A Guide to Retargeting on Facebook Ads - Start Selling Stuff

A Guide to Retargeting on Facebook Ads

retargeting on Facebook ads

98% of first-time visitors don’t buy. As a business, you want to win these people back. You want to convert them to finally buy from you.

How? Retargeting.

With retargeting, you can remind these people the desire they had to purchase from you – and more.


Yes. You don’t shouldn’t only retarget the people who haven’t bought from you yet. You should also retarget those who already bought from you.

This is how you not only maximize overall profitability, but also maximize your marketing efforts.


Well, your goal as a business isn’t simply to get people to buy from you.

Your goal is also to make the people who already bought from you, want you even more. The customer journey doesn’t stop at the conversion. You want to sell them something else (ascension) and eventually become loyal people to your brand.

Retargeting helps you achieve this.

The 3 Main Types Of Audiences & Why They Are Important

Before we begin, we must first define the types of audiences you’re targeting.


A cold audience is the people who don’t know you or have never engaged with your brand.

They could be people who have seen your ads but never engaged or cared… or they could have engaged from you (or they could even be website visitors) but from a long time ago. They may have forgotten about you already.


These are people that have made a meaningful engagement with your brand but haven’t bought (i.e. leads, recent website visitors, etc.).

The goal of the campaigns you make for these people is to get them to buy for the first time.


These are people who are at the bottom of the funnel (i.e. added to cart, initiated checkout, purchased). The goal of the campaigns you make foe these people is to get them to buy again or to buy a higher priced item from you.

There are varying degrees of heat within each audience like hot customers going “lukewarm” after not buying for a while. It all depends on how you segment them.

Knowing where your targeted audience is on the customer journey would benefit you. You’ll know what ads you’ll target (the messaging and creative), what campaigns you’ll run and what you can do to turn into buyers and, eventually, raving fans of your business.

Reasons Why People Don’t Buy Right Off The Bat:

There are a lot of reasons why people don’t buy from you off the bat.

You nurtured them and carefully run them through the customer journey, but they got stuck as warm audiences? They added to cart but didn’t initiate checkout? They initiated checkout but didn’t buy?

Here are some possible reasons why this happened…

  • They don’t have money yet and are waiting for their paycheck
  • Life happened (i.e. their baby started crying, their food arrived on the table, etc.)
  • Shipping costs (if it’s not said upfront)
  • They don’t have Paypal and their credit card is not with them
  • They don’t want what you’re offering enough (or not yet persuaded enough)
  • Lack of trust and credibility
  • They don’t want it (let these people go, they’re not your target customers)

When you retarget them with a sweet offer, target some pain point or persuade them with psychological tactics, they’re most likely gonna buy from you then.

There are a lot of reasons why people don’t buy right off the bat. This is the reason why retargeting campaigns are important.

The best part? They can run for a very long time with minimal tweaking and get crazy big returns. Leverage Facebook’s ability to do this.

The Crazy ROAS You’ve Been Seeing On Ecommerce Groups

When you see people showing screenshots of their campaigns doing 10x, 20x or even 50x ROAS, you’re led to believe that it’s the normal ROAS for eCom businesses. It’s not.

What they don’t tell you is the context behind these campaigns. Most of the time, it’s a retargeting campaign. With retargeting, you’ll spending less but get more because the people you’re targeting are already warm/hot.

Why does that happen?

Well, for these people to become warm/hot audiences, they’d have to go through your funnel or the customer journey. They’d have to add to cart or initiate checkout, purchase or whatever.

When you retarget them, you’ll get to remind them of that action they took so they can finally finish it.

The Types of Customers

There are 2 types of customers: Discount buyers and Value buyers.

You want to target and acquire those value buyers.

If you do discounts, here’s a great tip to:

✔ Increase the quality of your advertising and;

💎 Increase the customers you acquire

When you create multiple audiences in Facebook, remove those people.

Remove everybody that’s got a discount or anybody that spent under a certain dollar amount. Upload just the people who spent a certain amount as your custom audience and create your buyer lookalikes out of that.

The Effect Of Removing Discount Buyers From Your Core Audience

Almost all businesses have special deals and discounts… and that’s okay.

You can still get money from these discount customers and not let them influence or have a “contagion” effect on your business.

By having the core data you’ll be using for your future retargeting based on a separate segment of customers, you get more quality audiences from your lookalikes.

This is very important.

If you don’t remove these people, it is going to have a negative, long-term effect on your targeting.

Remember… It’s your ad account that’s storing the data, not the pixel. The pixel doesn’t store any data. The pixel is just a code that you place on your website to help you track conversions from your ads.

If you keep supplying your account with unqualified customers, Facebook’s gonna show you more of these types of people.

How Do You Retarget Your Audience?

There are 2 types of people you should retarget: Buyers and Visitors that did not buy (HOT and WARM).

For those who bought from you already, your main priority is increasing their lifetime value. For those who haven’t bought from you yet but seem interested (since they got to your product page, let’s assume they are), your priority is to make them buy from you for the first time.

So how do you retarget these audiences? What types of campaigns do you make?

Let’s talk about that.

For Visitors That Didn’t Buy Yet

This is generally your main audience for retargeting campaigns. You want to acquire customers (that you can retarget again later on) because once you sold them something today, and they enjoyed their purchase from you, they’re most likely gonna buy from you again.

Dynamic Retargeting   

Dynamic retargeting is an evergreen campaign that you can continue running as long as your campaigns are profitable. Dynamic product ads will let you show your site visitors (who left before purchasing) with the same products they were looking at when they were at your site.

When you run a catalog objective campaign, that specific product they were looking at will keep following them around (like a creepy stalker) until they finally make a purchase.

Dynamic Product ads are great in a sense that it personalizes the experience your customer has when they see the product.

The result?

Your ads will have a higher relevancy, which in turns reduces your cost while increasing your return on ad spend.

Want to know how you can set up your Dynamic Ads? Click here to learn more. 

Retargeting Sequence Campaigns

A retargeting sequence is a sequence of different ad experiences a customer experiences after they leave your site without purchasing.

When someone goes to your website with your ads, it’s a sign that they’re interested in a certain product. Your Dynamic Ads don’t always get to convert these people.

What you can do is have a retargeting sequence to push your customers over the edge to make a purchase. They will see different types of ads (i.e. different promos, creatives, etc.) as they move through the sequence.

Why A Retargeting Sequence Is Important

There are 3 reasons why I think doing sequence retargeting instead of generic retargeting campaigns works better…

✅ It Prevents Ad fatigue

This strategy keeps your content fresh as your potential buyers go through your sequence making them more likely to engage with your ads.

This means, instead of using the same ads over and over again, you can simply have different ads to retarget them… which leads us to the next reason why a retargeting sequence works great.

✅ It keeps your relevance score high

Showing your customers the same ads over and over again annoys them. Imagine seeing the same ad for 7 days straight. Wouldn’t it annoy you too? Yes?

What do you think you’ll do? Probably hide/report the ad.

When this happens, the ad will receive negative feedback resulting to poor delivery. Having a retargeting sequence avoids this kind of problem.

✅ It handles different types of objections

There are reasons why people don’t buy (as said above) on their first few visits.

Shipping cost too high? Give them FREE shipping. Price too high? Give them a coupon that only works for 2 days.

Talk about anything good about your offer. Your USP (if not said on your cold ads), your return policy, guarantees, positive reviews from other customers (UGC), etc.

How To Set Up This Retargeting Sequence

A lot of people set this up as a 3-day retargeting sequence, but I also do a 6-day and 9-day retargeting sequence. The 3-day retargeting sequence doesn’t always work for everyone. Same with the 9-day retargeting sequence.

You have to find what works for you. This is just a guide that you can follow. Tweak it as you will.

For day 1 to 3:

The audience you target here is everyone who added to cart within the past 3 days but didn’t convert.

For day 4 to 6:

The audience you target here is everyone who added to cart within the past 6 days but didn’t convert – excluding those who added to cart within the past 3 days.

For day 7 to 9:

The audience you target here is everyone who added to cart within the past 9 days but didn’t convert – excluding those who added to cart within the past 6 days.

In each sequence, make sure your ad copy and creative is different. Target different pain points, give them different treats, etc.

Ask them why they didn’t buy…

…So you can fix it. This is an important part. If people didn’t buy from you after how many weeks, then you should know why.

Usually run this after they’ve gone through all the retargeting sequences you have. In return for their honest opinion, you can give them something for free or at a huge discount (which could also help them convert btw).

So why is this ad important?

Well, first you get to know how you can improve – your offer, funnel, etc. Second, it works. You can really get sales with this type of ad.

It’s like when you’re trying to court someone. You’re on your final move or you’re about to quit. The “pull” is what makes this so effective.

Just make sure you give them something in return as an incentive.

For Your Recent Buyers

At this point your customer bought from you. It may be a small transaction (like a tripwire for a bigger offer), but it’s a transaction nonetheless.

If you want to retarget these people, it’s essential you make sure that their transaction is a good one… because if it wasn’t, they won’t purchase anything from you ever again.

“Great marketing will only increase the speed of which your business will fail if you don’t have outstanding products and services.”

Why Customer Retention Is Important

Retargeting the people who bought from you is crucial to your brand’s overall success. Not only will you be able to maximize profits, you’ll also be able to build brand loyalty.

While it’s necessary to focus on customer acquisition, one must never forget about customer retention.  Upsells, cross-sells, one-time offers or whatever you have to offer -people who already bought from you once are likely to buy from your again.

Brand loyalty is created with retargeting – be it through Facebook Ads, email marketing or whatever. Once you get a customer and you serve them really well, they’re yours forever.

Here are some reasons why customer retention is necessary…

  • Customer acquisition is more expensive than customer retention.
  • Increasing customer retention rate increases profits.
  • You have a higher success rate of selling to a customer you already have (HOT) than selling to a new one (COLD).

There are a lot more reasons why customer acquisition is important. This is why retargeting campaigns are crucial for your success.

So how do we target these people?

2 Campaigns You Can Run For Your Recent Buyers

Reach and Video Views objective.

If you have a video you want people (who recently just bought from you) to see, then video views campaign would work really well. You’re basically telling Facebook to show your video ads to the people who are most likely gonna watch it.

Reach Also Works In This Case.

Reach is a great objective for post-purchase. Higher funnel objectives (e.g. reach, video views, traffic, etc.), in general, are usually better options than the conversion objective because of its purpose.

The reason why is because, for website conversion campaigns, you’re leveraging Facebook’s ability to look at large audiences and find people in that audience who are likely to take the action you want them to take.

Reach is simply telling Facebook to show your ads to as many people possible.

If the audience isn’t huge then reach is usually best, if the audience is a bit bigger then you can try landing page views or traffic and if it’s really big then use conversion.

The Effect

If you have an audience of 1m+, and you want to find people who are most likely gonna buy from you, then it would make sense to run a website conversion campaign.

If you have an audience of less than, say 10,000, and these 10,000 people already bought from you, then reach campaign would work better. You don’t have to pay more for these people already since you already know they’re buyers.

When you run website conversion campaign, it’s generally always going to cost you more than video views or reach campaigns… and since your goal for retargeting the people who recently bought from you is to simply show your ads, then it would make sense to run higher funnel objective campaigns.

You want the cost per impression to be as low as possible.

Retargeting Ad Ideas:

How the product was made

If you’re not just a dropshipping store, and you have your own factory and employees, make sure you leverage it. Having a video of how the product was made does 3 things…

  1. Addresses the question, “where the heck is my product?”. People ask this all the time. They constantly worry for the item they bought if it doesn’t arrive on time. No customer service is perfect, and something could happen to the products during delivery. This is one way to address this kind of problem subtly.
  2. Pattern interrupt. The people you’re targeting knows you already. You built the initial connection and carried them through the customer journey. When they see your ad they’ll be curious why you’re showing this kind of video.
  3. Emotional connection. “Using faces and humans can make your ads more relatable”. When they watch the video, they’ll not only be amazed why they’re seeing the video. They’ll also feel something about your brand because your customers can sense that they’re not just buying a product. There are real people behind the products they ordering – human connection. The results? Brand loyalty, relationship with your customers, etc.

Why they love the products and how you can improve

People don’t feel comfortable when you ask them about the good things about you (your product, company, etc.). If you also ask them how you can improve, it will make it more authentic and genuine.

People like people who admit their flaws. You’re basically telling them that you’re not perfect and it humanizes the face of your brand.

Be open to both negative and positive feedback. With feedback, you’ll know where your product can improve. You’ll know where you need to put your focus on.

WARNING for this type of ad:

You have to make sure the people you’re targeting already got your product. What’s your shipping time? What’s the max time range?

Retarget them after that.

If you target them earlier, they’ll ask you thousands of questions about where their product is already and could lead to overall negative feedback.

Say your shipping time is 30 days, make a custom audience of those purchased in the last 30 days and another one at 37 days or 44 days. Exclude those who purchased in the last 30 days in the ad set level when you make the campaign.

That’s it.

Final Words 

There are many ways to retarget your audience and it really depends on your overall marketing strategy.

The main key point you need to remember is to always build a relationship with your customers. Run them through the customer value journey, know where they are at and reach out to them based on where they are in that journey.


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