Maximizing Conversions: A Beginner’s Guide to Retargeting with Facebook Ads

No matter what you sell online, you likely know just how important ads are in driving traffic to your landing page, website, or store. But what if buyers aren’t yet ready to take action? That’s where retargeting ads come into play. 

It’s kind of like getting kids to eat vegetables: you have to show your messages to potential buyers many, many times before they eventually purchase, because only ~3% of your entire audience is ready to buy at any given time. This is especially true for larger ticket purchases and products which don’t fill an immediate, urgent need such as beauty products, clothing, pet care goods, courses, books, memberships, and luxury goods. What this means is that you need a way to reengage the remaining 97% until they buy. 

That way is called retargeting, and it’s so important to get a handle on retargeting ads that we wanted to write you a guide to get started! 

In this guide, we’ll break down the most common questions brands have about retargeting. We’ll answer questions about retargeting, when it’s right for your business, the audience size you should consider, and some strategies to try. We include quotes from our expert media buying team at Tier 11, cite statistics, and break it all down so you can feel more comfortable and confident with this powerful advertising strategy. 

Ready? Let’s dig in. 

What is retargeting?

But first, let’s start at the beginning: what is retargeting? 

Retargeting is an advertising strategy designed to get someone who previously showed buying intent by visiting a product or a cart page to come back and complete their purchase. This is done through cookies (such as ad account pixels) which track users through their web browser as they visit your ads, your shop, or your website. Through retargeting, you can show these potential customers highly relevant ads which encourage them to complete their purchase or continue taking a conversion action.

Remarketing, which is related to retargeting, is when you send emails, SMS messages, and other follow-up messages to past customers in order to encourage them to continue doing business with your brand. 

Here’s how retargeting works from a high level: 

Which platforms can I run retargeting ads on? 

Retargeting ads are available on many ad platforms! In addition to the big one we focus on at Tier 11 – Meta (Facebook and Instagram)– retargeting ads are also available on YouTube, Google Ads, and LinkedIn… and a plethora of other platforms like AdRoll, Outbrain, and Taboola to name a few.

What are the benefits of retargeting ads on Meta?

According to MarketingProfs, the average clickthrough rate (CTR) for a retargeting ad is ten times higher than the CTR for a display ad , which makes retargeting ads a must-include in your ad campaign strategy. 

In addition to higher CTRs, the benefits of retargeting ads include: 

  • Higher Relevance. Retargeting ads are highly effective precisely because they are tailored to behaviors your audience has already taken, and products/services they have already shown interest in. 
  • More Revenue (AOV and LTV). Because these types of ads are close to the bottom of the funnel, they’re more likely to generate revenue for your business when combined with a call-to-action that’s purchase-oriented. 
  • Follow Customers Where They Are. Your buyers may not be on all platforms, and may not think to come back to your site. But with retargeting, you can gently remind them wherever they go and entice them to complete their purchase. 

How does retargeting on Meta work?

There are three primary ways brands can retarget on Facebook: using a pixel and using a list. 


The pixel is a piece of code that is generated within your Meta Business Manager and pasted into your site. (Where it gets pasted depends on your platform; every tool is different, but most have options for easily installing your ad platform pixel codes.) This pixel code tracks people as they visit your site and records the actions they take, including which ads they saw and clicked on, pages they visited, and items they added to their cart. 


Use a list when you have names and emails of real customers or leads, and you want to target that specific list with ads. “This list is always securely hashed on your browser and never shared with other businesses unless you grant them access,” says Meta. 

An easy way to use lists is to target those who opted into your email list with an offer that’s related to the lead magnet. For example, if you have a webinar on how to get a great self-tan for all skin tones, your retargeting ad to attendees could be to purchase the self-tanning bundle you pitched. 


CAPI (Conversions API) is a newer way to retarget people on Meta that is more reliable and secure than traditional pixel-based retargeting. CAPI allows you to send conversion data directly from your website’s server to Meta, bypassing the browser and eliminating the risk of data loss or corruption.

Which method is right for you?

The best method for you will depend on your specific needs and goals. If you are just starting out with retargeting, the pixel-based method is a good option. It is easy to set up and use, and it can be effective for reaching people who have recently visited your site.

If you are looking for a more reliable and secure way to retarget people, CAPI is a good option. It is also a good option if you want to track conversions that happen outside of your website, such as in your app or CRM system.

No matter which method you choose, retargeting can be a powerful way to reach people who are already interested in your business.

When should I consider retargeting ads on Facebook (Meta)?

According to our Facebook media buying team, the sweet spot to start retargeting on Facebook is when you have an audience that is big enough. But how big is ‘big enough?’ 

“We like to see at least 1,000 users for an audience to be usable, but even so it might get little spend and a very high frequency if it doesn’t grow or refresh,” says Daniela Zapartan

Some audiences to consider: 

  • GCLID audiences – create a-filter based audience of people that visited an URL that contains “gclid”. This is a Google Ads UTM tag and is a way of segmenting page view audiences based on higher intent.
  • Facebook followers and Instagram followers – These overlap engagement audiences but this type of audience can also reach a different segment of people that might have not interacted or seen the brand’s content in a while but are still interested in the brand.
  • Engagement: Create an audience of people who watch over 25% of a video, for instance, and send them retargeting ads.

How much budget should I allocate for retargeting ads on Meta?

Ad budgets vary greatly depending on the size of your audiences, the industry you’re in, and other factors. But that being said, there are some good best practices to keep in mind. 

Here’s what Jenny DuRose, Tier 11’s “Ad Scientist,” has to say: “the budget for retargeting is typically dictated by the size of the retargeting audiences. If you have a decent amount of traffic you’ll often see budgets break down into 70% cold traffic and 30% retargeting.” 

What tools should I use to get better retargeting ad results?

In addition to setting up pixels from all of the major ad platforms, such as Meta, Google, LinkedIn, TikTok, AdRoll, Outbrain, and Bing, you should also consider using the following tools to improve your retargeting ad results:

  • Facebook Ads Manager: This is the official tool from Meta for creating and managing your Facebook ads. It allows you to create custom audiences based on your website visitors, purchase history, and other factors.
  • Google Analytics: This tool can help you track the performance of your retargeting ads and identify which audiences are most responsive. It also provides insights into how people are interacting with your website, which can help you improve your retargeting campaigns.
  • Third-party attribution tool like Wicked Reports: This helps you measure the true impact of your retargeting ads by tracking conversions across multiple channels. This can help you optimize your campaigns and get better results.

What are some retargeting strategies I should keep in mind? 

Interested in trying retargeting ad campaigns? Here’s some ad strategies and tips from our team. 

Use Clear Calls to Action

Your retargeting ads should have clear calls to action, such as “Buy now” or “Learn more.” This will help people know what you want them to do.

Vary the Messaging

“Don’t just blast people with the same ads. Adjust the angles/pain points/symptoms if they didn’t take action/respond on the first ad.” – Landon Poburan

Use Relevant Creative

Your retargeting ads should be relevant to the content that people have already seen on your website. For example, if someone visited your product page for a pair of shoes, your retargeting ad should feature those shoes.

Play with Retargeting Windows

One tip is to play with retargeting windows. Landon says, “For information products, 30 day windows can be effective for top to middle-funnel traffic, and 14 days for driving traffic to sales pages or paid offers.” 

Tier 11 Media Buyer Federico says, “We tried a 30 day window to retarget those who went through a challenge, but we found that it wasn’t enough of an audience to spend any money!” So we extended the window to 60 days and that’s when the client saw results. “These ads are profitable even though the audience is small, so we keep them going,”  says Federico.

But with everything, test. Only through testing can you find what works best.

Use Retargeting for All Conversions

Retargeting isn’t only about getting someone to buy. Retargeting could be placing content, testimonials, etc. in front of someone after they book a call/register for a challenge/webinar to help increase show up rates and coax the conversion. 

Leverage Psychology

Retargeting can also be used for various cognitive biases depending on the context of what you’re trying to accomplish.