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A Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Facebook Lookalike Audiences

As a modern real estate agent, you’ve likely been through the Facebook advertising process time and time again. Your regularly scheduled Facebook ads may be working well, but over time, many agents repeating the same targeting strategy will see their ads deliver fewer and fewer high-quality leads. Don’t worry: We’re here with a guide to Facebook lookalike audiences that will give you the tools you need to hone your Facebook targeting strategy and bring in more leads than ever before.

WHAT IS A LOOKALIKE AUDIENCE?

A lookalike audience is an advertising audience comprised of Facebook users who exhibit online behavior similar to that of your best existing customers or clients.

By taking advantage of its robust machine learning systems, Facebook is able to assemble a much higher-intent audience than average, optimizing your ROI and giving you a much better chance to secure high-quality leads from your Facebook Ads.

Additionally, the ease of creating a lookalike audience means that once you’re done reading through this walkthrough, you’ll have everything you need to head over to Facebook and get started with creating a lookalike audience of your own. 

A helpful graphic illustrating the benefits of Facebook custom audiences.
Source: https://dataethics.eu/facebooks-lookalikes-democratic-nightmare/

HOW DO I BUILD A LOOKALIKE AUDIENCE?

Before building your lookalike audience, you have to decide where your initial audience should come from. Many agents will choose to start with a list of email addresses from past clients, but those with a robust Facebook presence may choose to base their lookalike audience off everyone who has liked their Facebook page. 

First, we’ll address those agents who want to use their existing email list to build out a lookalike audience. 

The emails that go into this list are up to you — you can include anyone who’s ever contacted you about a property, or you can decide to just include people who have closed a deal with you in the past several years. 

Regardless of who you include on the list, you want these people to be your biggest supporters, and ideally, your biggest client success stories. Facebook requires a minimum of 100 users to construct a lookalike audience, but for more effective targeting, you should aim to include at least 1,000 email addresses on your list. 

Pro tip: Be sure to organize your email addresses in one column of an Excel spreadsheet. This way, you’ll have little to do when it comes time to import a .csv into Facebook later on.

What about agents with existing social media followings? 

There are plenty of agents out there with massive social media followings, and those people may develop their strongest possible lookalike audience from their existing social media following. Don’t worry: Facebook allows users to create lookalikes based on Page likes, and for those of you with 1,000 likes (or more), this is likely the easiest (and most effective) way to build a high-quality lookalike audience. 

Once you’ve decided which data source you’d like to use to create your lookalike audience, it’s time to get building. 

BUILDING YOUR LOOKALIKE AUDIENCE

In Facebook Business Manager, find the “Audience” tab. Once here, you’ve got two options: creating an audience or creating a lookalike audience. It may seem counterintuitive, but you need to start with building a regular, non-lookalike audience.

If you’re working with a list of emails, follow the prompts in the audience building tool. Assuming you collected these email addresses from people with their consent (via communication, transactional emails, etc.), you’ll indicate that you collected this information from your audience directly. 

Then, you’ll upload a CSV file with your desired emails, name the audience according to who’s in it, and continue following the prompts given until you reach the final screen in the audience-building process.

If you want to base your lookalike audience on your existing Page likes, simply select the appropriate source on the “Create a Custom Audience” screen, then follow the prompts after selecting “Facebook Page.” 

A screenshot of Facebook's custom audience wizard.
Source: https://adespresso.com/blog/facebook-ads-custom-audiences-guide/

Next, Facebook will give you the option to turn your new audience into a lookalike audience. Start with the audience you just created, then decide on the location you want to pull lookalike users from. 

It’s a good idea to go as broad as possible when constructing your lookalike audience: We’d recommend entering “United States” in the location field here. It may seem counterintuitive, but by selecting “United States” while you set up your lookalike audience, you’re indicating to Facebook that you want to match your chosen audience’s behavior to as many people as possible. Besides, you’ll be able to target users in your chosen area once you set up your ads.

A screenshot from Facebook's lookalike audience setup wizard.
Source: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-use-facebook-lookalike-audiences-with-custom-audiences-rick-mulready/

Finally, you have to select your “audience size.” The best idea here is to move the slider to 1% — this will essentially limit your new lookalike audience to the Facebook users who most closely match the members of your original audience.

That’s it! You can now use this lookalike audience when targeting your Facebook ads. 

Good luck!

FAQs

What is a lookalike audience? 

A lookalike audience is a custom audience made up of Facebook users who share many qualities with your source audience, but who are not part of those source audiences.

Are Facebook lookalike audiences effective?

In short, yes! By targeting Facebook users who behave similar to existing clients or fans of your business, you have a much higher likelihood of bringing in leads than you would through a traditionally targeted Facebook ad.

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