Facebook Retargeting: Bringing Your Audience Back

By now, most marketers are hip to the fact that retargeting really succeeds in bringing potentially lost customers (and revenue) back to their site.  Having the chance to re-engage with customers already familiar with a brand or product greatly increases conversion rates.


Retargeting works for all types of products and desired actions (leads, sales, registrations, etc.) and is a recommended strategy I suggest to all of my clients. Even as professional digital marketer, I myself can’t help but notice when I see a Nordstrom ad reminding me to come back and buy shoes! Getting in front of your audience to make sure they see your brand or product is half the battle. Enter Facebook Retargeting!

According to a recent Huffington Post article, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a month on Facebook and Facebook currently has over 1.15 billion monthly active users. 669 million of these users are daily users.   With so much time spent on Facebook, there is a significant amount of ad inventory available, as marketers, it makes it an easy choice to pick Facebook as a place to get our products, especially those the user already knows about, in front of a customer. Facebook has also announced recently that it will be launching a new retargeting tool that will allow retailers to show ads to people who have visited their websites or mobile apps, providing yet another way to bring back customers.

Another benefit of retargeting on Facebook, it is only currently available on the Facebook Exchange (FBX), which is more cost effective than purchasing Facebook inventory directly by using real time bidding. Through FBX, advertisers can target their audience on Facebook using data collected outside of Facebook. There are a number of vendors that currently offer FBX inventory which you can see an updated list of here. A new partnership will soon allow clients to buy FBX inventory using Google’s DoubleClick ad buying software – DoubleClick Bid Manager – opening up the inventory even more to advertisers. Google’s DoubleClick currently allows access to many ad exchanges but Facebook has been excluded up until this new partnership, forcing advertisers to look elsewhere for this inventory. Once the integration is live, DoubleClick will become more of a one stop shop for buying ads across the web.

Ad placements include Right Hand Sidebar (RHS) standard ads. These were first launched in June 2012 and are a great vehicle for direct response advertisers, as the cost is relatively low to purchase this inventory. Another option for the RHS ads are dynamic product ads that populate an exact product viewed using a data feed. These are the type of ads where Nordstrom gets me to come back and buy the exact shoes I looked at on their website yesterday. Yes – I have to have them!

Also, recently launched in May 2013 are the News Feed Ads.  News Feed Ads blend in more with friends’ comments and posts. They also offer more characters for copy – up to 500 characters and are a great tool for special promotional offers and content marketing. News feed Ads also offer the ability for users to engage with the ads by commenting, liking, or sharing with friends. The cost to run News Feed ads is currently quite a bit higher than the RHS ads but the cost is relative considering it gives advertisers the opportunity to provide a lot more information and interact with customers.  Some additional benefits to News Feed ads are explained in a recent whitepaper by Adroll:

  • News Feed retargeting had a click-through rate (CTR) 49x higher than RHS and 21x higher than standard web retargeting.
  • News Feed CPCs were ½ that of RHS [right-hand side] campaigns and 1/5 of web retargeting.

Adroll touts the benefits of incorporating all ad types together. This is also my recommendation to my clients – take advantage of all of these ad types and create a campaign that works best for your product. (Integrated marketing communications, yay!)

  • News Feed and RHS complement one another and result in an overall increase in clicks at a combined lower CPC.
  • News Feed alone doesn’t have the reach or scale of RHS or standard web, and should therefore be used in conjunction with the other channels.
  • News Feed has different applications from RHS.  It’s ideal for content marketing and promotions (which can capitalize on social features) while RHS is best suited for dynamic product ads driving direct response.

Incorporating Facebook retargeting in your retargeting strategy provides reach, scale, cost effective pricing, promotional messaging opportunities, the opportunity to interact with your audience, content marketing and most importantly – drives conversions! And with new developments including targeting for users that have visited mobile sites or apps and the partnership with Google’s DoubleClick, the opportunity to reach your potential audience is growing and the inventory is becoming even more accessible.

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