Facebook Lookalike Audiences & Pixel: Simple tools to attract and retain new fans

Brands are seeing a grim trend on the world’s most popular social network: the decline of organic reach on Facebook. Take this assessment from Kurt Gessler, Deputy Editor for Digital News at the Chicago Tribune:

To try to get a handle on the nature of the issue, I decided to download 15 months of Facebook post data. Then I merged the 30 CSV files and sorted the organic post data into four buckets: less than 10,000 reach, 10,001–25,000, 25,001-50,000 and 50,001+. The results literally stunned me. The number of posts that fell into the category of lowest efficacy—the ones seen by the fewest number of people — was skyrocketing.

In December of 2016, we had only 8 posts with 10,000 reach or less. In January of 2017, that had grown to 80. In February, 159. And in March, a ridiculous 242 posts were seen by fewer than 10,000 people. And while late 2016 saw record lows in that lowest quartile, that 242 is far above any prior month in our dataset. And we were seeing a steady decrease in that 25,001 to 50,000 quartile. That had gone from 248 in January 2016 to 141 in March 2017.

Facebook Organic Reach Decline

Flustered by a constantly changing and ambiguous algorithm, page owners have sought new ways to refine their approach and reach influential fans and loyal customers.

Facebook Lookalike Audiences and the Pixel have proven to be particularly effective for pages looking to optimize their presence on Facebook.

Though both require some degree of tinkering and refining, both Lookalike Audiences and the Pixel can help brands create a more efficient and fine-tuned promotional effort.

What are Facebook Lookalike Audiences?

Lookalike Audiences are comprised of untapped Facebook users who may be interested in your page because of similarities to those already interacting with your page.

The Lookalike Audience is composed using a source audience—such as fans of your page—which Facebook analyzes to pinpoint the commonalities between them. Facebook then uses this data to find people who “lookalike” in your chosen country or countries.

The size of a Lookalike Audience is determined during the setup process. A smaller audience will more closely resemble the fans of your page, while a larger audience (higher percentage) will increase the reach potential but lower the strength of the initial connection to your source audience.

Facebook can stretch the data to create up to 500 Lookalike Audiences from a single source audience.

Setting Up a Lookalike Audience

1) Head to the Audiences section in the Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor system.

2) Under Create Audience, select the option Lookalike Audience:

Facebook Lookalike Audience3) Choose your Source Audience, which can vary from your Facebook pixel data, your mobile app data, or fans of your page. Your Source Audience must be a minimum size in order to create a Lookalike Audience from it.

4) Choose the country or countries that will comprise your Lookalike Audience.

5) Set the audience size as a percentage of your targeted location. A smaller percentage will be the closest to your original source audience, but with less potential for higher reach.

6) Wait. Lookalike Audiences can take 30 minutes to 24 hours to generate, after which it will refresh every 3 to 7 days as long as ads are still using it.

From there, you can use your Lookalike Audiences as you see fit across different campaigns.

What is the Facebook Pixel?

The Facebook pixel is a piece of code for your website that will help you glean insights on the effectiveness on your Facebook advertising campaigns. More importantly, the pixel’s behavior tracking will allow you to advertise to visitors later in a process known as “retargeting.”

Though the pixel process may seem daunting at first, the capabilities of the technology make the pixel an essential piece of your digital footprint. As Facebook notes, with the pixel you can:

  • Measure cross-device conversions: See how your customers are moving between devices before they convert.
  • Optimize delivery to people likely to take action: Ensure your ads are being seen by people most likely to take the action you want them to take, like purchase or fill out a lead form.
  • Automatically build audiences for website visitors to retarget: Create Custom Audiences for people who take specific actions on your website, like visited a product page, added to cart or purchased a product.
  • Create Lookalike Audiences: Find more people who similar to your best customers
  • Run dynamic product ads: Create relevant and timely ads on Facebook based on the products people have viewed or searched for on your website.
  • Access Audience Insights: Get rich insights about the people who visit your website.

What will cause my Facebook Pixel to fire?

The Facebook Pixel features three core functions:

1) Website Custom Audiences

The Facebook Pixel will allow you to create custom audiences based on your website visitors with a very high level of specificity. These include:

  • Website visitors in the last 24 hours
  • Website visitors in the last 180 days who have not been back in 30 or more days
  • Visitors to a specific page on your website
  • Visitors to one specific page on your website, but not another

From these options, Facebook offers the ability to create many different combinations of targeting.

2) Custom Conversions

With custom conversions, you can track various conversions on your website, from leaving a comment to placing an order.

This information provides a detailed look at what percentage of people are converting and how they’re converting after ending up on your website through an ad.

3) Standard Events

Standard events comprise the most advanced component of the Facebook Pixel. By adding extra code to certain links on your website, you can track an additional nine types of conversions, including:

If you’re looking to set up the Facebook Pixel, Facebook offers a detailed guide for its installation on the Facebook Business website.

Want to get involved with Facebook Lookalike Audiences and the Facebook Pixel but need guidance? 816 offers full-scale social media management and optimization plans for brands looking to bolster their Facebook marketing efficiency.

22-year veteran of strategy: brand, business, organizational, communications. Certified in project management and regulatory compliance. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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