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Leveraging 1st Party Data with Lookalike Targeting

As we all know remarketing allows you to reach people who have already visited your site and connect with an audience that's already interested in your products or services. You probably also want to find new visitors for your site, and what better way to do this than by finding people who are similar to your existing site visitors.

The Google DoubleClick Manager (DBM) "lookalike targeting" also known as “similar audiences” feature enables you to find people who share characteristics with your site visitors. By adding “lookalike targeting” to your activity, you can show your ads to people whose interests are similar to those of your site visitors, which allows you to reach new and qualified potential customers.

How "lookalike audiences" are formed

Google looks at browsing activity on sites over the last 30 days, and uses this, along with their contextual engine, to understand the shared interests and characteristics of the people in your remarketing list. Based on this information, Google automatically finds new potential customers whose interests and characteristics are similar to those of people in your remarketing list. The more characteristics and interests people in your remarketing lists share, the better similar audiences works.

To find lookalike audiences, Google look at the millions of users on the DoubleClick Ad Exchange (Adx), including YouTube.  As your audience changes, your lookalike audience will change as well.

A lookalike audience list is created from a remarketing list with at least 500 cookies with enough similarity in characteristics and interests to create a corresponding similar audience.

Qualifying for similar audiences

Google will automatically identify which of your remarketing lists qualify for similar audiences based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the number of visitors on the original list, how recently these people joined the original list, and the types of sites that these visitors browsed.

Why are we excited about lookalike Targeting?
Simplified audience targeting

Lookalike targeting takes the guesswork out of your search for new audiences by automatically finding new customers similar to your site visitors (1st party data). Using this feature, we can find new potential customers based on the specific topics or concepts that people --in aggregate-- on one of your clients remarketing lists were browsing before being added to that list.


Say you've created a remarketing list of people who bought steak knives from your kitchenware site. Instead of helping you reach broad groups of people interested in "cooking," similar audiences will identify that people on this list tended to browse sites specifically about "cooking steak" and "high quality knife sets" before coming to your site and making a purchase. Based on this, similar audiences will then find other people with similar activity.

Your similar audiences lists will automatically get updated as the original list evolves and people change their browsing activity. So, you don't need to update the similar audience list after it gets created.

Getting new potential customers

With similar audiences, you can boost the reach of existing remarketing campaigns, and drive to your site new users who have an increased likelihood of being interested in your product or service.

Even if these new visitors don't immediately make a purchase from your site, if you've added the remarketing tag to your site, you can still reach out to them via remarketing and get another chance at a conversion at a later date. By enabling similar audiences, you can get more visitors on your remarketing list in a way that is intuitive and easy to manage.


The original remarketing list is automatically excluded from your similar audiences list. So, if visitors who are in a similar audiences list get added to your remarketing list because they match your list definition, they'll be removed from the similar audiences list.

What is Amnet doing?

As we work with clients to improve 1st party data segments, with colleagues for client lookalike audiences gives us the power to increase audiences by 7x.

Amnet are currently trialling, with client approval, lookalike targeting for several suitable campaigns.  Although a prospecting strategy, lookalike targeting is leveraging the valuable 1st party data and outstripping all other prospecting strategies performance. We are seeing performance comparable to remarketing strategy. 

Expect in the future?

The future is exciting! We expect lookalike targeting to play an important role in client prospecting strategies and deliver market leading campaign performance.


The Amnet team are consistently striving to deliver the best possible campaign performance for our clients. Lookalike targeting is potentially a game changer for reaching new qualified audiences, delivering more conversions, lower CPAs and very happy clients. Our lookalike trials to date have delivered incredible performance that will surely be the envy of other media partners. It’s exciting times and we look forward to deliver even better campaign performances