In the first installment in this series we did very general prep work for advertising on Facebook. Now we need to do some prep specifically for the purposes of retargeting.

First, let’s fix a mistake…

Yes, I already made a mistake. I noticed that the custom audiences I made were set incorrectly. I was using “URL Contains” in the custom audience setup.

Since the actual content of the course is nested under that same URL, I would actually be targeting all users of the program as well. That’s a terrible mistake.

While fixing the mistake, though, I figured out a way to target in a more efficient way. Not only can I make sure that I’m only targeting people who have visited the sales page, but I can exclude people who have signed up…

Initially, I thought I was going to have to upload a list of clients in order to exclude them from receiving the retargeting ads I’m running. It looks like that won’t be the case if I have this targeting setup properly.

The way I read it, it will target people who visit the exact URLs in the first box, but exclude them if they make it to the exact URLs in the second box. The URLs in the second box are the URLs to the members area for the course. Anyone who signs up would also have to visit that page (and then be excluded from the targeting group).

Notice that I used the trailing slash version “/” and the non trailing slash version. My site always redirects to the trailing slash version of a URL. However, when I look at the site analytics, I always notice a few visits to the non trailing slash version. Somehow it’s being accessed, so I’m targeting it just to make sure all bases are covered.

You probably noticed that the language Facebook uses in some of these settings is confusing. The box says, “People who visit specific URLs and not others.

To me, that language says, “people who have visited X URL, but not Y URL.” That’s not the case, though. The setting is designed to exclude people who visit certain URLs.

The more and more I work with the Facebook Ads platform, the more I hate it. It’s really awful in a lot of ways and I see why people get so frustrated and end up not taking advantage of the advertising power it offers.

Anyway, moving on…

Retargeting Questions

Before we start building our ad, we need to make sure we have the answers to some very important questions…

  • What’s the goal of the retargeting campaign?
  • What’s the psyche of the prospect?
  • What type of ad should we run?
  • What should our offer be?
  • How do we use analytics to make sure our retargeting ad is successful?
  • Can we track conversions through a separate platform to verify that the Facebook reports are accurate?

Let’s work through these…

What’s the goal of the retargeting campaign?

The obvious goal of most retargeting campaigns is to generate a direct sale. That’s what I’m going to use it for as well, but it should be noted that you can retarget people for a lot of reasons.

If you have a higher ticket product, you could retarget with the goal of getting prospects to schedule a call with you. You could retarget people who visit an article with an offer to sign up for a webinar. There are many options. Retargeting isn’t just for generating a direct sale.

The goal of this campaign is simple, though. We want to generate direct sales. The current price of Total Body Reboot is $297. It’s affordable enough to generate direct sales. People will sign up for this program without speaking to someone first.

The secondary goal is to scale this direct sales process. If we can develop a retargeting strategy that works, we simply dump more and more money into it and generate more and more sales.

This is an important point because people will say things like, “I only have $250/mo to spend on Facebook ads.” That’s bogus though. If you’re getting $3 back for every $1 you spend, then you need to spend more so you can make more.

If you only spend $250/mo, you’ll generate $750 in sales. If you spend $5000/mo, you’ll generate $15,000 in sales. What part can’t you afford?

This is why the prep work is so important, by the way. We have to ensure that we’re collecting data and we have to ensure that the data is accurate.

What’s the psyche of the prospect?

I know who the target market for my program is, but we’re running a retargeting campaign based on visits to a sales page. That sales page could get lots of traffic that doesn’t necessarily fit the target market.

For example, people could go to the page just to see what it’s about. Competitors could go to the page to spy on what I’m offering. An affiliate could go to the page to grab some copy. There’s a lot of possibilities.

When you advertise to people who have zero intention of buying, you waste money. I want to only target people whose psyche aligns with my target buyer persona.

It’s also helpful to target men and women separately. For this campaign, I’m only going to target women because they make up the core of my target market.

What I need to find out is if Facebook will allow me to target the custom audience I made while also narrowing it down to women between ages 29 and 49.

If I can, then I’ll only be showing an ad to women between the ages of 29 and 49 who visited the sales page for my program but never made it to being a client. That should be a solid retargeting effort that maximizes ad spend.

What style ad, what position, and what platform?

Facebook offers a lot of options for both ad style, ad position, and ad platform.

Facebook Ad Style Options

  • Photo
  • Video
  • Carousel
  • Canvas
  • Instagram Photo
  • Instagram Video
  • Instagram Carousel

Since Facebook owns Instagram, the Instagram ads platform is built into the Facebook ads platform.

Facebook Ad Position Options

  • News Feed
  • Right Column (only available on desktop)
  • Instagram
  • Audience Network

Facebook Ad Platform Options

  • Desktop
  • Mobile

For this retargeting campaign, I’m going to use a photo-style ad that displays in the news feed for desktop and mobile users.

I don’t like the prospects of advertising to mobile users when looking for sales, but I’m going to try it. My checkout process is mobile friendly, but I feel like it will cut down on the conversion rate. I’m going to have to look at the data. If the conversion rate is too low for mobile, then I’ll start targeting desktop only.

What should our offer be?

We’re targeting people who looked at a pretty detailed sales page and decided not to purchase. We could make the same offer they saw on the sales page, but that’s unlikely to move the needle.

What options are left?

  • Offer a discount
  • Offer a bonus/upgrade

That’s about it for the product I’m offering. The program doesn’t open and close, so there’s no option to offer a “time running out” reminder. It’s a discount or an upgrade.

I’m typically against going the discount route. I prefer to go with an upgrade because it maintains the full price of the program while adding value.

Since this is my first official retargeting campaign, I’m going to go with the low-hanging fruit of a discount. I’m thinking $50 for the first test, dropping the price to $247.

That’s not where the consideration ends, though.

How do I deliver the discount?

Do I create a duplicate sales page that features the discounted price? This requires creating a duplicate product in SamCart as well, which adds more complexity to this process and more room for error.

Do I create a coupon code? How do I deliver the coupon code? Within the ad copy? Will they see it? Will they copy it correctly, get to the checkout page, find the coupon code box, and use it? That sounds like a lot of steps.

Is it possible to get them to come to the sales page and opt-in to receive the coupon code by email? This would allow me to capture them as a lead in our email system, deliver them follow up emails, and make sure they don’t miss the code or the offer. I could also send them emails showing them how to use the code on the checkout page.

But, how do I create an opt-in that only people who are coming from the ad can see, and nobody else? Will people use the opt-in, or will I be paying for clicks only for people to abandon the page after they see the opt-in pop-up?

This is the fucksville of being a marketer and entrepreneur. It sucks.

Based on what I know after years and years of online marketing, which I still feel is just above zero, I’m going to go the most direct route of putting the coupon code in the ad copy.

The opt-in strategy is intriguing because I score email leads as well, but it’s going to require a lot of tech setup and significantly increase the margin of error. In my experience, the less you have to rely on tech working properly, the better.

If it doesn’t work, we’ll change the strategy. Thats why we have data.

How do we use analytics to make sure our retargeting ad is successful?

Speaking of data, where is this data going to come from?

Well, Facebook happens to have a wonderful fucking awful ads reporting dashboard that’s going to give us all the data we need. Yes, it’s extremely detailed and powerful. It’s just terrible from a UX and UI standpoint. It’s truly a pile of dog shit. Every time I view the reports to find data from ads, I end up hating my entire life.

There’s also more code and more steps required to track specific things, I think. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there because that will be specific to the ad we’re running.

Can we track conversions through a separate platform to verify that the Facebook reports are accurate?

I’d hate to rely solely on the Facebook ads dashboard to figure out if things are working well. I’m not saying that Facebook is dishonest, but they’re incentivized to tell me my ad is doing great. I don’t know how I feel about that.

It won’t hurt to have a backup reporting strategy. For that, I’m going to use Google Analytics and UTM link parameters.

UTM link parameters are simply tags added to a URL that Google Analytics tracks independently. This allows you to create “campaigns” out of specific links, channels, mediums, etc.

UTM links are incredibly helpful and I’ll be talking about them more in future articles. For now, If you want to know more about them, I’d recommend Buffer’s write-up on UTM links.


Here’s the plan: We’re going to retarget people who visited the Total Body Reboot sales page, with a photo-style ad that offers a $50 discount. If Facebook let’s me, I’m going to only retarget women between the ages of 29 and 49.

For the initial test, I’m going to limit the ads to the Facebook platform (no Instagram), displaying only in the news feed for both desktop and mobile users.

I’ll be tracking results using the Facebook ads reporting platform as well as Google Analytics using UTM link parameters.

In the next installment of How to Advertise on Facebook, we’re going to move right into building the first ad. Make sure you’re subscribed by email so you don’t miss any future updates or installments to this series.


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