Facebook is Working for You: Advertiser Edition

Social Media Giant unveils “Lookalike Audiences” feature

It’s been a helluva ride for facebook.

Born of the lavish catacombs of a Harvard dormitory at the dawn of social networking, gradually surpassing former royals like Friendster and Myspace (now archaic drifters, subsisting on social gaming and music, respectively), it has been a long road to prominence. Giving rise to so many offshoots, by-products and even bourgeoisie copycats (have you seen www.affluence.org??), there is still only one “original.”

But facebook’s most significant cross to bear among social sites has been leading the way in effective monetization. Once Zuck et al decided to go public, studies revealed that simple facebook advertising met with lackluster results. This seemed counterintuitive – how could a site visited so frequently by so many yield such poor ROI? Especially one with “fan” pages for every product imaginable, which might have been a revolution in online consumerism had it not been for the even bigger disappointment born when “liking” a page did not connote increase in business.

Then, like the hero of any great 80’s romantic comedy, they figured out that what they needed was right in front of them all along:


The real advertising strength of facebook is not just in its astounding reach, but its invaluable data. The documented, self-proclaimed interests of billions of users are the real golden goose. And now, facebook is compounding that asset by using it to duplicate advertisers’ already valuable audiences.

With their new “Lookalike Audiences” feature, facebook allows advertisers to target new audiences that mimic those they already have. This provides the opportunity to gain potential customer groups with the same interests and therefore consumer habits as their existing pool.

How it works:

According to socialmediainfluence.com, an advertiser will upload first-party data from their existing consumer base. Then, those famous facebook number nerds get to work algorithming the bejeesus out of the data, producing a shiny, ripe-for-targeting new group of users quite similar to the original group. Advertisers choose a country, and whether they’d prefer similarity (providing smaller but more precise Lookalike Auidences) or reach (providing the opposite). They then combine the new groups with existing facebook advertising and targeting options for a veritable cocktail of highly-calculated, consumer-based online marketing.

Beta testing is already showing solid results, and if facebook’s algorithmic land speed record is any indicator, this could mean the beginning of dependable theoretical consumer audiences. Sounds like a contradiction in terms, sure. But then, once upon a time so did socially interacting with people you never actually hear or see in person.

This ain’t your grandfather’s media blitz.
TSR Tech Savvy Researcher Spin

So how does the Tech Savvy researcher take advantage of facebook’s “lookalike audience” targeting tool?

One interesting use case of the facebook “lookalike audience” tool would be utilizing the tool as a means of conducting recruitment for ad-hoc qualitative research studies (think In-Person or Online Qualitative Research Study recruits) as well as online research panel and community member recruitment.  It is often a difficult process finding and recruiting specific research study participants especially when they must meet many research project qualifying criteria.  The facebook “lookalike audience” tool would allow you to upload qualifying criteria data into the system and output individuals who meet these criteria who you could then target for recruitment campaigns using facebook ads.  The “lookalike audience” targeting tool could be a tremendous help when conducting recruitment campaigns making it easier to identify and target hard to reach demographic groups who must meet specific consumer criteria.  You know like when you are trying to find the 5 foot 2, 24 year old mom with red hair, green eyes, who is left handed, plays Call of Duty 4-5 times a week, likes grape bubble gum, watches the voice, and eats chicken and waffle potato chips 😉

Let us know what you think about the new “lookalike audience” targeting tool in the comment section below?  Would you use this tool? How?



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