Retargeting on Facebook and Google: A How-To Guide

The Beginner’s Guide to Retargeting

The Beginner’s Guide to Retargeting

By John Jantsch

You put a lot of effort into driving consumers to your website. Your site is where the magic happens—people get to learn more about your business and purchase your goods or services. But what happens when someone goes to your website but doesn’t become a customer?

This happens a lot. A full 92 percent of consumers do something other than make a purchase on their first visit to a business’s website.

And when you think about the customer journey, it makes sense. People want to get to know, like, and trust your business before they commit to handing over their credit card. So the real question becomes: How do you recapture the attention of those 92 percent of consumers? Their first visit to your website does you no good if they never return.

That’s where retargeting comes in. This digital advertising technique allows you to remind those consumers who might otherwise drift away that you’re still here! If you’ve never tried it before, this simple guide is exactly what you need to get an effective retargeting campaign up and running.

What is Retargeting?

You’ve likely undertaken some form of digital advertising before, but maybe you haven’t ventured into the world of retargeting specifically. Retargeting is different from other forms of digital advertising. It allows you to direct your ad content at people who have previously interacted with your brand.

If you’ve ever clicked on a product description on a website and then had photos of that product crop up in banner ads on other sites, you’ve experienced retargeting firsthand!

How it Works

Google and Facebook have created nifty tools to track consumers’ behavior on your website. Once they know someone has been on your site, the tool triggers your ads to display to those consumers on either Facebook or via Google Ads’ search or display network.

Retargeting on Facebook

Crafting retargeted ads on Facebook begins with the creation and installation of a Facebook Pixel. The pixel is a snippet of code which you can automatically generate in your Facebook Business Manager. You then copy and paste the code into the header tags on your website, and that starts feeding information about your website visitors into your Business Manager account.

With the installation of the pixel, Facebook now sees everyone who visits your website. Then, it’s up to you to tell Facebook which of those people you’d like to target with advertising. You go back into Facebook to define custom audiences for your retargeting campaign. You can select different behaviors and attributes for your campaign.

For example, let’s say you’re looking to reduce cart abandonment on your website. You can create a custom audience on Facebook that will show advertising to people who have been to your website, put items into their shopping cart, and then left before completing their purchase.

Next, it’s time to create your actual ad. Because the audience you’re targeting is shoppers who have abandoned their cart, you might want to show them an ad offering free shipping on items—something to entice them to come back to your site and complete their purchase.

It’s important to create advertising that has a specific call to action which speaks to the target audience. If you’re targeting folks who abandoned their shopping carts, it doesn’t make sense to show them an ad for an entirely different product. By tracking visitors’ behavior on your website, you have insider information on their wants and needs. Use that to create an ad that’s tailored to exactly where they are in their customer journey!

Retargeting on Google

There are a lot of similarities between the process of retargeting on Google and Facebook. On Google, you’re able to link your Ads account with your Google Analytics to track user behavior. Analytics allows you to create a tracking pixel, just like with Facebook, which can also be installed on your website between the header tags.

Once you’ve linked your Ads and Analytics accounts, it’s time to set up your audience lists. Using their retargeting platform, you can reach audiences in search, display, or video campaigns (via YouTube). Again, like on Facebook, you can define specific parameters for the behaviors or demographics you’d like your retargeting audience to display. These can be attributes like people who have clicked a specific call to action on a page or have previously purchased a specific item on your site.

Once your audiences are established, you move on to creating your ads. As with Facebook, it’s important to make sure that the content of your ad syncs up with the previous actions of your targeted audience.

Retargeting 2.0: Get Specific with Your Codes

You don’t have to settle for just one pixel on your homepage. In fact, you can and should customize the pixel for different pages of your website. If yours is an e-commerce business, you can add unique pixels to each specific product page. That will put those visitors to each individual page into a specific retargeting bucket, ensuring they’re seeing content that’s most relevant to them.

For example, if you own a shoe business that sells men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes, you can create different pixels for each product page. Someone who visited a page for men’s dress shoes will then be added to the men’s dress shoes retargeting list. That way, they’ll see ads for men’s dress shoes—rather than men’s sneakers or kid’s dress shoes—across other sites. Creation of specific audiences guarantees that every prospect sees retargeted ads that are personalized to their own behavior on your site.

The Secret to Retargeting

It’s this type of customization that’s the secret to successful retargeting. You want to use your retargeting to create a funnel. This funnel moves those who simply know your business to come to like you, and those who like and trust you towards the sale. You can even use retargeting to approach existing customers with cross-sell offers.

Let’s say you have a pixel on the “about us” page of your website. You figure that most visitors to this page are just getting to know you. Therefore, you might retarget these folks with more in-depth information about your business. Perhaps your ads show them links to your blog content or invite them to listen to your podcast. You’re greeting them with content that will help them to come to know and trust your business. And that’s the next logical step in the customer journey.

For those who already trust you and are moving towards the try and buy phases of the marketing hourglass, the messaging should be different. Let’s say you install a pixel on your “Get a Quote” page of your site. Anyone visiting this page is likely on the fence about reaching out to speak to your team in person. Presenting them with an offer for a free quote or trial offer might be just the nudge they need to give you a try.

Finally, you can retarget your existing customers. Displaying complementary products to those who recently bought from you is a great way to cross-sell to customers.

The key to great retargeting is to make the right offer at the right time. This approach eases prospects down the funnel towards becoming full-fledged customers. Retargeting allows you to create specific messaging. That way, you can personalize each message and greet your audience with exactly what they need to hear, no matter where they are in their journey.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Paid Search.

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The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur

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—Ryan Holiday, #1 Bestselling Author of The Daily Stoic and The Obstacle is the Way


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