guest post is an amazing how-to that helps you understand why it’s so important to target audiences on Facebook. Thanks for this excellent guest post, Ben!

When marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners first start advertising on Facebook, they often get excited about all the targeting options that are available.

And rightly so.

Facebook’s targeting options are second to none and enable us advertisers to find and target great prospects.

But the people that are most likely to buy your products and services, probably won’t be found in Facebook’s demographic, interest and behavioral targeting options.

The people that are most likely to buy your products and services, that aren’t already customers of course, are people that are just like your existing customers.

With Facebook it’s possible to target people that look-like or are very similar to your existing customers. Facebook’s lookalike audiences are an incredibly powerful feature. Using them properly can significantly reduce your Facebook advertising cost and generate many more leads and sales for your business.


Create a Custom Audience

To create a lookalike audience of people that are similar to your existing customers, you first need to create a custom audience. To do that navigate to the Audiences tab in Ads Manager:


 Then select Create Audience and Custom Audience from the screenshot below:







That will bring up a menu that looks like this:












There are many different types of custom audience that you can create as you can see above. But to create a custom audience that contains existing customers you should select the first option – Customer File.

Once you do, you’ll see this window:








If you store customer data with MailChimp then you can use Facebook’s direct integration. Simply select the second option from the list above and tell Facebook which list you would like them to import. If you don’t have a MailChimp account you will have to select the first option.

That will bring up these two options:











Here you can upload a CSV or TXT file that contains your customer information. Or you can copy and paste your data. The screenshot above also shows you that there are a number of identifiers that Facebook can use to match your data to people’s Facebook accounts.

Facebook primarily uses people’s email addresses to identify their Facebook accounts, but the more information you have, the better your match rate will be.

Upload your data through either method and then name your custom audience.

Once you’ve done that select Next.

It will take Facebook around 30 minutes to populate your custom audience. Once it’s ready you’ll see something like this:

Create a Lookalike Audience


Once you’ve created your custom audience, you can use that to create a lookalike audience. In the Audiences section in Ads Manager tick the checkbox alongside your new custom audience:


Then select Actions and Create Lookalike:







That will bring up a window that looks like this:


The name of your custom audience will automatically be entered in the source audience section which is exactly what you want.

Then you need to decide which country you would like to target and select how large you would like your lookalike audience to be.

For example, here I would enter the UK and create a 1% lookalike audience:


The larger the percentage you select here, the larger your custom audience will be. For example, a 1% lookalike audience will contain the 1% of Facebook users in the UK that are most similar to the source audience.

Which means this lookalike audience will contain people that are very similar to people that have bought my 30-Day Facebook Advertising Launch Plan.

As you can see from the screenshot above, you can choose a lookalike audience size from 1-10%. Larger percentages create larger audiences, but they also create less targeted audiences.

Because of that, I recommend starting with a 1% lookalike audience unless you are targeting a country with a small population (less than 10 million) or you operate on a local basis.

In which case you will need to select a larger percentage.

After you have chosen a percentage, select Create Audience.

It will take Facebook around 30 minutes or so to populate your lookalike audience, but once they have, you can start advertising to those people.


Target Your Lookalike Audience


To target your lookalike audience, you simply enter the name of your lookalike audience in the custom audiences section at the ad set level:


Remember that when you create a lookalike audiences in will include people from all over your targeted country.

If you only operate on a local basis then you will need to set location parameters to ensure you’re only advertising to people that are potential customers of yours.

Be Selective


I have had a number of business owners tell me that they don’t want to use this strategy because most of their existing customers aren’t high enough quality.

They don’t want new customers that are similar to their existing customers, they would rather target higher value prospects.

In that case, be selective.

You do not need to upload your entire customer list. You just need more than 100 people.

There’s nothing wrong with taking your 100 best customers, uploading that list to Facebook and using that as a source audience to create a lookalike audience.



Who you advertise to makes a massive difference to the success of your Facebook advertising campaigns.

For most businesses, the best people to advertise to, are people that are very similar to your existing customers.

You can advertise to these people on Facebook by creating a lookalike audience.

I would strongly encourage you to experiment with lookalike audiences in your Facebook campaigns.

Nearly all the Facebook advertising sales funnels I create feature lookalike audiences and they are often the main targeting option I use.

Have you used lookalike audiences before? If so, what results did you get? Let us know by leaving a comment below.





Ben Heath is the Founder & CEO of Lead Guru which produces high quality Facebook advertising resources for business owners, marketers, and entrepreneurs.

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