Is Facebook lookalike audience giving you a headache?

It sure did give me a big headache. At Inbound Mantra, as part of our inbound marketing services for clients, Facebook is one of the primary sources of lead generation, especially when it comes to the consumer space. Right now I am working on a very tight niche for one of our clients. Facebook was successful in the Lead generation but lately has stopped giving results. I was disappointed.Maybe, we have exhausted our buyer persona on Facebook. Or maybe not? So, I researched for novel ways to target the buyer persona on Facebook and that is when I came to know about Facebook lookalike audience.

According to Facebook, "Lookalike Audience is a way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they're similar to customers you care about". I was excited to give it a shot. A prerequisite to making lookalike audience is a Facebook custom audience.I had a few custom audiences already done, with some approximate numbers.

  • Website Visitors ~ 20,000
  • Leads ~ 4,000
  • Customers ~ 300

I expectantly went to the Facebook Power Editor and clicked on 'Create lookalike audience'. In the custom audience field, I chose 'Website Visitors'.After a few nervous minutes, Facebook created the 'Lookalike Audience'. I was rubbing my hands excitedly as if I had ordered an ice cream.But, my hopes melted when I saw the lookalike audience number - 1.3 Million.

I did not give up. I tried again.This time, I used a lesser Custom Audience number in 'Leads'.Unfortunately, same result.I tried again, with 'Customers'.Same result! Facebook created a lookalike audience of 1.3 million in all the three cases. It was not the number I was looking for. Lookalike audience didn't work out.Here is the screenshot of lookalike audiences that captures my misery.

facebook Lookalike audience

This was a real headache because I was sure that Facebook lookalike audience will work out and our inbound marketing assignment would be back on track. I shared my disappointment with the Inbound Mantra team. We pledged to find some answers.Incidentally, during the same time, Mr. Massimo Chieruzzi (CEO of AdEspresso) was conducting an 'Ask Me Anything' session on Inbound.Org for Facebook Ads.We did not lose the opportunity. We popped out our problem.We are grateful that he answered them.

According to Massimo, Facebook lookalike audience creates a minimum of 1% of the total Facebook population of a Country. Thus, it does not work for a small niche.  It is most helpful in a consumer context where the custom audience numbers are even larger e.g. Apparel, E-commerce, Financial Services.Yes, we did not get the leads, but at least we had some answers.Time for some ice cream.

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