Improve Your Facebook Marketing With Audience Overlap

Facebook’s Audience Overlap allows you to learn more about the people who make up your custom audiences on the platform. This tool can be used to compare custom audiences against one another, thereby revealing information which can help you to make better, more informed decisions on where to focus ad targeting and conversion efforts. Insights gained from Audience Overlap can therefore be vital to the formation and tweaking of corporate social strategy. We have whittled down the essentials of the tool to which you can refer as a resource or guide when broaching Audience Overlap for the first time.
Where To Locate The Audience Overlap Tool

The Facebook Ads tool which allows you to compare up to five audiences at once and displays the percentage of people who overlap among these, can be accessed via the Audiences section of either the Ads Manager or Power Editor.


Within the Audiences section all audiences which have been created are displayed, from custom, lookalike or saved audiences. One limitation to the Audience Overlap tool is that the audiences selected for comparison must contain at least 1,000 people in order to meet privacy protection requirements. This may limit the appeal of the tool for smaller businesses.

How To Use The Tool


Audience Overlapis very user friendly so there’s no need for trepidation. All that’s required of users is to simply check the boxes of the audiences they wish to compare and then choose “show audiences overlap” from the ‘Actions’ drop-down menu. Whichever audience is selected first becomes the ‘main’ audience for comparison. This ‘main’ audience can easily be switched by clicking the arrow button in the upper-right corner of the pop-up box and selecting an alternate audience from the list presented.

How To Analyse Your Community Using The Tool

We’ve outlined below how to carry out some  basic comparisons using the tool. We suggest you begin by following these stepsin order to familiarise yourself with the tool and gain insights. The tasks should not be time consuming, but through the completion of these exercises the tools potential will be illuminated.

Compare Website Visitors With Your Email List

This feature of the tool is particularly useful for determining how many of your website visitors are already email subscribers. Audience Overlap allows you to compare your email subscribers audience to other audiences such as total web traffic audience or last week’s traffic. The results of such comparison will let you know if you need to focus on getting more of your email subscribers to visit your site and if you need to put more effort into getting more of your website traffic onto your email list.

A word of caution – you must bear in mind that the results yielded by this comparison won’t be exact. Since, when a custom audience of email subscribers is uploaded, they don’t all align because subscribers’ email addresses aren’t necessarily going to be the same login they use for Facebook. Studies show that in the realm of 50 – 75% of the list typically matches.

Investigate How Many Facebook Fans Visit Your Website

Conduct an Audience Overlap comparison to find out whether your Facebook fans are actually visiting your website. If the overlap figure is low, it could suggest that you’re not promoting your own content enough. This information can be used to tailor your actions accordingly moving forward. If the content you’re posting that’s designed to direct people to your website is falling short of the mark, this could also suggest that you may need to increase your ad budget so your ads are presented to your fans more frequently.

Discover Whether Lookalike Audiences Match Your Current Audience

Unfortunately, Lookalike Audiences don’t always perform well when used in ads. This situation arises in instances where it transpires that these audiences in fact have less in common with the audience they supposedly resemble than one would hope. It is therefore worth using the Audience Overlap tool to establish to what degree the lookalike audiences actually mirror your current audience or other well-performing saved audiences.

Striking the right balance is key with regard to lookalike audiences.  It’s undesirable to have too much overlap because the potential of reaching anyone new is limited. However the diametric opposite is also to be eschewed, since if the audiences have nothing in common, this could be indicative of a mismatch.

Scrutinize The Overlap Of Two Audiences  

Another benefit of Audience Overlap is the option it gives users to compare two sets of targeting to make sure too much overlap isn’t occurring. If ads for similar groups are run at the same time, for all intents and purposes you’re engaging in a bidding war with yourself! However, you may not need to use both audiences in your targeting. In any case, you don’t want to target these audiences at the same time.

Demonstrate Commonalities Between Facebook Fans And Interests

To analyse your Facebook fans and their interests, you can build a saved audience of your Facebook fans; compare this to other saved audiences and determine if they like certain keywords. This audience can be built by clicking the Create Audience drop-down menu and selecting Saved Audience. Then it is simply a matter of scrolling down to the Connections area, where admin pages and countries for targeting can be accessed. Seeing visual comparisons can prove helpful in making more informed decisions concerning which audiences to test for different objectives. If you wish to target people similar to your fans, it’s advisable to use an audience with a large overlap. However, it’s worth remembering that it may be unwise to target that audience with a ‘Like’ campaign since a high percentage of that group already likes your page! There is a proviso that if your saved audiences contain fewer than 1,000 people, you’re precluded from analysing these audiences by themselves


We hope to the preceding introduction to Audience Ocverlap will prove a useful resource to improve your marketing on Facebook. Although some of this analysis can be achieved with recourse to just the targeting area of Facebook ads, a visual analysis is often more beneficial for interpreting data. Audience Overlap provides insights about email subscribers, website visitors and  Facebook fans in addition to the interests of other communities. This information can be essential to creation of better Facebook ads which appeal to similarly inclined individuals.

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