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Everything I Know About Retargeting on Facebook And Then Some

If you’re not using retargeting (or remarketing) for your business, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. Almost every major advertising platform will allow you to do some retargeting. For HostGator, I’ve generated a lot of money by creating retargeting ads on Facebook.

In fact, I’ve created 1000’s of Facebook ad campaigns for HostGator…

… and I’ve developed a few tricks of my own along the way.

There’s no better way than employing Facebook ad retargeting.

In this article I’ll be showing you how HostGator is using retargeting to make our ad retargeting on Facebook generate more ROI.

Method 1 — Remove Converters

It may sound obvious but…

… if someone purchases a product or service or opts in to a Lead Magnet form — don’t retarget with that same offer. It’s a wasted impression because they’ve already purchased the offer or opted in to become a lead.

Instead, retarget converted traffic with an upsell. Perfect for grabbing people after converting on a Tripwire or Lead Magnet offer.

Here’s how to set this up:

First, create an audience that includes those that converted on your offer.

You can either put a specific pixel on the conversion page, or if it’s something like /thank-you then you can use the same pixel (provided that your customer audience pixel is on all pages of your site) to create an audience visiting that page.

In the Create Audience >> Website Traffic screen you’ll select “People who visit specific web pages”…

retargeting facebook guide

Create an audience of those that have visited the “Thank You” page for your offer. These are the folks that opted in or purchased your offer. In this case, my “Thank You” page is the /conversion-page…

guide to facebook retareting

Now that you have the audience created, you’ll want to exclude them from your ad set when you create the audience. Doing this is a simple process. You just need to know how to use the exclusion option.

Here would be an example for one of my campaigns at HostGator.

This picture is from Power Editor, although it’s very similar in Ads Manager.

Right to the left of where you choose your custom audience, you can select to Include or Exclude the audience. So you’ll want to include the people you want to target and exclude converted customers.

This can be a bit trickier for people with a lot of different conversion pages, but as long as you have the same tracking pixel throughout, it’s relatively simple.

Method 2 — Recapture Cart Abandoners

You spend a lot of money to get people to your site and then to your checkout page.

But for some reason, they don’t convert.

Maybe they opened a new tab and just forgot about buying. Maybe they don’t have the money until next week. Maybe they fell asleep.

Whatever the reason — you need to retarget to remind them of the offer that they were CLEARLY interested in.

This is exactly like setting up a cart abandonment email such as the one’s Amazon sends that remind you of something that was in your shopping cart.

In this case, we’ll use Facebook ads to retarget them. There are a couple of ways you can do this. Some people may prefer one to the other but I’ll show how I do it.

In the Create Audience >> Website Traffic >> page you’ll select “People visiting specific web pages but not others”…

You’re creating a specific audience of people that have visited your Signup / Checkout page, but they haven’t visited your Conversion page.

You can do this for every landing page and conversion page sequence in your funnel — it beats creating a separate pixel for each of these and working the exclusions that way.

With this set up, you can retarget those cart abandoners.

Test different offers to bring them back to the cart…

  • a coupon?
  • a discount trial?

… or maybe just a simple reminder to get them on the site again? Test each of them to see which returns the best ROI.

Method 3 — Segment by Product

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited a website for a $$$ product and they retarget me for a deal on a $ product.

For HostGator, if someone is looking at a Dedicated Server (higher price), they probably won’t convert on my ad for a shared package (lower price). If you’re selling widgets XYZ and ABC, you want to retarget ABC visitors with an ad for ABC.

To do this, simply create separate retargeting audiences of the people that visited that each specific product page.

In the Create Audience >> Website Traffic >> select “People who visit specific web pages” and create an audience of those that have visited a product page.

This process is getting easier with Facebook’s dynamic product catalog, but I’m still a fan of manually doing this. If you’ve seen great success with the dynamic ads, I’d love for you to share in comments!

Retargeting to the high end product not converting? Now you can attempt an ad for a similar but cheaper product to get them in the door.

I will sometimes retarget visitors from our Dedicated packages with an offer to the VPS. This would still be more strategic than just sending everyone the same ad.

Below is a sample of an ad retargeting people from our Dedicated Servers page. At the time, we were offering 40% off on Dedicated Servers, so I simply brought them back to the page to signup.

For this high end offer, it’s drastically cheaper to bring back a previous prospect than to find someone new.

I’ll also retarget people on our WordPress Hosting page to an offer with a WordPress message. If they just see my default image and ad copy, they won’t convert as well as if they saw a WordPress image with WordPress copy.

Same idea for any other Content Management System. The key here is to analyze the product page and leverage anything you can learn about a visitor to that page in your retargeting campaigns.

Method 4 — Content Marketing

Are you creating content?

If so, you need to be retargeting visitors to your content with the next step in your funnel.

You’re probably getting some organic traffic from SEO or social media to this content. While they may have seen your side bar ads or popup, but probably didn’t convert on first visit.

Yet, now they know your brand — perfect! These prospects are no longer ice cold — they are warming to your brand.

(Want to understand Traffic Temperature? Check out this post by Molly Pittman.)

First, you need to organize your content. You probably have categories for your posts about C, D, and E.

A visitor to each of those categories should be added to a different Facebook audience and retargeted with a tailored message.

Take the HostGator blog as an example.

We have articles about a variety of topics including…

  • SEO
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WordPress
  • General Business

… and everything else that would be relevant to our customers.

I use the “People who visit specific web pages” function to build an audience of everyone that is interested in WordPress, for example.

If you include a “key word” in the URL structure such as such as ‘wordpress’ then it’s even easier. Something like this…


… allows me to create a retargeting audience from anyone that visited a page containing the term ‘wordpress’ in the URL.

Here’s how Digital Marketer does it for the term ‘blogging’…

In HostGator’s case, we can retarget with an ad tailored to those that may be interested in WordPress hosting.

Same thing for SEO posts. An ad would be something like “Need fast hosting to improve your Google rankings?”.

You can apply this to almost any niche provided that you have a variety of content.

Now if you visit the my original source for this article, it’s very likely that Digital Marketer has added you to a Facebook retargeting audience and you’ll start seeing offers for their Facebook products…

… don’t tell them that I told you!

Method 5 — Retarget Promoted Video

If you have video, but aren’t using it for promotion, then you might want to look into it.

You can use promotional videos, video testimonials or even helpful tips about a specific subject. You’re mainly using this for branding to get in front of relevant people. It will also help you drill down on the best people to retarget.

More on that in a second.

Below is a screenshot of one of my campaigns — you can see that I received over 62,000 video views, which is more than half of the people that it reached.

And I was able to do it for an average of $0.03 per view. This wasn’t even a promotional video. Just some information about a specific topic.

So why throw money at something that isn’t promotional or driving traffic anywhere? Because if you target the right audience with the right video, you will do two things.

  1. Introduce yourself to the new audience so they now know your brand.
  2. You have a good audience from Facebook to target with a tailored offer. Here’s how:

When promoting a video with the objective to earn video views, Facebook asks if you want to create an audience based on people that viewed the video. See below:

With “Create audiences from people who view this video” selected, you will have the chance to have two audiences created from the video:

  • Those that have seen 3 seconds of your video
  • Those that have seen 95% of the video (the audience you want)

The only thing that some may find hard is that you have to have a minimum of 1,000 paid video views with a 24-hour period to have an audience generated. I generally bump up the spend early on to get a lot of views, then I can scale down later.

The reason the second audience is the one that you want is because they have the highest chance of being the audience you’re targeting since they watched 95% of your video. Those that watched 3 seconds may have just seen it because of auto-play.

I’m actually using the video above in the campaign that I mentioned. It’s a simple WordPress tip.

So, I start with promoting that video to WordPress specific interests.

I actually found some interests related to WordPress by spying on my competitors.

From there, I generated two large audiences. The one I was interested in was the people that watched 95% since there is a good chance they’re interested in WordPress.

The call to action is to watch and then signup. But if they don’t, that’s fine, because they’re in the audience for me to retarget with ad copy related to WordPress.

If your niche is Facebook ads, and your video is about Facebook ads, then those that watched 95% are most likely interested in Facebook. Now you can retarget them with your Facebook product. Same thing if you have a lawn care business and share a video related to proper lawn treatment.

Method 6 — Use Retargeting To Build Similar Audiences

Let’s kick it up a notch.

Retargeting is awesome. Hands down one of the best ways to bring people back and give you money. But what about websites that don’t have a ton of traffic coming in, thus a small audience to retarget to?

Here’s where a similar audience comes in handy.

The ad above is for a Lookalike Audience that probably doesn’t know who HostGator is or what we do. On this campaign, I created a dark post that you won’t find anywhere on our Facebook feed since most of the people that like us already know who we are.

The copy is a little different since I don’t know if they have a website, so I aired on the side of caution — thinking that they don’t. The message was simple…

“Do you have an idea? Put it on a website.”

… because it was tailored for people who don’t know us, it generated a lot more likes (on the post and on our page) than actual sales.

But now that that they like us, they’ll see my boosted posts later when we have a big sale. And those that actually visited the landing page, they’re added to a retargeting audience.

So how can you replicate this?

You can create an audience based on people that have visited your site before. If you find people closely related, then there is a high chance that they are your target audience as well.

There are two ways to do this: Lookalike Audience and Audience Insights.

Lookalike Audience is an audience that Facebook creates based on the characteristics of the audience you give them.

To create this, go to your audiences page and then Create Audience >> Lookalike Audience.

For the source, choose your retargeting group, and then choose the country you’re targeting. You can only choose one country.

For the scale, you can choose the low end (Facebook grabs those that are most similar to your source) or move to the high end (more reach, less similarities). I always go for the most similar 2.5 million, which is a pretty good sized pool to jump into.

To create this with Audience Insights, you actually have a little more control on who you target. Here’s one of my smaller audiences to break down.

As you’ll see, this audience is made of primarily people over 34. So from here I’ll remove the younger generations. This took me from almost 27,000 to 20,300.

Are these people mostly in relationships, what kind of education do they have, and what jobs are they in?

We’ll scroll down to find out.

Looks like they’re mostly married and have a higher level of education. They’re also in IT or management. Who would have thought? I’ll select those too. Which takes me down to 3.6k audience size. But that’s fine because this is just the retargeted audience.

We basically broke down some of their similarities and we’re going to unselect the custom audience on the left.

Now there’s 8–9 million people in this audience that I will save and target. For these, I will use a video to get them introduced to our brand and then retarget those that watched the video with an offer to buy some hosting.

I need to hurry up before someone here decides they like that audience too!

So there you have it… that’s how HostGator does Facebook ad retargeting. What questions do you have? Comments?

Let’s talk it out in the comments section below.

Originally published at www.digitalmarketer.com on July 29, 2015.

Danni Eickenhorst

Danni Eickenhorst

Danni Eickenhorst is an award-winning social and digital marketing expert. She heads up the marketing and public relations efforts of ReachDynamics. As CEO of Blank Page Consulting, she previously oversaw marketing for organizations including The Salvation Army of Greater St. Louis, Great Rivers Greenway, Made for Freedom, and the OASIS Institute, among others. She received the 2016 HBA Award for Social Media Marketing and Governor Jay Nixon’s 2014 Inaugural Leadership Award for her work on his 100 Missouri Miles campaign. She has been recognized as one of St. Louis’s “People on the Move,” by the St. Louis Business Journal. She serves as an Advisory Member of the St. Louis Social Media Club, and on the Sales & Marketing Committee for the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri.

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