A common area of confusion many Facebook marketers come across is understanding how much of their marketing is targeting the same people in different AdSets.

What is Audience Overlap

Audience overlap refers to the commonalities that exist between two different audiences.

It is the estimated percentage of people that lie between Audience A, and Audience B.

audience overlap

Why is this a problem?

Well, when Facebook serves Ads to your audience, it does so based on the type of AdSet that you choose when planning your campaign.

Audience Overlap can become a problem if your audiences have similarities, and in many cases, this will be the case.

For example, if you’re marketing a beauty product, you may have the following AdSets:

Audience A: Lookalike Audience of  your website visitors from 10% of Facebook  users

Audience B: Saved Audience of Females 18-28yo.

Now, there is a fair chance that when Facebook generates your Lookalike Audience,  some of your website visitors fit the bill of an 18-28 year old female.

So you would be marketing to the same audience but serving them different AdSets.

This can result in wasted spend because your Ads are essentially playing off and competing against one another.

Who can I look at with Audience Overlap

Currently, you can only check these 3 x audience types:

  1. Custom Audience – Website Visitors, Customers, Email Subscribers etc
  2. Lookalike Audience – Similar looking groups of people that closely resemble an Audience you have information about.
  3. Saved Audience – Any targeting specific attributes of an audience, i.e. interests, behaviours.
facebook audiences

How to use Audience Overlap

Lucky for you, Facebook have made it super easy to check your audiences.

You can access the Audience Overlap tool in Ads Manager or Power Editor.

When looking at your audiences, check which audiences you want to see the overlap between.

NOTE: You can choose up to 5 x audiences, but an audience must have at least 1,000 people to be viewed.

Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 08.49.10

Then, under Actions, choose the option that says Show Audience Overlap.

You will see a screen like the below that shows you the different overlaps between audiences.

Under Selected Audience, you will see your main audience you want to compare other audiences against.

You can change this in the drop down box in the Selected Audience box.

Underneath, in the Comparison Audiences, you can see different audiences, and how many people, and what percentage of overlap there is in the audiences.

In  my example, I’ve compared a Lookalike Audience of my Prospects & Customers, with a lookalike audience of my Website Visitors.  There’s a very small overlap which means that there will be minimal wastage of any spend if I marketed to both AdSets.

Similarly, I’ve compared my Prospects & Customers Lookalike Audience with a Lookalike Audience that completed a Lead Form, and there is no overlap, so again, good news when marketing to the AdSets.

Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 08.51.40

You can remove Audiences, by either clicking on the ‘X’ to the right of each audience, or you can add more audiences by clicking the ‘+’ sign at the bottom of the Audience Overlap screen.

Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 08.58.40

What if I have a large percentage?

If you have two audiences with a high percentage of overlap you need to refine your AdSet targeting and make it more specific so that you can further seperate your audiences and ensure that your AdSets aren’t marketing to the same audience.

If you have specific audiences that overlap, another thing you could do is to compile and amalgamate your audiences into fewer AdSets. 

Final thoughts

There’s a number of ways you can use Audience Overlap to fine tune your Facebook marketing, and not just through identifying overlapping audiences.

For example, you could try to understand the value of your Facebook Fans by comparing these against your website visitors (to see whether your Fans visit your page), or if they have the same interests & behaviours that you want to target.

 

Your thoughts

So there you go, why not login to your Ads Manager or Power Editor and give Audience Overlap a spin.  

Let me know your thoughts, and what you found in the comments below.