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Facebook Retargeting Ads Guide

Guide to Facebook Retargeting Ads


You probably already know that your buyers like to see a brand or product multiple times before making a buying decision. That’s very true for Facebook users. When they see an advertisement on Facebook, they’re much more likely to respond if they have previously engaged with your business before. This is why Facebook ads can be a very profitable way to market your offerings if you are also engaging with people in other ways.

What are Facebook Ads?

If you don’t know what Facebook Ads are, go open your Facebook right now and start scrolling through your timeline. Within the timeline and/or on the right side of your screen, you’re highly likely to see various ads.


The ads you see depend largely on your own actions such as the things you discuss, the keywords you look for on Google as well as the websites you’ve visited previously. These ads only appear on Facebook. While other people are also being delivered to the ads, your timeline and your Facebook wall are unique to you, based on your actions, and the actions of your friends on your wall.

Why Use Facebook Ads?

The fact of the matter is that if you can’t find your audience on Facebook, the chances of you ever having an audience at all, or making money is slim. With over 1 billion active, daily users, they are the largest community you can access with multiple sub-communities and groups Facebook is truly the place you should be placing your time and money when it comes to advertising as well as socializing.

What is Facebook Retargeting?

Retargeting means that the people you’re targeting for these particular ads are people who have already visited your website, liked your FB page, subscribed to your email list or who look like any of these types of audience members.

Four types of retargeting ads can be used with Facebook.

  1. Website Retargeting: When someone visits your website and then leaves your website, in the process, they’ll download a pixel that you’ve placed on the site. This pixel will alert Facebook when the customer signs on to Facebook again. At that time, they’ll be delivered the ads that you’ve selected for just this audience (custom audience).
  1. Facebook Likes: If you already have followers on Facebook, people who have liked your page, you can choose to market only to them using custom audiences again, this time targeting people who have liked your page. It’s no different than if they signed up for your email newsletter, targeting them will yield better results than targeting people who know nothing about you.
  1. Email Subscribers: A genius way to set up a retargeting advertisement on Facebook is to use your existing email list to create a custom audience. You’ll need to download your email list from your provider into an Excel file in the appropriate manner as directed by Facebook and then upload it as a “data file custom audience”. This is can be very beneficial since you attract people that already know you. And because they know you, they are easier to sell to.
  1. Lookalike Audiences: This is an amazing way to reach people that are similar to your current audience. These look-alikes share characteristics with the people you’re already connected to. This audience “looks like” your current audience due to some type of activity or demographic. The ability to choose this type of person to target is genius and will result in higher sales and more profit.

Using these four types of retargeting will yield higher results for the advertisements that you place on Facebook. After all, the point is to get in front of your audience many times to stay at the top of their mind as they make a decision to buy or not to buy.

The Importance of Staying in Front of a Customer

One of the best ways to gain active customers is to find a way to stay on top of their mind as they search for products and services that they need. As you build your brand you want your audience to think of you first when they need to buy what you’re offering. One way to do that is to stay in front of your customer.

In the old days, you could run radio ads, TV ads, print ads, and so forth. You could guess where your audience would be, and you could try to stay on their minds. However, due to technology, you can absolutely choose to target an audience, who knows something about you, in order to remind them as they make daily decisions.

Retargeting allows you to, without a shadow of a doubt, market to people who have already seen your offerings at least once, perhaps even showed interest in your offerings, took some sort of action already, and now are just in the decision making phase. This is an excellent time to reach out to them and you can do that with Facebook Retargeting Ads.

When you think about it, you already do things to stay in front of your customer. You create blog posts, social media updates, guest blog, share important industry articles, and so forth. Now you can run a retargeting advertisement to affect your audience directly. Let’s learn about how all this works.

How to Define Your Audience Using Facebook Ad Manager

Inside Facebook, you can define your audience when you are placing an advertisement. Location, demographics, interests, custom audiences, and mobile retargeting are just a few of the options.

With Facebook Ad Retargeting, you’ll focus on custom audiences specifically and perhaps mobile retargeting.

Creating Custom Audiences on Facebook

The first thing you’ll need to understand is how to create a custom audience. Your custom audience can be defined in the way you want it to be. For example, anyone who visits specific pages of your website in the last 10 days, or people on your email list who have not signed up for your offer, whatever criteria you would like to use. You can also exclude certain criteria. You can also create different audiences in order to track which does better as a way to test your ads.

For example, you can create custom audiences for any of the following or all of the following:

  • All visitors
  • Top Viewed Posts
  • Top Viewed Category
  • Top Viewed Landing Page
  • And more … it’s up to you.

Custom audiences can help you build your business in numerous ways. You can drive traffic, build your email list, sell products, build a fan base, and more all a little faster with Facebook retargeting advertisements.

Creating A Custom Ad on Facebook

These are the steps for creating a custom advertisement on Facebook according to Facebook at the time of this writing. It’s important to note that the steps may change over time as Facebook rearranges things. There should be notified as shown below if something has recently moved.

Log into Facebook and go to “Ads Manager,” or once you’re logged in, you can just go to Facebook.com/ads/manager. Below is what you see the first time you set up an ad.

Step #1 – Setting Up Your First Ad

  1. Choose the objective for your ad campaign

For this tutorial, we’re going to choose “Send People to Your Website” because we want to increase traffic to our website. Depending on what your objective is, the following options may vary slightly. It’s worth noting that once you’ve found success with your first ad, it’s a good idea to try other types of ads as well as other custom audiences.

As mentioned before, an ad targeting people who have previously visited your landing page or your sales page might give them the nudge they need to sign up or buy.

  1. Enter your campaign name & click create an ad account

  1. Set your country, currency and time zone


  1. Choose your custom audience

  1. Define where you’d like your advertisements to appear. Then set your budget & schedule.

  1. Format your ad. Then click review order to ensure everything looks right.

  1. Once you’re happy with the ad, click place order and proceed to pay for your ad.

Step #2 – Create Your Ad Pixel

  1. Navigate to Tools >> Pixels

  1. Navigate to Actions >> View Pixel Code

  1. Copy the given pixel code & paste it into notepad

Step #3 – Add Pixel to Your Website:

  1. Log into your website and paste the pixel code into the HTML code of your site – before the </head> tag.

Note: If you use WordPress, there are a couple of plugins you can use for this. One is called the Facebook Conversion Pixel. The one I use is called Per Page Add to Head by Erik von Asmuth. It allows you to add code to specific areas without adding it to everything.

If you choose to install it, here’s how to use it for your Facebook Ad pixel.

  • Once activated, you’ll find it under Setting >> Per Page Add to Head


  • Paste the previously saved pixel code into the box.

  • Select which post types you want the code added to (generally posts and pages). Click save

It’s all pretty straightforward. It might seem tricky when you’re just reading about it, but once you sign in to your Facebook and start doing it, it will be quite easy to get it done. The most important thing is ensuring that you run a successful Facebook Advertisement by having a plan and executing that plan.

The Six Components of a Successful Facebook Ad

Aside from choosing the right audience, you need your Facebook ad to really stand out and hit all the marks of a successful Facebook ad if you really want to become profitable with Facebook retargeting ads.

  1. Compelling Headlines – It’s important to keep your Facebook Ad headlines short, and to use attention-grabbing positive words in your headlines. You can include keywords that suggest location too. For example, if you have a local beauty salon and you’re having a sale on color, your headline might be something like, “Big Color Sale Portland”. You want to keep copy short on Facebook due to the fact that most people use their mobile devices for Facebook.
  1. Persuasive Ad Copy – On Facebook, this text appears above the image you choose for the ad. It’s important to use Power Editor because you will get more than 25 characters in order to write this copy. You want to shoot for about 10 to 15 words, keeping it short and sweet again, due to screen size on mobile devices. You can include the CTA here or you can include it elsewhere as discussed below. For a persuasive copy, consider trying to elicit fear of loss by indicating scarcity or exclusivity.
  1. Awesome Images – It’s imperative that you double-check Facebook’s image size for your advertisement as it does change occasionally. If you don’t get the size right, your image may appear strange. Use high-quality images to avoid fuzziness. If it has words in it, some of them might be cut off in the advertisement and that would not be good. Keep the words to less than 20 percent text.
  1. The Right Caption – The caption appears under the description which is under the picture. Sometimes this is just a URL but if your URL isn’t something that advances the audience member’s curiosity then you can change that a little by adding a backslash or other descriptive words there.
  1. A Complete Description — Currently you are allowed 250 characters for the description. This is also to be considered ad copy and written with that in mind using every character to further your agenda. Pull out your keyword list, and find attention-grabbing words that advance your brand that bring to mind what your audience needs and wants. Example: Win Lose (weight), Shocked, Top, etc.
  1. Call to Action – On all ads, there is a chance to put a button that says something like “learn more” or “download” or something that will motivate your audience to click through so that they can get the information that the ad is conveying. Facebook gives you some set choices including having no button. Right now, the top choices are Learn More, Shop Now, and Sign Up.

Designing your Facebook Ad can mean the difference between making more conversions and losing out on conversions. Take the time to develop ads and test ads for your audience so that you can craft the highest-performing Facebook Ads for your niche.

Tips for Creating Ad Headlines That Get Clicks

The headline for your Facebook Ad currently appears under your image and above the URL. You have 25 characters or less for this area, which can make it tricky to include enough information to persuade people to click through.

You don’t have to do all of these at once. But, the more you can include, the more likely you are to get good results from your advertisement.

  • Tell Them What to Do – Tell the audience member exactly what they’ll be doing, or what to do such as joining, signing up, etc.… so that they know what’s going to happen and what happens when they take the action you’re telling them to do. For example, “Join 5000 Winners” or “Check Our Work” and so forth.
  • Ask a Question – A fabulous way to turn a headline into something people want to click is to ask them a question. The question needs to be a leading question that also lets them know what they’re going to get by clicking. For example, “Are you tired of being fat?” might be a great headline for someone who is sick of being overweight.
  • Tell Them One Benefit – Many marketers get mixed up about features and benefits. Remember that features are what your product does; the benefit is why it matters to the buyer. They want to know “what’s in it for me” and if you can answer that in a small headline then you’re golden. A benefit might be that they get free shipping, or free upgrades, or free bonus products.
  • KISS – Finally, don’t make this so hard. The simpler you keep it the easier it’s going to be to do and get results. Stick to simpler concepts in your headlines because including too much is going to make it too long or confusing. Remember to focus on one benefit, one action, and one feeling.

A simple headline that focuses on the benefits to the audience is what will work best for your Facebook Ad headlines. In fact, this idea will work for every headline you ever create.

Tips for Writing Ad Copy That Sells

Writing a short ad copy takes a certain amount of skill; but, it can be learned. You just have to practice a lot. You should also create test ads to find out what works best with your audience.

  • Know Your Audience – This should go without saying, but it has to be stated anyway. The more you can know and understand your audience the better. Spend time studying them so that you can use what you know within your ads.
  • Focus On the Audience of One – As you get to know your audience, you can create different ads for different parts of your audience. Create an audience persona and copy for just for that one person.
  • Understand Your Goals – For each ad, you’ll have different goals, which requires different words. The way you phrase your copy depends on what you want the audience to do after reading/watching it.
  • One Benefit / One Problem – Each advertisement, especially short copy for Facebook ads needs to focus only on one problem or one benefit each time. This opens up a lot of potential ad types for one product or service.
  • Make a Promise – When you want someone to open up their wallet, or trust you enough to give out their personal information, you must find a way to include a promise even in short copy. Whether it’s a line that states you value privacy, or money-back guarantee you need to make that promise and keep it.
  • Cut the Excess – After you have written the copy, go back into your words and edit them to remove excess words that don’t further your point. The fewer words for your audience to wade through the better results you’re going to get for your Facebook advertisement.
  • Test Everything – The best thing about Facebook Ads (and internet ads in general) is that you can easily run a test and switch it up on the fly without too much trouble. You can’t say the same for print, radio, or TV ads.

As mentioned above, practice is a huge key in crafting ad copy that sells. As you learn what your audience wants to see and what it needs, you’ll get better at writing short ad copy for your Facebook ads.

How to Create Awesome Images for Your Ads

Using images in your Facebook ads is imperative. Therefore, it’s important to learn about how to create or find the best images for use with ads. They need to be attractive and compelling enough for your audience to look at your ad.

  • Choose Interesting Images – Happy people, who are looking right at the camera work best. Use eye-catching colors and consider adding your logo watermark to the image as a way to brand yourself. Your image doesn’t have to be literal. It can be an image of a pet, a baby, or a woman looking out at the audience compelling them to click.
  • Learn About Photography – One way to create better images for your Facebook ads is to get better at taking pictures yourself. You can actually take very good pictures with your mobile device using Instagram filters as well as most point and shoot digital cameras. You just need to practice and learn as much as you can about composition and lighting.
  • Pick Simple over Complex – When an image has too much detail it will not catch your audience’s eye the same way an image that is very focused on one thing will. Choose images that have just a few people in focus or a particular item in focus for best results.
  • Mind Size & Shape – Facebook often changes their size criteria. Check on the sizes of the ads before you create it to ensure that you can make it the right size so that it shows up right in the audience’s feed. You want it to stand out properly so that people will click through.
  • Include a Value Proposition – A VP is a feature or benefit that will make your offer exponentially attractive to your audience such as including a sticker image on your main image that says “free trial” or “free 14-day trial”. This will help make your image even more useful as it gets shared and pinned.

Using these ideas to create images that get the attention of your audience will go far in making your advertisements on Facebook get more clicks and conversions. Just remember to put your audience’s desires, likes and wants first as you create images for your ads. Then, remember to look at the numbers so that you can measure your success accurately.

Measuring Your Success with Facebook Ads

Measuring success is an important component in ensuring that you experience success with your Facebook Ad campaign. You need to measure more than clicks and impressions to find out if what you did worked or if you need to start over. Measuring FB ad results is very important to all your future ads because you can identify success which you can repeat, and identify failure which you can avoid.

  • Actions Taken – These are real conversions. How many people saw your ad? How many people clicked your ad? How many people bought what you were selling or succeeded in doing what you wanted?
  • Cost Per Action – When someone clicks and takes action how much does this cost you. You can get your cost per action by taking the total cost of your ads to date divided by the number of actions. The action consists of your goal such as click, buy, and sign up, and so forth.
  • Relevance – This metric can help you know how Facebook sees your ad, based on how they see your audience and the actions your audience takes. This affects how often they show the ad and even the cost of the clicks to the ad.
  • Frequency – How often does your audience see your ad before they take action? How often does FB deliver the ads into your audience’s stream? This is important because knowing this helps you know how effective your ad is and whether or not you need to change it. Your audience doesn’t need to see your advertisement 10 or 20 times.

You can see all of these facts in your Ad Manager which you can adjust to get the report you desire for the metrics you need to measure. Facebook literally could not make it easier to study whether your ads are creating action within your business.

Common Mistakes When Using Facebook Ads

Facebook is a wonderful place to run ads for your business. You can develop a lucrative business using FB ads if you know what you’re doing and know what not to do. A lot of people make these mistakes. You can learn from those who have gone before you instead of reinventing the wheel.

  • Not Studying Metrics – Ad Manager makes it super simple to study the metrics so that you know what is working, what is not working, and what needs more tweaking. Everything you need to know about your ads performance is right there in the Ads Manager.
  • Not Doing What Works – The 80/20 rule states that 20 percent of your actions create 80 percent of the results. When you’re up on the metrics you can double down on what is working, and let go of what is not working. It’s important to try new things though, so keep that 80/20 rule in mind. Do what works most of the time and try new things only 20 percent of the time.
  • Not Staying Up-to-Date on New Features – Facebook is always updating their system to include even more features and benefits for businesses and for their customers. These improvements can affect you in a bad way if you’re not paying attention to what’s new or different.
  • Not Testing, Testing, Testing – Whenever you plan to run a Facebook ad assume you need to run at least two ads. You want to test different headlines, or different pictures, or different calls to action. You might also want to target different personas within your audience.
  • Not Allocating Your Budget Correctly – This is true not only with your monetary budget but also your time budget. You don’t want to put all your eggs into one basket and rely only on that one thing to take your business to the next level. If you have a specific ad budget don’t spend it all on Facebook until you’re sure that your ads deliver the results you desire.
  • Not Monitoring Ads Regularly – When you create an advertisement that works, it’s tempting to let it ride and never check up on it. The automatic nature of Facebook ads can cause you to fail in this one area. Pick a regular time, weekly is good, to look at how your ads are performing so your cost per conversion never rises above your threshold you set.
  • Not Optimizing Landing Pages – When your audience clicks through they obviously go to a landing page that you’ve chosen or created for the FB ads to show. Is that landing page optimized to get the most conversions? Many of the same tips for a Facebook Ad could apply to land pages too.

Whatever you choose to do when it comes to FB ads, it’s important to go into it with a plan, steps that you need to take each day, and then execute that plan. Don’t skip any steps that you create for yourself if you want optimum results.

How to Get Started

The first thing you need to do to get started with Facebook Retargeting ads is to have a great website, landing page and a wonderful product or service that you know your audience needs. Remember, it’s much easier to sell something that someone already knows they need than to create something brand-new and have to convince and teach your audience that they need it.

  • Create an Amazing Product or Service – Solve one problem.
  • Create a Business Facebook Page – You need this to run ads.
  • Design an Effective & Optimized Landing Page on Your Website – If you send them to a bad landing page your conversions will be low even when your clicks are high.
  • Install the Facebook Pixel to Your Website – You can find instructions for installing the pixel based on your website type here. If you have a self-hosted WordPress, you can use this plugin.
  • Download Your Email List into an Excel File – If you want to retarget people on your list this is a great way to do it.
  • Set Your Ad Budget – Budgets are very important. Take some time to find out how much the average cost is per conversion for products like yours.
  • Plan Your Facebook Ads – Sit down and plan your ads so that you know exactly who it’s going out to, why, and what you want them to do. (What’s the goal?)
  • Create Your FB Ads – Create the ads yourself or pay someone to do it for you.
  • Run Your Ads – Turn them on when you’re ready to test them out.
  • Monitor Them – Always look daily at first into your Ads Manager so that you can figure out what needs to be tweaked, later when you get it right, monitor weekly.
  • Alter Ads When Needed – Based on what you learn when you monitor your ads, you’ll need to tweak them to improve them. Triggers that prove changes are needed are low clicks, bad comments, high costs.
  • Repeat What Works – When you are happy with the performance of a particular ad, try increasing your budget for that particular ad so you can maximize results.

Don’t let perfection stop you either. Remember that there are a lot of people making money already doing what you do; only half, as well as you, do it. In many ways, you have an obligation to get the word out about your products and services so that your audience can enjoy the quality and dedication that you will provide them with your offerings. Using Facebook Ads is a great way to get the word out. Just make the choice and get started. You won’t be disappointed if you craft a plan and see it through.

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