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How to Use Facebook’s Custom Audiences to Retarget Website Visitors

Ever wonder if advertising on social media is a good investment? Curious as to how it can best apply to your business and products? While there are a lot of methods for advertising on social media, and most of them are pretty complicated, Facebook has stepped up their game in a number of new ways that your business may be able to take advantage of. They recently relaunched their entire ad platform, focusing on making it more advertiser friendly, but one of the most important newly polished features is the Custom Audiences tool… if you use it right.
Getting Started with Custom Audiences
What Custom Audiences does is pretty simple; it allows you to create a Facebook ad campaign for retargeting those who have visited your website before, or who are part of a Facebook supported third-party marketing tool such as MailChimp. In this article, we’re going to review how to set up a Custom Audience for retargeting your website visitors.

The method is pretty simple, thankfully. When creating your first Custom Audience, you (or your Facebook administrators) are given a piece of custom HTML code to place on your site called a tracking/conversion pixel. Depending on your goals, you can add this code to one or more pages of your website. This means that you can take a general approach by retargeting people who have visited any page of your website, or be specific by retargeting people who have visited a certain product page.

One of the major benefits of social media advertising is that it tends to be very organically placed, is usually well-targeted, and allows people to share, leading to more clicks, more conversions, and better results all around. Here’s how to use Facebook’s Custom Audiences tool for creating more effective social media campaigns:

Step One: Create Your Audience
First, you’ll need to locate your Ads Manager. If you need help doing that, check out this section of Facebook Help. Once you’re there, click on “Audiences” in the left column, followed by the bright green “Create Audience” button. The following images will help guide you:

How To Create A Facebook Custom Audience

Click on “Audiences” in the left column of your Facebook ads manager.
Creating A Custom Audience For A Facebook Ad Campaign

Click on “Create Audience” and then “Custom Audience” from the Audiences section of your ads manager.
Add Tracking Code To A Facebook Custom Audience

Click on “Custom Audience from your Website” to create your audience and generate the tracking code.
Now, Facebook is going to ask you to agree to their terms. From this screen, you may also view your Custom Audience pixel code that will be unique for this particular Custom Audience. Install this to your website, or specific page of your website, by following Facebook’s step-by-step instructions or sending the code to your website administrator.

Note: Once you’ve accepted, you may get an error. This is okay! It happens sometimes when you haven’t yet created a custom audience. Basically, it’s telling you the service isn’t active.

Custom Audiences in Facebook Ad Manager

You must agree to Facebook’s terms before continuing.
Step 2: Name Audience and Choose A Duration
After agreeing to Facebook’s Custom Audience terms, you should be seeing the screen to create a custom audience. It’ll ask for a name and a description, but don’t worry too heavily about that. The description is optional, just in case you need it, and the name is just to help you remember which audience you’re picking. So it doesn’t need to be super clever… but it does need to be descriptive enough you can remember what you meant in a month!

An easy way to name your audiences is to put all of the important details in the name itself. If you name the Custom Audience “Full Site – Lasting 30 Days” I think you’ll be able to figure it out later.

Naming Your Facebook Custom Audience

Pick the specifics and name your new Custom Audience appropriately for future reference.
For a general retargeting campaign, choose “All Website Visitors” in the “Website Traffic” category. This will allow you to create an ad campaign to reach people that have visited your website during a certain amount of time/duration. We’ll go into more detail for creating highly targeted and very specific Custom Audiences in Step 3.

By default, the duration for tracking visitors to your website is 30 days — this includes people who have visited your website in the last month. You can reduce it down to a day, or expand it to 180. Once you’ve decided on your duration, all you do is click “Create” and you’re good to go. The good news is that if you wish to run a continuous campaign, this audience will automatically update so long as the tracking pixel remains in place.

Step 3: Create Rules for Targeting
By choosing “People visiting specific pages” in the “Website Traffic” category, you may choose to create rules for your Custom Audience that will provide you with the capability of retargeting very specific segments of visitors to your website. This is where you decide who is, and isn’t, part of your Custom Audience. This can get tricky, so be sure to move slowly and consider your goals carefully.

The first option you’re given is to select a URL, domain, or path. You can use any or all of these together, in order to create your Custom Audience.

Retarget Your Website Visitors With Facebook Ads

Choose the URL, domain, path, or a combination of all three for retargeting visitors to specific content on your website.
URL is pretty basic; it allows you to narrow down your audience to anyone who visited a specific page you control. For example, if we wanted to target people who read our article about why small businesses will love the new Twitter, we’d enter the blog posts unique URL:

  • “”

Domain is also pretty simple; it allows you to create an audience for anyone that visited any page of your website that is part of a specific domain. For example, if we were to set up a custom audience for those who have visited our primary website, we’d put “” as the domain.

  • “”

Path lets you choose people who visited a URL that is followed by a particular set of words or characters. In other words, a sub-section of your website. This, folks, is yet another reason to be sure your website is generating clean URLs for your content. So if we wanted to targeted people who have visited our blog, we would choose “/blog/” as the path.

  • “/blog/”

The second option is to choose keywords that are part of the URL, Domain, or Path you’ve selected. You may do so by selecting whether the URL, Domain, or Path contains any, doesn’t contain, is equal to, or is not equal to the keywords you specify. For example, if we wanted to retarget people who have visited our website and read something on our blog that contained “Facebook”, “Twitter”, your “YouTube” as part of the URL, Domain, or Path, we would add the appropriate keywords.

Add Keywords to Facebook Retargeting Campaigns

Select keywords that are part of the URL, Domain, or Path, to target or to avoid.
Step 4: Apply Your Tracking Pixel
To keep this all from being naught, don’t forget to click “View Remarketing Pixel” at the top of the pop-up or by by clicking on the pixel icon next to your new Custom Audience in the Audiences area of the Facebook Ad Manager. This will bring up the code that either you, or your webmaster, needs to put between the tags of your website/page, so people actually get tracked. Custom Audiences will not work without this, so don’t forget this step!

Step 5: Create An Ad
You can choose to create an ad for your new Custom Audience by clicking “Create Ad” next to the Custom Audience you’ve just created or by selecting the name of your Custom Audience in the drop menu of your ad targeting specifics. You will not be able to exclude an audience, or part of an audience, this way; you can only add one. Each custom audience will need its own ad, so be mindful of your goals!

Build Brand Awareness
If someone has already visited your website, this is your chance to reach out to them on social media. By using Custom Audiences, you can broaden the spectrum of your advertising appeal… and remind people of your brand. Custom Audiences can be particularly powerful if you’ve had a recent influx of website visitors due to a spectacular piece of content, sale, or press release. Many of those visitors might have stopped in to take a look and nothing more. Use Custom Audiences to make sure they associate your content with you.

See also: Taco Bell’s Social Media Management Strategy Is Better Than Yours

Retargeting is truly one of the most powerful advertising techniques, and Facebook combining it with social media makes it even stronger. It may take you a few tries to find the right audience, but once you’ve got it, you’ll be blown away by the new options you’ll have for reaching people on social media.

Looking to beef up your social media strategy? We’d be happy to help! Stop by our Social Media services page to view packages that are designed with growing your business in mind.

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