The story of how we increased our pages/session by 50% with only a slight change

Fernando PeralesDisplay Monetization, Online advertising, Traffic Acquisition, Traffic QualityLeave a Comment

Here at JOT Internet Media, our main objective is to send very high-quality traffic to our partnersmedia properties. When one of our partners is a publisher, the KPIs we use to measure this traffic performance are bounce rate, pages/session, average session duration… All the metrics that show users’ engagement with the publisher’s content are the ones that we are always trying to improve.

There are a lot of ways to improve user engagement. We can improve the content to make it longer or more appropriate for our audience. Another way to improve engagement is to show this content to a better targeted audience, one that is more interested in the type of content we are promoting. Both ways are hard and require a lot of time and resources. Is there a way to improve that metric that doesn’t require this amount of time or resources? Yes, there is, and this is the way we improved the pages/session by a 50% and increased the average session duration by a minute.


Our secret is called lookalike

It didn’t take us more than five minutes to create a copy of our best campaigns and use a lookalike audience instead of our original audience to get this result. For sure, it took us less than the time I am spending writing this blog post.

So… What is this “lookalike audience magic thing”? You can find many guides online on how to use lookalikes, how to implement them, their types and possibilities, so I won’t go into too much details. All I will do here is explain the idea behind them.

Facebook launched 5 years ago a product called “Facebook Lookalike Audiences”.

What did Facebook tell us about that product then? The main feature of this product was to create audiences on Facebook who look like your current customers, visitors to your website or page fans. That statement sounds great, doesn’t it? If only I could reach people that look like my actual customers, it would be easier to sell to them than to others. I’ve always been a skeptical person and 5 years ago I did not believe that Facebook could do that. Also, keep in mind that 5 years ago, Facebook wasn’t the data titan it is today.

Now I believe in any new Facebook feature. Experience has taught me to believe in Facebook targeting capabilities. As an early adopter, I used them but did not see any incredible result. Now, I regret not trying harder. I’ve re-discovered this product and I am now absolutely in love with it. Five years later, all the major ad networks are using this technology. Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Outbrain are some of the players that are following the Facebook path in using this kind of audiences. We have all realized how powerful lookalike audiences are.


The perfect lookalike audience

Lookalikes are amazing but it is not magic. In order to let Facebook or Google create a good lookalike audience for you, you have to feed them with quality information. This is the reason why we create these audiences only with users that have high intent.  In order to create our lookalike audience, we created a segment of users that view more pages in our site and spend more time on it – the cream of the crop. Why do we select our very best users? Easy, they are what we want more of. We want to replicate this behavior in other users.

The next step is populating. The number of users in this segment is critical. The more users we have to create the lookalike audience the better. This is statistics. The higher the sample the more accurate the final results. It is the same than in political polls. It is not the same to ask 1% of the population than to ask 10%. Once you have enough users, you just need to create your lookalike audience and use it in your campaigns.  As I said before, we have improved a lot only in 10 days using this and it cost us literally nothing.


Behavior is the Key

What we have realized here at JOT is that a good understanding of the user behavior could help us improve our results. Keywords and interests are still working but a new actor is in the show. Searching similar users using our customers’ behavior is now a thing and a very big one.  The more we use this technology the better results we’ll get. More time on our page or a better pages/session ratio is only the beginning.

More to come on this soon in another article.

And remember, if you need any help setting up your lookalike audiences, you know where to find us!


Jorge García, Project Manager & Display Advertising Specialist


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