Retargeting, Social

8 Best Practices for Retargeting on Facebook

Written by Tim Edmundson

In 2016, it’s evident social is the place to be. Why? Well, it’s where everyone else is. Facebook alone has over one billion active daily users – that’s a lot of people perusing News Feeds – with more than 2.5 million advertisers chasing after them. Let that sink in for a moment – 2.5 million! That’s a lot of competition you’re up against, BUT you can break through the noise if you can successfully take your retargeting to social (i.e. match your site visitors on Facebook and entice them back to your site with relevant ads). The key to successfully retargeting on Facebook is in your technical tactics, such as how you segment your audience and setup.

Facebook is a great place to implement retargeting because people are naturally looking for engagement when visiting the social network. They are there to click around, see what their friends are up to, and ultimately like, share, and comment on content. Ideally, your ad should match that vibe and fit right in – it should be something your audience will want to engage with and share. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to ensure your ads not only sync up with your customers’ expectations, but also stand out enough to warrant their attention.


1. A Call to Action | Click here to learn the secrets of retargeting on social! Did you try and click the blue text? Sorry, that was rude. But boy does it ever prove the importance of a call to action. People actually like being told what to do, and a CTA can often times make all the difference when it comes to finalizing a sale.

It’s a good idea to follow some general best practices. CTAs should be brief and to the point, and should start with an actionable verb like “Click” or “Download.” Facebook recommends putting the most important information in the first 90 characters (the link is real this time, promise), so think of ways to get to your CTA quickly.

2. Make Your Visuals Pop | Your ads should have an immediate impact, and the best way to do that is to tie it to something that resonates. If your data says a user has recently viewed mascara on your site, feature that product in your visual. Images with Instagram-like filters and which convey emotion tend to perform the best. What’s more, the human eye will always respond better to visuals than text. They are a quick way of getting your ad to stand out in the News Feed, or draw the eye to the Right Hand Column. If your ad features a relevant visual that catches the eye, you’re going a long way in making the most of that impression.

3. Make it Worthwhile | The News Feed has a lot going on, by design. Friends, family, and colleagues seemingly spend their entire day posting content, and your ad is in amongst all of it. It’s not uncommon for users’ eyes to glaze over a bit until something interesting scrolls past. Your ad has a chance to be that something, and nothing grabs attention more than a good deal, especially if its for a product in which they’ve already shown interest.

If you have the data, make use of it. If you know the user has lingered on a particular product’s page, but never moved it to his cart, offer a discount to complete the sale. If you know someone added multiple items totaling $60 to her cart and then abandoned it, offer a discount for purchases totaling over $70 to entice her back. With the extra insight into a user’s habits provided by pixel tracking, you should be able to offer something that will seal the deal.

4. Keep it Dynamic | Static imagery and copy on Facebook? Don’t do it. According to our own data, dynamic Facebook ads get 34% more clicks than their static counterparts. You need to keep things fresh and adaptable, and your creative should reflect that. The perfect way to do this is with Facebook Dynamic Retargeting, which automatically display the exact product and product name your site visitors viewed, and sends them back to the product page to make a purchase. This way you can be sure that your copy and imagery are targeted and cater to each specific audience based on their behavior on your site.

5. Want the Best? Test, Test, Test | Obviously you want your creative to be top notch – but how can you be sure it’s the best it can be? A/B testing, in which you pit one ad against another to see which is more effective, allows you to ensure you’re utilizing the best combination of copy, visuals and CTAs available. A little competition is healthy, so put your ads up against one another and let them duke it out to see which gets the most clicks. And once you determine a winner, you’ll have a better idea of what works, and what doesn’t.

6. Go With the Winners | Once you have done your A/B testing and revealed a winning balance of copy, visuals and CTAs, you’re on the right track. But you’re not done yet! The first round of testing establishes a good baseline for what works in your ads, but you should keep creating and testing to ensure they’re the best they can be. Take the elements that worked well in your previous creative, and create a subset of new ads. Be sure to put a slightly different spin on each to set them apart from the others so you can test these new ads against one another. You don’t want to mess with a winning formula too much, but continuous testing can help you find your most effective messaging, and helps keep your creative fresh.


7. Smart Segmenting | Bring nuance to your segmenting efforts and separate users based on where they are in the sales funnel. Different people have different needs, and one-size-fits-all messaging just doesn’t work when you’re trying to guide them back to your site to complete a sale. Ensure your copy and visuals match up to what users in the segment will respond to most. If you keep your segments’ place in the sales funnel in mind, you should be able to grab their attention with the right combination of assets in your ad.

8. Use a Burn Pixel | So let’s say you visited a site and nearly bought a pair of headphones, but decided against it because they were just a bit too pricy. Fast forward to a week later, and thanks to the artful use of retargeting ads, you went back and completed the purchase. Great, right? The system works! But what if you kept getting served ads for those headphones? Everywhere you went: headphones. It would get annoying, and you may very well start to loathe that company.

In an effort to prevent ill will, the burn pixel was created. By putting a burn pixel on your conversion page you can track anyone who has converted, which will flag them and prevent your campaign from serving them the same, redundant ads. After all, you don’t want to annoy a loyal customer, nor do you want to waste your budget on someone who isn’t going to spend any more money. You save money, and your customer gets a better News Feed experience – win / win.

If you go about your social retargeting in a smart way, you’re going to reap the benefits. Remember to ensure your creative matches the social vibe, and that you’re still doing the basics on the technical side – if you do, you’re all set.