We’ve all seen them. You know those adverts. The Facebook adverts that miraculously seem to read your mind (or is it your browser history) and start advertising products to you that you were looking at on another website just a few hours (or even minutes) earlier.
Well it’s not Google or Facebook being sneaky, it’s actually the advertiser using a very clever marketing technique called “Facebook Retargeting” making use of a feature of Facebook advertising called “custom audiences”.
Now, this isn’t just a feature that is reserved for large corporations. You will also be pleased to know that it is not an expensive advertising add-on. It’s a feature we can all use in our photography businesses and in fact, if you use the feature correctly this might be the best value advertising you ever do!
But first, Facebook Retargeting – how does it work?
Well the basic principle is that the advertiser elects to track visitors to their website who are also Facebook users. So when a Facebook user visits their website, this information is funnelled back to Facebook in the form of a “Custom Advertising Audience”.
Now that same website then has an advertising campaign running on Facebook which only shows their chosen advert to those people who had visited their website earlier – i.e. that “Custom Advertising Audience”.
So now you know why that advert for that nice new shiny camera starts to taunt you on Facebook just minutes after you had been viewing the specs on the Wex or Calumet website 😉
So how do we setup Facebook Retargeting?
Well firstly you need to create a custom audience for your website visitors. To do this go into the Facebook Adverts Manager and select “Audiences”.
Click on the Create Audience button and select “Custom Audience” from the drop-down menu. From the options that then appear, select “Website Traffic”. You will then be presented with a dialog box asking what websites you want to track and the type of visitor you want to track – for example you can track visitors to certain pages of your site, or all visitors. You can also elect to only track visitors in the past X number of days. Once you have entered the details correctly, select “Create Audience”.
Facebook will present you with a “Pixel code” – this is simply a small script that needs to be inserted into the “head” section of your website – in the same way you would add Google Analytics tracking information for example. This is the magic piece of code that does all the tracking for you.
Now at first Facebook will most likely report that your custom audience is “Not Ready” as the “audience is too small” – but give it a few days and gradually the audience size will start to grow.
Now this is a super-targeted audience – these folks have already expressed an interest in your business as they have already visited your website. Can you understand the power of this?
So the next stage is to create a Facebook advertising campaign – but instead of going down the usual route of targeting a particular audience through demographics, this time you can select your custom audience that you created earlier.
Boom – you are now “retargeting” your existing website visitors.
The possibilities of this type of marketing via Facebook Retargeting are endless, extremely powerful and limited by your own imagination – go have a play and let us know your thoughts in the comments, and please pay it forward by liking or sharing this blog post on Facebook – thanks!
Update: A few of you have emailed me saying you can’t seem to access the Custom audience option – here is a link to Facebook’s official guide to using the feature. If you still can’t see the options then I recommend using Facebook’s “Power Editor” for managing your advertising campaigns this is much more powerful and includes lots of additional options when placing ads on their platform.