How to build a Facebook look-alike audience

What is a look-alike audience?

A Look-alike audience is an audience that is similar in some ways to the original one.

Let me explain with an example. Let’s say you need to receive orders. You upload to the advertising account information about those users who have already made an order with you. The social media algorithm finds out what your customers have in common (place of residence, interests, behavior on the Internet), and makes a selection of users who have not ordered anything from you yet but are similar in some characteristics to your customers.

There is an algorithm that can collect similar audiences on Facebook and Instagram.

Practice shows that Facebook defines look-alike audiences quite accurately. That is, users collected using look-alike respond well to targeted ads.

However, it’s important to choose the right target audience for your look-alike ads to be effective as well.

What are the initial look-alike audiences?

You yourself determine the initial audience, on the basis of which you form a look-alike. Here are the main criteria for selecting a target audience:

  • interacted with your social media profile;
  • performed certain actions on the site (for example, paid for the goods, went to a certain page, clicked on the “Call” button);
  • watched videos on Facebook or Instagram;
  • downloaded your application;
  • are subscribers of competitors 

This is not a complete list of possible similar audiences that you can collect.

How to choose the right audience

There are no exact recommendations for choosing a look-alike audience for a specific task, it remains only to test: collect several look-alike audiences for different reasons, run the same ad on them and compare the results. The more accurately the initial audience is chosen, the better the result it will give.

It is important to understand what goal you want to achieve and choose the right target audience for that goal. For example, if you want as many users as possible to watch videos in targeted ads, create a source audience from users who have watched similar videos on the social network.

The size of the initial look-alike audience must be at least 100 people. Facebook recommends using an initial audience of 1,000 or more for a look-alike. In this case, the algorithm is more likely to find the right users.

How to create a Facebook look-alike audience

Before you can create a look-alike audience, you need to build your original audience.

In the Audiences section, select a source audience.

How to build a Facebook look-alike audience

In the upper-right drop-down list, select the line “Create a similar audience”.

How to build a Facebook look-alike audience

Next, you need to choose:

  • The country from which the audience will be gathering. Please note that the city cannot be specified. If you have a local business, do not forget to specify the city when launching targeted advertising.
  • Audience size. It should be clarified here that the percentages (from 1 to 10%) that are shown in the window have nothing to do with the audience interest rate or the sample size. Many budding targeting experts are confused by these percentages, so let’s take an example.

    If we choose 1%, then the social network algorithm collects for us the audience most similar to the original one, but the sample will be small. If we choose 10%, the audience will become significantly larger, but there will be less overlap in characteristics with the original one.

Usually, when choosing 1%, Facebook selects 160-180 thousand users who are most similar to the original audience. The lower the percentage, the more a similar audience will be selected. If you choose 2%, the sample is doubled (320 thousand people). Accordingly, the likelihood that the audience will turn out to be similar is reduced. Choosing 3% triples the size, and decreases the likelihood that a similar audience will gather. And so on up to 10%.

In my experience, 1% of the audience gives the best results. But I recommend testing different percentages. Perhaps, in your segment, audiences similar to 1% and 2% or more will show the same result.

If the original audience is too small (less than 100 users), then Facebook will alert you that the look-alike audience cannot be created.

When the look-alike audience has formed, you can edit its name and add a description to use later.

How to use a look-alike audience

Look-alike audience is used for targeted advertising. To create an advertisement for a look-alike audience, in the ” Audiences ” section, select the previously created look-alike audience and click on the “Create advertisement” button in the upper right menu.

How to build a Facebook look-alike audience

You can also specify a look-alike audience when creating an advertisement from  Ads Manager.


We figured out how to build a look-alike audience on Facebook. Any audiences and goals should be tested, and long-ago collected look-alike databases should be updated: new users appear, interests change, network algorithms are updated. Working with a Facebook advertising account requires experience and knowledge. It is best to entrust this work to professionals