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Facebook Interests Vs. Lookalike Audiences: Which One’s Working Better in 2022?

Facebook interests vs. lookalike audiences…which one’s winning in 2022?

Let’s take a look into Facebook interest targeting and see how it stacks up compared to interest targeting in the current advertising landscape.

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But now, let’s get down to the shakedown between lookalike audiences and Facebook interest targeting!

First, let’s get some definitions out of the way.

What is A Facebook Lookalike Audience?

In essence, a Facebook Lookalike audience is an audience that shares similar characteristics to your current leads or customers.

Lookalike audiences are based on custom audiences. You can easily go into your Facebook ads manager and create a lookalike audience based on an audience you’ve already built out. Facebook will then source new users who it believes will act similarly to your original audience.

What is Facebook Interest Targeting?

Facebook interest targeting is a way to show your ads to Facebook users who have specifically shown an interest in the subjects of your ads.

Targeting based on interests is often more beginner-friendly and it’s also been around since Facebook’s infancy. There are thousands of interests advertisers can choose to target based on.

Facebook Interests Vs. Lookalike

So now that you’re clear on these two targeting terms…which one is better?

I’ll tell you what I tell my media buyers at the agency all of the time.

What’s working on Facebook is constantly changing. We’re always running tests to see what’s performing best so we can continually tweak and optimize our campaigns.

For instance, for branding campaigns, sometimes engagement ads work better whereas sometimes video views ads work better.

At the moment, I’m using engagement ads and they’re performing better in terms of consumption. But in a few weeks, I might run tests and see that my video views campaigns are running better.

So the moral of the story is that whether you’re working with engagement vs. video views campaigns or comparing facebook interests vs. lookalikes, constant testing is the name of the game.

The Two Types of Facebook Lookalike Audiences After iOS 14

Let me start off by explaining the two types of lookalike audiences.

Dynamic Audiences

The first lookalike audience type is pixel-based and these are referred to as dynamic lookalike audiences.

Say you have a landing page you’re sending traffic to, and you have the pixel installed on the page.

You’re creating a lookalike audience based on the custom audience of landing page visitors.

A dynamic lookalike audience means that you’re audience is constantly being updated and refreshed. The more people who visit your page, the more data the Facebook pixel receives. It can then use this data to automatically update your lookalike audience to become more and more accurate.

Dynamic means the lookalike audience will continuously be updated so long as you keep feeding the pixel data.

Static Audiences

The second type of Facebook lookalike audiences are static lookalike audiences.

You create static lookalike audiences by exporting your lead list, and uploading it to Facebook.

Facebook then uses this list of buyers to create your lookalike audience.

The reason why these are referred to as static is because they’re not updated. Unless you manually take the time to export and update a new list every couple of days, your lookalike audience will remain the same.

Facebook Lookalike Audiences After iOS 14

Here’s how the iOS 14 privacy update affected the lookalike audience targeting feature.
With the update and recent privacy issues, the success of dynamic audiences has declined.

  • They’ve become:
  • Less viable
  • Less accurate
  • And less reliable


Because of the simple fact that Facebook wasn’t getting as much data into the pixel as they were before.

Say you were getting 10 purchases a day and sending that data back to the Facebook pixel. You had a lookalike audience based on that group of buyers.

There’s a very high chance that after the iOS 14 update, the performance of that lookalike audience suffered.

Many advertisers saw a BIG drop in performance when it came to lookalike audiences.

But here’s what we’ve found at ScaleDriven.

The performance of static lookalike audiences has remained steady.

Nevertheless, because dynamic lookalike audiences were becoming less and less reliable, we found ourselves veering more towards Facebook interest targeting at the agency.

It’s always a bit of a game that happens from time to time.

Facebook will update their algorithm when it comes to lookalike audiences and they work a little worse for a while…and then, they bounce right back up.

Now, they’re shining.

The same goes for Facebook interest targeting.

You might have a ton of Facebook interests, and interest targeting is working super well for you…

And then, BOOM.

Facebook deletes 2,000, 5,000 or even 10,000 interests.

And then all of a sudden, they’re not quite as viable.

But then they put a lot of them back, and they start working better.

So your targeting strategy will always be shifting.

What’s Working When It Comes To Facebook Interests Vs. Lookalikes in 2022?

After we saw the drop in performance from Facebook lookalikes after the iOS 14 update, we started spending more and more money on Facebook interests.

They were still serving us well – getting us good cost per lead, good cost per purchase, good cost per appointment…whatever our goal was at the time.

So we decreased our budget on lookalike audiences and increased our budget for interest targeting.

But the trend that I’m seeing in June 2022, is that things are reverting.

I’m seeing lookalike audiences out of buyers, leads and website visitors that are absolutely crushing it.

And now, they’re outperforming interests.

So lately, I’ve been advising both my media buyers and my students to start spending less and less money on Facebook interests and more and more money on lookalike audiences.

Another key thing to remember is that Facebook will periodically delete a bunch of interests, and then later, re-add them in, which can often have an effect on the performance.

What you need to remember is that deciding on Facebook interests vs. lookalike audiences is always going to be a bit of a dance.

For the next six months, maybe lookalike audiences will perform better, but gradually their performance will decline. And then as that happens, it’s highly likely that interest targeting will start to perform better, and so you’ll want to redistribute your budget.

Start viewing your targeting as something that needs constant testing.

Whenever we launch a new campaign, whether it is for a client we’re scaling our own campaigns, we test everything.

And we recommend our students do the same.
Whenever you’re launching a new asset:

  • Try targeting with Facebook interests
  • Try targeting with Lookalike audiences
  • And even try layering the two – a lookalike audience WITH a Facebook interest

You can even try adjusting different percentages of lookalike audiences. From 1%, to 3%, to 5% all the way up to 10%.

The only caveat for larger lookalike audiences is that you need to have good pixel data in order for it to perform well.

You would need to have a large enough seed audience in order for a 10% lookalike audience to make sense. At this point, you’d be in the scaling stage of your campaign.

At our agency, we use third-party tracking software (such as AnyTrack or HighRoads) in order to feed good pixel data back to Facebook. This is extremely important if you want to not only have healthy campaigns but healthy lookalike audiences as well.

So right now, we’re currently having the most success with static lookalike audiences, with interesting targeting still performing fairly well.

Are you interested in learning more about these strategies?

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