How to run Instagram and Facebook retargeting ads

One of the main mistakes people make with their Facebook advertising is not using Facebook retargeting ads to re-engage potential customers. Sure, you can create personas which represent your customers in order to create a starting audience, but Facebook allows you to do so much more than that.

Once you’ve tested ads with a few different audiences through guesswork based on customer interests, you can set up custom audiences to create Facebook retargeting ads based on people who have already engaged with your content.

What is a Facebook retargeting ad funnel and why do we call it a sales ice cream?

An ad funnel is basically a set of stages your customer goes through before making a purchase. But we don’t want to shove our customers through a funnel, that doesn’t sound like a good approach to customer service, instead we’re going to offer them a sales ice cream. The cold audience is at the top of the ice cream, and as they move through the sales process and further down the cone, they become warmer leads and eventually, paying customers.

Would you buy from a stranger on the street who walks up to you, opens their parka jacket and asks you if you want to buy something? Probably not. If anything, you’re likely to want to put as much distance as possible between you and them. The same applies to Facebook ads.

The first stage of your marketing campaign should aim to raise awareness of your brand and the problem your product solves. After the awareness stage comes remarketing, which is what you’ll learn in this article.

How to set up Facebook retargeting ads audiences

The first thing you’re going to want to do is create your audiences by going into Ads Manager and clicking audiences. Find Ads Manager in the left hand column when you click the home screen, as shown below. 

Select ‘audiences’ by clicking the little dots on the left. When you get to the audiences screen, click ‘create audience’ and select ‘custom audience’.

You can then create an audience from people who have interacted with your Facebook page content or Instagram business profile.

You’ll have an option to select a page if you manage multiple pages, so make sure the right one is selected. On the dropdown under ‘add people to your audience’ choose ‘People who engaged with any post or ad’. Change the time period to the past 60 days. You can also repeat this process to create separate audiences for 30 days, 14 days and 7 days to see which audience is the most effective.  Do the same thing for Instagram.

How to run Facebook retargeting ads

Now you’re going to set up your Facebook retargeting ads. Use the little dots on the left again to navigate over to Ads Manager and create a new campaign. Facebook will calculate your audience numbers. If they are fairly small, then at this stage you’ll want to select the ‘traffic’ objective when you set up your advert. If it’s large then you can select ‘conversions’. If you select ‘conversion’ choose contact or purchase.

Assign your new custom audiences to each ad campaign. Unselect automatic placements and use your Instagram audiences for Instagram placements and your Facebook ones for Facebook. This will make it easier to track the success of each of your adverts on each platform.

When you write your copy and select your creative for your ads, be sure to put forward an offer for your product or service. This is no longer a cold audience but people who have already interacted with your brand, so your goal should be to send people to your website with a tantalising offer such as a percentage discount or free consultation. Remember to include a Call to Action to let people know what to do, such as click ‘shop now’ or ‘learn more’. Don’t be disheartened if people don’t convert into customers at this stage because they are considering your product or service. It’s the next step which aims to finally convert them into customers.

Once you’ve run some campaigns using the above method and more people are visiting your website, you can then create another campaign to retarget website visitors by selecting the ‘website traffic’ source when creating a new audience. This is your hottest audience, so you’ll want to remind them the offer is still on, use testimonials and encourage them to get in touch.

What to do next

Digital marketing is a lot of work. If you have the time and knowledge to do it yourself that’s great, but if your business needs a helping hand, get in touch with Project Storm. We’re not like other marketing agencies: we’re small, but perfectly formed; we don’t use jargon and buzzwords like leverage and blue-sky thinking; we do speak in plain English and show our results with clear reports. We embrace uniqueness and creativity and we’re always honest.


Don’t be a stranger, get in touch today.


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