A New Twist on Audience Testing Using Facebook Lookalikes

— August 24, 2017

A New Twist on Audience Testing Using Facebook Lookalikes

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It can be a little nerve-wracking to try out new types of audiences or methods of testing when you’re used to seeing consistent results from your Lookalike (LAL) audiences.

I get it – it’s like staying in your PJs versus putting on a suit for work (or whatever it is that you wear when you get fancy). Your LAL audiences are comfortable and you know they rarely let you down. And I won’t argue that lookalikes give you the best way to target new customers that most closely match your loyal fan base.

But in the same way that you have to eventually put on real clothes instead of staying in your PJs, if you’re a brand spending at least $ 50k a month on Facebook ads, you can’t rely solely on your LAL audiences to survive and scale.

No matter how much you spend on ads, you always want the most efficient spend with the best yield you can get (and if you don’t want that, you’re in the wrong business).

Which is why I’m here to explain how you can use your LAL audiences to test ads, as well as how the insights you glean from those tests can scale your spend and decrease your CPA. We’ve seen strong results doing this with a number of our clients, including the hottest luxury shoe brand in the game M.Gemi, and we’re here to spill the beans.


While lookalike audiences (LAL) can be your bread and butter, you can’t subsist on bread and butter alone.

Lookalikes Can Lead To Plateaus

Though LAL audiences will keep your brand going, if you’re spending a large enough amount on customer acquisition and retargeting, your ad spend will eventually start to plateau.

Plateaus may be great if you’re hiking, but when it comes to ad spend a plateau can push your CPA upwards.

If you’re cool with an increased CPA, you can stop reading now. However, for everyone else, there’s a way to balance out and even decrease your CPA results when this happens: Keyword Audiences.

Keyword Audiences Can Be Your Answer

This Facebook-recommended method of expanding your audience has seen amazing results among our own tests.

In fact, when we used keyword audiences to expand the reach of M. Gemi, we saw a 35% decrease in their CPCs and a 30% increase in their CTRs. They were even able to scale up their audience targeting on Facebook by 82%.

Yet, because keyword audiences are cheaper, it’s also much easier to go through your ad spend quickly. If you’re going to be spending money that fast, you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of it as possible.

That’s why Pavan Patidar, Director of Ad Ops, suggests testing your creative with your LAL audiences first before using any of it on your keyword audiences.


The best reason is the fact that you know that your LAL audiences are much more likely to convert when they connect with your ad.

If they overwhelmingly have a negative response to a piece of creative, then there’s a very good chance any keyword audience will feel the same.

But the opposite is true as well – if you see a surge in conversions when you’re testing your latest creative among your most solid audience, that increases the likelihood it could perform similarly with your keyword targeted audiences.


If you can quickly spend through your keyword audience targeting, you want to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

To gain the most out of your spend, using creative you’ve already tested and know is successful will give you the perfect place to start from and help you scale up your spend.


Fine, I will.

Recently, we tested this method on one of our largest clients and they saw an average 56% increase in spend week over week.

Not only that but among the keyword audiences, they saw almost a 25% decrease in their CPA. Though their conversion rate stayed the same, because more customers were clicking through at a lower cost it led to this decrease.

Though conversion rates among keyword audiences are not as high as LALs, there are still a large number of conversions.

And because those people have now taken the path down the funnel from potential consumer to actual customer, you’re also increasing your base from which to create more high-quality LAL audiences in the future.


There are two important things you should learn from this

First, that using this method to test your creative helps you to scale your ad spend, while also decreasing overall costs. You’re able to expand your potential customer reach without wasting money since you’re testing on your LAL audiences who are already your best for conversions. Instead of testing something completely new directly on your keyword audiences and potentially wasting money if it bombs, by using creative that does well amongst your LAL audiences you’ll have a greater chance of success.

The second thing to take away is that you should always try new ideas when it comes to audience targeting on Facebook. It can be easy, especially if your LAL audiences are doing so well, to become complacent and not want to branch out further and try new things.

But when you do test new ideas, you can actually lower your costs and increase your yield. And I doubt there’s a person reading this that doesn’t want to do that.


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