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You have probably heard that retargeting ads provide some of the highest marketing ROI possible. But for some reason, perhaps you have not been as successful. Or perhaps your retargeting ads are not set up properly. I believe that many businesses still do not know how to retarget on Facebook correctly, or, for some reason, are simply not retargeting at all.

Why do I say this?

46% of marketers believe that retargeting is the most underutilized form of marketing tech today.

That got me thinking. Why is retargeting so underutilized? Is it because marketers don’t understand the potential benefits? Is it because they don’t know how it works? Or is it because there are so many options that they don’t know where to start?

With that in mind, I narrowed the field down a little bit. Let’s start with retargeting on one platform only – Facebook. We’ll go through what retargeting is, how to get it right on Facebook, and some strategies to get you started.

Why Facebook?  

I’m focusing on Facebook because it’s the most popular social media site in terms of active users. According to Statista Facebook already has 2+ billion users. It’s nearest rival, YouTube, is catching up with 1.3 billion, but still has a long way to go, and might be surpassed by Instagram sooner or later. 

What Is Retargeting?

Retargeting is one of the killer Facebook features available to marketers that you should be leveraging.

With retargeting, you place a piece of code on a page on your site. Say, for example, on the Shopping Cart page. This code, or pixel, as it’s formally known, tracks visitors on your website according to the criteria that you set. When the visitor leaves your site, this piece of code ensures that they see your ad.

That increases the number of touch points that they have with your products. Visitors are more likely to buy as a result.

How Do I Get the Facebook Pixel?

You can easily create the pixel in the Facebook Ads Manager. Once you’ve got that, insert it into your site. Here’s the step by step process:

  •         Click on Facebook Ads Manager.
  •         Choose the tab called “Pixels.”
  •         Hit the “Create a Pixel” button.
  •         You’ll be asked to name your campaign.
  •         Then just check the “Accept Terms” button and hit “Create Pixel.”
  •         You’ll be given a piece of code.

Add It to Your Site

This code must be inserted into your site’s head section. By putting it in this section, it should appear on all pages.

If you are a WordPress users, and don’t mind adding a plugin, Facebook actually has a plugin that will allow you to connect your website pixel to your Facebook account. You can find instructions on how to download and install the official Facebook Pixel plugin here.

Test the Setup

Now go back to Facebook and your Ads Manager. You’ll see a button saying, “Send Test Traffic.” Facebook will then check if everything is properly installed. It can take 15 or 20 minutes, so be prepared.

When the test is complete, the status will read “Active.” If it doesn’t, you’ll need to remove the code from your site and start again.  

Decide What You’ll Track

Naturally, with marketing, you want to qualify things a little so that you target the right clients. Facebook lets you track when:

  •         A visitor buys something.
  •         They sign up for a subscription or trial.
  •         They’ve completed your registration form.
  •         They’ve put in their payment method.
  •         They’ve started to check out.
  •         Someone adds a product to their wish list.
  •         They do a search for your site.
  •         Someone reads a particular page.
  •         They make contact.
  •         A visitor makes customizations of your product.
  •         Someone kind donates cash.
  •         Anyone looks up your location.
  •         Your client requests a meeting.
  •         They put forward their application.

You’ll see a list of trackable events in Ad Manager. From there, you’ll have to choose whether to track on:

  •         Page Load: As soon as someone visits your site, the pixel springs into action.
  •         Inline Action: This allows you to target a more specific event, like when someone adds something to their wish list.

You can also choose the parameters to ensure that you get more targeted results. For example, you might want to target people who spend more than $50.

Once you’ve put all that information in, you get another piece of code. This piece is not designed to go into the head section of your site. Instead, use it for the most relevant page. If you’re not sure how to do that, speak to a web designer.

That’s it, you’ve created your pixel. Now let’s talk about some strategies so you can get started.  

5 Strategies to Use with Your Facebook Retargeting Pixel

1. Target Everyone

This is the simplest option. Here your pixel tracks anyone who’s been on your site recently. Here’s how to do this:

  •         Go into Ads Manager.
  •         Choose “Create a New Campaign.”
  •         Set your goals as you normally would.
  •         Select “Custom Audience.”
  •         Now look for the “Website Traffic” button.
  •         By default, it’ll track site visitors over a month. You can increase this as you like. The maximum length of tracking is 180 days.
  •         Now name the target and hit “Create Audience.”
  •         From there, you’ll create your ad as you normally would.
  •         That whole process means that only site visitors see your ad.

This is a good way to:

  •         Drive more traffic.
  •         Improve engagement on Facebook.
  •         Build brand awareness.
  •         Build your Facebook following.

That said, this is a straightforward approach. If someone landed on your site by accident, they’d be retargeted. I’d usually recommend a more targeted approach.

2. Tie the Pixel into a Post

By linking the pixel up to a particular post, you’re taking a more targeted approach. If someone has read your blog post, you know that they’re interested in the topic. It can be a highly effective way to sell.

Say, for example, that you sell an automated bookkeeping program. You could write a thought leadership article about why automating your bookkeeping improves productivity and reduces transcription errors.

Your visitors read the article, but don’t click through to the sales page. They leave your site and go about their business. In the interim, they’ve had a little time to think about your post. When they see your ad come up again on Facebook, they’ll be more receptive to the ad.

The advantage of this approach is that you can tailor your ad to the exact stage of the client’s journey. An ad in the situation mentioned above would focus on giving more information. An add related to a page where you speak about your product could be more direct.

Here’s how to work this:

  •         Go into Ads Manager.
  •         Choose “Create a New Campaign.”
  •         Set your goals as you normally would.
  •         Select “Custom Audience.”
  •         Now look for the “People Who Visited Specific Web Pages” button.
  •         You’ll then input the page or pages that you want. 

3. Dynamic Ads

This format puts your ads front and center on the target’s feed. You can opt to highlight one particular product or several. You do need to upload your catalog to Facebook. This lets Facebook know what your products are.

You’ll follow the same steps as listed above, this time pointing to the particular product page on your site. You then create an ad that puts your product in a good light. This is a great way to retarget people who left your website without buying anything. It can also be useful to follow up on an abandoned cart.

4. Upselling or Cross-Selling

Here you’ll target the people who’ve already bought from your site. Use this as an opportunity to get them to make a second, related purchase. Let’s revisit the bookkeeping software we were talking about earlier.

What about up-selling a productivity app, Windows 365, anti-virus software, and so on? Find products that logically go together with what your visitors have already bought. It could be that it didn’t cross their minds to get the related product. The steps here are the same as with my previous strategy.

5. Your About Page

You might not think that the “About” page is significant. But think about it this way – why do people want to know more about your company? It could well be that they’re deciding whether or not to do business with you.

Don’t ignore those visitors, retarget them on Facebook. That ad popping up might convince them to give your company another look.

As in the previous strategy, the steps are the same. 

Final Notes

Retargeting may seem like something of a wasted effort to the casual observer. After all, if someone abandoned their cart, it would seem that they’ve lost interest. In truth, there could be many reasons for them not completing the purchase.

It could be that they simply need a nudge. Maybe enticing them with a small discount or offering free shipping might be all you need to seal the deal.

If we look at the retargeting statistics shown in the infographic below, it’s clear that retargeting offers excellent returns on investment. The challenging part is that you need to find the right strategy for your market.

Thinking outside the box could give you the edge. Combining your content marketing strategy and a retargeting strategy, for example, could mean you’re onto a winner. How many blog posts have you written? What are your most popular posts? Can you create retargeting advertising that will complement these?

50+ retargeting stats that every marketer should know infographic

Trying to figure out the best way in how to retarget on Facebook? Look no further: This post will introduce you to five effective strategies, including...


Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

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