Like you, we’ve read all of the Facebook marketing guides that descend into something we’ve all seen a million times before. Considering the depth of the Facebook marketing system, it’s a shame that these articles barely scratch the surface. With this in mind, we’ve started a new advanced Facebook marketing series of guides and this first one is all about event-based lookalike audiences.
Traditionally, targeting a cold audience with advertising material was a risk. From the beginning, we knew that only a tiny percentage would have an interest in what we had to say. What’s more, an even smaller percentage would pursue this interest and potentially spend money. With lookalike audiences, we have an opportunity to target a not-so-cold audience. Why? Because we base the new audience on our existing one.
These days, it’s possible to track specific actions using conversion tracking and Facebook Pixel. For example, let’s say that you value leads, purchases, or another action as a business. Soon enough, you’ll have a full group of people who have all performed this action. From here, we look for identifiers and commonalities between them as a basis to find even more potential leads.
In simple terms, we’re creating a custom audience based on a specific action or event. Then, we go to Lookalike Audiences on Facebook and create an audience based on this same group. Like a normal campaign, it’s possible to target specific audience sizes and locations with a new campaign. By starting with a 1% lookalike audience, we are reaching out to those with the most similarities to our custom audience. As time goes on, we can spread farther afield and find those with loose similarities to the custom audience. However, we need to be careful when scaling lookalike audiences.
Should you just increase the percentage to scale lookalike audiences? It’s a delicate balance. Increasing the percentage will certainly allow your campaign to reach more people, but be aware, these people will become more and more distant from your ideal customer. With fewer similarities to the custom audience, conversion rates will fall, and the investment isn’t utilized as well. By increasing the percentage from 1% to 3%, for instance, you’re replacing quality with quantity.
Eventually, by increasing the percentage too much, some businesses reach the point of diminishing returns and may as well remove the custom audience because it no longer has an effect. The key to scaling event-based lookalike audiences is finding the balance between quality and quantity; this is your super lookalike audience.
As the name suggests, a super lookalike audience brings together several lookalike audiences to form one valuable, heroic collection. As you may know, the Facebook algorithm is incredibly advanced and can handle everything we throw at it. With each day, it will continually learn and put your ad in the right location. You can help the algorithm’s accuracy by specifying characteristics and clearly defining the type of person you want to target.
A super lookalike audience has strong similarities to your existing audience, and this is why conversion and click-through rates are generally higher. As the audience is given a low CPM, ad set performance increases further and the whole cycle begins again.
As well as creating a super lookalike audience, you can also scale your event-based lookalike audiences using the following methods.
A super lookalike audience is the better option, but that’s not to say that results don’t come from increasing the lookalike percentage. As long as you’re careful and keep an eye on the analytics, try increasing the percentage to 2% or even beyond. Also, don’t be afraid to move back to 1% at some point since this is normally the best performing audience.
One mistake some businesses tend to make with Facebook campaigns is that they target people who took a specific action over the past week or month alone. In our experience, there’s nothing wrong with extending this period right up to one year (unless you’re using website visitors where 180 days is the maximum). Remember, different ad sets will allow you to test between 365 days, seven days, 90 days, and more.
Sometimes, businesses get so caught up with changing the campaign that they forget about the seed audience. Especially if some time has passed since creating the lookalike audience campaign, the audience generated by a specific event may have altered. As your buyer persona changes over time, play around with the seed audience, and keep finding those relevant to the business.
In addition to updating the custom audience within the same event, you can also change the event itself. For example, ad engagers may bring a slight difference compared to social page data, email lists, or website visitors.
Finally, another way to scale event-based lookalike audiences is to try out a new region or country. Of course, this option isn’t suited to all businesses, but those who are available in different countries can certainly give it a go. After starting with the best-converting country, expand to other regions. While doing this, remember to keep high CPM and low CPM regions separated.
A good idea is to create combinations based on language; for example, English is spoken in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Additionally, results often come from adjusting all four of these settings together. With region, seed audience, lookalike percentage, and recency of data, you have a chance to create different combinations and really drain Facebook of all those with a potential interest in your service.
To finish this guide, we’ve listed some of the best audiences to target with custom audiences. Especially with lookalike audiences, using people who have taken these actions should help to find others who will convert or click through.
With this, you bring together everybody who started the buying process without actually seeing it through. For example, this could include people who entered the checkout phase and even those who simply added a product to their cart. Facebook allows us to choose either “Initiate Checkout”or “Add to Cart” as an action for custom audiences, so it’s up to you which you want to add.
While the first group didn’t see the checkout process through, this second group did and are now customers of your brand. We think it’s advantageous to include both groups because, even though the first group didn’t convert, they still had enough interest to add a product to their cart and start the buying process.
When you first click into website custom audiences, the default option is all website visitors. In many guides, you’ll see marketers suggesting page views as a targeting option. We appreciate that not all small businesses have the traffic for this, so choosing website visitors is a good enough replacement. With website visitors, we come to another battle between quality and quantity when choosing a timeframe. While a short timeframe will be more relevant, it will also be a smaller audience compared to a longer timeframe.
Blogs have lots of value, and they’re about to prove it again by providing a possible custom audience opportunity. With this option, your custom audience includes all those who have either visited specific blog pages or the blog itself. Building a lookalike audience based on this custom audience will help to find others who could become long-term readers (and perhaps more!).
Sometimes, consumers visit the contact page of a website without actually completing the contact form or getting in touch. If you’re not interested in the contact page, you can change this for another specific page of the website. As noted previously, consumers who have visited the contact page have had an interest in the business at some point so it’s good to find others with similarities.
When using lookalike audiences on Facebook this year, one of the most important tips is to get the seed audience right. Event-based lookalike audiences help with this, but it’s still too easy to stray from your goals. With the wrong seed audience, all new leads won’t convert, and you’ll waste the marketing budget.
Elsewhere, we recommend keeping up with the performance of ad sets. The more proactive you are with the management of this process, the easier it will be to spot errors and poorly performing ads. When scaling, don’t forget to consider super lookalike audiences while also playing with the four areas in this guide!
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