Facebook lookalike audiences are a great targeting option offered by the social media platform. Starting from a defined audience (customers, people who visited your website, etc.) you can find Facebook users with similar interests and demographic characteristics.
However, as you may have observed from your own experience, nothing stays the same for a long time in Facebook advertising. New rules and restrictions appear once every few months, as well as changes in the way you can create, target and run your ads.
Facebook Lookalike Audiences Lose a Targeting Option
The most recent change to Facebook advertising refers to the way in which you can define lookalike audiences. From now on, you can no longer specify the country of residence for this type of audience.
Instead, the new Facebook lookalike audiences will use the location you specified in the ad set. Facebook explains this decision as being necessary to eliminate potential conflicts between the location of the lookalike audience and the location of the ad set.
How Will the Change to Lookalike Audiences Impact Your Ads?
According to Facebook, the change will not impact currently running ads. However, you will see the message “Retiring” in the Availability section of the Audiences dashboard.
As for new ads you create targeted at Facebook lookalike audiences, you will see that the location disappears from the description of the audience. Thus, a lookalike audience defined as “Perth, All Purchases, Last 30 Days”, will no longer include the location Perth, but retain the other criteria.
Audience Definition Will Be Unavailable for a Period
Another impact of the change to Facebook lookalike audiences is that you will no longer see a clear estimate of the audience for the ad. Instead of a number, you will see the message “Size Varies”.
Also, in the ad set, when you define the location, you will see a warning message stating: “Potential reach available soon”. According to the message, you will see the estimated reach and daily results within 2-4 hours after you create the campaign.
How Will This Change Affect Your Facebook Advertising Strategy?
First of all, the inability to see the potential reach of your Facebook ads targeted at lookalike audiences impacts your budget. Without a clear estimate, you will not be able to set an accurate bid amount.
Thus, during the transition period, you should err on the safe side and set a higher budget. Once you start collecting analytical data, you will be able to determine a precise bid amount based on the actual reach your ad has.
Also, this change means that you should closely monitor your ads from the moment you start running them. As audience size will be available within 2-4 hours after you created the campaign, you should make sure that you are keeping an eye on the running ads.
Find Creative Ways to Generate Lookalike Audiences
Since you cannot specify a different location from that of the ad set, you should consider other selection criteria for your Facebook lookalike audiences. For example, you should start targeting lookalike audiences to people who interacted with your Instagram account or made more than one purchase from your website.
Thus, while the inability to set a location for lookalike audiences may seem like a drawback, it also has the potential to help you find more relevant ways to target potential customers. It all depends on how well you know your clients so that you select accurate selection criteria for new ad audiences.
As for the financial impact of this change, it is likely that very soon Facebook will update its algorithms to provide a numeric estimate of the potential reach of your ads. Thus, you will no longer have to supplement your bid value to make sure that your ad reaches the intended audience.