If you are one of Facebook’s more than 2 billion active users, you may have noticed that shortly after visiting an ecommerce site, you begin to see ads for the same site appear in your Facebook feed, often with images of the very products you were viewing. This is an example of Facebook retargeting, and when used effectively, it can help you narrow your advertising efforts to the most receptive audiences, call back shoppers who have abandoned their carts, and keep your private label supplement brand at the top of people’s minds.

Retargeting works by using cookies to track who has already visited your site and direct ads to them that remind them of their visit. This article will show you how to get your site ready for retargeting, some strategies you can try, and pitfalls you will want to avoid.

The Behavior of Shoppers

Online shoppers rarely make a purchase the first time they visit a site. They may be browsing without any intent to purchase, or they may be meticulously comparing prices and options among multiple sellers. Some may have been using their phone to visit your site but had their attention diverted. Your product may be unfamiliar to others, and they would need to explore your site a few more times before taking the chance on a purchase.

No matter what reason they had for leaving your site, once they are gone there is a good chance that they won’t think to visit it again without being reminded. Even if they do try to search for your product, you will have to compete with every other seller with similar items for sale. The strength of retargeting is that it directs your visitor right back to your site.

Begin with the Facebook Pixel

The Facebook Pixel is an analytics tool that not only identifies your previous visitors but also tracks their behavior while they are there. Use the directions in the Facebook help center to add the code to your site yourself or send it to your developer.

Target Your Previous Visitors (or Some of Them)

Once people visit one of your pages that includes the Facebook Pixel, they’re added to a custom audience list in Facebook Ads Manager. You can then add them to your retargeting campaign, drawing their attention to your site again in new ways.

However, you may want to only reach people who visited certain pages on your site, especially if you want to customize your ads based on their interests. For example, if you have visitors to a special sale page, they may receive ads reminding them when the sale ends. If you want to target customers who have abandoned their carts, you can offer them a discount that may make them return to complete their purchase.

To specify which visitors you want to reach, select Audience in Facebook Ads Manager, and click on Create a Custom Audience. Select People Visiting Specific Pages under Website Traffic. From there you can customize the URLs you want to focus on.

Remind Shoppers of What They Liked Before

Facebook’s dynamic product ads not only remind visitors of your site, they also show them images of the items they had shown interest in before. Some sellers report that these ads give them a 20% or higher response increase over static Facebook ads. To put these ads to use, find Assets in the menu in your Facebook Ads account. From there, find Product Catalogue and select Create a Catalog. When the catalog is created, you can begin designing your ads. Detailed instructions can be found here. You have the option of using a single image in the ad or a carousel featuring different products.

Invite Non-Buyers to Stay in Touch

Not everyone is ready to make a purchase in the short term, but that doesn’t mean you need to let them slip away. Use a retargeted ad to offer them a compelling reason to join your email list or subscribe to your newsletter. Offering them news of product updates, sales, and exclusive discounts may be enough to tempt first time visitor into a long-term relationship.

Don’t Overdo It

Retargeting is a powerful tool, but if a Facebook user feels that they are seeing your ads too frequently, they may begin to react negatively to your ad. Prevent this with the following tips:

  • In all your campaigns, adjust your settings to exclude people who have recently purchased what you are promoting. Failure to do this results in comments like, “I just bought a refrigerator, and this ad is asking me if I want another!”
  • Keep the time frame short. Set up your campaign so it only targets the visitors your site has received in the last 7 to 30 days to prevent ad fatigue.

As you explore the Facebook retargeting ads, you will discover even more specific and personalized ways to reach out to your visitors.