Instagram and Facebook Remarketing: How to Do Retargeting Social Ads

By David Tomas, on 23 July 2020

Remarketing is based on creating personalized ad campaigns for users who have previously visited your website, your online store or other content. Based on the information you already have about them, you can use this strategy to finalize conversions or pick up where their shopping left off.

In this article, I’ll tell you how to apply this strategy in two of the biggest social ad platforms: Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads. Let’s get started!

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Instagram and Facebook Remarketing: How to Do Retargeting Social Ads


Types of remarketing on Facebook and Instagram

Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads always go hand in hand, since ads on both networks are bought from the same advertising solution. They have very complete remarketing options, but these are the four main types of ads:

  • Video remarketing. Video is becoming more and more important online due to its growing volume of users, so it's especially important to see how you can work this style into your campaigns.
  • Remarketing based on interaction with Facebook or Instagram page. Most of the traffic generated on social networks is directed to your own branded page. Therefore, it is important to use this traffic as one more option within the remarketing strategy.
  • Remarketing with dynamic ads. This remarketing option on Instagram and Facebook is interesting because it is simply the most efficient. Dynamic ads integrate our product catalog in real time and achieve a much higher conversion rate. For advertisers with their own ecommerce, we recommend integrating Facebook ads with Product Catalog Feed.
  • Remarketing based on Lead Generation ads. Lead Generation ads on Facebook allow you to capture leads from the social network itself, without the need for the user to visit your page. And with the remarketing option, you can directly incorporate these recruited users into your audience to continue working on your relationship with them.

In addition to these four main types, you can also create remarketing campaigns from your website, your Canvas ads or visits to your application.

Remarketing On Facebook And Instagram: Understanding The Customer Journey

Facebook and Instagram allow the creation of very sophisticated remarketing strategies, to address the user at different stages of the conversion funnel.

Instagram and Facebook Remarketing: How to Do Retargeting Social Ads

  • TOFU phase: in the TOFU or "top of the funnel" phase, the user has detected that he has a certain need and is starting to look for information to answer it (for example: "I want to get in better shape"). At this point, what works best is to offer generic content.
  • MOFU phase: in the middle of the funnel, the user is already clearer about what he wants and is evaluating different options. Following the example above, perhaps the user has decided that he wants to go climbing and is looking for climbing walls in his area. Here we can keep his interest with more specialized contents, for example, "5 things to value to choose the perfect climbing wall".
  • BOFU phase: finally, at the bottom of the funnel, the user has already considered all his options and is still interested in your product - just give him the final push! In the last phase of the funnel, offers and free trials usually work well.

To successfully address this complexity, we need to understand how our particular brand's customer journey works and at what point we are approaching a particular customer. Then we can use Facebook and Instagram remarketing from the top of the conversion funnel (e.g., with the option of similar audiences) to the closest to the final conversion (e.g., with an abandoned cart strategy).


How To Retarget Ads On Instagram And Facebook, Step-by-step

1) Link your advertising account with the Business Manager

Although this step is not mandatory, I always recommend it, since linking your Facebook advertising account with the Business Manager allows you to centralize all your activity on the network.

For those who don't know, Facebook Business Manager is a tool that allows you to manage your Facebook and Instagram pages, advertising accounts and other applications in an integrated manner from one place. This makes it easy to share accounts with multiple users and see all the activity in an integrated way, facilitating reporting.

2) Create a custom audience

The essence of remarketing campaigns on Instagram and Facebook is to target a specific user group, so we need to create this audience. Just follow these steps:

  • Go to "Audiences" (it's located under "Assets").
  • Once there, click on "Create audience" and choose "Custom audience from website or app traffic".
  • If you have already implemented a remarketing pixel on your page, you will be able to choose the corresponding audience. If not, it's time to get going! Click on the "View your remarketing pixel code" option, copy the code that will appear and put it on your website between the 'head' tags (if you don't know how to do this, ask a web or IT designer for help). You will see that there is a generic pixel for all pages and then a specific one for conversions, which is installed after the generic one.
  • Finally, click on "Create my audience" and you're done! Remember that for any remarketing campaign it is necessary to have a recognisable and easy to work with nomenclature. The most logical thing is to work with a unified nomenclature between the different sites where you do remarketing (social networks, Google Ads ...).

3) Choose a URL and a data collection time

In the URL field, we must select the page whose visitors we want to capture. Next, we will have to define the data collection time, that is, for how many days the users will remain on your remarketing list. The shorter this time, the more "fresh" the brand recall will be, but it should always be long enough for the list to have a critical mass of users.

The minimum number of visits, interactions or conversions defined by the system to start remarketing is 100, but the truth is that this number is short. In order not to quickly "burn" the audience, it is advisable to wait until there are between 2000 and 3000 users on the remarketing list. In the case of smaller sites, we may have to lengthen the collection window to ensure that this is possible.

The most common options for the data collection period are 7, 14, 30 or 90 days, but in some cases it is possible to extend it up to 180 days or, in the case of Lead Generation Ads, up to 360.

My recommendation is always to create a separate campaign for each event, e.g. purchases, product visits or completed forms. This way, you can work on the creativities independently and manage different targets and bids.

4) Create your first remarketing campaign on Facebook and Instagram

After creating the remarketing lists, you will have to wait and monitor them until they have a substantial mass of users. When you succeed, you will be ready to launch your first campaign by following these steps:

  • In the campaign section of the ad manager, choose "Create".
  • Choose the target according to the audience you are targeting.
  • Select the remarketing list you want to use for the campaign.
  • Add a campaign uptime and a budget.
  • Now go to the ad section and fill in all the fields of your first ad. Choose your first creative and copy. Note that you can come back later to add more ads or an offer to encourage the purchase.

Remember that you are addressing users who are still undecided, but who already know your brand. Therefore, you can skip the introductions and focus directly on messages that will continue to convince them.

It is also important to try out different copys and creatives and experiment with A/B tests to see which ones work best.

5) Launch your remarketing campaign on Facebook and Instagram!

You already have your campaign created, so you can launch it to start getting conversions and results right away. But watch out: your work is not done yet.

From the moment you launch it, you will have to keep track of the evolution of the campaigns and ads. Disable the worst working combinations of copys and images, allocate more budget to the best options and keep trying out new creatives.

Over time, you'll also be able to see what are the best times to approach your clients within the funnel and the URLs and time periods that best fit what you're looking for. In short, never stop trying and learning!

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David Tomas

CEO y cofundador de Cyberclick. Cuenta con más de 20 años de experiencia en el mundo online. Es ingeniero y cursó un programa de Entrepreneurship en MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. En 2012 fue nombrado uno de los 20 emprendedores más influyentes en España, menores de 40 años, según la Global Entrepreneurship Week 2012 e IESE. Autor de "La empresa más feliz del mundo" y "Diario de un Millennial". ______________________________________________________________________ CEO and co-founder of Cyberclick. David Tomas has more than 20 years of experience in the online world. He is an engineer and completed an Entrepreneurship program at MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2012 he was named one of the 20 most influential entrepreneurs in Spain, under the age of 40, according to Global Entrepreneurship Week 2012 and IESE. Author of "The Happiest Company in the World" and "Diary of a Millennial".