Lookalike Audiences: Facebook Ads Most Powerful Tool That Nobody Uses

look alike audiences

Some 73% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind. Facebook is the dominant social networking platform in the number of users, despite recent growth by services such as Pinterest and Instagram, Facebook remains the dominant social networking platform.

Facebook advertising is no longer what it used to be over the past few years, they used to preach two things which are not valid anymore:

1. Setup a page, Identify your audience, create compelling content, Advertise, and finally measure & adjust. [WRONG] Today, we all know that investing time, money and effort on a Facebook page is not worthwhile because of very limited organic reach of your posts, it’s basically an investment into something that you do not own and have no control over.

2. Facebook advertising core value proposition is about word of the mouth advertising. [WRONG] As the product is evolving there are no longer what used to be called sponsored stories, driving post engagements and page likes are not as attractive as before.

This is what Facebook is not about anymore, so what is it about?

Facebook is the only network that gives advertisers the ability to use lookalike audiences that are based on social graph dataincluding demographic, psychographic, transaction level attributes. To create a lookalike audience, FB creates some kind of regression equation from original custom audience data with these attributes as predictive variables. Then it matches top 1% of FB users that have similar attributes and creates the lookalike audiences.

Google Display Network already has this feature but it uses cookie-based behavioural targeting and twitter rolled out a similar feature last September but it is still in early stages to judge.

Lookalike audiences works extremely well and saves you the hassle of having to assume what kind of targeting would work better for your campaign. However, it is as good as the initial audience seed that you provide, it has to be very clean and well segmented in order to send the right signals to the Facebook algorithm and let the magic work.

There are multiple ways to create the seed such as using the conversion tracking pixel or choosing segments from fans of your page. However, I recommend to use custom audiences by uploading a list of emails of the registered users on your site. For the best results you can follow these steps:

1. Generate a list of registered users on your site.

2. Segment the list to groups, each group has a maximum of 10,000 emails(that the maximum allowed list size). You can segment your lists according to data that you record in your site such as the engagement levels of users (e.g. Users who write reviews and rating regularly), purchase activities, frequency of login, demographics, etc, …

3. For each segment, create a custom audience list, FB will match the emails to FB accounts (you should expect a match rate of 50%, for example if you provide 10K emails, Facebook should be able to find at least 5K emails of them registered)

4. Create lookalike audience for each custom audience list, make sure to choose the best precision option and the location, this should get you around 250K lookalike audiences for every list uploaded that contains about 5K valid emails on FB.

5. Create ads relevant to each lookalike audience segment.

You will be amazed how this feature works well, but it all depends on how good your seed data is prepared and segmented.

Note: Just to make sure how accurate FB algorithm works, try to create an ad for one of the custom audiences and check for its metrics such as male vs female or iOS users vs Android users. Try the same for lookalike audiences and you will be amazed by how similar the ratios are!

Do you see this as an approach that will help you reach your goals and objectives? Math and science says it should as well as testimonials by advertisers who have tried this so far.


جوجل تتنبأ بنتائج الأنتخابات الرئاسية المصرية: أبو الفتوح فى المقدمة و ينزل الأعادة مع شفيق


د. عبد المنعم أبو الفتوح فى مقدمة الجولة الأولى للأنتخبات الرئاسية المصرية يليه الفريق أحمد شفيق لينزلا معاً فى الأعادة حيث لم يحصل أى منهما على أكثر من 50% من أصوات الناخبين فى مصر. وبفارق كبير عن شفيق يأتى د. محمد مرسى يليه كل من عمرو موسى و حمدين صباحى.

المركز الأول:

د. عبد المنعم أبو الفتوح

المركز الثانى:

الفريق أحمد شفيق

المركز الثالث

د. محمد مرسى

المركز الرابع:

عمرو موسى

المركز الخامس:

حامدين صباحى

كل ذلك ليس من التكهنات ولا مبنى على نتائج أستطلاعات الرأى ولكن هذا ما توضحه أدوات جوجل للبحث Google Trends و Google Insights for Search الذى يعكس أهتمام الناس بالبحث و متابعة أخبار المرشحين الرئاسيين.

Google Insights ُfor Search: Egyptian Presidential Elections

منذ منتصف أبريل 2012 و حتى اليوم (منتصف مايو) نستطيع أن نرى حفاظ أبو الفتوح على التقدم معظم الأوقات ألا أن شفيق يداعبه فى بعض الأوقات و خاصة بعد قرار القضاء بالسماح له بالمشاركة فى الأنتخابات. كانت المفاجأة هى تقدم شفيق على مرسى فى معظم الأوقات بالرغم من المسيرات و الأغاتى الخاصة بمرسى ولكن يبدوا أن حزب الكنبة لا يستهان بقوته.

يبدو لوهلة بأن الجميع كان قد نسى تماماً وجود عمرو موسى و حمدين صباحى حتى بداية شهر مايو والذى شهد ثباتاً لأبو الفتوح مع أرتفاع سريع لصباحى و أرتفاع طفيف لموسى.

ثم كانت المناظرة التلفزيونية بين أبو الفتوح و موسى و التى قلبت الموازين حيث زاد الأهتمام بكلاهما للقفز فى المقدمة و لكنه كان أيضاً سبباً فى زيادة أسهم صباحى بشكل ملحوظ معهما لمن لم يقتنع بأى من المرشحين بعد المناظرة.

Google Trends: Egypt Presidential Elections

لم تختلف النوقعات كثيراً فى Google Trends… حيث أصبح بعد المناظرة أبو الفتوح و موسى فى القمة يلاحقهما شفيق وثم الحصان الأسود صباحى يحاول صنع مفاجأة و بقى مرسى فى القاع.

Google Trends: Presidential Elections Demographics

المثير للأهتمام هى تأييد المرشحين حسب التوزيع الجغرافى، حيث يفضل المصريين فى السعودية  المرشح الأسلامى بين أبو الفتوح و مرسى قبل شفيق و موسى بينما لا يوجد أهتمام بصباحى.

أما فى الكويت فيفضل المرشحين كل من أبو الفتوح و شفيق.

أما فى مصر فالترتيب متسق مع النتائج المتوقعة ألا أنه فى بعض مدن الوجه البحرى و الدلتا فيزيد الأهتمام بصباحى على حساب موسى و لكن يبقى أبو الفتوح فى المقدمة ويليه شفيق.

ماذا تعتقد؟ هل تعتقد أن تلك الأحصائيات و التحاليل هى مؤشر يمثل الواقع أم أن هناك مفاجأت لا يعلمها أحد؟


Interview With Hala Deals Marketing Director, Mohamad Kaloub

When I look back at Egypt’s group buying site reviews that i did in last August, I figured out that a lot has changed in the group buying market since then. There is no question that Hala Deals is the fastest growing group buying site in Egypt in terms of its fan base, Hala Deals fans based has dramatically expanded from 2,000 fans in mid August to almost half a million fans on Facebook now!

The success secrets are revealed in today’s interview with Mohamad Kaloub the Marketing Director of Hala Deals.

Mohamad Kaloub, Marketing DIrector, Hala Deals

­­Tell us about your journey to becoming the Marketing Director at Hala Deals?

My journey started in Canada when I was in my first year of university studying Business at the University of Toronto. A good friend and fellow business major approached me with a business idea that I could not turn down; an event management agency that catered to the student population. We registered our business, incorporated the mother company as First Ad Solutions Inc., and named our first brand “X Productions”. After a few months, we decided to shift gears and venture off into Direct Mail. We created our second Brand called Consumer’s First. It was a digest that catered to local businesses who wanted to increase their awareness using a cost effective approach. After two years we realized that the print industry has become very saturated with many competitors offering similar, if not the same services. We conducted a market analyses and found that the print industry was in a decline, so we decided to diversify into the realm of Digital Media.

I have to say, the transition was not easy, but the potential reward ignited our drive. Three years later, I received an offer to join the board of Directors at Hala Deals. I was excited about the opportunity, yet skeptical of the challenges that we would be facing. This was a very difficult decision to make for the reason that First Ad Solutions was on its way to breaking record profits. However, I studied my options very closely and accepted the offer. In North America, I have seen businesses under this model fail miserably, and others rise above the crowd so I began strategizing an approach that would take Hala Deals from being a small start up to now one of the leading Group Buying sites in the region. Ever since I came to Cairo, I never once looked back.

Although you launched after other group buying sites you managed to have around half a million facebook fans in a few months, how did you manage to do that?

In today’s competitive business environment, no company can survive without a strong Social Media presence and we know that fact very well. It was integrated into the Marketing Strategy from day one and I am well aware of the return it has to offer. As this industry is constantly changing, it is crucial that we adapt with it, and the key here is to take the consumer along for the ride. Before Facebook came into existence, companies had it easy. They propagated their messages to the market in a one way stream with no care in the world for what the consumer had to say about their product or service. Little did many of them know, word of mouth; the most primitive yet most powerful form of advertising, would be the missing link. Now that these online social platforms have flourished, they will be neglected no more.

You can’t play a poor football game in a full stadium, but you also can’t play a great game in an empty stadium, you have to find the equilibrium and generate attractive content to your fans.

We were very keen on directing our message through a well established Facebook Fan Page, and this is where we allocated a chunk of our marketing budget towards. We launch various online marketing campaigns including Facebook Paid Advertisements and a QR integrated print campaign to enhance accessibility. This however is not the complete answer you are looking for, and this is why I want to top it off with a key point… content. We as human beings react to different things in many different ways, so the point here is to keep our fans happy with up to date content that’s fun, informative and interactive. Here is an analogy that sums this up: You can’t play a poor football game in a full stadium, but you also can’t play a great game in an empty stadium, you have to find the equilibrium and generate attractive content to your fans.

How is HalaDeal differentiating itself in the local market?

It would be a fat lie for me to say that we are doing something that no one else has done before. We are a clone of Groupon’s business model and that’s that, but it’s what we do within our organization that sets us apart from the competition. We are disciplined and creative in the marketing efforts that we run. We are establishing a network of businesses that would benefit from our services and vice versa. Unfortunately I can’t give you too much information on this topic, because if I did, we would be different no more.

What’s your value proposition for local businesses in Egypt who want to offer deals on HalaDeals.com?

Our value proposition is very simple; Brand Awareness through mass marketing. We are an online Marketing Solution that caters to local businesses who need their names heard. We feature their product or service on the website and allow our online and offline marketing tools to do the work. Our weekly campaigns receive over two million impressions and these figures are constantly increasing. When we inform our prospects that this can all be done with minimal if not zero cost associated, it’s a done deal. The key is to focus on long term gain as opposed to short term reward. It’s not about the profit that you will acquire through the deal, but the long-term client that will feed your bank account for years to come. It’s the power of customer retention that needs to be highlighted in every sales pitch. We have found that the Egyptian Merchant does not want to be sold on ANYTHING; they require an emotional engagement first and foremost. They need to trust you, and we build that trust through friendly consulting and honest business; we strive to find the needs of every business and tailor a package that works for them.

It’s the power of customer retention that needs to be highlighted in every sales pitch. We have found that the Egyptian Merchant does not want to be sold on ANYTHING; they require an emotional engagement first and foremost.

How do you guarantee customer satisfaction and that vendors honor their commitments towards the customer?

To get businesses to honor their commitments towards the customer, they first need to be convinced with the package that they are offering, and that is why we work very closely with each merchant to ensure their satisfaction. As I always say, a happy business owner equals happy customers. Having said that, you can never guarantee customer satisfaction and whoever tells you otherwise is naive. Every customer is different and that’s how God made them. Some will be satisfied with a refund along with a sincere apology, and some may ask for a Ferrari to make up for a hair strand on their plate, and I wouldn’t blame the latter, I like my food hairless.

Some will be satisfied with a refund along with a sincere apology, and some may ask for a Ferrari to make up for a hair strand on their plate, and I wouldn’t blame the latter, I like my food hairless.

The point I’m trying to make is that a company can do everything in its power to keep their customers happy but for some, this may not be enough, and that’s why it is our absolute top priority to minimize dissatisfaction amongst our customers. They pay our salaries and cover our overhead, and with the popularity of social media, we cannot afford to receive any negative feedback. We strive to ensure that our Customer Care Team is well equipped and trained to resolve any conflicts that may arise. As a new business concept in a fresh market, we will encounter many questions, but it is always a pleasure to walk the customers through the steps and ensure that their experience is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

What are your target demographics (age-gender-interests)?

Our consumer base varies, but our marketing campaigns target mainly internet users aged between 18 to 35 years old. Many of our buyers are females but we do our best to offer deals that cater to both genders.

What are you expansion plans locally and regionally?

The great thing about this business model is that it is easily duplicated once you have set a strong foundation.  We have been working very hard to build a framework that we can expand around and believe that this has been accomplished. We have expansion plans that we are going to execute in the near future, but due to confidentiality reasons, we cannot disclose when and where exactly.

What are the new things that you are introducing to HalaDeals in 2012?

Very sensitive questions, so I’ll be very brief. Our goal is to be different, but still offer our fans a great service, so we will be introducing a new addition to our business model that will allow customers to enjoy a bigger bang for their buck (More Value). We call it G2.

What are your different CSR activities?

We blocked our website for two days during the violent protests near the end of November. This was to show our respects to all that have been killed during the crises. Profit isn’t everything, we have a conscience and we truly did feel for Egypt.

Hala Deals prides itself in its efforts to support non-profit organizations in various fields and has been very active in doing so. Diversity is the key to a stable and strong line of networks. It is important not to conflict with the relationships that we have established. We are proud sponsors of organizations that promote causes such as fitness, health, education, entrepreneurship and will continue to venture out into different sectors to ensure strong brand presence. Our partners include such organizations as EMSA, IFMSA, Under-ground Bands, ITLC, Cycle Egypt and AWTAD. EMSA stands for “The Egyptian Medical Students’ Association”. They are a non-profit organization that raise awareness on wide spread diseases and illnesses to the general public. They are also involved with educating parents about the prevention of pneumonia with learning aids such as coloring books for the children. IFMSA, also known as “The International Federation of Medical Students’ Association” is responsible for organizing and funding events that support causes for different types of disabilities.

Our involvement with underground artists comes from our core motivation to support up and coming creative talent that are primarily driven by the need to perfect their art. We strongly believe that these activities will promote positive messages to the always evolving Egyptian youth. The “International Transport & Logistics Club” is a university run organization that aids students in discovering their hidden talents with many options offered to help them find jobs in the field of business. Cycle Egypt is an organization that welcomes bikers who want to pursue an active lifestyle by hosting weekly events where a group of participants ride their bikes through a predetermined rout.  AWTAD is the newest addition to our network of partners and it is a privilege to be involved in an organization with a very clear mission; to mentor young entrepreneurs and provide them with a support system that will help them in reaching their goals to becoming a successful business man or woman.

I would also like to mention our two day Website Block during the violent protests near the end of November. This was to show our respects to all that have been killed during the crises. We did not stop operation within the company; we just didn’t sell. Profit isn’t everything, we have a conscience and we truly did feel for Egypt. Hala Deals’ CSR goals have not yet been achieved, but we have a division that specializes in these efforts and we will continue to offer our love and support to the community.

Get in touch with Mohamed Kaloub through linkedin

Visit website

Or visit hala deals facebook fans page at: www.facebook.com/haladeals

6.5 Million Egyptians on Facebook

I keep hearing lots of numbers of Facebook users statistics in Egypt, the total number as of today (17 March, 2011) is

6,393,080 people

How did i know these stats? There is a very simple trick to know this number yourself… Go to the advertising link at the bottom of the FB page, click on create ad button, then you will get a page at which you can specify your targeting options…

Make sure to select the date Any-to-Any and the country Egypt, which should be selected by default if you live there. Wait for a few seconds and then you will see on the right side of the page the up to date total number of Facebook users in Egypt. The total number of users is now:

Facebook users in Egypt in March 2011

Twitter Stats in Egypt

With some huge statistics ranging from 80 million visits per day (reported by ComScore) and 190 million visits (reported by twitter) and more than 110+ million users, there are no clear statistics if any about the activity, stats or number of twitter users from Egypt or even the number of Egyptian tweets.

A world of tweets is a a twitter heat map developed based on sampling from Twitter API, according to the geographical area. So i tried to monitor Egypt, at a time that is expected to be a high peak, it’s 8:45 PM, and Egypt has just beaten Australia 3:0, so i guess many people would like to tweet about the big win of Egyptian national team and the goals of Zidan and Gedo!

I kept the page open for 10 minutes and i was surprised that there was no activity on Egypt area, even though there is activity in some gulf and middle east countries (i wouldn’t say MENA region, since there is no activity in North Africa) like Saudi Arabia and UAE, some African countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Even Liberia!

Twitter heat map just after Egypt Match – No activity in Egypt

3 minutes later i was able to barely spot Egypt, with very little traffic apparently.

Twitter Activity 3 minutes later – Egypt can be seen

Twitter in Egypt is not yet a big thing, i am not saying it is not magnificent, it is indeed a mean of communication used by the blogger and activists, some politician and some major companies and brands in Egypt. However, it has not reached the point where you would find3 or 4 of your 300 or 400 Facebook friends have an account on twitter.

Well, that make my estimate, twitter has 1/100 or less of the number of users Facebook has, Facebook has in Egypt about 4 million users, that makes roughly 40,000 twitter users, …. wonder how of them are active and how much created a twitter account and said: “This is my first tweet” or said something like “I am having Pizza for lunch” and then never used their account again because they didn’t get the idea of it.

Let’s wait and see how things go, but i don’t think twitter in Egypt is taking off any soon. Though i am very proud of the 1,250 twitter follower that Egypt Yellow Pages have today. Putting in mind that our activity is relatively low on twitter, sending tweets a couple of times a week.

Egypt Yellow Pages Twitter Followers

That said, all respects goes to the the active twitter user base who where able to do positive changes, like the pressure that was done on Vodafone Egypt to remove their Abbas Ibn Fernas Ad, which was removed from Vodafone Egypt Official YouTube channel recently. If you want to read more about this topic just login to twitter and search for #VodaFly.

Do you think my estimates are accurate? More or less than the reality? Do you have the real numbers for twitter number of users in Egypt? if you do please share your opinion here.

Continue reading

Youtube 2009 zeitgeist

Youtube decided this year to announce their 2009 statistics to the public, the following are the top 5 videos:

1. The Inspiring: Susan Boyle – Britain’s Got Talent

Anything in life is possible if you just try hard enough and never give up your dreams

2. The funny innocent: David After Dentist

This boy is high, he thinks he has 2 fingers!!

3. Pure Happiness: Wedding Dance

Fun People 🙂

Google Real-Time Search: Relevance, Relevance, Relevance

Google announced today the launch of the real-time search feature as an integral part of their search engine. This means that now when you search for Copenhagen climate conference you will know what people are posting about this event on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, blogs, microblogs, news, …

This probably explains why Eric Shmidt joined Twitter yesterday. It was actually an unexpected move from Google for me, at least the speed they have completed this. Shmidt said about one month ago that the social media is still a grey area for Google, and that the content on facebook is mostly private content that they can’t use. It seems that a strategic decision has been made after this that they should avail this real-time feature right away for one reason or another.

Moving away from politics 🙂  back to the real-time feature. It is very cool, the thing that makes it useful it that you are actually seeing very relevant content to what you are looking for… Google are the masters of delivering relevant content. Below is what you get when you search Copenhagen climate conference

Read more about this from Google official blog