What Are Custom & Lookalike Audiences in Facebook Ads Manager and How To Use Them

What Advertisers Should Expect From Apple’s iOS 14.5 Impact (& How To Strategize Around It)

What Are Lookalike Audiences?

Go beyond interest and behavior targeting and reach an audience that mirrors your existing customer base. That’s exactly what lookalike audiences do. They are a targeting audience built from a custom audience that can originate anywhere from website visitors to email lists, and many other sources that we’ll cover shortly! Facebook takes a custom audience that you have created and finds users with similar attributes, providing major targeting opportunities for advertisers. 


To keep it simple (we are SocialMadeSimple, after all): Targeting a lookalike audience means you are reaching a new audience that is likely to be interested in your business based on data gathered from your best existing customers. 

mobile app social marketing case study, spendebt, SpenDebt Content

Some of the most common lookalike audience sources:

Customer Information

One of the main audience sources is a customer list with all existing customers. Although this most commonly includes their name, email, and phone number, Facebook allows you to select up to 15 options from matching criteria. Want to take it a step further? You can enter your customers’ lifetime value if known to you (meaning that you could target people similar to those who provide financial value to your business).

mobile app social marketing case study, spendebt, SpenDebt Content
Website Visitors

Creating a lookalike audience based on people who have visited your website was a more accurate targeting method before Apple’s iOS 14.5 update, but it is still one of the best ways to capture that low-hanging fruit! There’s more than one way you can utilize this audience. The slightly more vague approach consists of creating lookalike audiences who have similarities to those who have made a visit to your website and will likely be interested in your business. On the other hand, you can get a bit more specific and potentially increase your chances of reaching the right people. For example – you could create a custom audience based on the amount of time spent by people visiting your website, or as Facebook calls it: Visitors by Time Spent. This, and many other options for targeting web visitors, are great ways of increasing the chances that the person viewing your ad will have interest in what you have to offer.

mobile app social marketing case study, spendebt, SpenDebt, creating custom audience in Facebook Ads Manager
Engagement Audience

An engagement audience refers to building a lookalike audience based on people who have engaged with content on your social profile. Although they may not be an existing customer, these are still people who have enough interest in your business to perform some form of interaction (like, comment, video view, etc.) with either an advertisement or social pages in general.

mobile app social marketing case study, spendebt,engagement audiences, lookalike audiences,
Offline Activity 

If targeting based on an audience of people who engaged with your business online doesn’t make the most sense for your business, then try creating a lookalike audience built from customers who have interacted with your business in one way or another offline. These interactions can be through ways such as in-store purchases (ideal for brick-and-mortar business), phone sales, or other offline channels. 

Facebook Custom & Lookalike Audiences, offline activity

Facebook Audience Testing

It’s not enough to simply create custom and lookalike audiences and hope for the best. Create a system for testing your different audiences so you can see what works best and then optimize your ads from there! 

Learn how to create a system for testing your lookalike audiences on Facebook (in under 2 minutes!) with a sneak peek from one of SocialMadeSimple’s weekly team training sessions hosted by the Director of Client Services.

Looking for more insight into lookalike audiences, other targeting capabilities of Facebook advertising, or just how to get started? Check out this article, How To Get Started With Facebook Ads, or schedule a call with a member of our team to learn how you can start using Facebook advertising to drive real results!

Client Success Stories

Franchise Marketing Pilot Program Increases Web Traffic for Children’s Learning Center Franchise by +300%

Franchise Marketing Pilot Program Increases Web Traffic for Children’s Learning Center Franchise by +300%

Gideon Math & Reading Center is a learning center franchise for children that provides an affordable, individualized, and self-paced approach to mastering the basics of math and reading. In April 2021, SocialMadeSimple began a 90-day Pilot Program with the goal of providing measurable results in the form of scheduled student evaluations & increased brand awareness across participating franchisees.