by Jennifer Spivak
A few days before Thanksgiving, I was contacted by a prospect who was scheduled to appear on a local morning news show for Small Business Saturday. The woman, who ran an e-commerce business on Shopify, wanted to know if there was a way to use Facebook to leverage this earned media — she knew she’d be getting a lot of website traffic when the segment aired, and was looking for a way to engage those visitors who might not be ready to buy right away, and get the most out of this planned bump in traffic and interest.
In a very short timeframe (yes, I was literally working on this on Thanksgiving day), I was able to set up a Facebook Retargeting campaign that would automatically show ads in the days after the segment aired, to the people that had visited her site on Small Business Saturday but did not buy. These ads would include the exact products that the person had viewed or added to their shopping cart. The result? Close to $1,000 in revenue from a measly ad spend of just $96 over about four days, or a return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) of more than 10X — all from people who saw the segment, visited the website, but needed just a little bit of nudging prior to pulling out their credit cards.
Plain and simple, if you or your clients sell anything online, Facebook Retargeting is where it's at. Its super cheap [✓], super targeted [✓], and runs almost on autopilot once its set up [✓ and ✓].
Considering that retargeted visitors are 70% more likely to convert than one-time visitors to a site, Facebook Retargeting can often be the difference between a really, really sad campaign, and a ROAS that makes you and your clients do a happy dance. And because Facebook allows you to retarget people who viewed specific pages on a website during a specific timeframe, it’s an incredible tool for getting the most out of earned media mentions that otherwise may spike website traffic but offer little else in the way of measurable, bottom line results (in the immediate-term, anyway).
Logistically, there are two different types of retargeting that you can do with Facebook Ads:
- Retargeting with the Facebook PixelThis option is the most straightforward. Once you have your pixel placed on your website or landing page (see my post on implementing the pixel here, and then use the Facebook Pixel Helper to make sure its installed properly), simply navigate to the Audiences section inside your Ads Manager, click Create Audience, and then select Custom Audience from the dropdown. Next, select Website Traffic.Now here's the fun part.On this screen, you get to define the “rules” of your target audience. This allows you to create super custom subsets of your website visitors, that you can then retarget with highly specific offers. Here you can also exclude people so that you aren't spending money showing ads to those who already converted.
Once you define the retargeting audience, just give it a name, and you're all set! Depending on the amount of traffic your website gets, the audience may take a few hours or days to populate prior to being eligible for use in an ad campaign.
Once the audience is ready, just choose it from the Custom Audiences dropdown at the Ad Set level, and your ads will begin showing to your new retargeting audience!
- Retargeting with Dynamic Product AdsThese are a game changerfor e-commerce, and pretty simple to set up if you have either a Shopify site, or a WordPress site that uses WooCommerce.The foundation for a Dynamic Product Ad is the Product Catalog…i.e. a list of all of the items available on a website. This Product Catalog and the Facebook Pixel “talk” to each other, and send data back to Facebook regarding which products your website visitors viewed and didn't buy, or added to their cart but didn't buy. This then allows you to create an automatically-updating campaign that shows people the exact products they were considering purchasing. Know how when you go to buy shoes and add them to your online shopping cart but don't check out, it seems as though those shoes are following you all over Facebook? That's Dynamic Product Ads!Just like with regular Facebook Retargeting, you'll need to first configure your pixel. Then you need to generate a product catalog using either this Wordpress plugin or this Shopify app.
Once generated, you'll need to add your Product Catalog Feed to Facebook via your Business Manager, and then you're ready to set up your ad! The only difference in the ad creation process is the objective you choose at the start — just make sure to select Promote A Product Catalog, and Facebook will walk you through the rest of the steps to launch your Dynamic Product Ad.
Comparatively, Dynamic Product Ads tend to be more powerful because of how specific they are to the user, but they are certainly more complex to set up. If time or technical skills is an issue, or if the website being used for retargeting purposes doesn’t have that many products on it (in which case it might be easier to “mimic” the function of Dynamic Product Ads without the slightly complicated setup), retargeting with just the Pixel is a close second!
Either way, you get a super targeted, relatively low-cost, high-ROI Facebook Ad campaign that helps you and your clients make the most of those hard-earned media placements.
Jennifer Spivak is a Solo PR Pro Premium member and Solo PR Pro Facebook columnist. She is a digital marketing specialist, marketing instructor and curriculum architect at the Startup Institute and an adjunct professor at The City College of New York. Jennifer has been recognized by PR News’ Digital PR Awards and PR Daily’s Social Media Awards. Get access to Jennifer's free video training on the Facebook Pixel here.
I love the concept of retargeting people who have come to your site with Facebook ads but what about when the product is an intangible thing like a movie or TV show? Can you do the same thing? How would you calculate your ROAS or ROI?
Hi Karen, great question! Retargeting is not specific to physical goods and in fact, for this community, we all sell services not products. Whether you sell services or goods, your goals should be specific and measurable. What do you want people to do? Do you want them to subscribe to a show’s newsletter? Watch another show? Download an app? Have a clear goal first and that will drive both your retargeting and how you measure.