Ask any marketer: Successful campaigns require an effective retargeting protocol. It’s our job to present our story and offer through strategic followup sequences. So this Facebook retargeting how to guide will provide you with a straightforward overview of common methods, implementation strategies and audience segmenting/customization tips.

what is Facebook retargeting

To begin, let’s briefly define what Facebook retargeting is. Simply put:

  • Facebook Retargeting is a customized followup based on some event or customer engagement, action or inaction

Retargeting campaigns can use a variety of followup sequences, multi-step funnels and hyper-targeted customer segmenting. 

So before implementing an effective retargeting campaign, it can be of great value to first understand and identify your specific sales funnel and how your customers interact with it and go through its various stages.

These topics related to sales funnels and the customer journey will serve as the first section of this post. So let’s dive in, shall we!


*This post contains affiliate links, which I may receive compensation from. This is at no cost to you and lets me keep the lights on. Read more here…

    Why Retargeting? The Sales Funnel & The Customer Journey

    A sales funnel is the process that your customers will take from the first point of contact all the way down to purchasing and building a long-term customer relationship. 

    It should be noted that a typical sales funnel is not necessarily a linear model and customer’s often hop around between stages in complex and often chaotic ways.

    There’s a marketing principle that states it can take up to 7 points of contact for a new, cold traffic customer to become familiar with a brand and commit to a purchase (CompuKol Communications).

    Of course, there are exceptions to this rule – such as impulse purchases, seasonal goods or daily necessities – and there are ways to speed up this process or ensure it goes smoothly (by offering free value and using effective lead magnets, for example).

    But a typical sales funnel consists of multiple steps all guiding customers towards some type of conversion or sale. Here is a diagram of a typical sales funnel:

    sales funnel diagram

    So your first job before building an effective retargeting campaign is to identify your sales funnel and the potential stages your customers may require before committing to a purchase.

    As a general rule of thumb, the more expensive or complicated your product or offer, the more complex and longer your sales funnel and retargeting sequences will be.

    Want to Know More About Sales Funnels? Check Out This Article From CrazyEgg!

    Retargeting Ads: Methods & Implementation

    Retargeting is the next step in your campaign funnel. It’s the small talk after an introduction. It’s building a relationship by reconnecting with someone on a deeper, more meaningful level.

    I liken retargeting to running into that random person you just met previously somewhere else. 

    You recognize them and you’re like “oh yea, hey, I know you…you’re that one person that does that one thing“…while inside your head, you’re thinking “…but I still don’t trust you…

    Eventually however, you start to easily recognize this person and after enough contact, you trust them.


    Facebook retargeting is the followup sequence in direct response to some initial event or data. 

    There are numerous ways to employ retargeting, so below is a short list and summary for some more common options and methods.

    • Post Engagement
    • Video Views
    • Ad Clicks & Subsequent Website/Landing Page Visits
    • Add-to-Carts & Cart Abandonment
    • Existing Customers List
    • Specific Website Pages Visited or Not Visited
    • Email Opt-Ins
    • *Advanced: User Behavior, Page Engagement & Time-Spent-On-Site Parameters
      • See the Tools & Automation section below to learn how to implement and fully automate this strategy!

    Implementation: How To Retarget

    To create a specific retargeting audience, you need to first go into your Facebook Business Manager account and create custom audiences for each retargeting campaign and target audience you want to run ads to.

    You’ll also need to have either an existing customer list (email subscribers, for example), previous post engagement (such as video views) and/or your Facebook pixel code installed onto your website (see #4 below for more on this!).

    But let’s assume, for this example, you’re retargeting based on website visitors. To do this:

    1. Click on the Audiences Tab
    2. Select from the Create Audience drop-down and Choose Custom Audience
    3. Choose Website
    4. Choose Your Criteria & Make Sure the Correct Pixel is Selected
      1. Before you can retarget website visitors, you need to first have your Facebook pixel installed on your website to gather visitor tracking data
      2. If you’d like a full tutorial on how to install your Facebook pixel, Click Here!
    5. Select the Parameters & Timeframe
      1. You can retarget visitors up to the past 180 days (maximum)
      2. All website visitors – General retargeting for anyone and everyone that visited any page on your website
      3. People who visited specific web pages – More specific and very powerful retargeting; For example, retargeting people who visited specific product pages or who visited your checkout page but not your thank you page (i.e., they never made the purchase)
      4. Visitors by time spent – people who spend longer amounts of time potentially are more interested (unless they just left their screen idle and got distracted with something else!)
      5. PageView events – You can create specific events on your website to track customer interaction & engagement (Read More Here!)
    6. Create Audience!

    Beyond tracking your website visitors, one of my other favorite Facebook ads methods is retargeting based on video views.

    Here, you can send out an initial video ad, then retarget anyone who:

    • Viewed at least 3 seconds or 10 seconds of your video
    • Viewed a thru play (i.e., watched the whole video) or watched at least 15 seconds
    • Watched at least 25% of your video
    • Watched at least 50% of your video
    • Watched at least 75% of your video
    • Watched at least 95% of your video

    This is a truly powerful retargeting technique. Obviously, someone that watched 75%+ of your initial video ad offer is interested in what you have to say. 

    Retargeting prospects based on video views is a high-converting method and something that you should absolutely employ in your business and marketing strategy.

    To do this, all you do is simply select Video when creating a Custom Audience and then fill in the appropriate details for the campaign.

    Check Out My Full Article on Video View Retargeting Here!

    Audience Segmenting & Customization

    It’s important to know how many times you’ve communicated with and on what stage your target audience is on when you’re retargeting them with followup ads. 

    This segmenting dictates the unique followup ads that you’ll be sending out to different prospects, depending on the unique stage they’re on in your campaign funnel.

    Each followup should be inching your prospects further down the funnel as they become more familiar with you, your brand and your offer, eventually converting into a customer.

    So when you’re building out a retargeting campaign (of which you’ll have many), be sure that each campaign has its messaging, offer and creatives aligned with a specific funnel stage and target audience in mind.

    Retargeting ads should be customized to the best extent possible as to speak more directly and personally with your target audience. 

    So before you launch your retargeting campaign(s), ask yourself: 

    Is this messaging, content, offer and creative relevant and customized to my target audience and the specific stage they’re on in my sales funnel?

    $$ Tip Jar

    When building custom audiences to retarget, exclude website visitors that visited the thank you or confirmation page for the particular offer you’re advertising. 

    Since these people have already purchased your specific offer, you don’t want to seem pushy or unprofessional by continuing to send them ads for that same offer or campaign.

    Advanced Concepts: Frequency & Multiple Ad Sets

    The following concepts can be important details as you start developing your Facebook ad strategy.

    However, this information can seem advanced and potentially confusing if you’re new to Facebook ads and/or digital marketing.

    As such, please allow me to at the very least just introduce you to the concepts so you’re aware of them as you move forward.


    Frequency refers to the number of times your retargeting audience is exposed to a particular ad or ad set within a specific time period. 

    This is an important metric to keep in mind – especially when retargeting since your audience in this campaign will naturally be smaller and more refined.

    That is, there are typically fewer people for Facebook to target, so they’re more likely to see a retargeting ad multiple times.

    Also, keeping your frequency number in check can also improve your ad relevance score, which means your ad sets will be shown to more people.

    Ultimately, your frequency is important to ensure:

    1. Your retargeting audience doesn’t get “ad fatigue
      1. They become sick and tired of seeing your ad (obviously a negative thing for your objectives)
    2. Your retargeting audience doesn’t become “ad numb
      1. They simply block out and start ignoring your ad

    You can find your Frequency number within the columns of your Ads Manager. If it’s not shown there, you can add it by clicking on the Columns drop-down and choosing Customize Columns…

    Search for Frequency, check it off and scroll down to hit Apply. This metric should now appear within your columns.

    *Note: You can rearrange your columns by dragging and dropping the metrics within the right column of the customize columns pop-up window.

    OK, now that you have your frequency estimation displayed, let’s review some recommendations as presented by The Social Media Examiner for what’s considered good, bad and OK:

    • Optimal Frequency: Less than or equal to 2.0
    • Decent Frequency: Between 2.0-3.4
    • Negative Frequency: Anything above 3.4

    To avoid ad fatigue and keeping your frequency number down, you can also set a Frequency Cap. You can adjust the parameters for this, but essentially you can control how often your ad is shown to people. 

    For example, you can set it up so your ad(s) will only be shown to your target audience 1 time every 7 days.

    This can of course be a very useful feature – especially for retargeting ads and small audience sizes. 

    But you should be aware that this control is only available if you campaign objective is set to either Video Views, Brand Awareness, Reach or Engagement (as of December, 2019).

    Recommended Read: Controlling Frequency on Facebook

    Multiple Ad Sets

    One way to mitigate potential ad fatigue, numbness and frequency issues with your retargeting campaign – besides monitoring your frequency and setting a frequency cap – is by creating multiple variations of your ads. 

    This way, if your target audience will be seeing and experiencing a slightly different image, video, messaging or offer.

    This echoes to the testing tenet with social media marketing and reinforces the idea of not putting all your eggs into one basket. 

    By crafting multiple ads, each with slight variations, you can effectively keep your retargeting audience engaged and interested in what you have to offer.

    To quickly create multiple ads and ad sets, you can hover over any desired ad or ad set and click on the Duplicate option. From here, you’ll want to select the existing campaign and rename it something relevant. 

    After you’ve duplicated the desired ad or ad set, you can go in and change whatever variable you’d like to alter or test for.

    • To Test For/Change Your Audience or Ad Placement —> Duplicate Your Ad Set(s)
    • To Test For/Change Your Images, Video, Text or Landing Page Links/CTAs —> Duplicate Your Ad(s)
      • CTA = Call to Action
      • A CTA is the thing, or the action, that you want your prospects to take as the next step (for example, “Click Here to Learn More!”)

    Recommended Read: How to Make a Profitable & Simple Landing Page for Any Industry

    Useful Tools & Automation Software

    If you’ve read up until this point, thank you for sticking around and I hope the information above has helped and provided some clarity on how to approach and implement effective Facebook retargeting ads. 

    However, there are some modern tools we have at our disposal to streamline and automate this whole process.

    Whether you follow the mantra work smarter, not harder or you just want to spend less time learning and testing retargeting campaign strategies, the following tools are designed to give you the highest ROI for your ad spend while maximizing retargeting efficiency and effectiveness. 

    Let’s take a look at some of my favorite software!

    ConnectRetarget is part of the suite of Facebook ad automation tools. It’s a relatively new platform created by Facebook marketing wizard Wilco de Kreij. 

    His strategies and software solutions are truly impressive and highly valuable for any business or marketer.

    Focus is placed exclusively on automating your campaigns, boosting ROI and increasing ad efficiency, effectiveness and profitability. 

    Let’s check out some key features:

    • Automates Your Retargeting Campaigns & Boosts ROI
      • Saves time and headaches
      • Uses advanced behavior-based retargeting to reach only the most engaged prospects to get the highest returns
      • Run profitable retargeting ads with no experience or technical know-how required
    • User-Friendly Platform
      • Even Facebook Ads Beginners Can Set Up Profitable Campaigns in Minutes
    • Integrates With Any Platform
      • WordPress, ClickFunnels, Shopify, etc.
    • 100% Facebook Ad Compliant so There’s Zero Risk
    • Impressive Case Studies & Social Proof
      • Many marketers and businesses experience dramatic improvement in sales and ROI
    • Integrates With & Uses Multiple Sources for Laser Focused Retargeting Ads
      • To name a few, the platform works with Google Analytics and time/dates spent on your site
    • Uses Behavioral Analysis to Easily Create Ads That Connect With Only Engaged Visitors
      • Don’t waste ad spend on retargeting people that accidentally visit your site or that have no real interest in converting
    • Impressive Segmenting Features for Retargeting
      • Time on site
      • Engagement level
      • Browser language
      • Referral source
      • Number of site visits
      • Date(s) of visit
      • Device used when visiting
    • Exclusive Access to Facebook Ad Retargeting Training Series
    • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee

    ConnectAutomate is another tool part of the software. Although it’s not focused on retargeting per se, it’s still a relevant resource for this post due to its attractive Facebook post automation features.

    Specifically, ConnectAutomate lets users automatically convert any of their top-performing Facebook and Instagram post into high-converting ads. 

    Perhaps you’re familiar with the (often ineffective) post boosting feature within Facebook. Well, ConnectAutomate expands on this concept in innovative and powerful ways. 

    Here’s a brief overview of its main benefits:

    • Tracks & Identifies Your Best Performing Posts
    • Turns Your Best Performing Posts Into Profitable Ads
      • All at the click of a button
      • Avoid under-performing ads and wasting hundreds of dollars testing new campaigns
    • Automatically Builds Highly Targeted, Engaging Ads From Existing Posts
    • Boosts Engagement & Saves Time
      • No more spending hours inside your Facebook Ads Manager deciphering data, testing new campaigns and trying to figure out how and when to scale particular ads and ad sets
    • Provides a Shortcut to Running Profitable Facebook Ads
      • No experience necessary and no extensive training or learning foreign concepts required
      • A simple solution to automate and run simple Facebook ads so you can focus more time on your business and your customers

    Revealbot is a software that excels in automating your social ad campaigns by using rule-based parameters. Users can use the tools to create, test and manage multiple ads and campaigns. 

    Similar to ConnectAutomate, members can also set up conditions to automatically boost their top-performing posts. Let’s look at some key features:

    • Make Rules to Pause or Change Budgets
    • Set Specific Conditions to Create & Duplicate Ads
    • Save Time by Automating Optimization & Ad Scaling
    • A/B Split Testing
    • Aut-Boost Your Top-Performing Posts
    • Easy Management & Reuse of Old Posts
      • Keep social proof by creating new campaigns that use posts with existing engagement
    • Create & Manage Automated Rules for Google & Snapchat Ads

    The software provides useful tools for creating, testing and managing multiple ad variants and campaigns and comes with a 14-day free trial (*or get 2 months free if you opt for the annual plan). 

    Click the button below if you’d like to learn more about the platform or to see if it’s a good fit for your marketing goals!


    This post reviewed the basic elements of a profitable Facebook retargeting campaign. My intention was to put together a simple Facebook retargeting how to guide and include only the most helpful and useful information.

    After discussing sales funnels and some different retargeting strategies available to us, we looked on implementation tactics and how retargeting based on video views can be a powerful and high-converting campaign objective to explore.

    Finally, I introduced some innovative solutions to automate the Facebook retargeting (and ad campaign) process. 

    Regardless of your objectives, software use or experience, understanding and adopting the principles laid out in this post can help propel your business forward.

    So good luck and thanks for reading today!

    Let me know in the comments, is this information clear or confusing? What is your biggest struggle or obstacle with Facebook ads? And do you currently use any retargeting strategies for your business?

    Categories: General


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