We’ve got a problem: Facebook lookalike audiences aren’t working like they used to.
Solution: Read this post (and maybe clear your afternoon because you’ll want to take action on these tips immediately!)
And we, like you, have found ourselves staring down at ads that were converting beautifully before the iOS14 updates.
Read on as we discuss why we said RIP Facebook lookalike audiences, why it’s hurting your business, and what to do to fix it.
Let’s get started!
Issue On Facebook Lookalike Audiences & How It May Be Hurting Small Biz
You may have noticed that your ads may not be performing as well as they have in the past, particularly if you’re using Facebook lookalike audiences.
Now, lookalikes used to be the best audience.
If you ran ads on Facebook, the lookalikes were your bread and butter.
They worked wonderfully to find new audiences and customers who behaved (online anyway) similarly to your known customers.
They really simplified the cold targeting process by helping us skip it completely (once we had an audience to work with).
RIP Facebook Lookalike Audiences? Why This Might Be Happening
This can all be summed up in 2 words. Privacy changes. Or Mark Zuckerberg.
Take your pick. Just kidding. Privacy is really the main cause.
If you didn’t know, FB made a bunch of updates during the tail end of last year after Apple announced massive privacy updates to iOS14.
Mostly, it’s making it harder for platforms to track your activity across other platforms, pages, and apps.
There are big pros to this as a consumer, but as a marketer, we’ve seen that it’s been a challenging change for a lot of businesses.
Here’s what they say at the top of their help page for creating Facebook lookalike audiences.
“The size of your lookalike source may decrease because it may not include some iOS 14 users.
Using it as a lookalike source will not affect your lookalike audience’s size, but may affect the accuracy of the lookalike audience.”
How To Fix This Issue In Facebook Lookalike Audiences
We know this all sounds like really awful news right now. But, hold out hope!
There are a few different fixes for this slump in performance due to your old Facebook lookalike audiences.
1. Use a Quality Source Audience
When you create a lookalike audience, you have to use a source audience.
The efficacy of your Facebook lookalike audiences is very dependent on the quality of that source.
That means if you’re doing things like building lookalike audiences from basic demographic data or interest data, FB may struggle to find the right people.
But, if you use an engagement source like page followers or video viewers, or even better, customer lists and value-based (like conversions) audience…
…your audience will refresh every 3 to 7 days as long as your ads are active.
You can check when it was last updated in the Audiences tab.
Caution: Do NOT buy customer lists for your email marketing.
It’s a big no-no (folks have to opt-in to your emails, i.e. they needed to consent to communication from you).
And it’s likely that they won’t ever become a customer. So why would you want to build a lookalike off of them?
Here’s more information on permission based email marketing that you might want to read next.
2. Expand Lookalikes (From 1% to 2%)
If you’re using a quality source audience but are still struggling with getting your Facebook lookalike audiences to convert…
…you can consider expanding your lookalike audience to 2%. Please note that each percentage you expand it by has fewer similarities.
We would recommend testing different expansion levels to see which performs better. We’re still sometimes surprised by results.
Plus, you need to collect data before you can say something definitely does or does not work for your audience and business.
Typically, the 1% group has the most conversions for the lowest cost, so if you only have money to run one lookalike ad, that’s what we would go with.
3. Automated Ads (Advantage Lookalikes)
Along with the changes, we outlined previously, Facebook is also leaning into automated ads…
…which utilize machine learning to automate parts (or all) of your ad.
There’s automated targeting.
You can automatically expand beyond your existing targeting or Facebook lookalike audiences if FB thinks your ads will perform better.
There are also fully automated campaigns. Facebook has created this flow to fully automate your ad creation process.
This is extra helpful if you’re just starting out or new in Facebook ads…
…and are overwhelmed by all of the options and dropdowns and alerts and everything else.
We will caution you, though, to check into your ads and to learn how to run your campaigns manually.
So have more control as you scale up or run more complex campaigns. Don’t just accept the automated audience as the best option.
It may be… but it also may not be. Go ahead and check out this post next to see some Facebook ad examples to help you decide which campaign to use.
That wraps up this post on Facebook lookalike audiences! If you want to know more Facebook and Instagram updates, be sure to read this post next.
Or you can also get in touch with us to help with your Facebook advertising. We’d love to hear from you!