How to create a Facebook and Instagram look-a-like audience for targeting

When launching targeted ads, it is important that the message reaches the target audience. Several specialists are involved in this process – a targetologist (configures the parameters of the advertising campaign), a copywriter (writes the ad text), a designer (creates ad creatives).

To show ads to target audiences, and not to everyone in a row, is the targetologist’s task. One of the tools that can help accomplish this task is look-a-like targeting. In this article, we will tell you how it works and how to set up a look-a-like for launching ads on Facebook and Instagram.

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What is a look-a-like audience

Look-a-like Is an audience that is similar in its behavioral factors, interests and other characteristics to your target audience.

These are your potential customers who are most likely to be interested in your ad offer.

Important: look-a-like is created from the initial base, that is, when creating a similar audience, the algorithms that select it must be based on something. The source can be your existing database, purchased or collected using parsers.

What base is suitable for collecting a similar audience:

  • existing customers who have already made purchases from you, for example, customers from the CRM base;
  • people who interacted with the ad post – followed the link, left a like or comment, filled out the form. They might not have bought anything, but they showed interest in advertising, so they should also be considered;
  • were on the site for a long time – they chose products, switched between pages;
  • installed a mobile application (if any);
  • interacted with your Instagram profile.
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It is interesting: How to set up retargeting on Instagram

How to create a look-a-like audience for Facebook and Instagram ads

Step-by-step instruction:

Step 1… We go to the Facebook business manager. On the main page, click on the “More tools” tab.

Step 2… Find the “Audiences” tab.

Building a Facebook audience

Step 3… Ads Manager is loading. In it, click on the blue button “Create audience”.

How to create an Instagram audience in Facebook Ads Manager

Step 4… In the pop-up window, click “Similar audience”.

Building a Lookalike Audience

Step 5… Choosing a source for a new audience. For the first collection of the base, press “Create a new source”. In the future, you can select existing ones.

Choosing a source for a new audience

Step 6… Choose an audience type – just a custom audience, for example, those who interacted with the site / ad or a custom audience with LTV (similar audience of the most valuable customers).

What is meant by LTV are customers who have already made purchases (for example, regular customers). You can sample by the frequency and amount of receipts and create a similar audience based on this data.

For now, let’s focus on just a custom audience. Algorithms need to build on something to form a similar audience. Choose a source database with 1,000+ users (up to 50,000 is enough).

Step 7… We select the type of source, 2 are available – our sources and Facebook sources.

Your sources:

  • site – to collect data from the site, you need to install the Facebook pixel on it;
  • the list of clients is your own database as a file;
  • actions in the application – the base of users who launched the application or performed actions in it, for example, paid for a subscription;
  • offline actions – people who interacted with your business not via the Internet (contacted by phone, went to retail outlets).
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Facebook sources:

  • video – people who watched videos on Instagram and FB;
  • Instagram account – the audience that interacted with your profile;
  • Lead generation form – people who opened or filled out a form after clicking on an advertisement;
  • events – the audience that participated in your events in the FB;
  • Instant Experience – interaction with this ad format;
  • Facebook page – people who follow or interact with the page;
  • purchases – people who interacted with products in Instagram and FB stores;
  • Facebook Ads – Interaction with ads.

Each source has its own settings.

Setting up an audience source for Instagram and Facebook

Step 8… After selecting the source, select the location and size of the audience.

You can create multiple audience lists with varying degrees of similarity to the original. The lower the percentage, the more similarities the audience will have with the original base.

Customize onion e-like audience

After the settings, click “Create audience”. It takes up to 24 hours to collect an audience, look-alike is updated in a few days (3-7), while advertising is on.

Important: the specified instruction is suitable for both Facebook and Instagram, since the launch of advertising on Instagram is done through the FB advertising account.

Features of advertising to a similar audience


Update your original database regularly… If you create a look-a-like from the same source, over time, those who are less similar to people from the original database will also get into the database (since the most similar ones are selected at the beginning). The effectiveness of the RK for this audience will decline, so it is important to keep the database “fresh”.

– Try to create an audience, based on the average check… For example, if your average check is 2,500 rubles, create an audience similar to customers with an average check of up to 2,500 rubles and a second list – an audience similar to customers with an average check of 2,500 rubles or more.

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– Designate in advance metrics for identifying the most valuable customers, which will then be used to create a look-a-like: the size of the average check, the number and frequency of repeat purchases, subscription to the newsletter, participation in loyalty programs. Working with a similar audience based on a sample of the most loyal and paying clients will always be more effective than working with a database of website visitors or one-time buyers.

Life hack: while forming your own base, divide your audience by stages of the sales funnel, for example:

  1. registered on the site, but did not buy anything;
  2. looked at specific pages;
  3. made a purchase;
  4. made purchases for a certain amount.

It will be easier to predict the results of the RC.

Example… A network of medical laboratories has launched a promotion for one of its services. The task is to increase the number of clients. The RC was launched for 4 different audiences – look-a-like, competitors’ subscribers, subscribers to medical centers in the region, women 25-45 years old, living in cities where there is a customer’s laboratory. The most effective was targeting look-a-like and competitors’ followers:

look-a-like targeting


Look-a-like allows you to save your advertising budget, since the audience gathered in this way is as similar as possible to your target audience. The likelihood that the user will be interested in the advertising offer and make a purchase is very high. But not everything is so simple – there are some nuances that affect the quality of the assembled audience – the number of users in the original database, the metrics by which the database was collected, its freshness.

You shouldn’t rely only on look-a-like – use several promotion tools, for example, retargeting, loyalty programs, promotions.

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