How to Setup Retargeting Ads in Facebook and Google

According to a recent study (Monetate 2020), only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit to most websites. Retargeting ads are designed to help your company reach the other 98% of visitors who didn’t convert. In this article, we are going to look at retargeting strategy and ads (for both Facebook and Google Ads) to help you find the best strategy to convert more prospects.

How to Setup Retargeting Ads in Facebook and Google
How to Setup Retargeting Ads in Facebook and Google

What You’ll Learn

  • How to set up retargeting ads in your Facebook Ad account.
  • How to set up retargeting ads in your Google Ads account.

Table of contents

Understanding the Purpose and Role of Retargeting
Understand The Objective
Defining Retargeting
Retargeting on Facebook
Setting Up a Facebook Pixel
Set Up Audiences for Campaigns
Creating Your General Campaign
Customizing Your Campaign
Facebook Retargeting Tips
Frequency
Placement
Retargeting on Google Ads
Setting up Google Tags Manager
Creating a Google Ads Campaign
Locations
Bidding and Budget
Miscellaneous
Creating an Ad Group
Google Ads Retargeting Tips
Content Exclusions
Google Display Network

Understanding the Purpose and Role of Retargeting

Understand The Objective

In the marketing industry, finding new leads isn’t just a good practice—it’s a necessity. But, in the rush to find new leads, it’s easy to overlook the people that you’ve already found.

Marketers know that, no matter how good you are, you can’t convert every lead into a customer on your first try. You could have the best content, the best sales pitch, and the most amazing advertisements, and you still aren’t going to convert everybody.

But that’s why knowing how to find them again is extremely important.

Maybe the first try didn’t convert a sale, but what about the second or third? If you’ve already generated interest, and know that they’re looking at your content, why would you not try to see if you can convert them later?

In this article, you are going to learn how to set up and customize your retargeting campaigns via Facebook and Google Ads. Not only is this strategy effective, but it’s also relatively cheap.

Retargeting is something that sets good marketers apart from great marketers, and it’s a process that every marketer should learn.

Defining Retargeting

Simply put, retargeting is trying to recapture the attention of leads that have visited your website or interacted with your advertisements but didn’t actually make a purchase.

Chances are, even if you aren’t familiar with the term, you’re familiar with retargeting. Ever been on a site and then seen ads for the very product you were looking at everywhere you go online for the next week? You’ve been retargeted.

You need to truly understand what retargeting is to create messages that will convert your leads into customers. Hitting them with the same old sales pitch probably isn’t going to work.

Because if you’re retargeting them, it’s pretty clear it didn’t work the first time.

Persistence is important, but technology is power. Once you learn how to use these powerful advertising platforms we’ll discuss in this article, you’ll be able to bring leads back in and have them buy more than ever before.

But the first step is making sure you can keep track of the leads to retarget in the first place. We’ll talk about that in the next module.

Retargeting on Facebook

Setting Up a Facebook Pixel

Using Facebook’s ad management software, you can create a pixel that you can put on your website. Using it, you can identify the Facebook users that visit your website and target them with advertisements and content to try to get them back on to your website.

Think of all the times you’ve visited a website for the first time and then you immediately start seeing their advertisements on your Facebook feed. You’re witnessing a Facebook pixel in action, which should show you how effective they can really be…

To set up a Facebook pixel, go to the “Events Manager” icon under “Business Tools” on the Facebook Ad Manager platform. From there, you can start setting up your pixel.

Once you’re to the “Events Manager” page, you can select to create a pixel for your website under “Add Events.” Then you will have to pick from two options, and it’s important you pick the right one:

Choose how you want to install pixel code: Manually add pixel code to website or use a Partner Integration.
Choose how you want to install pixel code: Manually add pixel code to website or use a Partner Integration.

Manually add pixel code to website: This is the option for businesses that have their own, custom-made website. It will provide you the code that you can insert into the header of your website and should work no matter what coding language your website was made with.

Use a partner integration: This is the option that may use platforms like WordPress or Squarespace. The pixel is specially made to integrate into those platforms, making it quick and easy to implement. It requires no coding at all.

TIP: In the case of option 1, you can implement it into your Google Tags Manager, consolidating all of your pixels into one place so you can manage them easier.

The next step is to decide if you want to do Automated Advanced Matching. This process allows you to find the Facebook accounts of people who may have already provided you with some of their information.

Automatic Advanced Matching using Pixel
Automatic Advanced Matching using Pixel

TIP: Depending on the industry you are in, you may want to consult with a lawyer before deciding to opt-in to Automatic Advanced Matching. It could potentially violate the privacy of clients/customers.

The last step, integrating the Event Setup Tool, is completely optional. Although it could perhaps be helpful, it is by no means required for the purposes of retargeting.

Action Item: Set up your Facebook Pixel

Set Up Audiences for Campaigns

Now that your Facebook pixel is set up, the next step is to set up your audience. To find it, you simply go to the Audience section of Ads Manager, where you can manage all of your audiences and check in on all of your campaigns. Then you can create your custom audience for retargeting purposes.

Set Up Audiences for Campaigns
Set Up Audiences for Campaigns

There are lots of criteria that you can set for the audience you want to target. However, for the purpose of retargeting, you’re going to want to target all of your website visitors over a recent period of time.

You’re going to want to target all of your website visitors over a recent period of time.
You’re going to want to target all of your website visitors over a recent period of time.

TIP: In order to keep things organized, especially as you begin to create more audiences, it’s important to establish a naming method. Including the purpose of that audience (retargeting, promotion, etc.) would probably be helpful, but you should find something that works for you.

Tips for establishing audiences will be provided later in the article.

Action item: Set up an audience based on your pixeled leads

Creating Your General Campaign

Now that you have your audience set up, you need to actually set up the campaign they are going to see. This is a 2-step process—the first step is simple, and the second one is a bit more complicated.

When you make it to the “Campaigns” section of the Facebook Ads platform, you will select the option to create a new campaign. It will then prompt you to choose between Guided Creation and Quick Creation. Guided Creation may be helpful for first timers on the Facebook Ad platform, but Quick Creation will give you a more self-controlled experience.

In this article, we will teach how to navigate the Quick Creation menus.

Once you click on Quick Creation option, this will appear on your screen.

Once you click on Quick Creation option, this will appear on your screen.
Once you click on Quick Creation option, this will appear on your screen.

This part is the more straightforward part of the process. Simply start by naming your campaign so you will remember its purpose (retargeting, BOFU, etc.). You will then select the Buying Type as Auction.

(TIP: Auction is almost always recommended for your retargeting campaigns. Reach and Frequency is only recommended for large companies and corporations that spend upwards of a $1m/year on paid traffic.)

The most important part of this first process is your campaign objective. In the case of retargeting, you will want to select your objective as conversions. This is because the point of retargeting is to get previously interested people to buy something. There is no sense in trying to create traffic or leads when targeting an audience of people that have already visited your website.

As an option, you can try Campaign Budget Optimization on your campaign. This will allow you to take a much more hands-off approach to your advertising and advertising spending by allowing Facebook’s algorithm to make a lot of your decisions as it pertains to optimization. This is completely optional, but only recommended if you are running 3 or more ad sets.

Once you name your ad set and the advertisement you want to run with, you can move on to the next part. Press “Save Draft” it will then take you to this screen.

Once you name your ad set and the advertisement you want to run with, you can move on to the next part.
Once you name your ad set and the advertisement you want to run with, you can move on to the next part.

This is just a recap of the things you did on the last screen. You’ll then want to click on your ad set name under your campaign name on the left side of the screen to actually start customizing your campaign.

Customizing Your Campaign

It’s on this screen where you will be able to see the options that you have selected, as well as the estimated reach and conversions of your campaign.
It’s on this screen where you will be able to see the options that you have selected, as well as the estimated reach and conversions of your campaign.

It’s on this screen where you will be able to see the options that you have selected, as well as the estimated reach and conversions of your campaign. Here, you can make sure you are targeting the right Conversion Event Location (website visitors), Conversion Event (purchases), and using the right pixel and audience for your campaign.

You need to be absolutely sure that this information is correct, otherwise your retargeting campaign could target the wrong audience or accomplish the wrong goal.

Ad Spend
The amount you want to spend on advertising largely depends on the size of your audience.
The amount you want to spend on advertising largely depends on the size of your audience.

The amount you want to spend on advertising largely depends on the size of your audience. If you set up your pixel last week, and you haven’t driven any traffic to your site, your audience size is going to be small. So, if you are having trouble generating organic traffic, it may be in your best interest to run other campaigns to generate traffic before diving into retargeting.

As a default, Facebook will have you spend $20/day on your advertising. Again, depending on the size of your audience, you may need to scale that number up or down. Generally speaking, retargeting audiences will be smaller because you’re targeting a very specific group of people: past website visitors who you hope you can convince to make a purchase. $15-$20 a day will likely be a good ad spend for mid-sized businesses, but there is no perfect formula to know.

Audience

From there, you need to set up your audience. But because we set up our audience earlier, all you have to do is make sure you use the correct one.

Location

After that, you can specifically target people within a certain geographical location under the “Location” tab, giving you as much control as you want in what audience you want to target. However, for the purposes of retargeting, you want to set it to worldwide so that way you can target every single website visitor, regardless of where they live. By doing that, you make sure you are reaching the largest audience of qualified leads—that will drastically increase your chances of closing sales.

And people’s money in Australia is just as good as it is in America, right?

After that, you can decide what demographics (age, gender, etc.) you’re trying to target. Again, for the purposes of retargeting, you want to keep your demographics as broad and inclusive as possible.

Detailed Targeting

Detailed targeting is where you will be able to target people based off of particular interests that they like on Facebook. This can be really helpful for finding uniquely qualified leads, but because you are targeting website visitors this doesn’t really matter.

You can also select to do “Detailed Targeting Expansion,” which will allow you to reach people beyond the detailed targeting audience that you set if Facebook thinks it would make you more effective.

Facebook Retargeting Tips

Frequency

There is such thing as ad overload, and it’s something that you should avoid. Luckily, Facebook has the ability to check how often your ads are being seen by having a frequency metric.

Facebook has the ability to check how often your ads are being seen by having a frequency metric.
Facebook has the ability to check how often your ads are being seen by having a frequency metric.

Your frequency should never be higher than 2. If it is, you either need to decrease your daily spending or increase your audience size. The last thing you want to do is put your ads in front of your audience too much because they’ll become entirely disinterested and annoyed. Think about how you become annoyed with the same commercial constantly coming on your television—it’s the same concept. Avoid it.

Action item: Go look at all the Facebook Ads you are running and make sure none of them have a frequency higher than 2.

Placement

This is where you will decide where your ads will be shown. You have the choice between allowing Facebook to do it for you or choosing where your ads are placed. This is entirely up to you—you just have to figure out what performs best for you.

There are a few minor things that you can do to further customize your advertising reach, and you can also see metrics on how Facebook thinks your advertisement will perform. For all other questions about placement, including how to actually create and upload the actual ad that people will see, refer to Facebook’s help page.

Retargeting on Google Ads

Setting up Google Tags Manager

Unlike the way that Facebook uses a pixel, Google uses its tag manager platform to track the traffic coming to and from your site. It’s not as simple as simply integrating a pixel into your website’s code, but it also really isn’t that difficult. You simply need to integrate your Google Tags Manager (GTM) account into your Google ads account.

To set this up, go into your Google Tags Manager account and create a new tag. You are going to select the retargeting tag. It will then show you this screen and prompt you to enter your Conversion ID.

Setting up Google Tags Manager
Setting up Google Tags Manager

You will get your Conversion ID from the Google Ads platform. To find it, go the Audience Manager in Google Ads and integrate the two platforms together. You will be able to do so using the Conversion ID that Google Ads provides for you on that screen.

You will then select a trigger for your tag. For the case of retargeting, it will be someone visiting any page on your website.

Just like that, you’ll have your tag so you can create your target audience. Then you can start creating and customizing your Google ad campaign.

Action item: integrate your Google Tags account with your Google Ads account

Creating a Google Ads Campaign

When creating a campaign on the Google Ads platform, it will give you many different options of what defines success for your campaign (traffic, sales, leads, etc.). For this article, you are going to walk through how to set up a campaign without guidance.

Although using a guided campaign is an option, doing so will limit some of the options for customization in your campaign that you would have otherwise had. It will also make recommendations for your campaign, which may not be in your best interest.

You’ll then decide what sort of display you want for your campaign. For retargeting, you are going to want to use the standard display campaign to avoid Google making unnecessary additions to your otherwise simple campaign.

Then you will add your website URL and name your campaign, and then you’ll be ready to begin customization.

Locations

Google’s location targeting on its ad campaign platform is very comprehensive and effective. You can be very general with your target location, but you can also get very specific.

For the purposes of retargeting, you want to keep your location as general as possible. Because you are targeting a small audience of people that recently visited your website, it is probably best to target the entire United States. But if you do want to get specific or own a small business that serves a very particular area, Google allows you to include and exclude very particular locations.

Google’s location targeting on its ad campaign platform is very comprehensive and effective.
Google’s location targeting on its ad campaign platform is very comprehensive and effective.

This would be an example for a business based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The blue area is the area that the advertisement will be shown, and that red area is a specific zip code that is being excluded from seeing the advertisement.

Bidding and Budget

It is in this section that you can dictate what your campaign will focus on, as well as set the amount of ad spend you want per day

For retargeting, you want to set your campaign goal to maximize conversions. That way you’re focusing what’s important: turning as many past website visitors as you can into paying customers.

For your daily budget, $10 to $15/day is a good number to hang around. Too much more, and you risk overexposure of your ads. Too little, and you risk no one seeing them.

Miscellaneous

For the rest of your customization of your general ad campaign, you want to select the options that will make your advertisement’s reach as expansive and inclusive as possible. These should be pretty obvious, such as showing your ad on all devices, having your ad schedule set to all day, etc.

Action item: Set up a new Google Campaign using all of the tips you just learned!

Creating an Ad Group

Creating an ad group will let you specify the audience you want to target. If you want to target different audiences with different ads, then you’ll need to create multiple ad groups.

People you want to reach

This is the section where you can set up your audiences and demographics that you want to target. For general audience set up, you’re going to want your targeting criteria with “How they have interacted with your business.” Then you’re going to tell the algorithm to target all of your website visitors.

As always, as far as demographics are concerned, you want to make them as inclusive as possible when it comes to retargeting. If they have seen your website and interacted with your content, it doesn’t matter if they’re 65 or 25­­—they’re still a qualified lead.

As far as your audience is concerned, you can Google recommended audiences or ones that you’ve set up on your own. But, generally speaking, you should want to try to target all of your website visitors when running a retargeting campaign.

Action item: Are you interested in learning how to create your Google Ad from a design perspective?

Google Ads Retargeting Tips

Content Exclusions

Google Ads platform gives you the ability to exclude your advertisements from certain pieces of content or content that may have certain features. The options look like this:

Google Ads platform gives you the ability to exclude your advertisements from certain pieces of content or content that may have certain features.
Google Ads platform gives you the ability to exclude your advertisements from certain pieces of content or content that may have certain features.

What you select is entirely personal preference but remember, for the purpose of retargeting, you want to keep your criteria as broad as possible. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t select anything—there are some things that you may not want your brand associated with.

There is one thing that you need to remember: tragedy and conflict and sensitive social issues are probably 2 things that you don’t want to mark as exclusions. By doing that, you run the significant risk of your content never appearing on news websites or other similar content that people often view.

Outside of that, you may want to exclude profanity, sexually suggestive content, or sensational and shocking content to not have your advertisements pop up on things that people may have a negative reaction to. As far as the Digital content labels and Content type sections go, you’ll likely not want to check anything under those sections. Because you’re targeting people that have visited your website and are already familiar with you, it doesn’t really matter where you reach them.

Google Display Network

Google is a gigantic company that owns lots of different entities that you can use to advertise on. Whereas Facebook only uses Facebook and Instagram, Google uses their primary search platform, YouTube, Gmail, and every other Google platform. This makes Google Ads extremely powerful and can help you get your ads in front of a lot of people.

It is possible to get ultra-specific with the channels that you target, but it’s not recommended when executing a retargeting campaign.