Lookalike Audiences: Mirroring the Success of Retargeting and More

Find people who look like your ideal client.

Reaching the right audience at the right time with online ads is easier said than done. It’s not enough for ads to generate thousands of impressions. You have to make sure the ads show up on pages browsed by people who are likely to be interested in what you offer. This whole process can be tricky, but it’s doable. In recent years, it has become more doable, thanks to lookalike audiences on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. 

Lookalike Targeting: Mirroring the Success of Retargeting

Ever wonder why ads from a certain brand keep on showing up on your Facebook newsfeed or on articles you’re reading online? That is the result of that brand’s powerful retargeting campaign. 

Retargeting is an online advertising method that makes your ads target people who recently visited your website. It works by reminding those prospects about your business and encourages them to return to your website through a promise of a discount or an eye-catching, laser-focused ad copy.

Retargeting reaches people who are already familiar with your brand. But what if you want to reach new audiences who are likely to be interested in your business but aren’t familiar yet with your brand? This is where lookalike audience comes in. It mirrors the success of a strong retargeting campaign and more. 

A lookalike audience is an algorithmically assembled group of people who resemble, in some way, your current customers. The network where you run your ads matches information about your existing website or social media page visitors to network members to see people who have similar traits and behaviours. 

Say, you want to run Facebook ads targeted to lookalike audiences. All you need to do is create a customer group to serve as a base; the larger the sample size is, the more accurate the picture of lookalikes will be. Facebook will then automatically show your ads to its members belonging to your lookalike audience.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and other advertising networks don’t always share the exact data points they use. They might, however, use basic information such as location, age and recent sites visited to find users who look and act like your existing customers — and build a more targeted audience for your ads. 

Get the Best Out of Your Lookalike Audiences

If you want to expand your market reach online, lookalike audience targeting is a great help. But make sure you’re getting the best out of your ad spend by learning the best practices depending on the platform. Here are some helpful tips in using lookalike audience in a few advertising networks:

  • Select a source audience on Facebook that matches your goal 

Facebook has tons of data to work on to build a lookalike audience for your business. Source audience options include page fans, video views, event responses and purchases. But you must aim for a source audience or create a base audience that closely matches your goal. For instance, if you run an e-commerce shop on Facebook and want better conversions for your ads, use value-based lookalikes.

The value-based lookalike feature categorises your source audience depending on the value of their purchase. Say, you want to run an ad for your $1000 tablet. The value-based lookalike feature will create a lookalike audience based only on the people in your source audience who have recently purchased a product worth around $1000, not those who bought $10 or $20 items. This means your ads are more likely to reach lookalikes with the purchasing power that matches the value of the product being advertised. 

  • Choose LinkedIn’s lookalikes to reach the right professional audience 

The lookalike model of LinkedIn is based on accurate professional and company information. When members and companies complete their LinkedIn profile, they provide valuable information on their profession, company industry, educational background, skills, work history and interests. They give such information because accurate, up-to-date profiles translate to more job and networking opportunities. 

You can further refine your lookalike audience by adding professional targeting options, such as job titles or functions. Some traits like age and gender are, however, not provided by LinkedIn members and not used in the lookalike model. Nevertheless, LinkedIn can help you reach the right professional audience. 


  • Refine your marketing lists for lookalike audiences on Google


Also called “similar audiences,” lookalike audiences on Google are automatically identified through existing retargeting lists. Google considers a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Minimum of 100 visitors in a retargeting list
  • Whether these visitors recently joined your retargeting list
  • The types of websites these visitors browsed
  • The said retargeting list must be owned by your Google Ads account, not shared

Revisit your retargeting list strategy on Google Ads. This strategy will influence the type of users Google will generate to be similar audiences for your business. Start a similar audience campaign with your most successful lists or those with the largest number of users. But then again, make sure these lists are aligned with the goals of the ads created specifically for similar audiences to achieve better results. 

Take Advantage of Informed Targeting for Better Ad Spend

While you might have a good idea of who your ideal buyers are, lookalike audiences push the boundaries and turn that idea into a clearer picture — one you can access and even target in many platforms online. 

Take advantage of Facebook, Google and other platforms’ massive customer data to help you find high-qualified leads you previously wouldn’t have been able to tap. Reaching the right audience at the right moment comes with a cost. But with informed targeting through lookalike audiences, you can lower that cost through optimised ad spend and lower the cost of lead acquisition. More importantly, you can connect to the right market for your business at the right moment of their buyer’s journey. 


Let ZipSites Help Find Lookalikes for Your Business

As specialists in convert rate optimisation and pay-per-click advertising, we will help you find lookalike audiences for your business. Our team has the right skillset and experience to navigate through all the technical components of smart ad targeting, such as the use of lookalike audiences, to lower the cost of getting new leads and new customers for your business. Give us a call. Let’s talk about your goals today.

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