When to Use Custom Audiences vs Lookalike Audiences in Facebook Ads

Facebook Advertising offers two tools to help you segment and target your ads, the Custom Audience and Lookalike Audience tools. When we talk to clients about a strategy with Facebook Ads, there always seems to be some confusion when custom and lookalike audiences are discussed. In this post, we’re talking about how custom audiences differ from lookalike audiences and when to use one versus the other.

Custom Audiences

The Custom Audience tool in Facebook is very powerful. Not only do they become the foundation for Lookalike audiences, but they also provide you with more than enough opportunity to include or exclude customer segments for highly relevant targeting.

You can use custom audiences to retarget your website traffic, commonly known as retargeting or remarketing. This allows you to target people that have visited your site but haven’t necessarily done what you want them to do.

For example, you can target people that added one or more items to their cart but never checked out. By creating a custom audience consisting of only those people, you can use a Facebook Ad to find them, offer them a special deal, and encourage them to come back to your website and complete the purchase.

Lookalike Audiences

The Lookalike Audience tool lets you reach new people who are likely to be interested in your brand, product, or website because they’re similar to a customer list you’ve already created. Lookalike audiences are built off of an existing custom audience, so you’ll need one of those first.

For example, let’s say you had a custom audience of everyone that has made a purchase from you. Facebook would then create a Lookalike Audience consisting of users that are similar to the people that have already bought something from you. Many marketers have found success using the Lookalike Audience tool because of its ability to target the right audience which leads to re

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