Devin Zander   September 6, 2017

The Simplest Way To Build HIGHLY Profitable Facebook Audiences.

In a previous post, we touched on the power of the Facebook pixel for your retargeting efforts, but in this article let’s unpack another of its strengths –creating lookalike audiences. But before we leap into the marketer’s bliss realm of video, email, page like and conversion lookalike audience building, let’s brush up on our basic pixel knowledge. It’s a super sophisticated piece of code that asks only to be cut and pasted to your landing pages – a simple task to execute. This Facebook pixel really makes a marketer’s life easier. There is a huge artificial intelligence, machine learning brain behind this short code that lets you find the right audience for your product or service on your e-commerce site.

The Titans of Targeting.

Facebook dominates targeting thanks to its wealth of information on their user’s demographics, location, behavior, and interests. Now you are used to targeting people whose information you have acquired, but the Facebook pixel allows you to target people you have absolutely no information about, but who are most certainly in the market for your offering. To have this incredible technology available to you requires only two steps:

First step: Set up your Facebook pixel in the Ad Manager.

Second step: Add your “event” code

The event code is what action you want the pixel to record for you. For example, you can build a lookalike audience based on those people who purchased your product from your e-commerce store. There are 9 events you can add to your page in order to gather data. They are View Content, Search, Add to Cart, Add to Wishlist, Initiate Checkout, Add Payment Info, Make Purchase, Lead and Complete Registration. When a user visits your site, Facebook is recording every single action they take. You could say they are doing all of the market research for you.

Building Your Pixel.

With the information the pixel is accumulating, you can easily retarget your ads to different groups depending on the action they take on your site. But we’re going to see how you can create an entirely new audience that are exactly the same as the ones who actually purchased your product. The Facebook pixel is going to deliver a ton of qualified leads into your lap in the form of a lookalike audience. In order for it to be effective, Facebook requires about 1,000 hits on your chosen event code to be able to have enough information to be able to create your new audience. This is often referred to as “building your pixel”.

Basically, Facebook gets the data generated from your ad campaign and looks at what those people all have in common based on their activity on Facebook. Perhaps they define 5 things that they all share. This would be almost impossible to deduce if you had to try and do this yourself. The pixel now starts to look for other people across the platform, who also share those 5 interests, and will go into your pool that will constitute your lookalike audience. On your own, you might not know that 90% of the people who bought your coffee machine all like taking holidays in Oregon. Obviously, you won’t get the actual individual’s contact information, Facebook just makes sure that your advertising gets in front of them.

How Does Facebook Know All About People?

Well, every time a user clicks on something, fills out their personal profile or searches a subject, that information is “stored” under their unique personal URL. Facebook can then target anyone based on their demographics, interests or behaviors. It’s all because Facebook wants to put relevant content in front of their users. But Facebook isn’t only getting their data from the individual user’s activity, they also purchase additional data from third parties that reveal customer behavior. Every time someone makes use of one of their loyalty cards or makes an online purchase, that data is collected and Facebook buys a ton of it. This makes their targeting efforts even more effective.

The Facebook Algorithm Miracle.

The user’s behavior (audience insights) is then defined by their reported demographics and interest, plus the 3rd party data. This yields a fortune of usable information for creating accurate lookalike audiences. There is an additional cost if you use all three of them together when you build your lookalike audience, but you can see that it would be well worth the cost because of how specific it can be at targeting your ideal e-commerce customer. The Facebook algorithm is a targeting miracle. It means that when you actually run your ad and it goes in front of this lookalike audience, there is a much greater chance they may click on your offer and purchase your product. The higher your relevance score the more Facebook makes your advertising efforts cheaper and highly targeted. Building lookalike audiences helps you to scale your advertising effectively.

Email Lookalike Audience.

Let’s take a look at the four types of lookalike audiences we mentioned earlier and how to set them up on your Facebook Ad Manager. First up: Creating a Custom Email Lookalike Audience

  • Go to the Audience Dashboard
  • Click Create Audience
  • Select Customer File
  • Add your email data either by uploading a file or importing it from Mailchimp
  • Map your identifiers like First and Last name and Email address
  • Click Upload & Create

Now that you have your original “audience” loaded you can start to create your lookalike one.

  • Click Lookalike audience
  • You’ll see custom email audience in the source field
  • Select target country
  • Choose audience size (start with a 1% lookalike and scale from there)
  • Click Create Audience

And it’s as easy as that. A couple of clicks and you’ll be accessing the power of the Facebook pixel!

Conversion Lookalike Audience.

Next up, you can create a Conversion Lookalike Audience. This audience is created from people who have completed a conversion event on your page.

You will first need to set up your source audience made up of the people who have completed one of these events. Of course, you have already installed the conversion tracking to be able to have the data for this lookalike audience.

  • Go to Audience Dashboard in the Facebook Ads Manager
  • Click Menu, then All Tools, then Audiences
  • Click Create Audience and Select Custom Audience
  • Select Website Traffic
  • Select Custom Combination
  • Click the URL drop-down menu
  • Select Event and choose the event action from which you wish to create an audience
  • In the last field, enter time parameter for how long people will be part of this audience
  • Select Include Past Website Traffic
  • Give your audience a name
  • Click Create Audience

Once this is complete, you need to build your Conversion Lookalike audience from the Audience’s Dashboard.

  • Click Lookalike audience
  • Select choose your custom website audience in the source field
  • Select target country
  • Choose audience size (start with a 1% lookalike and scale from there)
  • Click Create Audience

You will then receive a notification in your audience dashboard that you are ready to use the lookalike audience.

Video Lookalike Audience.

Facebook users consume over 100 million hours of video every day on this platform. As it is the best performing content on Facebook, having a video based campaign will be highly effective. Just like with Email and Conversion, you will need to create your original audience.

  • Go to Audience Dashboard in the Facebook Ads Manager
  • Click Menu, then All Tools, then Audiences
  • Click Create Audience and Select Custom Audience
  • Select Engagement on Facebook
  • Select Engagement Criteria
  • Choose videos from which you want to build your audience
  • Define the time period
  • Give your audience a name
  • Click Create Audience
  • You can select an audience based on their engagement levels: 3 seconds,10 seconds, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 95%. You will need to create a different audience for each engagement option.

You are all set to create your video lookalike audience:

  • Go to Audiences Dashboard
  • Click Lookalike Audience
  • Select choose your custom video audience, you have just created, in the source field
  • Select target country
  • Choose audience size (start with a 1% lookalike and scale from there)
  • Click Create Audience

Are you starting to see just how easy this process is and the immense benefits for your e-commerce store?

Page Likes Lookalike Audiences.

This lookalike audience is simple to set up because they are drawn directly from your fans on your business Facebook page. For this Lookalike Audience set up, you don’t actually have to create your source audience.

  • Go to Audience Dashboard in Ads Manager
  • Click Create Audience
  • Select Lookalike Audience
  • Select your Page Name from the dropdown list
  • Select target country
  • Choose audience size (start with a 1% lookalike and scale from there)
  • Click Create Audience

Scaling Up.

It goes without saying that the larger your source audience, the greater the quality of your lookalike audience. Once you see how successfully your 1% (closely defined) lookalike audience in your target market is faring, you can start to scale up.

We are big fans of Facebook Advertising and its miracle pixel. We are always on the look out to offer our clients a competitive advantage in the e-commerce space, and that’s what the lookalike audience gives you.

Take a look at our new Shopify upsell app. When your Facebook advertising draws in the multitudes from your lookalike audience efforts, you want to be ready to upsell. We’d like to show you how. Click here to receive a FREE 30-Day Trial.

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3 Responses

Richard Humphreys

September 7, 20179:22 am

Great post, Devin. Just what I was looking for.


November 2, 20178:27 pm