Unlocking Facebook Ad Retargeting Using Website Custom Audiences February 1, 2016 by Brett Prince The power of Facebook ads lies within its ad targeting. It doesn’t matter if your ad copy, imagery, or bidding and optimization are perfect. You absolutely need to target people that are most likely to perform a desired action. Who are these people? The bulk of the time, they’re people who have visited your website previously and are aware of your brand. Facebook marketers that have the most success with ads have completely mastered retargeting. The great thing is that any Facebook advertiser is able to do the same by leveraging Website Custom Audiences. It’s sort of surprising that most active Facebook advertisers don’t take full advantage of this. This post is going to clearly outline the need for website targeting using Facebook’s Website Custom Audiences feature, as well as the steps on how you can create your own Website Custom Audiences today. What is Website Retargeting on Facebook? This is a very common question. You’ve probably heard of website retargeting, which is also known as remarketing. Retargeting is the process of running an ad campaign that will target people who have visited your website previously. For this post, I’m going to refer to Facebook ads specifically. First, you’re only able to use retargeting by collecting website level data on a website you have control over. To begin this data collection, there needs to be a snippet of code provided by Facebook (also known as a “pixel”) implemented on your website to begin the tracking process. Whenever the pixel loads (when a pageview is triggered), Facebook is notified that a Facebook user has visited a page on your website. Based on detailed rules previously identified by a Facebook advertiser, Facebook will then categorize a user, which will determine whether or not that user falls into a predetermined audience for ad targeting. When creating new campaigns, advertisers will create rules to segment website visitors and separate them into specific ‘audiences’ based on specific pages they have visited and when they visited that page. Advertisers then have the ability to run ads that are perfectly crafted based on the behaviour of the user on their website. Installing Facebook’s Tracking Pixel Have you set up your tracking pixel yet? Facebook’s pixel tracks all website visits, adding conversion measurement so you can optimize your ads. If you haven’t set up your pixel yet, you can easily create your pixel by doing the following: Within Power Editor or Ads Manager: Click Tools from the top menu Click Create a Pixel Click View Pixel Code and then copy the code that’s displayed Add the Facebook pixel to your website Install Pixel: To add the pixel to your website, take the code and place it between in the code of the webpage that you want track conversions on. This pixel can track conversions such as checkouts, registrations, leads, key page views or customers adding items to a cart. Be sure to add the pixel to the page on your site where conversions take place. Viewing Your Pixel Maybe you’ve created a pixel in the past or need to pass it on to a 3rd party for implementation. If you ever need to view your pixel for whatever reason, click “Tools” in the top navigation, then select “Pixels”: Then within the sub-navigation under “Actions”, click “View Pixel Code”: Which will popup the following box: You can follow the instructions within the box or click get help installing your pixel. Your Facebook Pixel code is unique, there’s only one per ad account, so this will be used throughout all pages of your website, or if you’re advertising other sites within the same account, it would apply to those as well. If you’re feeling a bit confused with the whole pixel code implementation, send it to your website developer. If you don’t need a helping hand, the code is going to be pasted before the tag on your website. How to Create a Website Custom Audience With your Facebook Pixel successfully installed on every page throughout your website, you’re ready to create a Website Custom Audience! Remember: you don’t need to implement a pixel code for every audience you create. Your one pixel for your ad account will track across all Website Custom Audiences you create. Just make sure it’s available across all pages of your site. Think of a Website Custom Audience as a ‘rule’. Your rule will determine which audiences your website visitors qualify for. Within Ads Manager, click “Tools” in the top navigation bar, then select “Audiences.” If you’re in Power Editor, just click “Audiences” in the top navigation. If you’ve created a Custom Audience in the past, you’ll see same layout in the screenshot below. Click “Create Audience” from the sub-navigation, then select “Custom Audience” within the drop-down menu. If this is your first time creating a custom audience, you’ll see this: We want to “Create a Custom Audience”, so click that button. You’ll see a popup that prompts you to “Create a Custom Audience.” In this case, we want to focus on “Website Traffic” – click that. If you haven’t implemented your pixel yet, or want to view or confirm the code for whatever reason, you can click the gear icon in the bottom left corner, selecting “View Pixel Code.” Don’t do it now, it will take you away from what we’re doing. Under the “Website Traffic” section you can see that there are a number of options to choose from, filtering by: Anyone who visits your website People who visit specific web pages People visiting specific web pages but not others People who haven’t visited in a certain amount of time Or a Custom Combination of these 1) Anyone who visits your website This is the first Website Custom Audience you will create. If you’ve placed your pixel on multiple domains, you’ll see a drop-down where you can select the appropriate domain. Otherwise, feel free to leave it empty. You’ll also see the number of days you want to keep your audience for with the option of choosing to “include past website traffic.” The latter only works if you’ve already installed the pixel – it’s really meant for when you may create new audiences down the road. For duration as a whole, Facebook allows you to select a range between 1 to 180 days. If you select a shorter duration you will clearly have a smaller audience to work with. However, this audience could also be the most relevant – it’s a great way to get creative with your ad messaging. 2) People who visit specific web pages At some point you going to want to create an audience for people who visited a specific blog post, a category of pages, or a landing page. This will segment your audience for targeting. The “People who visit specific web pages” option is where you set this up. If you want to target a particular page, you simply add the URL you want to include. If someone has visited your audience within your designated duration, they will be added to your audience. You also have the option to choose “URL contains” or “URL equals.” When selecting the “URL contains” option, you can enter specific ‘keywords’ within your URL that will capture visitors of pages containing these keywords. For example, if I had a URL structure that contained a “facebook-ads” keyword across multiple pages I wanted to target, my audience would consist of anyone who visited pages with that keyword in the URL. The URL might look something like: http://marketaire.com/facebook-ads/my-facebook-article The concept is pretty straight forward, but you need to watch out for pages you may not want to include. For example, maybe you want to target people that visited your shop at http://yourdomain.com/shop. You have a success page at http://yourdomain.com/shop/thank-you. If you’ve selected “URL contains” and “shop” as a loose keyword, your audience will be created for any URL containing that keyword. If you want to get more specific, you can always change your selection to “URL equals” and drop in the complete URL. If you want to get more detailed, the next step is for you. 3) People visiting specific web pages but not others An example of a scenario where you would exclude visitors of a page could be someone who visited your online store but didn’t make a purchase (the “thank-you” page above). In this case, I would create two Website Custom Audiences – one for those who purchased and one for those who didn’t. When you’re setting up your campaign, you could target or exclude the appropriate audience. Exclusions can be great filters, so consider how you can use an audience for multiple purposes. 4) People who haven’t visited in a certain amount of time This audience is to re-engage people over a specific period of time. You are able to segment people that have visited your website over the maximum 180 day period but that haven’t returned within a specific time period. How to Target or Exclude a Website Custom Audience So, you’ve created your Website Custom Audience. Now it’s time to apply it to your targeting! When you’ve created a campaign you can select your Custom Audience(s) by navigating to your Ad Set, editing, then navigating to the “Audience” section. Type in the name of the custom audience you created previously and it will display within the Custom Audience selection box. When you begin typing, you’ll see a drop down of possible Custom Audiences to choose from. The example above uses an opt-in based landing page for a free product giveaway (FB Social LP – Tripwire – 30 Days). I have chosen to exclude the Audience that has converted (FB Social – Tripwire Thank you – 180 Days). When you’re applying a Custom Audience for targeting, you also have the option of removing location targeting. If you wanted to limit your Ad Set to a specific area you could, but you can also remove it to target everyone. This is only an option when you have chosen a Custom Audience for targeting – otherwise, you’ll need to specify a location. Website Custom Audiences You Should Create An aggressive content strategy will use hundreds upon hundreds of Website Custom Audiences. If you think about it, you will have multiple audiences for each piece of content, as well as others for any products/opt-ins available. Here are some Website Custom Audience use cases to consider when you’re planning your audience strategy: 1) All Website Visitors This is a logical place to start, and it is likely to be used frequently. You can create your own variations ranging from durations of 1 to 180 days. The ones that tend to be most regular for me are 30 or 180 day audiences. 2) Viewed Particular Blog Posts Every time I publish a new article, I’ll immediately create a Website Custom Audience for it. If you’re not getting a ton of traffic just yet, consider starting with some of your most popular posts. Given that we’re dealing with a very specific audience here, the audience size is going to be limited. I use a 180 day duration of this type of audience to keep the audience size useable. 3) Viewed Category If you’re planning to run a detailed content based strategy, you will want to categorize your content and include all articles/posts that apply. If your website’s URL structure includes both a category and a post title, you will want to create a Custom Audience for people that have viewed categories of content. If you think about any content based website, there are different categories of topics. Even if the URL structure doesn’t include a clear keyword you want to target, you can always think about individual article titles – like pages that include “Facebook”, “Twitter”, etc. in the URL. Again, we’re limiting our audience here. Best to use a 180 day duration like above. 4) Viewed Landing Page Creating a Website Custom Audience for each product or opt-in landing page is going to complement your traffic acquisition strategy in a big way. If you have a lot of these, focus on what’s working now. Also, create various durations and think about messaging and potential use cases for each. This will help you maximize conversion rates and front-load your sales funnel. 5) Viewed Thank You Page For your landing pages above, make sure you’re creating a Website Custom Audience to track everyone that has converted on your products and opt-ins. You will want to use a 180 day duration here, as you want the maximum data set for cross-selling or up-selling. This will also serve as a key audience you will want to exclude on the Ad Set level to avoid unnecessary spending on someone that has already converted. Ways to Use Website Custom Audiences There are a lot of ways you can leverage Website Custom Audiences in your overall strategy, and the flexibility will add depth to any campaign, regardless of the objective. Some popular ways they are used include: 1) Website Traffic Generation You need to drive website traffic. Without traffic, your strategy is dead. By driving more traffic you’re also feeding your Website Custom Audiences, which will allow you dissect performance and scale areas that are working the best. 2) Drive Opt-ins & Registrations By targeting all of your website visitors via a Custom Audience you can front-load your sales funnel by capturing email addresses or other information through opt-ins/registrations. Someone that has read your content is far more likely to convert, as you’re targeting ‘warm’ traffic. Again, you will create an audience for those who have opted-in and hit the thank you page. 3) Build Fan Base If building a qualified fan base is part of your strategy, you need to target relevant people. It doesn’t get much more relevant than people who have already visited your website. These are people that will take action on your content – they click when you share a link. You can target all website visitors in this scenario. 4) Sell Product If you need to sell, there are a number of ways you can segment your audience. If you want a larger audience to begin with, you can target all website visitors. However, speaking from personal experience, you will want to target people that have viewed a particular blog post or content category that is related to your product. It makes sense that you would target people who read that content to keep the relevance as high as possible. A funnel is clearly the best case scenario here, creating a free offer that is closely related to your money product. Target anyone who opted in to the offer (someone that hit the opt-in thank you page) and promote your money product. If you have someone who purchased a similar product, target the thank you page for that and cross-sell or up-sell them. You will have people that visited your product landing page but didn’t convert. For this campaign you know you don’t need to introduce the product to them, but you can call out major benefits and use strong sales copy to create urgency, bringing them back to the page. Consider different approaches to maximize your overall conversion rate. Whatever product based campaign you’re going to run, make sure you’re excluding those who have already purchased. Final Thoughts Website Custom Audiences can single handedly drop your campaign CPC and CPA by targeting a hyper-relevant audience that is far more likely to convert when compared to cold traffic. A Website Custom Audience based campaign should be your main priority when budgeting, and when you really need to, use a Lookalike Audience of your 30 or 180 day website visitors to scale. If you’re running a Facebook retargeting campaign, what are some of your strategies and tactics? How are your results when compared to a campaign without a Website Custom Audiences?