Facebook Retargeting: The Basics

by sarah on Friday, 20th April 2018

An audience of more than two billion monthly users is a reality that no business can afford ignore, especially as has more users than any other platform on social media. Facebook is a juggernaut when it comes to online marketing and e-commerce strategies, though it can be an overwhelming world to navigate if you do not understand the ins and outs of Facebook retargeting. Read on with this step-by-step guide of how you can make the most of a dynamic retargeting strategy to increase customers and potentially rapidly improve your click-through rate.

What is Retargeting and How Does it Work?

Facebook is a global market resource and allows organisations to target highly specific groups with advertising. For example, you may specify that your business ads are targeted toward age, gender, demographics, interests, and more. If your product is geared toward 20-something females in a certain geographic location who are interested in fine art, Facebook will deliver you to that very specific audience.


A Facebook retargeting campaign is one of the most powerful business tools offered by Facebook. And it simply means targeting consumers AFTER they have visited your site.

It’s happened to us all: after browsing some Thailand travel sites, you check your Facebook page a few hours later and see ads for a Thai resort. And those ads might continue to pop up in the days and weeks to come.

All of this happens as a result of some back-end website coding that essentially acts as an “alarm” to trigger Facebook to your website user’s activity. Then based on settings you have chosen for your ad campaigns, Facebook determines which of your website visitors should see these ads.

Clearly, it is a complicated set of codes and formulas, which thankfully Facebook has created for companies who may not have a tech genius on site! And here is where it really works: the Thai resort ad pops up and tempts you to book the trip. But you’ve still wondered if you can afford it, so you do nothing.

A week later, after a gobsmacking surprise of an unexpected promotion at work, the ad appears again (this time with a discounted price for a week’s holiday!) and you click right through to book, buoyed by the thrill of newfound wealth. This is how retargeting works and it has been proven to convert browsing to buying.

If your business has a Facebook page and you have not set up Facebook retargeting campaigns, it is a relatively easy process, with guaranteed results. Here is what you need to do to get started…

Set up the Retargeting Pixel

Company Page

Starting with your company Facebook page, ensure you have set up Business Manager and Facebook Ads Manager. You will then add the Facebook Remarketing Pixel to your own website. The pixel tracks your visitors and conversions and it allows you to target a specific audience of people who have already visited your website. It is an easy process to add the pixel by visiting the Facebook Business Manager, clicking on “create a pixel”, naming it and adding it to your site.

Define Your Audience

This is where the power of Facebook’s retargeting tool really shines. The ability to create a custom audience based on a wide variety of factors makes this incredibly attractive to business owners. And Facebook’s user-friendly format makes it relatively simple for even the least tech-savvy among us.

Define Your Audience

In order to define your audience, you will go to the Facebook Ads Manager and select “audiences”. You can then create a “custom audience” based on customer files, website traffic, app activity, offline activity, and engagement. Here’s the quick rundown on these categories:

  • Customer files: Facebook will use your customer email list to match contact information to its users.
  • Website traffic: targets visitors to your site.
  • App activity: specific to businesses who have run Facebook Mobile App install campaigns.
  • Offline activity: offline conversions to Facebook are matched by Facebook with platform users.
  • Engagement: people who have engaged in various ways with your content on Facebook (users who have viewed your posts, engaged with your ads and events, etc.) to potentially improve your conversion rate.

The options can be overwhelming and it’s best to start simple with a few custom audiences until you get the hang of these campaigns.

Start Your Campaign

One of the best places to start, especially for a new and growing business, is to retarget ALL of your website visitors. This is an opportunity to increase brand recognition and drive sales. You may opt first to offer something compelling to the customer that is “free”. Perhaps your company manufactures and sells high-end decorative hardware and via the Facebook retargeting campaign you offer a webinar or a blog post from a notable interior design firm showcasing the hottest trends in cabinetry for 2018. Or, for more of a direct sales approach to your retargeted website visitors, you may choose to offer a discount to new customers with an ad for “20% off all hardware”.


As you become more comfortable using the Facebook Ad Retargeting tool, you may find ways to target even more specific website visitors and dramatically improve your click-through rate. For example, you can target a segment of browsers who visited one specific landing page on your business’s website. Take everyone who specifically browsed the page for brass hardware and retarget them with a more focused advertisement: “20% off all BRASS hardware through Friday!”

You’re now one step closer to making the sale to the visitor who browsed brass hardware last week. However, there is still the chance this individual will get as far as selecting hardware, adding it to a cart, and then abandoning ship! Well, abandoning the cart…

Facebook Retargeting allows you to get back in front of the eyes of these visitors as well. Another ad, perhaps one with a slightly more generous discount, could bring back the customer who left the cart after being interrupted by a phone call, a knock at the door or a young child’s temper tantrum. Statistics show that more than half of shoppers will abandon their carts at some point; we all do it for a variety of reasons, and it is not just about changing our mind about the purchase. Often, it can be the distractions of day-to-day life, and the retargeting ad serves as a memory jog for the customer who truly did wish to purchase your product.

Retargeting campaigns can be as simple or as sophisticated as you wish, but the bottom line is they are a MUST for businesses interested in growing their e-commerce strategies.

Your Say...

Your email address will not be published.

HTML tags will be removed from replies.