How to Create Retargeting Ads on Facebook and Google and Use Them Effectively

Published: 10 August 2021

Updated: 7 March 2023

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Victoria is a leading digital advertising expert @Viden with years of marketing experience, using a data-driven approach to identify growth opportunities and deliver value for brands across all paid channels.
How to Create Retargeting Ads on Facebook and Google and Use Them Effectively

Users visit different websites daily to look for information, browse various services, and compare product prices. Many leave without acting or converting; however, with a compelling retargeting campaign, it’s possible to bring users back to the site and turn a retargeted visitor into a conversion.
In this article, we’re going to cover the following:

  • What retargeting is and why you should use it
  • What you should know before you start using retargeting campaigns
  • The strategic ways you can use retargeting
  • How to use Google and Facebook ads retargeting
  • How to create effective retargeting ads on Google and Facebook

What Is Ad Retargeting?

Simply put, retargeting refers to the use of ads to retarget people who have visited your website and taken specific actions. If you’ve been researching retargeting, you might have noticed that it’s often used interchangeably with remarketing. While there are similarities, the two are different. Remarketing typically means re-engaging users through emails.

Remarketing vs. Retargeting

Why the confusion? In many ways, remarketing and retargeting goals are the same. Even Google’s suite of retargeting tools is called Google’s Remarketing Tools. Both Google and Facebook retargeting ads allow you to create and target audiences based on email addresses they’ve shared with you. Instead of getting caught up in the terminology, it’s important to remember the end goal: converting visitors who aren’t your clients yet.

How Does Retargeting Work and Why Should You Use It?

Retargeting ads show on average the 10x higher CTR than display ads and have different marketing objectives. For example, if you are raising content awareness, one of the best ways to retarget users who have already interacted with your website is to offer links with additional materials. If you’re looking to increase sales, you can retarget two types of users: those who looked at products but did not act anyhow and those who added a product to a shopping cart but didn’t complete their purchase. One of the strategies to drive sales is to offer users discounts or to take advantage of cross-selling. We will cover it later.

What You Should Know Before Starting

Before you start a retargeting campaign, there are a few crucial factors to consider. First and foremost, ensure that you have a comprehensive privacy policy clearly visible on your website. Google and Facebook have very stringent user privacy rules, and you’ll need to disclose your use of cookies for marketing purposes. In some countries, it is compulsory to allow users to opt-out of their marketing activities entirely. Read the terms and conditions before planning and initiating retargeting ad campaigns to avoid legal or costly mistakes.

How to Retarget Website Visitors on Google?

To start using Google retargeting ads, you first need to set up a tag. Like the Facebook pixel, the tag is a snippet of code that feeds data directly from your website to Google Ads. The data includes users’ behavior and information to allow you to target specific audience segments.
To get the tag, you have to:

  • Go to your Google Ads account and select “Tools and Settings”
  • Under “Shared Library”, select “Audience Manager”

  • Select “Audience Sources” and “Set Up Tag”
  • Customize which data should be collected depending on your industry
  • Save your selection and choose how to install your tag; there’re a few different methods, and you can select the one that best matches your expertise
  • Once the tag is installed, verify that it’s working by using the Google Tag Assistant

You’ll start collecting user data automatically if the tag is installed correctly. You can now set up your retargeting audience.

Setting up Your Audience

The easiest way to set up a retargeting audience is to create a list defined by the users, who visited your website. For example:

  • Select “Audience Manager” under “Shared Library”
  • Select “Audience Lists” and click the “+” button
  • Choose “Website Visitors” from the menu

  • Give your audience a name and select which pages they should have visited

There are also a few other ways to segment and define your audience, like:

  • Visitors over a specific period
  • Where users are within the stages of your sales funnel
  • Multiple page visits

Define your parameters to create a list that’ll best suit the campaign you want to run.

Optimizing and Reviewing

Once your retargeting campaign has been running for a time, you can review the results to see if you can improve performance. For example, you could:

  • Review ad performance by location, time, scheduling, devices, and adjust your bids accordingly
  • Adjust targeting by further segmenting your audience by new data points
  • Use new formats such as YouTube and Dynamic Remarketing ads to reach your audience on more platforms in new engaging ways

Over time, Google will automatically gather more data and offer valuable insights.

How Create Retargeting Ads on Facebook?

Before you can use retargeting ads on Facebook, you need a business account. It’s easy to sign up. The verification process is intuitive and simple to follow. Once you’ve signed up, you can get and integrate your pixel. A pixel is a snippet of code provided by Facebook that sets cookies, tracks users, and allows retargeting campaigns to work. Without it, your campaigns will not be as effective, and some may not work. Once you’ve integrated your pixel, use your Facebook business dashboard to test the code and ensure it’s tracking correctly. If so, you can set up your audience and retarget ads.

Setting up Events

Before you target your audience, you need to set up events that Facebook can understand and interpret. Some of the events include:

  • Add to Cart
  • Contact
  • Donate
  • Lead
  • Purchase
  • Subscribe

When users visit a particular page or perform a specified action, Facebook will use that information to record and interpret users’ behavior. You can use the data to refine your campaigns.

Setting up Retargeting Audience

Facebook offers various ways to set up and customize an audience. Start by selecting website traffic under custom audiences to set up your retargeting audience. You can follow the steps to refine your audience based on the following:

  • Overall behavior.
  • Events you’ve set up.
  • Pages visited.
  • Time spent on the site.
  • A custom combination.

Now you can create your audience and move on to preparing your retargeting ads.

Creating Ads and Setting up Campaigns

Once your pixel is integrated, and the events are set up, you can begin creating ads and campaigns. When doing so, pay attention to the following:

  • Use persuasive and compelling copy
  • Include a prominent call to action (CTA)
  • Create post-click landing pages that match the ads
  • Use dynamic ads

Try to follow best practices to ensure that you comply with the relevant terms and develop engaging creatives. We have a series of articles with practical tips on creating engaging Facebook ads. Check them out to learn how to increase the conversion rate when running ads on Facebook.

Read Now: Facebook Creatives: Which Ads Convert the Best?
Read Now: Mobile-First Creatives: Why Worth Caring and How to Develop One

Creating Effective Retargeting Ads on Facebook and Google: Best Practices

If you don’t set up your retargeting ads correctly, your campaign will fail. However, even if you set your campaign up perfectly, poorly designed creatives and a bad copy can still doom your advertising efforts. Below we share a few tips for creating effective retargeting ads on Facebook and Google.

  1. Retarget Existing Clients With Complimentary Products

    When advertising, some types of Facebook and Google ads may not align with your brand and message. When setting up your campaigns, remember to indicate the content categories with which you don’t want your brand to be associated. For example, if you’re digital consulting agency, it’s likely that you won’t get a great ROI by placing your ads on children’s videos.
    Set up your campaigns to target existing clients by showing them complimentary products. It’s a great way to turn your audience into loyal, returning shoppers. For example, someone who just purchased a new mobile phone won’t be interested in buying another but might purchase a protective glass. After all, if a person purchases an expensive phone, he might want to spend a few extra dollars to keep it safe.

  2. Target High-Value Audiences and Create a Great Ad Copy

    While segmenting your audience, ensure that you exclude bounced visitors and people who spent less than 10 seconds on your site. It’s likely that these users didn’t find what they wanted or accidentally clicked on your link. Targeting them would waste an advertising budget as they might have no genuine interest in your services or products.
    Remember that the users are already familiar with your brand. They’ve been on your site, viewed your products, and might start adding items to their shopping cart. Showing generic, branded ads to these users might not be an effective approach. Instead, try to use engaging copy to circumvent their sales objections.

    Read Now: How to Create Ads that Acquire New Clients for You

    Also, think of a frequency capping. While retargeting ads can be effective, they can also become highly annoying. If you bombard users with ads continually, they may start marking the ads as spam and block them entirely. Use frequency and duration caps to avoid this problem.

  3. Offer Discounts or Coupons and Remind Shoppers of Their Carts

    Who doesn’t like receiving something for free? Users can spend hours bouncing from site to site, looking for the products they want at the most competitive price. With retargeting, you can mitigate the risk of losing the customer who is happy with the product but not its price. Offering a discount or coupon will make an advertisement more appealing and helps reignite a viewer’s interest in you and your product.
    Another issue is cart abandonment. It is one of the biggest challenges faced by eCommerce store owners. According to Statista, the average cart abandonment rate is 88,05%. There may be a myriad of reasons why shoppers abandon their carts in stores, including unexpected shipping costs, forced account creation, complex checkout processes, payment security issues, website errors, no express shipping, or slow delivery. Before starting a retargeting campaign, determine if you’re dealing with any of the above-mentioned issues.

Do Retargeting Ads Work?

Retargeting ads are a great way to raise brand awareness and revitalize your sales funnel. However, your ads are only as effective as your strategy and how well you set up your ads. Combat sales objections, remind your shoppers of the carts they left behind, and offer them a tempting discount.
If you need help crafting an effective Facebook and Google Ads retargeting campaign, our team gladly assists with achieving the best results. Feel free to get in touch with us to give your marketing a boost.

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