The 2024 Facebook Retargeting Guide and Cheatsheet

If you’re not using Facebook retargeting ads, you are leaving money on the table. It’s the easiest marketing technique to maximize your ROI from advertising on Facebook. At least, if you follow the steps and advice in my guide…

Key takeaways

  1. Your audiences' awareness level will have a significant impact on your retargeting ROI
  2. The Facebook pixel is the gateway to many different retargeting options and strategies
  3. The simplest way to get started with retargeting is to serve ads to your most engaged website visitors
  4. Retargeting is the most profitable form of advertising. Every day you wait to get started with retargeting, you’re leaving money on the table.
  5. Grab your free copy of my “Facebook Ads retargeting Cheat Sheet” and follow the steps to optimize your paid advertising budget.

Before we delve into the details, here's a quick overview of what we’ll cover in this guide:

Video: Retargeting on Facebook Explained

Watch my video to understand the basics of the most profitable marketing strategy on Facebook, called retargeting. I also reveal some killer tips to optimize your remarketing campaigns, based on the awareness levels of your target audience.

What is retargeting on Facebook?

Retargeting on Facebook is a marketing technique that allows advertisers to show relevant ads to people who have already interacted with their site or app. 

The scheme below explains the retargeting process without the nitty-gritty details. 

What is facebook retargeting

You can also think about retargeting like double-dipping.

No, not the gross George Costanza double-dip where you dunk your half-eaten chip in the salsa bowl.

I mean the kind of double-dipping where if something was good once, then more would be even better.

Ok, if that analogy doesn't work for you, try this one on for size. Retargeting is like that time Cinderella left her glass slipper at the ball.

Prince Charming found the slipper and searched the entire kingdom longing to reconnect with her.

Think of your potential customer as Cinderella. The glass slipper is the product that the almost-customer left in their shopping cart. Or the page they revisited 100 times without taking action.

As an advertiser, think of yourself as Prince (or Princess Charming), a love-struck (or creepy?) vendor searching for the customer all over Facebook.

All kidding aside, when done right, retargeting is a highly effective form of advertising. And it doesn’t have to be creepy for you or the customer. Probably the best way to explain retargeting is to look at the mechanics behind how it works.

How does retargeting work on Facebook?

Retargeting all starts with a little snippet of code called the “Meta pixel”, or what you probably know as the Facebook Pixel.

The Facebook Pixel

Advertisers embed this snippet of code on their site. This code then allows the advertiser to track Facebook users who visit their website.

This powerful little piece of code is the gateway to all sorts of useful information. Using the pixel, advertisers can identify:

  • Which pages on their site Facebook users visit
  • If they purchase a product
  • Which buttons they click
  • If they fill out a form to become a lead
  • If they watch a video
  • And much, much more

Advertisers can then serve ads to their website visitors on Facebook using the information they collected.

I am sure you are aware that privacy regulations are becoming stricter than ever before. But rest assured. Facebook’s technology (Meta Conversion API) allows advertisers to retarget without cookies.

That's the gist of how remarketing works… I mean, retargeting? Wait, which one is it?

Retargeting vs. remarketing

Retargeting or remarketing? How are they different? The answer – they're the same thing. Retargeting and remarketing refer to the same general activity of serving ads to users who visited your website.

You might hear Facebook refer to this practice as retargeting, while in Google Ads, it is called remarketing. Terminology is, btw, not the only difference between Google and Facebook ads. But, generally speaking, these terms can be used interchangeably.

How much does retargeting on Facebook cost?

The cost of your Facebook retargeting campaigns will depend on a few factors. You can estimate some of these factors, like the size of your audience and your website conversion rate, right inside your Facebook Ads account.

Retargeting Audience

Other variables, like the quality of your ad content, will be unknown until you test your ads.

If you want to set a data-informed budget for your ad campaigns, you can use our FB Ads budget calculator.

Download the Budget Calculator and learn more about how to use it here: How to calculate your Facebook Ads budget.

The bottom line with retargeting is this: it almost always produces the highest ROI you can get from online advertising.

How to set up retargeting on Facebook

To get started with retargeting on Facebook Ads, you need two things.

  1. You need to have the Facebook pixel installed on your site.
  2. And, you need to build custom audiences for your ad campaigns.

What if you don't know if you installed your Facebook Pixel? Or, you want to double-check that pixel is working correctly?

You can use a handy little Chrome extension called the Facebook Pixel Helper to verify your pixel is in place and doing its job.

Facebook Pixel Helper

With your pixel in place, you can start building your audiences.

To build a custom retargeting audience:

  1. Locate your Audiences option inside your Facebook Ads Business Manager
  2. Choose the option for creating a custom audience
  3. Select your website as your source for your custom audience

Creating a Facebook Retargeting Audience

There are multiple ways to build custom audiences for your retargeting campaigns.

The most common example for beginners is to build an audience that includes anyone who’s visited your website.

Facebook retargeting all website visitors

If you want to get more sophisticated, you can also retarget  create audience segments with people who have visited specific pages on your site.

Here are some examples of custom audiences you can build based on the pages people have visited on your site:

  • Retarget people who completed a purchase on your site (Up-Selling).

retargeting customers

  • Serve ads to people who have visited your product, service, or checkout pages without purchasing (Cart Abandonment).

Retargeting product page visitors

  • Create an ad for those who submitted a lead form on your site (Lead Nurture/Follow-Up).

retargeting leads

  • Or you could show ads to people who read your blog (Call to Action Funnel).

retargeting blog visitors

As you get more advanced with building your audiences, you can target people based on events (i.e. actions they take on your website).

Note: I cover how to create event-based custom audiences in great detail inside my FB Ads Mastery program.

Facebook retargeting ad examples

The thing that makes retargeting ads so successful is you already have real data about your audiences' interests. These people have been to your website. They may have checked out your product or service pages. They might even be repeat customers. And you can use your ad to acknowledge their status.

Here’s an example of an ad Data Driven used to retarget people who have visited our page for my FB Ads Mastery Course. This ad performed well because the copy and the content were tailored to people who were considering joining my course.

Data Driven Facebook Retargeting Ad

In fact, the content in this ad was so specific, our audience even called us out (in a good way) for retargeting them.

Retargeting Ad Comment

Here’s another great example of a retargeting ad that inspires action. I was served this ad after visiting Brian Dean’s sales page for one of his programs. Seeing this ad pop in my newsfeed reminded me that I had limited time to join Brian's course.

Facebook Retargeting Ad Example

Another way to hook your audience with your retargeting ads is to call attention to their mood or environment. Here’s an example of an ad from Traffic and Funnels that hit the mark. As you can see, this ad got a lot of engagement because it was both amusing and timely.

Facebook Retargeting Ad Example

Facebook retargeting funnels

Many advertisers build “marketing funnels” to support their Facebook Ad campaigns. These Funnels rely on a series of sales pages and/or follow-up emails to encourage someone who clicked on an ad to take action.

Now, funnels can be great to maximize the value of your advertising.

You pay for one ad and then you naturally lead users through the next marketing funnel stage.

But, building one funnel to rule them all as an attempt to convert everyone to your offer is not always a great experience for the user.

So, I find it more functional to approach remarketing based on your audience's “state of awareness.” And I prefer to look at my audience's path to purchase as a journey to becoming “fully aware.”

Facebook Retargeting Audiences

Segmenting your audiences by awareness levels can also help you identify your best advertising opportunities.

For example, people in the unaware category are the hardest to reach. These people don't know anything about your brand, product, or services. So it's unlikely they'll take action based on one ad engagement.

Unaware audiences = costly to target 

Unaware audience

It’s much easier to re-engage someone who’s been to your website and is actively looking for a solution to their problems.

Solution aware audience = less costly to target

Solution Aware retargeting audeince

Engaging audiences who have visited your product pages, or a specific product catalog, may be as simple as providing a reminder or subtle little nudge in your ad content.

Product aware audiences = even less costly to target

Solution aware retargeting audience

If you’re just getting started with remarketing, you don't need to build elaborate marketing funnels to succeed.

Instead, go after the low hanging fruit.

Build out remarketing audiences by working backward. Target your most aware audiences first. And then continue to build-out advertising campaigns for the next most aware audience you can target.

Facebook Retargeting Audiences

The critical thing to remember about advertising is this:

Awareness = Trust. And Trust = Higher chance of action.

By targeting your most aware audiences first and foremost, you’ll increase the chance your advertising will be successful.

Facebook Retargeting Strategies

Let’s look at a couple of Facebook Ads retargeting strategies in action. Both of the strategies are covered fully in our FB Ads playbook, which you can download by clicking here:

Retargeting Strategies for eCommerce

The most profitable retargeting audience for eCommerce merchants is almost always current customers. These are customers who already know and trust your brand enough to make an initial purchase. That makes them much more likely to buy from you again.

One way to maximize the value of your relationship with this audience is to use a strategy I call The Upseller.

The Upseller

Here’s how the upseller retargeting strategy works. You create a custom retargeting audience of people who have purchased from you. Here's how you can identify these people:

  1. By uploading your customer list into Facebook
  2. Or tracking a purchase event on your site using standard FB events
  3. Or tracking a page view of your order completed URL for your store

Next, you target this custom audience with a unique offer using Facebook Ads.

Retargeting your newest customers may sound counterintuitive. Yet, my experience shows the best time to motivate someone to buy from you again is following a recent purchase.

The Upseller can help you increase the momentum you’ve gained with new customers. And it can also help enhance your customers' desire to buy from you again.

Retargeting Strategies for lead generation

What about people who visited your website, but are still a few stages away from buying from you? How can you help them?

For solution aware audiences, you can use a play I can the Ice Ice Baby.

The Ice Ice Baby
The Ice Ice Baby is my homage to Robert Matthew Van Winkle’s ( A.K.A Vanilla Ice), 1989 smash hit.

Here’s how this play works. You take a lead magnet or an exclusive piece of content you've developed. Then, you use Facebook Ads to promote this exclusive content to your website visitors.

Ideally, your lead magnet will be related to a topic that attracted your audience to your website.

FB Ads Checklist

The goal of the Ice Ice Baby is not necessarily to inspire an immediate purchase, although it can happen. Your objective, just like Ice, is to prove to your audience, “If there was a problem, yo I’ll solve it.”

By solving your audience’s problems, you earn a little more trust. Then you can use that trust to advance your relationship with your audience.

Download your free Cheat Sheet for Facebook Retargeting Ads

We covered a lot of ground in this short guide. Hopefully, you enjoyed my take on retargeting for Facebook Ads and learned a thing or two in the process.

To remember all of this and put it into practice is another thing.

And that’s why I composed a handy cheat list that you can follow while optimizing your Facebook retargeting campaigns for yourself or your happy customers. Good luck and don’t forget to grab your copy. 

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