Lookalike Prospecting

Lookalike models are special, custom prospecting lists created from traits and/or behaviors identified within your existing customers. These can encompass purchasing behavior, interests, affinities, and additional predictive traits you wouldn’t initially think of.

What's so great about Poplar's lookalike models?

In Poplar, we've built a streamlined lookalike model development process that allows you to build a lookalike model within 2-3 business days.

  • On-demand models
  • Minimums start at just 5,000 circulation
  • No requirement to contribute to any data share
  • Complimentary 10% or 20% Holdout group (optional but highly recommended to calculate lift metrics)

By using this feature you accept the Poplar Terms of Use for Prospecting Data


Lookalike lists are built as part of a One Time Send launch flow. This means creative files must be uploaded to your campaign beforehand, so they can be selected during the first step in the flow. After submission, the list can take up to 3 business days to build, and the campaign will immediately move to production once audience sourcing is complete.

  • You need at least 1,000 customers to build a lookalike model. Your file should contain full name and address data only, emails are not accepted.
  • Do NOT cull the customer list on your end. Even if you have more than 1,000 customer records, you should upload the ENTIRE file for best results
  • Your uploaded customer list will double as a suppression list for the campaign, but any additional state, zip code, or Audience list suppressions should be set under the campaign's Suppressions tab.
  • Ensure you have enough funds in your credit balance for the mailing. Your estimated cost: quantity of mailings * ($0.07 + cost of your creative)

Although circulation starts at only 5,000 we recommend at least 10,000 prospects to get a better grasp on your target audience and analyze the results which would carry more statistical weight.


New One Time Send

As mentioned above, Lookalike models are launched via the One Time Send flow so you'll want to click into you campaign, head to the One Time Send tab and click New One Time Send. You'll then be prompted to select which creative you'd like to use. If you're A/B testing creatives, select the Multiple Creatives option from the dropdown.

LAL Step 1


Build A Lookalike Audience

Under the I Need Data section, select Build A Lookalike Audience and click Next:

LAL Step 2


Upload Customer File

Upload your entire customer file and map the required column headers - any excess columns can be ignored. After uploading, the platform will generate a number of valid addresses that can be used to build the model. This number is based on complete & correctly formatted data in your file, it is not checking against USPS data to determine if the address is active.

LAL Step 3

In the rare event your customer file is too large to upload, reach out to support@heypoplar.com or via the chat beacon for assistance.

Quantity & Attributes

Enter your desired circulation (excluding holdout) and any required attributes for your model.

LAL Step 4

We highly suggest avoiding using the attributes unless they are absolutely key to your product or if your product doesn't serve a certain group. For example:

  • You sell only women's clothing
  • You're a real estate firm and you're mainly marketing to homeowners who want to sell
  • You're selling children's toys (and thus want to market only to households with children)


  • The lookalike model automatically reflects the demographic patterns discovered amongst your customers.
  • Letting the model run naturally will allow you to get the highest-ranking names from the largest universe of prospects.

To give a concrete example, let's say, Sally, David, Bob, Linda, and Annie were your top 5 prospects based on their purchasing behavior.

If you deselected "Male", we would remove David and Bob, who were actually ranked 2nd and 3rd in terms of likeliness to convert - and replace them with Amanda and Jane (ranked 6 and 7 in your list).


State & Zip Code Whitelists

Though we recommend mailing as broadly as possible, you can specify if you want to reach specific zip codes or states. If you already set your campaign states and zips, you can just use those.

LAL Step 5


Audience Suppressions

Because this is a prospecting product, your customer file will always be suppressed from results. If you already set audience suppressions under your Campaign settings, you can breeze through this step.

LAL Step 6


Organization Details

During the modeling process we collect some additional details, including a list of 5-10 competitors and your product category. We highly recommend sharing all these details as they help inform the model of the types of purchases it should give more weight.


Holdout & NCOA

If you have enabled holdouts in your campaign setting, you can take a holdout of 10% or 20% at no additional charge. For example, if you wish to mail 10,000 prospects and also use a holdout, we would provide 2,000 extra addresses for your holdout, at no additional charge. We highly recommend taking a holdout, because having incremental lift metrics will help you understand the true return on the campaign.

We recommend leaving NCOA turned ON, unless you have specific state or zip suppression set and don't want to risk mailers being forwarded outside those parameters.

LAL Step 8


Review & Finalize

Before submitting your order for a lookalike model, you'll be able to review all details and costs. If anything needs to be changed, be sure to go back into the workflow and make the updates.

LAL Step 9


Process Mailing

Once you hit "Process Mailing", we begin our modeling process, which occurs in the span of 2-3 business days. The steps involved in sourcing an audience are:

  1. Your customers (first-party data) are matched against a co-op database that contains your customers' purchasing behavior from parties other than yourself (third-party data).
  2. The prospects in the database are then scored according to their similarity in purchasing behavior to your customers.
  3. Next, all potential customers that don't comply with your overlays are removed, suppressions are removed, and the top viable prospects are finalized for mailing.

Once the top prospects are sourced, your mailing automatically goes into printing & production, without further action needed from you.

Production & mailing will occur, just like any other mailing in Poplar where you uploaded a CSV of addresses or emails. These steps follow the normal timelines of First Class or Standard postage depending on your selection.