Utilizing lookalike audiences to reverse the advertising and marketing funnel and generate high quality leads


As entrepreneurs, we obtained used to letting social media platforms (and Fb specifically, a.ok.a. Meta) do our work for us.

We let these platforms observe the shopper journey from our adverts all the way in which to conversion. We allow them to watch. We allow them to be taught and we let the algorithm optimize and goal the correct viewers.

The algorithm did every little thing. It was comfy and simple.

On the very starting, Fb used to share that info with us and we may be taught concurrently the algorithm discovered. We used to have the ability to analyze our viewers, our followers, what they appreciated, what age they had been, what gender, marital standing, what different web sites they visited, and what different pages they adopted. We knew as a lot because the algorithm did.

However then that info was now not accessible. But we didn’t care as a result of the algorithm was doing its factor and we had been getting wonderful outcomes. So we obtained comfy, too comfy.

Quick ahead to April 2021 and the iOS 14.5 launch

The world for entrepreneurs utilizing Meta imploded a bit.

For some, it imploded lots.

Customers needed to be requested for permission to be tracked throughout apps and web sites and 95% of them determined to not give such permission within the U.S. (84% worldwide).

Since then, social media platforms have had horrible visibility into what is occurring to people who click on on an advert. As soon as they go away Meta that’s just about it!

Meta has carried out some work to supply estimates. However in my expertise issues like touchdown web page arrivals and even conversion attributions are removed from the actual numbers (due to Google Analytics and UTMs for the backup monitoring potential).

Curiosity-based concentrating on is likely one of the few instruments we now have left.

So the speculation is to feed the funnel with chilly leads on the model consciousness stage in order that they stream by means of the funnel and convert with out obstacles.

There may be one downside: as a result of algorithms nonetheless have bother figuring out optimistic interplay from detrimental interplay and, for that matter, they’ve bother understanding context – engagement and curiosity with a specific model could not imply that they wish to be approached by that model.

Curiosity-based advertising and marketing is an efficient place to begin however misses the mark many instances.

Researchers analyzed the accuracy of Fb exercise on their interest-based adverts and located that just about 30% of pursuits Fb listed weren’t actual pursuits. That implies that in case your advert relies on the listing of pursuits, you may miss the mark about 30% of the time.

This research is the primary of its form and has a comparatively small dataset, however taking a look at feedback and the engagement generated in interest-based adverts I’ve run, I see the most important share of confused and sad feedback on this advert set, so NC State is onto one thing right here.

In the event you obtained up to now of the article, you could be re-thinking your life selections as a paid social media marketer.

Nevertheless, there’s something nonetheless very helpful within the platforms:

Lookalike audiences

Fb could not have as a lot details about your converters because it did earlier than, however you – or your purchasers – do! 

As a substitute of feeding this theoretical funnel to chilly audiences, let’s go to the top of the funnel and discover individuals just like the converters.

The method is analogous in all platforms:

  • Get your seed listing of converters.
  • Create a customized viewers with this listing by importing it to your social media platform of selection.
  • The platform will match the data to what they learn about every particular person within the platform (mostly e-mail or telephone quantity).
  • There are minimal matches wanted for this listing to be legitimate and every platform has its personal guidelines for this.
  • As soon as the customized viewers is created and legitimate we are able to generate a lookalike viewers the place we inform the platform “discover individuals with related profiles” to the individuals on this listing.

By creating lookalike audiences we’re taking the funnel and tipping it the wrong way up. We begin on the backside and generate an inventory of chilly audiences so much like our present converters that they could be virtually thought-about heat audiences.

We are actually utilizing the social media platforms to assist us create personas based mostly on knowledge we all know is correct after which concentrating on them.

Platforms know lots about our habits inside the platform. They aren’t excellent, however these platform-generated personas are far more correct than inferred pursuits.


As a result of you aren’t concentrating on one curiosity, one ingredient, that might be irrelevant 30% of the time. You might be concentrating on a bunch of parts, pursuits or platform behaviors. That considerably reduces inaccuracy.

After doing A/B exams between interest-based audiences and lookalike audiences I can inform that I’ve had outcomes enhance as much as 40% for some lookalike audiences. Typically the outcomes are as small as 15% however I’ll take any enhancements and effectivity I can get when optimizing my adverts.

Wouldn’t this give an excessive amount of management again to the algorithms?

Are we setting ourselves up for a similar situation we had pre-iOS 14.5 by letting algorithms run our paid media? Sure and no.

  • There’s a little little bit of belief we’re giving again to the algorithms, however now we all know to not put all of our eggs in a single basket. We all know that pursuits recognized by Fb are nonetheless 60-70% correct, so understanding your viewers’s curiosity may be very legitimate, even when we miss the mark somewhat bit.
  • Audiences shift, their pursuits change, and we ought to be shifting with them. Are you able to inform me your viewers appears the identical now because it did in 2019? My suggestion is to make use of lookalike audiences as typically as doable however complement them with interest-based adverts and repeatedly A/B check their effectivity.

Contemplate your marketing campaign goal

Typically lookalike audiences are good at changing however is probably not nearly as good at engagement.

In a single A/B break up check I run, the curiosity based mostly viewers had 30% increased value per click on however the price of optimistic engagement was double. This viewers wasn’t changing, they had been spreading the message.

We not solely want audiences that observe the funnel path to conversion successfully, typically we additionally want audiences that cheer us on and assist us unfold consciousness.

Please contemplate this earlier than utilizing lookalikes

A lookalike viewers relies on a customized listing (seed listing), and this listing ought to solely be created with knowledge you personal and have permission to make use of.

Verify every platform’s insurance policies relating to customized lists to grasp this higher.

Hold your lists and privateness coverage up to date

If individuals unsubscribe out of your communications, have a plan to replace your lookalike audiences.

If individuals don’t wish to hear from you, then why would you wish to promote to anyone with the identical profile?

Keep in mind: Platforms change over time, so we should evolve with them to remain related and typically meaning going again to fundamentals. Good luck on the market.

Watch: Utilizing lookalike audiences to reverse the advertising and marketing funnel and generate high quality leads

Under is the entire video of my SMX Superior presentation.

Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor writer and never essentially Search Engine Land. Employees authors are listed right here.

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About The Creator

Naira Perez has been in advertising and marketing for nearly 20 years. She has labored with purchasers from a number of industries and Fortune 500 manufacturers. She obtained her begin in direct response promoting, constructing manufacturers on TV, radio and print earlier than digital was even a factor. In 2016, she based SpringHill, which specialised within the growth and implementation of digital advertising and marketing methods like paid media, built-in marketing campaign design and figuring out viewers patterns. In 2021, she joined the Portland Path Blazers as Sr. Digital Advertising Supervisor to assist develop their modern and increasing digital advertising and marketing division.


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