EP41 – Advanced Facebook Advertising Tactics: Retargeting Campaigns and Authenticity to the Platform

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To watch the video recording of this episode, click here

Welcome again to The Coders’ Startup Podcast, featuring me, Trevor Page, and my good friend, Carter “The Marketer” Johnson.

This week we are revisiting Facebook ads, a topic we have mentioned many times on this podcast but about which we have rarely gone into much detail.

I have paused all of my Facebook ad campaigns because my average cost per lead is much higher than with YouTube ads. I pay less than $2 per lead with YouTube ads, while Facebook ads cost me between $3 and $5 per lead.

Facebook is an extremely popular platform, however, and ads on the website can be very profitable for some people even though they are more expensive. It all depends on your business’ ROI in terms of conversion rates.

This episode focuses on using advanced strategies that you may not see in a typical ad campaign. We will specifically cover retargeting as well as the importance of making your ad feel organic within the platform.

The Basics of Retargeting Campaigns

Before we get into some strategies for running a retargeting campaign, let’s briefly discuss how retargeting works.

The first step in retargeting is to place a snippet of javascript code on your website that will track who lands on your page and link their IP address to a Facebook profile (assuming they have one). You can then pay Facebook to place your ad in that user’s news feed or in the sidebar.

Facebook calls the flag that gets placed on these visitors a “pixel.” There are two types of pixels:

  1. Global traffic pixel, of which you can create only one type
  2. Conversion pixel, which can come in many different types to track different types of conversions (e.g. sales, email list sign-ups, or adding an item to the shopping cart)

The traffic pixel is the one that is relevant for retargeting. I place this pixel on every page of my website, because I want to pixel my visitors wherever they land.

Retargeting Strategies

Acquire cold traffic:

Shout-out to the Perpetual Traffic podcast by DigitalMarketer.com, from where this strategy is lifted!

Begin by creating a look-alike audience within the Facebook ads platform (which we will discuss in detail later in the post).

Pay to advertise to the look-alike audience, and get them to go to one of your best or most visited blog articles. This article should not be a typical lead page, but an excellent piece of content.

A popular strategy with paid, direct response marketing is to send your audience straight to a lead page. This strategy is different, because when you use a look-alike audience, the people to whom you advertise have probably never heard of you.

When trying to acquire a lead from cold traffic, give value first. No one ever lands a one-visit sale, because no one ever buys something they have never heard of the first time they see it. Would you?

One-visit sales used to work back in the ’90s, when the internet was new and people weren’t yet savvy of scammers, but it just isn’t viable anymore.

Give value first and don’t even ask your audience to join your email list. However, you can still pixel them when they land on your webpage.

Later, after you have pixeled them, retarget them to a page where you try to collect an email address.

In summary, this strategy can take someone who doesn’t know your name and turn them into a lead.

Push a warm lead along your sales funnel:

This strategy uses retargeting to persuade your leads to take each successive step along your sales funnel.

As an example of who you should target, I might choose someone who has visited my email list sign-up page but did not sign up. After pixeling them, I can take the following steps:

  1. Retarget them to sign up for the email list. (E.g. “Don’t miss out! Join my email list.”)
  2. After they sign up for the email list, get them to visit the sales page. (E.g. “Thanks for joining the email list, but you haven’t seen this great deal yet!”)
  3. Place a retargeting pixel on the sales page so you know if they visit it but don’t buy the product. (E.g. “You saw the sales page but didn’t take action. Don’t forget about it!)

The key here is to use retargeting to your advantage to push your leads to a sale. If you combine this with the previous strategy, you can take your clients all the way from your first introduction to a sale.

Making Your Ads Authentic

When you set out to create your Facebook ads, you should spend some time thinking about what is the native interaction for the platform. In other words, how do people use Facebook, and what are they looking for?

Right off the bat, you should know that Facebook now considers itself a mobile technology company, meaning that the mobile application has become the primary way in which people interact with the platform.

The ads that show up in the right-hand column, visible only in the desktop version of the website, are therefore less relevant. You should avoid advertising in this space.

So how do people use Facebook, and what are they looking for? Most people browse the website on their phones during the day, or at the beginning or end of the day, looking for posts on their news feed from friends and family.

Knowing this, you should probably place your ads within the news feed. Make them conversational. So many businesses use their ads to go right for the hard sale, but that technique doesn’t work on the platform anymore.

Instead, point your audience to a fascinating article or offer some sort of free, no-strings-attached value. Try to make the ad feel like it belongs within the natural flow of the news feed. Make it seem organic to the platform instead of disruptive.

As always, over-deliver with value. This way, people are more likely to buy when you finally ask for the sale because you have already convinced them you have good things to offer.

More On Look-Alike Audiences

Look-alike audiences are great for finding new people to whom you can advertise based on a selection of customers or leads you already have.

To create a look-alike audience on Facebook, go into the ads platform, select the Audiences tab, and select “Create a Custom Audience.” Then you need to upload a list of names to use as your sample audience; for example, try using your email list.

The software will try to match the email addresses to Facebook profiles. As long as it can find 100 profiles from one country (which should be your target country, and is usually the United States), then it will create a look-alike audience starting at 1.9 million people.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a list of customers that includes 100 profiles from the same country, use it to create your look-alike audience instead of your email list.

You can then begin advertising to the look-alike audience. Don’t advertise to everyone–narrow it down by gender, age, interests, or whatever seems relevant. Split-test your ad by running it to different demographics of the audience and see where it performs best.

Think of your look-alike audience as cold traffic and start moving them through your sales funnel, as described above. Send them to your best blog article, or better yet, to a Facebook video ad.

You can actually pixel people within your Facebook video ads and then retarget them. This way they don’t have to leave Facebook in order to get pixeled, which is great because it’s much easier to convince people to watch a video on Facebook than it is to get them to go to an external website.

Book and App of the Week

Book: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk. This book has a lot of good information about social media advertising and delivering valuable content. Gary Vee knows how to deliver value over and over to the point that he has raving fans. Also be sure to check out his blog: Carter and I both love his #AskGaryVee show.

App: The tools offered by the SumoMe app have made a huge difference in my business, and they function as simple WordPress plugins. You can get an email package containing upgraded versions of 4 different products for $40 per month. There are also free tools available for download, but you can’t do split-testing or other advanced functions with them. I am currently using these tools to blow out of the water my old record for sign-ups per day.


What are your tips and tactics for retargeting potential customers? I hope you learned one or two new tricks from this episode that you can put to use for your business.

I am on the verge of implementing a new ad campaign that will retarget people who visited my sales page and remind them about a special offer. I will advertise to them for 8 days after they visit my page to create a sense of urgency, after which time the offer will expire.

I will report back to you on the results of this retargeting campaign. Until then, take care, and happy learning.



Perpetual Traffic podcast

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk


SumoMe Tools