Facebook Ad Custom Audiences vs Lookalike Audiences – What’s The Difference?

A lot of you are getting into Facebook advertising for your apps, or you have heard a lot about Facebook advertising for your apps. It’s an incredible way to get traffic and downloads for apps. That’s why people do it. Of all the platforms, it’s by far the most effective, and also has the best targeting.

Beyond targeting for specific interests, you can also segment people and you can use algorithms and indicators that you give Facebook to justify or to find the people that you want to reach. Facebook does this with custom audiences and lookalike audiences.

So what’s the difference between custom audiences and lookalike audiences on Facebook advertising?

Custom Audience

If you want to create a custom audience, what you would tell Facebook is, “Hey, Facebook, make sure that you tag everybody that does this particular action and put them into one small group. For example, everybody who comes and downloads my app, or everybody who goes to my website, visits my website one time, or people who make an in-app purchase.

So, custom audience means, you are saying to Facebook that these are the people that I want to track and that you want Facebook to keep a list of who these people are.

Lookalike Audience

A lookalike audience is when you take one of these groups (people that you want to track) and tell Facebook to go and find as many people that look as similar to this group as possible so that you can put your ads in front of them.

Knowing that Facebook has data on billions of people, and they will be able to go out and run an algorithm, and come back and say, “Hey, we found 2 million people in the United States (or whatever country you want) that look really similar to all people that are in your custom audience. Let’s only serve your ads to those people.”

When you do this, you see much better results because you’re showing it to people that are already pre-qualified by Facebook based on the group of people that you are tracking.

Lookalike audience is more about scaling your ads while custom audience is more about tracking the users.

With custom audiences, you can imagine how many different applications there are for this. In emojis for example, we track people that install the app, and also track how far into the onboarding experience do they get. Did they go through all the screens? Did they actually go and install the keyboard? Did they send an emoji? You can track all of these behaviors.

You can create these custom audiences all throughout your app, and also for anyone who purchases things.

You take these custom audiences and you go over to Facebook, and Facebook goes out and gives you millions of people that are really similar to those that bought in-app purchases or people that installed your app, or people that sent emojis. Facebook says these are the people that you should be showing your advertisements to.

Those are the two types of audiences that you can create Facebook ads. When you use them together, you can create a really powerful strategy. We talk about that on the Facebook Ads mini-course on Bluecloud Solutions.

We encourage everybody in the app business using Facebook ads or thinking about getting into Facebook ads to start building custom audiences, build them up, and then start to use these lookalike audiences to get even better results, better traffic, and cheaper installs to put more money back in your pocket.

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