WCA Lookalike: Target Facebook Users Similar to Website Visitors

Facebook Website Custom Audience Lookalike

[AUDIO VERSION: As an experiment, I also recorded an audio version of this blog post. Click below to listen. Let me know if this is something you find helpful!]

If you’ve been following closely, you know that I’m excited about Website Custom Audiences. Feel free to brush up on my latest posts on the topic:

I’m obsessed with this feature. I’ve already created over 50 Website Custom Audiences.

My one disappointment when this feature started rolling out was that you couldn’t generate a Lookalike Audience from it.

Now you can!

In this post, we’re going to focus on the following:

  • What WCA Lookalike Audiences Are
  • How to Create a WCA Lookalike Audience
  • How to Apply WCA Lookalike Audiences
  • Ways to Use WCA Lookalike Audiences

What WCA Lookalike Audiences Are

The Lookalike Audience is something that has been available within Power Editor for a while now. If you had created a Custom Audience and uploaded a customer email list, you could have then targeted users similar to your customer list by generating a Lookalike Audience.

This process involves Facebook finding the top 1% (Optimized for Similarity) or 5% (Optimized for Reach) of users similar to those within your Custom Audience. Facebook isn’t clear on how this is done, but we can assume it involves comparing demographics and interests.

This is great for anyone with smaller audiences. Instead of relying entirely on an audience of 3,000 people, for example, Facebook may turn that into 500,000 or even 3 Million people.

How to Create a WCA Lookalike Audience

Within Power Editor, click on Audiences at the top left to view all of your current Custom Audiences and Saved Audiences.

Power Editor Audiences

Highlight your Website Custom Audience. Then click the “Create Lookalike Audience” button.

Facebook Website Custom Audience Create Lookalike

That will bring up the following dialog…

Facebook Power Editor Create Similar Audience for WCA

You can only create one audience per country at a time. You can, of course, create multiple audiences, one for each of your main targeted countries.

Just a reminder about the difference between the two options:

  • Similarity: Top 1% of Facebook Users
  • Reach: Top 5% of Facebook Users

While optimizing for similarity will certainly result in the more relevant audience, I tend to create both and test to see what is most effective.

Note that it can take up to (and sometimes longer than) 24 hours for Facebook to generate this Lookalike Audience. The status will appear as “waiting” while it is generating.

Facebook Lookalike Audience Status

How to Apply WCA Lookalike Audiences

Once you’ve created your Lookalike Audience, you can target it within an ad.

From the Audience step of ad creation, simply start typing the name of your Lookalike Audience in the Custom Audience text box.

Facebook Power Editor Enter Custom Audience Ad

You can list several Custom or Lookalike Audiences here. You can also choose to exclude them.

Note that if you have several that you will often use, it may be best to create a Saved Audience to make this step easier.

Ways to Use WCA Lookalike Audiences

Your priority with creating Facebook ads should be on targeting your most relevant audience. That starts first with targeting your fans, email list and website visitors.

Targeting your email list and website visitors is also a great way to increase your fan base by reaching those who are on that list, but aren’t fans.

However, what if you want to expand the net a little bit and still reach a relevant audience? That’s where Lookalike Audiences come into play.

When I run ads to increase page likes, I tend to create separate ads targeted at the following groups:

  • Email List (not fans)
  • Website Visitors (not fans)
  • Similar Interests
  • Email List Lookalike Audience (Similarity)
  • Email List Lookalike Audience (Reach)
  • Email List Lookalike Audience (Similarity) + Similar Interests
  • Email List Lookalike Audience (Reach) + Similar Interest

[Note: I use this process to build an Interests targeting list.]

Well, now we can add the following to the mix:

  • Website Visitors Lookalike Audience (Similarity)
  • Website Visitors Lookalike Audience (Reach)
  • Website Visitors Lookalike Audience (Similarity) + Similar Interests
  • Website Visitors Lookalike Audience (Reach) + Similar Interests

Of course, you could also try targeting these groups when you have other goals, like driving traffic, sales and other conversions.

While I tend to focus on my fans for conversions, I’ll often target non-fans when promoting especially popular pieces of content. This would be another group to target in those cases.

Your Turn

How are you looking to use Lookalike Audiences for WCA? Let me know in the comments below!

  • dennisditmars

    Still waiting for
    WCA to re-appear …..!

    • http://www.antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

      So, I am not the only one who had WCA for a while and then had it removed?

  • http://webvideoadspace.com Ahryn Scott

    Love the audio version, Jon! Great idea for fans.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Glad you like it! Actually got the idea from Greg Hickman.

  • Avraham Niv

    Its great news, Facebook is actually pouring new tools and options lately.
    Regarding the new retargeting option (WCA), do you know if there is a way to add a daily or weekly impression cap (so I will not drive potential customers angry)?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      No frequency cap yet, but I’ve heard rumors it’s coming (not just for WCA).

      Also, note that you can exclude those who have read the post with WCA, too. I do that so if you’ve already read it, you don’t need to see the ad.

      • Avraham Niv

        I might end up creating an audience for every page I advertise…
        Thanks for all the great info and insights!

        • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

          Me too! That way you can exclude those who have visited it already (if what you’re trying to do is drive traffic only).

  • http://www.antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

    This looks so promising… if only Facebook would give me back the ability to create WCA…

  • EtienneJ

    This is great! Website custom audience still hasn’t rolled out for my account though = (

  • http://www.8sd.com/ Gareth Everson

    This rocks. Thanks. Can’t find an answer on this, so guessing it’s static, but is a lookalike audience created once and once only? Or does it update itself as the lookalike on which it is based evolves over time?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      99% sure it’ll be dynamic.

      • http://www.8sd.com/ Gareth Everson

        Oooooh….awesome… will do some testing….

  • http://www.q5combat.com/ William Thomas

    No WCA yet on my account, hopefully soon!

  • http://jasoncurlee.me/ Jason Curlee

    still don’t have WCA yet… so can’t wait…

  • Hayley Merrett

    Ok I think I’m missing something here, lol. Are we talking about creating a lookalike audience similar to my “Website Visitors” to an external site like my blog? If so, how does FB know who my website visitors are? Do I place a pixel I on my blog so FB can first gather this data? (or am i way off track here…) Thanks John

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Through Website Custom Audiences.

  • Hugh Gallagher

    In relation to WCA, I was curious to know how Facebook knows if a visitor took the desired action. In my case it is people filling in a Google Doc suvey on my landing page. I have cookied the page but I just want to retarget those who get to the page but don’t fill in the survey. I obviously don’t want to retarget those who have filled in the survey. Thanks

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      It’s based on URL filtering. You create a Custom Audience based on the page or pages they visited using keywords that appear in the URL.

      • Grant Perry

        And you can exclude people who see a certain url too – like a confirmation page.

  • Aaron Neve

    Looks like it either disappeared or I just don’t have that yet. My power editor did get a facelift today, but I can’t seem to find that button…

  • Federico E. Gómez

    Awesome tool, buen I cant find it in my account.

    I only can see the other options… I am in Argentina, maybe isnt available here???

  • Le Van Phon

    Hi Jon, but can the WCA button be enabled through any activities or I must wait for its appearance?

  • Jim Park

    Ever since they updated the Power Editor a few days ago, I can’t figure out how to create Look A Like Audience from the Custom Audience. Please advise. Thanks!

  • Marta Nunes

    Jon, really like this audio version!!!

  • Edwin J Gomez-Frank

    Hey Jon, I want to use this feature of WCA but I don’t have the option available when I go to create a Custom Audience. I believe that is because I haven’t been able to install the convertion tracking pixel JavaScript code into my website. My website is Moonfruit.com. Do you know moonfruit website works?

  • Sofo Chumburidze

    Visitors are not installed,please help me jon.