Some of the most interesting marketing developments of recent weeks have been the Twitter and Facebook announcements of the extension of ‘lookalike marketing’ opportunities, with Twitter announcing improvements to its tailored audiences (1) and Facebook re-launching Atlas, having acquired the platform from Microsoft (2).
For those not familiar with the concept of ‘lookalike marketing’, it involves showing ads to an audience of people who supposedly share the characteristics of another group of people. Typically you would want to show ads to people who ‘look like’ your existing customers on the basis that you want ‘more of the same’.
So what’s new?
Fundamentally there is nothing new about lookalike marketing, these techniques having been available to direct and display marketers for some time. The novelty is in the ability to match an identified group of people with the wealth of real time and accurate personal data that is available to social networks.
Previously, a marketer might have looked at a database of customers to ascertain some common characteristics of high value purchasers or donors such as their age, gender, postcode. Then seek to buy a database of people who share these characteristics based on their physical address or