Now you know how custom audiences and retargeting work, the next question is how to go about setting up your own retargeting campaign and get it up and running.
What’s important to recognize at this point is that Facebook is a constantly evolving platform and is constantly updating its UI, it’s systems, and its features. That is to say that while this instruction is accurate at the time of writing, it may well have changed by the time you get around to employing it.
That said, the changes introduced are gradual and in most cases, it should be easy enough to extrapolate the information and work out where things have changed.
Getting Started With Facebook Advertising
Before you can get started, you will first need to have a Facebook account, and it is a good idea to set up a Facebook page as well.
To do this, you first need to set up a Facebook Ads Manager account. One of the best ways to do this is by making a Facebook business page. We recommend doing this as it will provide a very powerful way to interact with Facebook’s 2.2 billion users, and provides a hub that will be very useful when used in conjunction with your advertising.
Creating a page is very simple: just go to facebook.com/business and then click ‘Create a Page’ (it’s currently found in the hamburger menu on the left, or on the right from a drop down button where it also says ‘Create an Add’. You can then type of page you want to create (local business or place, company, brand etc.).
From here, it is very easy to then set up your page by filling out the information prompted – such as a profile image, a description of your business, a link to your website, a call to action etc.
Setting Up Facebook Retargeting
From here, you can log into the Facebook Ads Manager. This will show you any live campaigns you have going on, which of course will be empty if you’re signing up for the first time. Click the button that says ‘Create’ in order to get started creating your ad.
But we’re going to rewind for a moment, because there’s a little more you will need to do when creating a retargeting campaign specifically.
To get this working, you are going to need to use what Facebook calls a ‘Facebook pixel’. This is simply the name of the cookie, and it works by storing information on the user’s computer as described. This will be a small snippet of code that you will need to paste onto the HTML of your relevant pages. But don’t worry – if you aren’t sure what that is then you can ask your website developer. Better yet, if you have a WordPress site, then you’ll be able to use a number of plugins to automatically add the pixels to every relevant page.
The pixels can either be added to ad campaigns that are already live, or can be used to set up brand new ones – so it is up to you which order you do this in.
To create a pixel, go to the hamburger menu on the left and then select ‘Pixels’ from the category beneath ‘Measure and Report’.
From here, the next steps are fairly self-explanatory. You can then choose to ‘Create a Pixel’ and then name and create said pixel. The pixel itself is neutral and won’t in any way contain any information pertaining to your audience.
This makes it very important that you choose a sensible name for your pixel, so that you can easily identify it when you’re looking at your list of pixels and thereby apply the correct one to the correct campaign.
So, for example, if you want to identify visitors who have looked specifically at a brand of trainer, then you should call the pixel by the brand and the model of that product. If you want to identify all customers who have been to your site however, then you might use something more generic like ‘Site Visitor’. Or you might create a pixel for a specific category of product, such as ‘shoe shopper’.
These aren’t either/or decisions. You can create a pixel for all these different categories and then use them in conjunction to cast your net far and wide, then hone in on specific members where you have enough information.
Once you have made the pixel, you can then return to your ad manager to create your custom audience. Select ‘Website Traffic’ for this example, and then choose the parameters that the site visitor is going to need to meet.
You can actually add some other interesting and useful metrics in order to get more granular information without making a million different pixels – for example you can look for visitors who have been to pages that contain the word ‘shoe’ in the URL!
Once you have built your custom audience, you then need to create your ad. That is where you can apply the custom audience to the particular campaign.
Of course, you will now also need to go ahead and copy and paste the Facebook pixel code onto the relevant pages of your website.
Where do you place the pixel? The idea is that you’re trying to identify specific actions that the user has taken, which in turn gives you specific information about that user and what they may be interested in purchasing.
There are generally considered to be 17 different standard ‘pixel events’ that you can use in this capacity.
Purchase – When someone buys a product on your website. After all, there is no lead that is more qualified than someone who has already bought from you. If they like the product, they may well be happy to buy from you again, and now they know they can definitely trust you.
Lead – A lead is someone who signs up for a trial or perhaps a mailing list – though these can also be categorized in other ways.
Complete registration – Someone who has completed any kind of registration form. This is another way you might categorize those who sign up for your mailing lists, but it can also include those who sign up to your site, or who create a profile for your forum.
Ad payment info – Someone who has added their payment details to your website. This is a very ‘hot’ lead, as the person has demonstrated a clear interest in buying from you at some point in the future.
Add to cart – Someone has added a product to their shopping cart. If someone does this and then leaves the page, you stand a very good chance of convincing them to buy at a subsequent time.
Add to wishlist – Someone has added your product to some kind of wishlist function you have on your website. This is another very strong indicator that they are open to buying from you in future – and that they have interest in that product specifically.
Initiate checkout – This person is about as hot as they come. These are the ‘ones that got away’ who added the item to their cart, then headed over to the checkout page. They might even have begun filling out their delivery address before something tore them away. So close! But thanks to Facebook retargeting, there is such thing as a second chance!
Search – This means someone has used the search function on your website. That might mean looking for a specific product, or perhaps searching for specific information.
View content – Someone has visited a particular page on your website. This could mean they read a particular blog post that suggests that have a particular interest, or it could be a category of product.
Contact – Someone has contacted your business in any way.
Customize product – A person has looked at a specific type of product, or in some way selected criteria. For example, they might have entered their shoe size.
Donate – Someone has donated to your cause. Remember, these tools are not only for ‘for profit’ businesses.
Find Location – Someone has looked for the location of your business.
Schedule – Someone has booked some form of appointment or meeting with your business.
Start trial – Someone has signed up for a free trial of a product, or a free trial membership to a service.
Submit application – Someone has submitted an application for a service or product.
Subscribe – Someone has subscribed to a paid product or service.
While this list might seem to cover just about every possibility, it’s also possible to create your own custom events which can behave in any way you like and register any action you want.
When creating your pixel, you will be given the option to choose ‘automatic advanced matching’. This is an option that will add hashed customer data from your website to Facebook profiles. This can be a useful tool for more accurately tracking conversions and building bigger customer audiences. The information will only be that which customers have already added.
You can also test your pixel once it’s installed on your website. You can do this by entering the website URL and then clicking ‘Send Test Traffic’. If it’s tracking then congratulations! You’re ready to go ahead and take the next step.
There’s also a Google Chrome extension you can add called the Facebook Pixel Helper. This extension will look for the pixel when you visit your pages and will show you how many pixels are live on that page if any. It can also let you know if everything is working properly.
Creating the Ad
With the ad now created, you can next head back to your Ad Manager and build the specific ads that you are going to use in conjunction with the pixels.
Click the ‘Create an Ad’ button that is just by the ‘Create a Page’ button. Now you’ll be asked to choose an objective for your campaign. This of course is going to reflect what you plan on achieving via the use of your ads and there are several options here:
Brand awareness – Help more people discover and become familiar with your company/products.
Reach – Get your ad to reach as many people as you possibly can.
Traffic – Drive traffic to your page or website.
Engagement – Increase engagement by gaining more page likes, comments, return visits etc.
App installs – Get more people to download and install an app
Video views – Increase the number of views for your videos
Lead generation – Get more prospects for your sales funnel
Messages – Get more messages via Facebook messenger. A message is a lead and you shouldn’t underestimate its potential value.
Conversions – Get people to make a certain action once they’re on your website. Of course this can include buying a product, which is going to be the number one action many readers of this book are looking for.
Catalog sales – Show people the ads for products that they might want to buy (more on this in a moment)
Store visits – Get nearby visitors to visit your actual store location.
In many cases, a retargeting campaign will be aimed to driving conversions – purchases. However, you can also use this to increase engagement and visibility etc.
After all, someone is more likely to read a blog post from you if they have read previous blog posts and enjoyed them. Keeping your brand foremost in the minds of your fans and followers is one of the most important ways to keep growing your business. Retargeting applies to nearly any goal.
After you’ve chosen a goal, you’ll next choose a name for the campaign. Again, this can be an important way to identify specific campaigns you have previously created. You will also have the opportunity here to create an ‘A/B split test’ – this allows you to create two slightly different versions of the same ad in order to compare which performs best and adopt positive changes.
The budget optimization option can help you to keep tabs on how much your spending across multiple campaigns. This is useful for the budget conscious, but also for anyone who wants to maximize their earnings by cleverly manipulating the numbers.
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to fill out your details to create an ad account. Next, you can choose the audience – and this is where you can opt for the custom audience that you’ve just created with your pixel! Alternatively, you could use the lists that we discussed early to fill in this section.
OR you can go ahead and choose the precise demographics and details that will qualify people to be suitable for your campaign. As mentioned, using a combination of retargeting and this traditional form of targeted marketing is the very best way to bring in the most possibly customers.
You’ll this way be employing a one-two punch: bringing in new visitors who might be interested based on their age, location, interests, etc. Then keeping those new visitors engaged by retargeting to them when they leave.
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