5 Tips on Maximizing Facebook’s Retargeting Ads to Grow Your Business

Posted by Neima Chowdhury - November 20, 2019 • 12-minute read

5 Tips on Maximizing Facebook’s Retargeting Ads to Grow Your Business

Let’s pretend you’re about to audition for an acting role that could make or break your career. You have to impress the panel before you get into the production, and to do that. You have two choices: try to amaze the judges with an improvised performance or research their work to understand their preferred dramatic techniques better.

While spontaneity is a great attribute if executed well, adapting yourself to ideas that have worked before is a more systematic approach.

But how does this relate to Facebook retargeting ads?

Good question!

Think of it this way: by doing some research before your audition, you equip yourself with ideas that the judges are already warm to—meaning the possibility of landing that role might be higher because you’re giving your audience something they’re already familiar with.

Facebook uses the same principle. Ideally, you want to build rapport with your audience throughout the customer journey through retargeting strategies.

IM-marketing-hub-toolsFrom HubSpot


Let’s talk about the different kinds of audiences in online advertising.

There are three types:

Cold audiences

These people don’t know much—of anything—yet about your company, product, or service. If your objective is to widen your brand awareness and reach, you should target these people.

Warm audiences

These people recently engaged with your business in any form and are most likely to take your desired action.

Hot audiences

Those who have already taken the desired action.

All types of audiences are valuable when advertising on Facebook. It’s about approaching them with the right content at the right time.

From HubSpot


Tap on cold audiences if your objective is to introduce your brand to strangers. They become part of the warm audience once they engage with you. Give them time to consider your brand until they decide to take action with your business. You can consider them hot once they have taken the desired action from your business.

Retargeting strategies require a step-by-step approach most of the time.

In this blog, you’ll learn the different tips and strategies that focus on cold and warm audiences.

Tip #1: Optimize your Pixel

An essential asset of any Facebook campaign is the Facebook Pixel—a code that collects data from your website and helps you track results and conversions, build audiences and optimize campaigns.

Source: GIPHY

This is an event whenever a potential customer takes action on your website. Events allow you to know what stage they are in their customer journey: maybe they added items to their shopping cart, subscribed to your newsletter, viewed one of your product pages, or made a purchase.

Facebook Pixel has a small library of standard and custom events that can help you identify the category of each audience based on their actions.

Use your results as the foundation of your next strategy by populating your audiences and creating custom audiences that you can use for various objectives.

Tip #2: Adapt your objectives based on the journey

Your retargeting strategy should adapt to where your audience is in the customer journey! A person who looked at your online product catalog might already be considering your product, but that won’t be the same for someone who just read your introductory blog.

Source: GIPHY

With the Pixel, you can start populating your audience after each campaign. Guide your audience further into the customer journey by creating ads specific to each phase.

Here’s an example of a strategy that adapts to each level of interest:

Reach out to strangers.

Start by creating a Reach campaign to show your ads to a maximum number of targeted audiences interested in things relevant to your brand.

Create an engagement custom audience comprised of people who engaged with your ads.

Pool and segment your audience.

Retarget your engaged audience by creating a Video Views campaign. Videos generate a lot of engagement, including any action taken around the video, such as commenting, reacting, and sharing. But a more precise way of populating an audience from your video campaign involves viewing time!

Segment your audience based on the length of time people viewed your video. Why? Because a person who watched in total might have a more substantial interest in your business compared to someone who only watched 5 seconds of the video.

Get conversions from retargeting.

Those who watched a minimum amount of time can still be useful! We recommend retargeting with a more engaging video to expand your engaged audience further.

Once you’ve built a substantial enough audience engaged with your content, you can create a Conversion campaign to drive them to your website.

Conversion ads push people to take valuable actions on your website. Optimize your campaign according to what can help you achieve your end goal—a purchase, a subscription, or a download.

Tip #3: Use your contact list

Who else knows your business better than anyone else? Your existing customers!

Source: GIPHY

You can retarget your customer list to upsell new products and services. Instead of tapping consistent buyers, consider focusing on subscribers or customers who have been unresponsive.

Show ads highlighting a new feature of your business to pull them back into your sphere of influence!

An important note:

Under the GDPR, users must willingly give their information through a consent form, which means buying or scraping lists is strictly forbidden.

Tip #4: Strategize for the bigger picture

Finding the right opportunity to run your retargeting ad is one of the challenges in generating results.

We recommend creating a workflow process for each campaign to see the bigger picture of your strategy.

A workflow process can streamline the sequence of your next steps based on user actions or pre-defined rules.

Each campaign may have different results, so you must adjust your retargeting strategy for the end goal.

To help you better understand, let’s analyze this sample workflow:

facebook retargeting sample workflow

Note: The steps in this workflow can go on, but for situational analysis, this process should be enough for us to gather insights.

In the image above, the workflow starts in the consideration stage, while the end goal is sales generation. At each stage of the workflow, your audiences continue to populate as the campaign runs! The more valuable the action taken is, the deeper you can guide your audience through their journey with the help of retargeting.

Some tips for the road!

  • Sometimes, customers need time to think and absorb the idea behind your brand or campaign. Don’t flood them with content! Instead, take the option to delay the next step in their customer journey.

Tip #5: Don’t be afraid to exclude audiences

While it might sound scary initially, you should also explore other targeting options such as exclusions.

Source: GIPHY

By choosing to exclude specific audiences, you’re optimizing your ad cost-efficiently by reaching out to people who have more potential to turn into leads and customers. You want to continue retargeting audiences who take action and stop spending money on people who ultimately decide not to engage with your ads.

Lastly, you might want to exclude your loyal customers when creating a campaign. They’re already generating sales, and most campaign objectives are primarily geared towards converting new clients!

The exception is, of course, if you are trying to introduce a new product line from your business—then your loyal customers can be ideal for retargeting.

Congratulations, you’re almost done reading!

Here have a few more tips on Facebook retargeting ads:

Create Lookalike Audiences to reach people who are similar to your existing audiences.

    • When creating a lookalike audience, choose a source audience that Facebook will use to identify common qualities to target.
    • You also need to choose between a range of 1%-10% of the total population in your chosen target country, with 1% being the closest and 10% being the farthest match to your source. Facebook recommends a source audience ranging from 1,000 to 50,000 people, so make sure your audience is top-notch!

Optimization can be as simple as changing the background color of your ad or as big as adding target exclusions throughout the campaign.

Trust your intuition as a social media marketer when pausing ads that seem nonperforming. We recommend looking through all the available data and checking the relevance scores on your ads.

You can always retarget audiences that did not engage with your ads.

Maybe they need more time to decide—or they were distracted when they came across your ad. The challenge is knowing when to stop making an effort. Persistence is great, but sometimes, letting go is the wiser choice.

Now that you’ve been immersed in a few retargeting strategies, let’s reiterate the similarities between acting and retargeting:

  1. Impress the judges by putting on your best performance. If the judges like what they see, you’ll land that role! But if the judges don’t respond, look for other opportunities that might suit your acting style. 
  2. When you finally get your shot, immerse yourself in the character’s attributes. Bond with your viewers and keep them engaged by learning from how they react. Identify what worked or didn't work and adapt accordingly.
  3. Being a good actor comes with solid confidence and a fabulous stage presence. Besides constantly engaging with your viewers, you must have the ability to keep them excited with a few tricks up your sleeve, based on how they respond or react—just like in retargeting strategies!

You can control your retargeting campaign by following these simple tips and tricks. Note that advertising on Facebook can be very situational, and there are other strategies you can follow.

The most critical factor is identifying where your audience is in the customer journey so you can come up with the perfect retargeting strategy!

Need help with your retargeting strategy?

Check out our social media services and learn how we can help you create conversions through social media ads!

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Topics: Digital Marketing

Written By

Neima Chowdhury

Neima Chowdhury

StraightArrow Alum Neima Chowdhury enjoys creating written and verbal content for various media platforms, for all stages of inbound marketing, and helping clients deliver their brand messages. When she’s not working on new content, you’ll find her either reading, listening to music, or watching the latest Korean drama.

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