How to Create Retargeting Audience on Facebook

Learn how to create effective retargeting audiences on Facebook, from installing the Facebook pixel to optimizing bids and budgets. Master the art of Facebook retargeting with insider tips and strategies.

Creating effective Facebook retargeting audiences can be tricky for many marketers.

This comprehensive guide walks through every step of building custom audiences for retargeting, from installing the Facebook pixel to optimizing bids and budgets.

You'll learn insider tips for structuring campaigns, troubleshooting issues, and maximizing performance so you can reach the right users again and again.

Introduction to Facebook Retargeting

This article provides a step-by-step guide to creating effective retargeting audiences on Facebook. We'll cover the basics of how retargeting works, the different types of retargeting audiences you can create, strategies for structuring campaigns, tips for optimization, and troubleshooting common issues.

Understanding the Mechanics of Facebook Retargeting

Facebook retargeting involves serving ads to people who have previously interacted with your website, app, or ads. By installing the Facebook pixel on your website, you can track user actions and then create custom audiences based on that activity data.

Some examples of retargeting audiences you can create:

  • Website visitors - People who have visited specific pages on your website
  • Abandoned cart - People who added items to cart but didn't complete checkout
  • Video viewers - People who have watched a certain % of your video
  • Lead form engagers - People who started filling out a lead gen form

Retargeting works because it reminds people about your brand when they are likely to be searching for products/services you offer. It's extremely effective for recovering lost conversions.

The Role of Facebook Pixel in Retargeting

The Facebook pixel is a small tracking code installed on your website. It allows Facebook to record user actions, such as:

  • Pages visited
  • Time spent on site
  • On-site searches
  • Products added to cart
  • Lead form submissions

This data powers your custom audiences for retargeting campaigns. Without the Facebook pixel installed, you won't be able to create retargeting audiences or analyze the effectiveness of your Facebook ads.

Facebook Advertising: The Art of Targeting Revisited

Effective audience targeting is crucial for successful retargeting campaigns. Best practices include:

  • Segment audiences into smaller custom audiences based on behavior, demographics, interests, etc for greater relevancy
  • Test different bidding strategies for your best converting audiences
  • Monitor the estimated audience size when creating retargeting audiences to ensure scale
  • Combine retargeting audiences with additional targeting like interests and behaviors for better performance

Continuously refine your targeting as you analyze campaign data over time.

What is Retargeting? A Deep Dive

Retargeting involves identifying website visitors via pixels, then serving targeted ads to them across channels. Benefits include:

  • Increased conversions - Reminds users who already showed interest
  • Improved ROI - Proven to have higher conversions
  • Higher relevancy - Messages based on site behavior
  • Brand awareness - Repeated brand exposure

Overall, retargeting is a must-have strategy for any effective Facebook advertising approach. By mastering retargeting audience creation and optimization, you can significantly boost your conversion rates.

How is retargeting audience created?

Retargeting focuses on using ads to recapture the attention of potential leads based on their online behavior. Imagine seeing an ad showcasing a specific collection from an online store you recently browsed — that's retargeting at work.

To create a retargeting audience on Facebook, follow these key steps:

  • Install the Facebook pixel on your website. This allows Facebook to track visitor activity.

  • Create custom audiences in Ads Manager based on pixel data:

  • Website visitors - People who visited specific pages

  • Video viewers - People who watched a certain % of your video

  • Lead form engagers - People who started/submitted forms

  • Followers - Your Facebook page followers

  • Choose the audience to retarget. For best results, use visitors who engaged deeply with your content.

  • Design effective ads that remind visitors what they were interested in or encourage them to complete desired actions.

  • Add the custom audience to your ad set and monitor performance. Adjust targeting and creative as needed.

Properly structuring and optimizing your retargeting audiences is key for a successful Facebook ads strategy. Always test different segments and creatives to maximize results.

Jan 10, 2024

How do I create a custom audience on Facebook?

Creating a custom audience on Facebook allows you to target your ads to specific groups of people based on their activity on your website or interactions with your business. Here is a step-by-step guide to creating a website custom audience in Meta Ads Manager:


  1. Go to Audiences in Meta Ads Manager.
  2. Click Create audience and select Custom audience.
  3. Select Website and then click Next.
  4. Include people who meet any or all of the following criteria.
  5. Choose your pixel from the dropdown.
    • This connects your website data to your Facebook ad account.
  6. Choose the type of visitors:
    • All visitors
    • People who visited specific pages
    • People who performed specific actions

You can refine this further by setting time frames and additional filters. Once created, add this custom audience targeting to your Facebook ad campaigns.

Using custom audiences is crucial for effective Facebook retargeting ads. It allows showing relevant ads to high-intent users who previously engaged with your website or business. Proper audience segmentation improves campaign performance.

When setting up custom audiences, best practices include:

  • Testing different audience combinations
  • Keeping minimum audience size above 50,000 for broad campaigns
  • Frequently updating audiences with latest customer data
  • Monitoring audience overlap across ad sets

With the powerful options in Meta Ads Manager, you can precisely target custom website audiences for your Facebook ads. This allows delivering your message to the right people at the right time.

Can you still retarget on Facebook?

Facebook offers robust options for retargeting website visitors, email subscribers, video viewers, and more through custom audiences. With Facebook's event-based custom audiences, you can reach people who have engaged with your brand across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network.

Some key ways you can retarget on Facebook include:

  • Website Visitors: Retarget anyone who has visited your website by installing the Facebook pixel and creating a website visitors audience.

  • Email Lists: Upload your email lists to create a custom audience matched to Facebook profiles. Retarget subscribers and customers from your email database.

  • Video Viewers: Create an audience of people who have watched your video content for a certain duration. Retarget video viewers across Facebook.

  • Lead Form Engagers: Build an audience of people who started filling out or submitted a lead gen form. Remind them to complete the form or offer additional info.

  • Page Engagers: Retarget people who have liked your Facebook Page or interacted with your organic posts. Send them to your website or promote special offers.

So in summary - yes, Facebook still offers a robust array of options to retarget website visitors, subscribers, warm leads, and existing brand followers across Facebook, Instagram, and beyond. The key is properly setting up events, pixels, and custom audiences tailored to your business goals.

What is the minimum audience for Facebook retargeting?

Facebook recommends having at least 100 people in your custom audience before using it to target ads. This ensures there is enough data for Facebook's algorithm to optimize and deliver your ads efficiently.

Here are some key things to know about minimum audience size for retargeting ads on Facebook:

  • For basic retargeting campaigns, aim for 100-200 people as your starting audience. As more people engage over time, the audience will grow organically.

  • For larger retargeting campaigns, 500-1000+ people is ideal to allow for segmentation and effective frequency capping.

  • The minimum size for creating Lookalike Audiences is 100 people from a single country. Lookalikes model your custom audience to find more potential customers.

  • Video retargeting audiences tend to perform better at a smaller size since video views indicate stronger intent. You can start with just 50-100 people.

  • Location, gender, age, interests, and other targeting factors can be used to segment larger retargeting audiences over 1000 people for further optimization.

In summary, while 100 people is Facebook's general minimum, larger audiences segmented across different ad sets typically lead to better campaign performance. Continuously build your pixel audiences, and customize based on the types of users most likely to convert.

Setting Up the Facebook Retargeting Pixel

The Facebook Pixel allows you to track site interactions to build retargeting audiences. We'll cover how to install the pixel, structure event tracking, and troubleshoot implementation issues.

How to Install the Facebook Retargeting Pixel

Here are the step-by-step instructions for installing the Facebook Pixel:

  1. Log in to your Facebook Ads Manager account and click on the Tools tab
  2. Under Measurement, select Facebook Pixel
  3. Choose Get Code
  4. Select the website platform your site runs on (Shopify, WordPress, etc.)
  5. Follow the instructions to install the base code on your website using Google Tag Manager or by hard coding into the site code
  6. Be sure to place the code on every page you want to track

Once installed correctly, the Facebook Pixel will start collecting user data from your site.

Defining and Configuring Custom Events

To properly track conversions and optimize your audiences, you need to set up custom events. Here are some best practices:

  • Lead Form Submits - Fire a custom event when someone completes an important form like a newsletter signup, contact form submission etc. Use parameters to track form name, field data etc.

  • Add to Carts - Trigger an event when products are added to cart to retarget shoppers who showed purchase intent. Pass product IDs as parameters.

  • Video Views - Track percentages watched or video completions to see which videos resonate with users.

  • Page Visits - Fire events on key pages to see which pages attract most visits from your audiences.

Take time to carefully structure events and parameters to capture all relevant user actions. This data can unlock more advanced retargeting capabilities.

Troubleshooting Facebook Pixel Implementation

Some common Facebook Pixel issues and how to address them:

  • No data - Verify the pixel code is on all pages. Check for site errors blocking the pixel. Try using the Facebook Pixel Helper Chrome extension.

  • Data discrepancies - Compare your Analytics provider and Ads Manager reports. Check time zones are matched. Exclude bots and internal traffic if needed.

  • Incorrect event data - Confirm your events are mapped properly, especially custom events. Check the parameter values are as expected.

Carefully validate all data collection with supporting tools like Google Analytics. If issues persist, contact Facebook Concierge support.


Creating Custom Audiences for Retargeting

With the pixel implemented, we can now create our core retargeting audiences. We'll build website visitors, video viewers, on-site engagers audiences.

How to Retarget Website Visitors with Facebook Ads

The website visitors audience allows you to reach people who have recently visited your website. Here are the steps to create this audience in Facebook Ads Manager:

  1. Go to the Audiences section in Ads Manager and click "+ Create Audience"
  2. Select "Custom Audience" and then choose "Website Traffic"
  3. Enter your website URL
  4. Choose the lookback window (e.g. 30 days) to determine how recently someone visited your site to be included
  5. Give the audience a name and click "Create Audience"

This is useful for general brand awareness and remarketing to recent site visitors across Facebook platforms. You can tailor the ad messaging to continue conversations or promote offers.

How to Retarget Video Viewers with Facebook Ads

To create a video viewers audience:

  1. Go to Audiences in Ads Manager and select "Custom Audiences"
  2. Choose "Video" and pick the video you want to target viewers of
  3. Set the threshold for what % of your video needs to be watched to qualify the viewer
  4. Select the lookback window (e.g. 60 days max)
  5. Name your audience and click "Create Audience"

Use this for relevant video engagement campaigns. Ensure your messaging aligns with the video content.

Retargeting Lead Form Engagers: A How-To Guide

Engaged form fillers have demonstrated interest, making them prime candidates for retargeting:

  1. Navigate to the Audiences section in Facebook Ads Manager
  2. Click “Create Audience” and choose “Lead Form”
  3. Select the specific form you want to target submissions for
  4. Set your lookback window for form submissions to be included
  5. Name your audience and save your changes

Now you can create ads to re-engage this higher intent group, focusing on driving conversions.

The Really Easy Way to Retarget with Facebook Ads

Here is a simplified starter strategy to quickly setup retargeting:

  • Install the Facebook pixel on your website to gather visitor data
  • Build 1-2 core audiences like recent site visitors or video viewers
  • Create a campaign specifically for these retargeting audiences
  • Develop relevant messaging that picks up prior conversations
  • Focus on driving re-engagement, traffic, and conversions

Follow these basic steps to start retargeting right away. Then refine based on performance.

Expanding Retargeting Audiences Beyond the Pixel

Exploring methods to retarget on Facebook without relying solely on the pixel, including the use of customer lists and engagement data.

How to Retarget Customer/Email Lists with Facebook Ads

You can create custom audiences in Facebook Ads Manager using your existing customer and email lists. Here are the key steps:

  • Upload your customer list as a .csv file containing emails, names or other identifiers. Facebook will match them to user profiles.
  • Create a new Custom Audience and select "Customer File" as the source.
  • Give your audience a name and upload your list. Check it for accuracy.
  • Use this custom audience to target your existing customers in new ad campaigns.

Retargeting known customers can improve campaign performance as you are marketing to an audience already familiar with your brand.

How to Retarget Facebook Followers with Facebook Ads

If you have an existing Facebook Page with followers, you can easily create a custom audience to retarget them:

  • Go to Ads Manager and click "Create Audience"
  • Select "People Connected to Your Page"
  • Choose your Facebook Page and select "Page Likes"
  • Give your custom audience a name and save it
  • Use this audience to serve ads to your current followers.

This allows you to further engage users already interacting with your brand on Facebook. Serving them relevant offers can increase conversions.

Retargeting Without a Pixel: Is It Possible?

While the Facebook Pixel is the foundation of most retargeting campaigns, you have options to retarget Facebook users even without a pixel, including:

  • Uploaded Customer Lists: As shown above, custom audiences created from your customer data allow retargeting without a pixel.

  • Engagement Custom Audiences: Build audiences based on users who have engaged with your Facebook content without needing a pixel install.

  • Lookalike Audiences: Expand your reach to new users similar to your custom audiences.

So you can absolutely retarget on Facebook without a pixel in place. The key is leveraging custom audiences from your first-party data rather than pixel events. Test multiple audience sources and combine them to optimize reach.

Structuring Facebook Retargeting Ads for 2023

With our audiences built, we can now structure ad campaigns and creatives tailored to each audience's level of familiarity, considering the latest trends for Facebook retargeting ads 2023.

Campaigns for Newly Acquired Visitors

Focused on introducing your brand through educational, awareness-building messaging for new website visitors.

  • Create dedicated ad sets for new visitors
  • Keep messaging focused on brand awareness and education about products/services
  • Link to landing pages that provide more details on offerings
  • Use video ads to quickly capture attention and inform

Advanced Retargeting Campaigns

Used to re-engage visitors through promotions and offers, driving them back to convert with refined Facebook retargeting ads 2023 strategies.

  • Create ad sets for visitors who engaged more deeply with previous ads
  • Offer special discounts or promotions to incentivize purchases
  • Link to product pages directly to facilitate conversion
  • Test different creative variants including carousels and collections

Retargeting Ads Facebook Examples: Best Practices

Analyzing successful retargeting ads Facebook examples to understand what works in the current year.

  • Study ads in your industry vertical to identify trends
  • Take inspiration from highly performing creatives
  • Ensure messaging resonates with target audiences
  • Regularly test new ad formats like carousels and collections
  • Check that creatives follow latest Facebook ad policies

By structuring campaigns and creatives based on audience familiarity, we can craft more relevant messaging while optimizing performance. Analyzing recent examples allows us to build on proven strategies when structuring retargeting efforts in 2023.

Optimizing Bids and Budgets for Retargeting

Properly setting bids and budgets is crucial for cost-efficient scale. We'll cover bid strategies, expected CPMs, and budget tips.

15 Ways to Optimize your Facebook Ads Bid Strategy

Here are some key tactics for improving how often people see your Facebook ads and reducing costs:

  • Use Meta's A/B testing to find the optimal bid for your audience and objective. Test higher and lower bids.
  • Set lower bids for cold audiences, higher bids for warmer audiences.
  • Analyze the auction insights report to understand your ideal bid range.
  • Bid higher on high-intent audiences that are close to converting.
  • Use CBO and let Facebook optimize bid across ad sets.
  • Bid higher earlier in sales funnel, lower for retargeting.
  • Increase bids for underperforming ad sets if needed to get more data.
  • Decrease bids for ad sets that are overspending.
  • Set bid caps on ad sets if you hit budget too quickly.
  • Use bid adjustments to automatically decrease or increase bids.
  • Bid higher on under-delivered ad sets to spend remaining budget.
  • Use Accelerated Delivery to spend any leftover daily budget.
  • Schedule ad delivery around peak conversion times.
  • Analyze frequency metrics to identify optimal ad frequency.
  • Ramp up budget slowly to find the optimal amount.

What Is a Good Audience Size For Facebook Ads?

For retargeting ads, aim for audience sizes between 50,000-250,000 for optimal delivery and relevance. Audiences under 50,000 can struggle to spend budget and may have high CPMs. Very large audiences above 500,000 tend to be too broad. Segment larger audiences into smaller custom audiences based on behaviors, time frames or other factors.

Budget Allocation: New vs. Retargeting Campaigns

  • New visitor campaigns: $100-200 per day
  • Retargeting campaigns: $50-100 per day
  • Total budget: $150-300 per day

Allocate 60-70% of daily budget to new visitor campaigns, 30-40% to retargeting. Ramp budget up slowly, analyze performance at each budget level. Increase budget for better performing ad sets first.

Troubleshooting Common Retargeting Challenges

Common issues like low audience size or poor performance can negatively impact retargeting campaigns. Let's explore some troubleshooting techniques to diagnose problems and boost results.

Diagnosing and Solving Tracking Failures

To ensure your Facebook pixel is implemented correctly:

  • Use Facebook's Pixel Helper browser extension to identify any errors or missing events. This will validate proper setup.
  • Check your Events Manager to see if expected actions like AddToCart or Purchase are being tracked. If not, adjust pixel implementation.
  • For accurate attribution, put the pixel on every page, not just the homepage.
  • Make sure your pixel matches the one connected to your ad account, or data will not sync.

Resolving Retargeting Performance Problems

If your cost per conversion climbs or click-through rate drops below 2%, try these optimizations:

  • Narrow your audience with additional filters like time spent on site or pages visited. Too broad targeting causes poor relevance.
  • Create separate campaigns for each objective like sales vs newsletter signups. Mixing objectives dilutes performance.
  • Routinely refresh older audiences after 90 days. Outdated lists lead to wasted spend.
  • A/B test ad creative and landing pages. Improving experience boosts conversions.

Update Facebook Custom Audiences for Freshness

To keep custom audiences relevant:

  • Add new users frequently, at least monthly. Don't let audiences stagnate.
  • Create a schedule for updating. Audience quality degrades over time.
  • Segment users based on behaviors like repeat purchases. Tailored messaging converts better.
  • Remove users who haven't visited your site after 6 months to focus budgets on active profiles.

Consistently monitoring and optimizing your audiences is key for sustaining strong retargeting performance over the long-term.

Conclusion: Maximizing Retargeting Success on Facebook

Retargeting campaigns on Facebook can yield exceptional results when set up properly. Here are some key tips to maximize your success:

  • Proper Facebook Pixel Setup: Install the Facebook pixel on all pages of your website to track site visitors accurately. Use Facebook's Pixel Helper browser extension to troubleshoot and confirm the pixel is firing correctly.

  • Strategic Audience Segmentation: Create detailed custom audiences in Facebook Ads Manager based on your site analytics - such as add-to-cart abandoners, previous purchasers, engaged email subscribers, etc. Refine your targeting for each audience.

  • Tailored Creatives: Craft ad creatives that appeal specifically to each custom audience, highlighting relevant products/offers based on their site behavior. Personalization boosts relevancy and conversions.

  • Ongoing Optimization: Continuously test new creatives, placements, audiences and bids to improve campaign performance over time. Analyze metrics like CTR, CPM and conversion rates to identify optimization opportunities.

In summary, proper setup of the Facebook Pixel, strategic audience segmentation, tailored creatives, and ongoing optimization enables exceptional returns from Facebook retargeting.

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