Broad Targeting Beats Lookalikes: The Future of Facebook Audience Targeting

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Facebook offers a variety of audience targeting options for advertisers. However, choosing the right targeting method can make a big difference in the success of your campaigns. Two of the most popular targeting options are Lookalike and Broad targeting. While Lookalikes have been the preferred choice for many businesses in the past, the reality is that Broad targeting is now the better choice. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the details of Lookalike and Broad targeting, compare their pros and cons. After that explain why Broad targeting is the future of Facebook audience targeting. We’ve analyzed massive datasets to bring you the latest insights on what works best for businesses, and we’re confident that this information will help you make informed decisions about your Facebook advertising strategy. So let’s start: Broad or Lookalike audience?

broad or lookalike audience difference

Lookalike targeting is a type of audience targeting on Facebook that allows advertisers to reach people who are similar to their existing customers. Advertisers create a Lookalike audience by uploading a list of their existing customers, leads, or website visitors, and Facebook then finds people who have similar interests and behaviors. The Lookalike audience can be customized to target a specific percentage of the population that is most similar to your existing customers, with options ranging from 1% to 10% Lookalike audience.

On the other hand, Broad targeting allows advertisers to reach a wide audience by targeting multiple interests, behaviors, and demographics at once. With Broad targeting, you have more control over who sees your ads and can reach a wider audience than with Lookalike targeting. We prefer broad targeting to be as broad as possible – putting only age and gender limitations.

Historical Context: The Rise and Fall of Lookalike Targeting

In the past, Lookalike targeting was considered the best option for Facebook advertisers. But with changes to the Facebook algorithm and a focus on privacy and data protection, Broad targeting has emerged as the better choice for many businesses. While Lookalike targeting can still be a valuable tool for some businesses, the reality is that Broad targeting offers increased control, improved performance, and better results.

Broad or Lookalike? Key metrics analysis

When it comes to choosing between Lookalike and Broad targeting, the answer is clear – if you want to maximize your return on ad spend (ROAS), you should be running Broad targeting. Our analysis shows that on average, Broad targeting has a higher ROAS (113%) than Lookalike targeting (76%), with comparable CTR (around 1%).

Lookalikes have a higher average CPM (45% higher) which negatively impacts overall ROAS and decreases results, making Broad targeting the more effective option for most businesses. So, if you’re looking to achieve the best results for your Facebook advertising campaigns, forget about Lookalikes and start using Broad targeting!

Do Lookalike audiences cost more?

On average, yes. Lookalikes tend to have a higher CPM (45% higher) compared to Broad targeting, which can increase the cost of your campaigns.

Are Lookalike audiences cheaper?

It depends on how we define “cheap.” In the case of high CTR (which is not probable) on your lookalike audience, you may get a lower cost per click. However, since Lookalikes target more narrowly, CPM will always be higher, and on average, ROAS will be lower. As a result, you will pay more to acquire a customer. 

All in all, Lookalike audiences are more likely to be an “expensive” targeting option compared to broad targeting.

Lookalike Best Practices

We know some of you may be stubborn and just won’t listen to our advice about why Broad targeting is the better choice. If you’re set on using Lookalike targeting, here are some best practices to help you get the most out of your campaigns:

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Use a high-quality source list: Your Lookalike audience is only as good as the source list you use to create it. Make sure to use a high-quality list of your best customers or leads. Don’t create lookalikes of your website traffic – since around 55% of your visitors bounce, you’ll create completely irrelevant Lookalikes of people who bounced from your website.

Start with a 1% Lookalike audience: It’s always a good idea to start small and test different sizes of Lookalike audiences to see which works best for your business. Start with a 1% Lookalike audience, which is the audience that is 1% most similar to your source list. If that one doesn’t work, 5% or 10% probably won’t work either.

Monitor and optimize regularly: Like any other advertising campaign, it’s important to continually monitor and optimize your Lookalike campaigns to achieve the best results. Keep an eye on your performance metrics, adjust your targeting as needed, and always be looking for ways to improve.

The minimum number of people needed for lookalikes

The minimum number of people you need for a Lookalike audience is 100, but the size of your source list can greatly impact the quality of your Lookalike audience. Based on our experience, a source list between 5,000 and 20,000 works best. A source list of fewer than 5,000 people may be too narrow and biased towards just a few hundred customers, while a source list of more than 20,000 people may be too broad and not capture the true value of your audience.

In conclusion, for the best results, aim for a source list size of between 5,000 and 20,000 people when creating your Lookalike audience.

Time to populate Lookalike audience

It typically takes 24-48 hours for a Lookalike audience to populate, but it can take longer if your source list is large.

When to Use Lookalike Targeting

While Broad targeting is the more effective audience type for most businesses, there may be certain situations where Lookalike targeting makes more sense. Here are some circumstances when it might be appropriate to use Lookalike targeting:

Specific target audience: If you have a very specific target audience and are looking to reach individuals who are similar to your best customers, leads, or top 5% of website visitors, Lookalike targeting can be a useful tool.

Limited budget: If you have a limited budget and need to focus your advertising spend on a more narrowly defined audience, Lookalike targeting can help you do so.

Final thoughts: Broad or Lookalike? Pros and Cons

In conclusion, while Lookalike targeting can be useful for businesses with a specific target audience or a limited budget, Broad targeting is the more effective choice for most businesses. 

Maximize Your Advertising Results with Lebesgue

At Lebesgue, we are dedicated to helping businesses achieve the best possible results from their advertising campaigns. Our AI-powered solution analyzes the latest marketing trends and data to determine what really works, and its continuously monitors your campaigns to maximize your return on ad spend (ROAS).

Whether you’re looking to run Facebook Ads, Google Ads, TikTok Ads or any other type of advertising campaign, Lebesgue can help you achieve better results and grow your business. Don’t waste your time and resources on ineffective advertising tactics – use Lebesgue to improve your ROAS, minimize unnecessary ad spent and drive real results for your business.

Maximize Your Advertising Results with Lebesgue​


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