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  • Writer's pictureLeedr

What is retargeting and should I be doing it?

We’re going to take a deep dive into what retargeting is and give you some really simple ways you can use it for your business.

It’s really scary to hear that the cart abandonment percentage across all industries is 70%. So when you’re spending money to get customers to your store and only 3 out of 10 actually convert, you want to do everything you can to increase that number and decrease the cost to convert a customer.

That’s where Retargeting comes in.

By the end of this blog post, you’ll learn how to create custom lists for retargeting using Meta for your business.

Here’s what we’ll be covering

  • What is retargeting

  • How does it work

  • Retargeting sources

  • The pixel

  • Creating an audience list

  • What’s exclusion targeting

  • Reengagement types and when to use them


What is retargeting

Retargeting is sometimes called Remarking and they’re used interchangeably, but generally:

Retargeting is when you use paid channels like PPC ads to reengage with customers who don’t convert.

Remarking leans more on un-paid channels like email (but also using some paid channels) in order to up-sell or market different products or services.

For this blog post, we’ll classify “Retargeting” as any form of paid re-engagement that displays advertising to people who have already visited pages on your website.

How does it work

When people visit your website and don’t take the desired action (registering, purchasing, etc.) leave your site, you have to pay to get them back again. This can be expensive and doesn’t guarantee that they’ll do what you want them to when they’re back again.

It generally takes 6 to 8 touchpoints before a customer is comfortable enough to buy or sign up with you. For businesses with a good marketing mix, this can look something like this:

  1. Social media content

  2. PPC ads

  3. Website visit

  4. Retargeting website banners

  5. Email nurture campaign

  6. Social media retargeting

  7. Sales landing page

  8. SMS marketing

Retargeting plays an important part there to reinforce the brand in the mind of the customer until they’re ready to purchase or sign up.

Retargeting sources

We’re going to focus on website retargeting, but you can retarget people from different sources which we’ll quickly touch on here.

Meta allows you to create retargeting lists of people based on how they interact with your business on their platforms (Facebook and Instagram).

App Activity: Create an audience of people who launched your app or game or took a specific action while using it, such as purchasing an item.

Catalogue / On-Facebook listings: Create an audience based on people who have interacted with items from your catalogue.

Video: Create an audience of people who watched one of your videos on Facebook or Instagram.

Lead Form: Create an audience of people who opened or completed a form in one of your lead generation ads on Facebook or Instagram.

Instant Experience: Create an audience of people who opened your Instant Experience on Facebook or Instagram.

AR Experience: Create an audience of people who opened your AR Experience on Facebook or Instagram.

Facebook or Instagram Account: Create an audience of people who visited or interacted with your Instagram profile, posts or ads.

Event: Create an audience of people who interacted with one of your events on Facebook.

Shopping: Create an audience of people who interacted with your products in a shopping experience on Facebook or Instagram.

You can see from these options you have some really powerful ways that you can re-engage with people who have shown interest in your business on Facebook or Instagram. Here’s an example of how you can use this:

  • Customer views and interacts with your content on Facebook or Instagram and is put into a customer list (they’ve shown interest)

  • Use this list to serve them up PPC ads with a video about your business (build awareness and engagement)

  • Capture anyone who views more than 25% of your video and send them a lead form PPC ad

  • Anyone who doesn’t complete the lead form is sent a discount coupon

This example shows how you can reduce the leakage at each stage of the funnel. You’re not trying to attract new people, and instead, convert customers who have shown interest in you.

The Pixel

How do you create an audience list of website visitors to retarget? Apple has made this a little harder but not impossible thanks to the iOS 14 update which gives iPhone users the ability to opt-out of tracking across websites. Facebook has countered with the ability to set up server-side tracking so don’t lose hope, you can still use pixel tracking effectively.

Creating an audience list

The pixel, which is placed on your website and thank you page, allows you to create a list of customers who arrive on your website. You can create lists of customers based on which page on your site they visit too - because a customer that goes to your checkout page but abandons is more valuable than one that only visits the home page.

Follow our guide on placing a pixel on your site (link) and once you have the pixel on your site, you can use Meta or Google to create a list.

Creating a Facebook pixel list:

  1. Navigate to Audiences in your Business Manager

  2. Click on Custom Audience

  3. Choose ‘website’ as the source

  4. Decide if you want to retarget all website visitors (great for awareness), or people who have visited specific pages (the best option to generate conversions)

  5. Save and you’re done

What’s exclusion targeting?

Now you’ve created your list, you can create an exclusion list. This is another list you can create using your pixel that, when overlayed with your first audience, removes/excludes some people so you have a more effective list.

Here's an example:

List 1: You create a list of anyone who visits your checkout page.

List 2: Create a list of anyone who’s visited your thank you page (the page that displays once someone has completed a sale / checked out).

Using list 1, and excluding anyone who’s also in List 2, you are only communicating with people who went to your checkout page but didn’t complete a transaction.

This is used to make your retargeting more efficient and reduce waste so you’re not marketing to people who have already checked out.

Reengagement types and when to use them

You can retarget your customers for a range of reasons that can depend on the action you want them to take.

There are different types of retargeting your can use including:

Banner ads: static or dynamic banner ads that appear on other websites your customer's visit after leaving your site.

Lead forms: social media or google lead forms are used to collect lead registrations from visitors to your site.

Alternative offers: this can be used in banner ads, email or SMS marketing to entice an abandoned cart customer to come back to complete the transaction.

Collection ads: If someone has shown interest in your products on your site, you can retarget them with a collection of similar products to get them back to your product page.

Cart abandonment: this uses the specific product that they had added to the cart but not completed the sale.

Here are some examples of how you can use the different types of retargeting at each stage of the funnel.

Top-funnel retargeting:

  • Branded website banners for anyone who visits any page on your site to reinforce your brand awareness

Mid-funnel retargeting:

  • Sending website visitors PPC ads with your latest blog post

  • The collection ad is for anyone who’s visited your products page but not checked out

Bottom-funnel retargeting:

  • Cart abandonment ad for anyone who started the process but didn’t finish it

  • Banner ads with a discount code specifically for anyone who’s visited checkout but didn’t complete it


When you use retargeting you can boost the number of touchpoints customers have with your business and guide them to the action you want them to take. This improves conversions and reduces your marketing spend.


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