Facebook Retargeting Ads: Your Guide to an Awesome Remarketing Strategy

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Few visitors convert on their first visit to your website. This is where retargeting comes in! It allows you to build a relationship with your prospects for them to hopefully convert later on. Methods, examples, tips: I'll tell you everything in this guide.

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Parents know that repetition is key in communication: how many times do you have to ask a child to clean his room before he actually does it? 😫

In marketing, it’s the same: repetition of the message is key to the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns. While there is no consensus on the optimal number of repetitions (three, seven – the famous rule of seven – or even twenty (!) according to Thomas Smith in his book Successful Advertising, published in 1890), there is a consensus on its effectiveness: the more a message is repeated, the more it is perceived as familiar and therefore trustworthy.

In this article, I will show you how to make good use of this principle of message repetition with Facebook Retargeting Ads.

What is Retargeting?

Before we talk about Facebook retargeting, let’s define first what is “retargeting”.

Also known as remarketing, retargeting is a marketing technique that involves showing an ad to an individual who has visited your website, but for whom there has been no purchase or transformation during that visit.

It is a super powerful targeting strategy since you only show ads to people who have shown an interest in your brand, as they’ve already:

– Visited your website 💻;

– Visited your product pages 🔥;

– Added a product to the cart 🛒;

– Initiated a payment 💳;

– Read one of your blog posts 📄;

– Etc.

What are Facebook Retargeting Ads?

Retargeting on Facebook consists in retargeting your website or mobile application visitors with Facebook ads.

How does it actually work? Well, it’s pretty simple 🙂

Let’s say you are selling organic candles and want to boost the sales of your best-seller candle: the Cotton Candle.

via GIPHY

First, you place a Facebook pixel (a tracking code provided by Facebook) on your website. So each time a visitor will arrive on your site, he/she will be immediately identified by Facebook and every page visited will be recorded.

Then, you create an ad campaign on Facebook and choose to only target “people who have visited your Cotton Candle page in the last 3 days”. This is what Facebook calls a custom audience.

Let’s imagine that Visitor A visited the Cotton Candle page and leaves the website without any purchase. A few hours later, as he scrolls through his newsfeed, he will come across your retargeting ad.

If you did a good job creating an effective ad, he might very well buy the candle this time. ✌️

How Do I Get Started with Facebook Retargeting Ads?

The very first step is to install the Facebook pixel on all the pages of your website. You don’t how to do it? No problem! Here is the official Facebook guide to do it step by step.

That’s how Facebook will have information about the people who visited your website so that it can find them in its database.

How to Implement Facebook Retargeting Ads?

Step 1: Create your Custom Audience

It is with the “Custom Audiences” option that you will be able to create retargeting audiences.

Facebook gives you a lot of sources to choose from for retargeting:

– Your own website or app 💻

– A customer list that you can upload 📝

– Your customers’ Offline Activity

Facebook sources: video views, interaction with a Facebook page, etc.

So you can choose the type of remarketing that best suits your business objective.

Let’s review together how to create this custom audience, step by step:

1. Go to Facebook Ads Manager.

2. Once you’re there, go to the Audience tab.

3. Then, click on the “Create New Audience” tab and then select “Custom Audience” in the “Create New” drop-down menu.

You should see this pop-up:

You’ll notice that Facebook separates sources between your sources and Facebook sources.

Let’s start with retargeting based on your website traffic, as it is the most simple.

So click on “website” and you should this pop-up appear:

In this example, I chose to create an audience based on people who have visited my website in the last 30 days. Just name your audience and click on the “Create Audience” blue button. The audience will quickly start to fill up.

You’re done! 🎉

Note that this is a very basic audience that is not segmented. It can be useful for a website that just launched but in most cases, you’ll need to segment your visitors, because they have a wide range of behaviors.

In the rest of this article, I will show you how to better segment your audiences in order to target your website visitors depending on their maturity in the customer journey.

N.B: If you see the pop-up below instead of the “Create a Website Custom Audience” pop-up above, it means that you don’t have a Facebook Pixel installed yet. I advise you to simply follow the Facebook guidelines on this pop-up. They are very simple and clear and it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to install your pixel.

Step 2: Use your Custom Audience

In this second step, I’ll show you how to use the Custom Audience we’ve created.

via GIPHY

To do this, go to the ad set of your retargeting campaign and go to the “Audience” section. Simply select the Audience you’ve just created.

Easy, huh? You’re now able to create your very own retargeting campaigns. In the rest of this article, I’ll show you different ad remarketing strategies that I strongly invite you to try out!

10 Types of Facebook Retargeting Ads You Should Try

“Finish Your Purchase” Facebook Retargeting Ad

Who is the Target?

According to the Baymard Institute, an average of 69,57% of online shoppers abandon their shopping cart before payment. Whether they found that the extra costs (shipping, taxes, etc.) were too high, that the checkout process was too long or that the website wanted them to create an account, that’s a whole lot of lost sales…

Unless you do something to get them back!

So for this first example, I’ll show you how to retarget these cart abandoners.

How to do it?

This technique is most suitable for businesses that only sell one product. If you have multiple products, I advise you to try Dynamic Retargeting Ads.

– In the “Create a Custom Audience” pop-up, select the “Website” option:

– Then, choose “People who visited specific web pages” in the “All website visitors” dropdown and choose the most compelling duration for your business. Here I chose 7 days. Type in the words your “Cart” and “Checkout” pages’ URLs contain.

– Now click on “Exclude People” and choose the event “Purchase”. We’ll exclude those who made a purchase within the last 30 days. N.B: If you have not set up your Facebook events, you can exclude the people who visited your Thank You page – though it might be less precise (some visitors leave the Thank You page before it’s fully loaded and are not taken into account). If you need help setting up your events, please visit the Facebook Help page.

– Name your audience and click on “Create Audience”.

You’re done! 🥳

What kind of ad can I use?

When you do this type of advertising, it’s important to have an “irresistible” offer, an offer that is very difficult to refuse (e.g.: a limited-time discount or a gift), otherwise, why would a prospect come back to your checkout page?

Here is an example by Tropic of C. They are promoting a significant discount: up to 65% off.

“Need help?” Retargeting Ad

Who is the Target?

According to Econsultancy, 83% of online shoppers need support to complete a purchase yet half of them will either try once or give up immediately when seeking help before an online purchase. So there’s an opportunity to target this audience that needs reinsurance.

via GIPHY

So we’ll be targeting visitors who hesitate to make their buying decision. We’ll assume that these hesitant visitors have either visited your help pages (FAQ, Pricing, etc.) OR spent more time than the average visitor on your website.

How to do it?

– In the “Create a Custom Audience” pop-up, select the “Website” option.

– Then, choose “People who visited specific web pages” in the “All website visitors” dropdown and choose the most compelling duration for your business. Here I chose 7 days. Type in the words your help page and FAQ page contains.

– Then, click on “Include more People” and choose “Visitors by time spent”. Select the Top 10% in the past 7 days.

– Now click on “Exclude People” and choose the event “Purchase”. We’ll exclude those who made a purchase within the last 30 days.

– Name your audience and click on “Create Audience”.

You’re done! 🎊

What kind of ad can I use?

I advise you to use a Facebook Messenger Destination Ad. Your prospects will be automatically redirected to Facebook Messenger so they can chat with you.

Here is a perfect example by DeskTime:

“Stay In Touch” Facebook Retargeting Ads

Who is the Target?

You know these visitors who come several times on your website but still do not convert? While it might be tempting to give up on them, I’ll show you how you can keep them close to your brand so they might convert in the long-term.

via GIPHY

So we’ll be targeting these prospects that are not ready (yet) to purchase from your website.

How to do it?

– In the “Create a Custom Audience” pop-up, select the “Website” option.

– Then, choose “All website visitors” in the past 14 days.

– Exclude both: the visitors who purchased from you during the last 30 days AND all website visitors in the past 7 days – as it’s too soon to know whether they are not going to buy from you in the short term or not.

– Name your audience and click on “Create Audience”.

You’re done! 🎉

What kind of ad can I use?

I advise you to use a Facebook Lead Ad, promoting your newsletter for example.

Here is an example by POSE, advertising their newsletter.

Client List Facebook Retargeting Ads

Who is the Target?

We’ll be targeting your prospects and/or leads (i.e.: people who have shown an interest in your company or one of your offers).

It can be useful for different types of campaigns: you might want to offer them special offers or promoting your Facebook/Instagram page to grow your following.

How to do it?

– In the “Create a Custom Audience” pop-up, select the “Customer list” option:

– You’ll then be presented with 3 choices:

The first two options require a .csv or .txt file. The only difference is that the first one includes customer lifetime value data. If you own an online store, you can export an extra column for the customer lifetime value data and choose this second option.

The third option is very handy if your data is stored on your MailChimp account.

– If you select one of the first two options, you’ll see this pop-up with instructions on how to prepare your customer list:

– Prepare your file – note that you can download a customer list template if needed. There are up to 15 identifiers that you can include in your file such as Email Address, Phone number, First name, City, etc. Your file must at least contain email addresses so that Facebook can match your data with those of its users. The more information you’ll include, the more accurate the matching will be.

– Upload your file and name your audience and then click on the “Next” button.

– Choose the email address column for data mapping and click on the “Import and create” button to create your retargeting audience based on a customer list.

– Facebook will now match your data with its own database. Expect to find on Facebook 40 to 60% of the people in your customer file.

Congrats! 🥳 You can now show this audience an ad!

Pro Tip: You can also create a similar audience from this prospect file in order to reach people similar to your prospects.

What kind of ad can I use?

There are many, many, kinds of ads you can use for this target. It really depends on your goals and your business.

If you wish to grow your following on your Facebook or Instagram account, it can be very effective to target this audience. Why, you may wonder? Because they are very likely to engage well with your content, and thus create a virtuous circle, as Facebook/Instagram love to push content with high engagement rates.

Here is an example by AdEspresso:

Blog Readers

Who is the Target?

If you manage a blog, you’re certainly interested in boosting your blog posts’ traffic as soon as you publish them.

In this example, we’ll create an audience gathering all the people who have visited your blog at least twice in the last 180 days. It’ll allow you to promote your content to an audience likely to enjoy it.

How to do it?

– In the “Create a Custom Audience” pop-up, select the “Website” option.

– Then, choose “People who visited specific web pages” in the “All website visitors” dropdown. For duration, you can choose 180 days. Write “blog” in the “URL contains” block. So you’ll be targeting people who’ve visited your blog in the last 6 months.

– Click on “Further refine by” and choose “Frequency is greater than or equal to 2”.

– Name your audience and click on “Create Audience”.

You’re done! 🔥

What kind of ad can I use?

I advise you to create an organic Facebook post promoting your latest blog post (or most successful blog post) and then sponsor it towards the custom audience we’ve just created.

Here are 2 examples by Shopify:

People who engaged with Facebook or Instagram Content

Who is the Target?

We’ll target people who have already interacted with your Facebook Page or Instagram professional account, regardless of their engagement (it can be a comment, share, like, click on a link or an ad, an interaction on Messenger, etc.)

Our goal here is to increase the engagement of your Facebook or Instagram account and grow your number of followers.

How to do it?

– In the “Create a Custom Audience” pop-up, select either the “Instagram business profile” option or the “Facebook page” option.

– Then, I advise you to choose the option “People who engaged with any post or ad” rather than the default option “Everyone who engaged with your Page”. The audience will be smaller in size, but probably more qualified.

– Enter “30 days”.

– Name your audience and click on “Create Audience”.

You’re done! 😊

What kind of ad can I use?

Show this audience your best Facebook posts = those with the most engagement. So you can use any post as long as it has proven to be engaging.

People who Downloaded Your E-book

Who is the Target?

Here, we’ll create a custom audience gathering people who downloaded your e-book. They are even further in the Sales Funnel than your Blog readers.

We’ll encourage them to go further into the funnel by offering them purchase oriented ads. It’s even better if you can offer them a limited time discount.

How to do it?

– In the “Create a Custom Audience” pop-up, select the “Website” option.

– Then, it’s pretty much the same technique as for the previous ads 🙂 You need to have set up a Facebook event for “E-book download”. So you can select it in the “From your events” list under the “All website visitors” dropdown. You can enter 14 days as a duration.

– Exclude the visitors who purchased from you during the last 30 days.

– Name your audience and click on “Create Audience”.

You’re done! 🥳

What kind of ad can I use?

You should offer this audience an exciting offer, such as a free trial or a special limited-time discount.

Here is an example from AdEspresso, offering a 14-Day Free Trial:

Dynamic Retargeting Ads

Who is the Target?

The Dynamic Retargeting Ad format is super powerful as it allows you to offer retargeting ads containing the exact product(s) that your visitors have viewed on your website.

How to do it?

You’ll need to upload your product catalog on Facebook. I recommend you to follow this very nice step by step article offered by Facebook.

What kind of ad can I use?

You need to use “Dynamic ads”. In addition to classic “Dynamic ads”, Facebook offers specific types of these ads for the following industries: “Travel ads”, “Automotive inventory ads” and “Dynamic ads for property”.

Here is what it looks like:

Freemium Users Facebook Retargeting Ads

Who is the Target?

This example is only suitable for businesses offering a freemium version.

I’ll show you how to target your freemium users.

We’ll encourage them to go even further into the funnel by promoting the benefits of a paid plan.

How to do it?

– In the “Create a Custom Audience” pop-up, select the “Website” option.

– Then, it’s pretty much the same technique as for the previous ads 🙂 You need to have set up a custom Facebook event for “Freemium Conversion”. So you can select it in the “From your events” list under the “All website visitors” dropdown. You can enter 7 days as a duration.

– Exclude the visitors who purchased from you during the last 30 days.

– Name your audience and click on “Create Audience”.

You’re done! 🎉

What kind of ad can I use?

Here the message is simple, you need to show your freemium user what’s in it for him/her if he/she upgrades. It should be a significant product upgrade.

Below is an example from Slack, with some A/B testing in the copy used both in the text and in the image.

To me, the ad on the right does a better job highlighting why a freemium user should upgrade: “get shared channels, unlimited apps, and access to your entire message history.”

“Don’t Be a Stranger” Facebook Retargeting Ads

Who is the Target?

This example is only suitable for businesses selling products/services for which you can have repeat purchases.

Turning a prospect into a customer is the hardest part. Once you’ve acquired a customer, it would be crazy not to continue to target him/her as repeat customers spend more money on average and are easier to sell to.

So for this last example, I’ll show you how to target customers who bought from you in the past.

How to do it?

– In the “Create a Custom Audience” pop-up, select the “Website” option.

– Select the “Purchase” Facebook event in the “All website visitors” dropdown. You can enter 180 days as a duration if it makes sense for your business.

– Exclude the visitors who purchased from you during the last 30 days – or really any duration that’s suitable for your market.

– Name your audience and click on “Create Audience”.

You’re done! 👍

What kind of ad can I use?

There are several types of ads you could create:

Offer them promotions to encourage them to come back to your website. A discount upon purchase of several products could be very effective for people who are already conquered by your products.

Upsell them: encouraging them to buy a higher-end product or service

Recall them your existence by sharing news about your products or services

Conclusion

I hope this article will help you create your first Facebook retargeting campaigns easily and efficiently!

And don’t forget these two golden rules when it comes to retargeting:

– Avoid at all costs becoming the annoying brand harassing its customers by retargeting them everywhere with the same ads for weeks and weeks. Your target can even go as far as blocking your ads, which is seen as a negative signal by Facebook, which can increase the cost of your campaigns. ☹️

– Test, test, test! Play with the (almost) endless possibilities offered by Facebook to find THE strategy that works best for YOUR business.

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