A Beginner’s Guide to Ecommerce Facebook Retargeting

July 12, 2017

When you run an ecommerce store, lost opportunities can make the difference between a successful, profitable venture and one that’s doomed to run into the red. But what if you could re-engage prospects to win back those lost clicks and conversions to increase your sales?

Using an abandoned cart recovery tool (like CartStack) is the quickest and easiest way to re-engage shoppers, and will get you the best immediate ROI, but there are still those shoppers whose emails you haven’t captured yet…

That’s where Facebook can help pick up the slack.

Facebook retargeting gives you a great opportunity to cut your losses without cutting your profits. How good of an opportunity, you ask? A recent study by CMO.com found that retargeting your shoppers on social media raises response by about 400%. This type of advertising has a click-through rate ten times higher than standard display ads. Beyond that, retargeted website visitors are 70% more likely to convert.

Sounds like an excellent way to improve your bottom line, right? But how do you go about setting up a retargeting campaign for Facebook? For the purposes of this article, you’ll want to pick one of your best sellers and go through the process laid out below to determine what ad styles, graphics and presentation work best for your retargeting audience, then repeat these steps again for all your other products. Here’s how:

A Beginner’s Guide to Abandoned Cart Facebook Retargeting

1. The Basics – Your Facebook Page, Business Manager & Pixel

Does your business have a Facebook account and page already set up? If you haven’t, it’s a pretty easy process. You’ll want to have a page name & a short blurb about your business to help fill in the About section. This is a great place to tell the public how your business is unique, whether it’s a family-run business, supports particular charities or only uses fair-trade items in your stock. You’ll also want good-quality photos for your cover and profile pictures. You also have the option to add a call-to-action button on your Facebook Page.

Next you’ll need to set up Business Manager. Go to the Business Manager page, then click on Create Account to get started. After that, you’ll need to enter your business’ name, your own name, your work email address and select the primary page for your business. This will give you at least the basics, though you may want to work through as many of the remaining onboarding flow spaces as possible. Business Manager is the space where you’ll add people, pages and ad campaigns to your Facebook account.

2. Install Your Retargeting Pixel

Facebook’s pixel makes it easier to track conversions, optimize your conversions and retarget your business to visitors to your website. If you’ve never had a Facebook pixel on your website, you’ll need to create one. In your Business Manager, click the dropdown menu at the top left, click on “Pixels”, and then “Set Up Pixel”.

You’ll then need to name the pixel. Though you can only have one pixel per ad account, you can change the name later if needed by going into the Facebook Pixel tab. From there, you just need to check the box to accept the terms and conditions and click Create Pixel.

The next step is installing your pixel. You’ll need to go to the Pixels page in your Ads Manager, click on Actions and then select View Code. You’ll need to copy the base code for the pixel. Once you return to your website, you’ll need to paste that base code between the <head> tags either in the global header of your website template, which will place it at the top of each page, or paste it individually on every page in your website.

You can learn more about how to use pixel here.

3. Create a custom audience on Facebook for the product.

To focus your ecommerce Facebook retargeting campaign on a particular group of individuals, you’ll need to create a custom audience in your Ads Manager page. Though this sounds complicated, it’s really fairly straightforward and simple. After you’ve reached your Ads Manager page, you’ll need to select the Audiences option from the dropdown.

You’ll be presented with three options: Custom Audiences, Lookalike Audiences and Saved Target Group. Custom Audiences will allow you to select a particular group of people based on your website traffic, so select that option, then select Website Traffic to base the audience on that sector.

You’ll then be taken to a Create Audience page where you’ll create one custom audience for the product you chose previously.

  1. Go to your site and navigate to the product your creating this retargeting campaign for.
  2. Copy only the “Path” of the URL. (i.e. www.google.com/product/item#1234)
  3. In Audience Manager, choose “People Who Visited Specific Web Pages” and choose the amount of time you’d like shoppers to remain in this audience. (30- 60 days is standard for ecommerce retail)
  4. Make sure the two boxes read “URL > Contains” and paste the URL path in the box below. (Note: If anything in the URL path is specific to one shopper’s transaction, remove it. Only attach the parts of the URL that every shopper sees).
  5. Save your audience.

Repeat this process for your checkout “Thank You Page” as well. When you set up your targeting in Facebook, you’ll use this to exclude the shoppers from your audience that completed their purchase.

5. Setup One Main Campaign in Ads Manager

Now that you’ve got your audiences setup, it’s time to set up your first retargeting campaign. A campaign in Facebook contains a set of ads that you’ll want to use to reach out to your target audience. It lets you test the effectiveness of the different ads, allowing you to refine your overall approach to get the best possible results.

To get started, you’ll go into Ads Manager and click the “Create Campaign” button at the top of the page. From there, you’ll want to choose “Conversions” as your marketing objective.

Name your campaign something like “Browse Abandonment Retargeting” and click Save.

6.Create one Ad Set for the product.

Once you’ve created your campaign, you’ll automatically be directed into your ad set options. In this section of the campaign, you can set your budget, specify your conversion pixel, add an offer, tell Facebook where to place your ads, and more.


Under conversion, add the “Thank You Page” audience you created above. If the conversion shows a “red” indicator, and not a green one, this means that no one has landed on that page yet, and Facebook hasn’t registered the pixel for that page. Navigate to the thank you page, and Facebook should then be able to register the conversion pixel.


Under Audience, Choose the “product” audience you created above for the include box, and exclude the “thank you page” audience.


If you haven’t had a Facebook pixel live on your site prior to setting up this campaign, it’s going to take awhile before there are enough shoppers in your audience to run retargeting ads. If, when setting your budget, Facebook says that there are not enough people in the audience yet, continue to set your budget and create your ads, but know that you won’t be able to officially launch the campaign until there are at least 100 people in the audience.

7. Run two Ads, then track the results

There are a wide variety of ad types and variations for you to choose from when creating your actual ads.

Why run two ads? To discover which one performs better. Skipping this step means that you won’t know what approach will provide better results for your company. This can be something as simple as offering 10% off to one group and free shipping to a second to see which offer is more appealing, or can involve using different graphics, copy or other traits to determine the best possible performance for your Facebook retargeting campaign.

For the purposes of this article, you’ll want to go with a “Carousel” or “Single Image” type of ad. If you’re feeling adventurous, uploading a product demonstration video also works really well as a retargeting ad! (be sure to caption it)

Here’s a quick cheatsheet to help you understand the ad layout:


Using the same product images that are on your site is always a good idea, because it will catch the eye of the shoppers that were attracted to the photos on your site in the first place. If possible, images sized to 1200 x 628 will fit perfectly into the ad without the need for cropping. If you’re unable to resize them, though, you can crop your images within Facebook’s editor.


In the “links” section of the ad editor, you’ll see several text boxes to fill out:

Website URL

This will be the the link to your product page. If you are using UTM parameters in your URL, you can either include them in this box, or attach them below in the URL Parameters box.


This is where you’ll put the main headline for the link, that goes directly below the image in large bold text. If you’re offering an incentive for returning shoppers, this is a great place to highlight it! For example, you might try: Get 10% Off Any Pair of Nike Shoes.


Text “text” section is what appears in the body of the post, above the image and ad link. Use this space to intrigue your readers enough to make them read the headline. For instance, if you were using the headline above, you might try something like: Still interested in a new pair of Nikes? Here’s a coupon code for you: ILOVESHOES2017

Call To Action

Adding a “Learn More” or “Shop Now” button to your ad can sometimes help, and sometimes hurt conversion. Try running one ad with a CTA and one without to decide what works best for your audience.

News Feed Link Description

Tease your readers by adding a small intriguing blurb about what’s to come if they click on your ad. You can also use this section to add scarcity and loss aversion, if you’re offering an incentive. For instance: This week only, claim 10% off any new pair of Nike Running shoes, and… (Notice the ellipsis. Cutting your description off mid-sentence creates an “open loop” to your readers, and will encourage them to click through to your page to “close the loop”.)

Display Link

This is just a vanity link that you can show your reader to reassure them that you are sending them to your site and retain their trust.

URL Parameters

If you use Google Analytics for ecommerce conversion tracking, adding UTM paramteres to your link will tell Google where to accredit the sale, and give you a much better idea of how your retargeting ads are performing. Most of the time, Facebook’s reporting varies from Google Analytics significantly, and cannot always be trusted (in my humble opinion). So measuring results in Google Analytics nearly always proves to be more accurate than Facebook.

To Ensure a Successful Facebook Retargeting Campaign

To get the best possible results from your Facebook retargeting campaign, you’ll need to remember a few things.

  • In general, retargeting campaigns don’t work unless there are over 100 people in the audience. If Facebook tells you your audience is too small, just give it some time to accumulate an audience and try again!
  • If you’re running a LOT of traffic through your site (5,000+ visits per month) then try to only change one or two variables per ad for the split test. If you’re running less traffic, try changing more variables per test. This will help you decide the better message for your audience.
  • Use UTM parameters in your links, as this helps you track your results in Google Analytics.
  • Many ecommerce businesses find that Facebook’s dynamic ads make it much easier to set up retargeting campaigns.
  • Retargeting can take time to gain momentum. Don’t be impatient. Track your results closely, watch for trends in your metrics, and make changes to your campaign based off of your findings.

If your abandoned cart email campaign is optimized and running on all cylinders, Facebook retargeting is a logical next step. It can be a great way to get your brand in front of your shoppers where they spend most of their time. And if you’re not remarketing to abandoned carts yet, try setting up an abandoned cart email remarketing campaign with CartStack before jumping into Facebook. You’ll typically get a much higher ROI right off the bat, it’s easy to set up, a team of designers will create your emails for you, and you’re guaranteed to recover at least $1,000. Get started here.