2020 US Search Award Winner
2020 US Search Award Winner – Best Use of Search – B2C (PPC)

Raise your return on investment with Facebook Ads by targeting your audiences wisely. You probably have considered targeting your competitors’ fan base, as they would more likely be interested in your products and/or services as well. Although you cannot target your competitor’s pages directly on Facebook, you can reach people that are interested in a particular competitor or liked pages related to them. 

Interest-Based Targeting:


Interest-Based Targeting is a way to narrow down prospective new audiences that are not familiar with your brand yet, but have demonstrated an interest with the specified competitor page you identified.

If you were representing a department store, you would login into Ads Manager, then in your Prospecting campaign, create an ad set designated for competitor interest targeting and in the “Detailed Targeting” section, type in competitors like “Nordstrom”.

As you can see, there are two “Nordstrom”s that appear, be sure to select one labeled as “Interest.” While hovering over the option, Facebook shares how large the target size is. 

After selecting a few competing department stores, you will find that on the upper right-hand side, the potential reach of your targeting is defined by the total target size you are going after. 

With a potential reach like 56 million people that may be broader than you have anticipated, but you Facebook has an option “Narrow Further” that you can click to trim that number down. 

By including people who also match another interest such as “Luxury goods”. We’ve brought the potential reach down to 40 million people.

You should also take advantage of excluding people who also match interests that fall outside of your target demographic. In this department store case, that may be “Dollar General”, “Dollar Tree”, and “Family Dollar.” Now you can see that our potential reach has fallen to 33 million people.

Lookalike Audiences:

Lookalike Audiences are prospective customers that share traits of a specific group you decide on, like your website visitors. Other options include email addresses, app activity, people who have engaged with your Facebook or Instagram accounts, and people who have engaged with you via offline channels.

Start off by creating a custom audience.

You will have to choose your source, here we will be going with website visitors. Note that whichever source you do select, it must contain at least 100 people.

Next, create your website custom audience. Select your page’s pixel and how many days you would like people to remain in your audience after meeting the website traffic criteria.

Keep in mind that any time prior to your date range, people will be removed from this audience list until they meet the website traffic criteria again. Be sure to name your audience so you can refer to it when creating a lookalike audience.

A user will be identified as a website visitor, if they have landed on your site in the last 30 days. Facebook pixels are able to keep track of this data, making your life that much easier. With more data Facebook pixels collect, the better Facebook serves your ads to people who fit your goals (including conversions, link clicks, impressions, and more). After creating your custom audience, create your lookalike audience.

You should see a window appear for you to customize your lookalike audience. Here, I have selected “Website Visitors” in the United States meaning my audience size is limited to 1% of the population in my selected location. The audience size spans from 1% to 10%, with 1% being the most similar to your specified source. The smaller the percentage, the better your ads are expected to perform.

Before finalizing the lookalike audience creation, we can see that there are 2.4 million people people who are similar to my current list of website visitors.

Combine Interest- Based Targeting and Lookalike Audiences:

By combining the interest targeting we have created and lookalike audience, the potential reach has fallen to less than 1,000 people.

We can see that Facebook has advised us to try to make out audience definition a bit broader, so we can play around with some of the interest-based targeting to have a better understanding of what works for us. I decided to remove people who were also interested in “Luxury goods,” making the potential reach a bearable 1.4 million people that our ads could be shown to.

To Sum It All Up

Continue to monitor the performances of your ad sets to see what targeting works for you and optimize your social advertising budget.

Combining lookalike audiences and interest targeting will transform you into a force to be reckoned within your competitive landscape. Stand out in your industry and contact us to help you improve your social media strategy.

Emily Frenkel