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Facebook Retargeting 101

You control who gets to see what in your Facebook advertising.

For Facebook to really work for you, you ... must ... advertise.  

Move away from the idea of having content that’s so good it’s “going to go viral.” It just isn’t happening. The number of people your posts are reaching organically right now are really low. Why? These networks want you to pay for placement.  

Accept it and embrace it; it’s not going to change. You will need to advertise if you want to be seen as the go-to financial advisor in your area or niche market. The nice thing is that you control your destiny when you’re willing to do it. You’re selecting the audience. You’re determining how often you want people to see it. It’s all up to you.  

Let’s say you are hosting a webinar focused on business owners in your area. By creating an ad, selecting the right subset of business owners, and putting a suitable budget behind it, you’re able to blanket that audience in a way that simply posting would never accomplish. 

The challenge is that advertising on social media is a little overwhelming if you do it right. There are thousands of options when creating, launching and tracking an ad. It’s great if you’re experienced, but tough to grasp if you’re just getting started. 

One of the biggest questions we get is about targeting. How do you get your ads in front of the most receptive audience possible? Much of this comes down to “retargeting.” Retargeting is the term for using paid ads to target audiences who have visited your website or interacted with your social profiles in the past. 

Many inexperienced Facebook marketers run ads only to cold audiences, targeting people who have never come in contact with their business. While this is the smart play when seeking awareness, when it comes to engagement or lead generation, you’ll decrease your cost per lead by targeting those who’ve had exposure to your business in the past. After all, those who are more familiar with you are more likely to engage with your ads.

There are a number of ways to go about retargeting on Facebook. Here are three of the most appealing:

  1. Website Visitors

When a potential client lands on your website they don’t tend to stick around long. This is where retargeting comes into play. Retargeting enables you to appear in their Facebook feeds for up to 180 days, encouraging them to come back, learn more and take action. This link between your website and Facebook comes from the Facebook Pixel. This is simply a piece of code placed on your website that enables you to create an audience on Facebook of those who’ve visited your website. 

  1. Existing Database 

You know all those prospect emails in your database? The ones you’ve collected for years and years? Maybe you send them a weekly newsletter or invite them to your seminars. When you upload this list of emails to Facebook (as a custom audience), you can show your ads specifically to these users. It’s a great way to stay in front of them, without seeming like you’re coming on too strong by calling or emailing too often.

  1. Video Viewers

You can also target those who’ve watched your videos on Facebook. Let’s say that you post an educational video about planning for your children’s education, you could then target the viewers of that video with an ad that offers a college planning checkup.  Also, it’s worth mentioning that Facebook gives you the ability to target based on length of view. The largest audience will be those who watched 3 seconds or more, but if your viewer base is big enough, I’d recommend being a little more selective by selecting 10 seconds or more. This eliminates those who were simply scrolling through. 

This is just the start of these networks’ retargeting ability. The more you learn, the more equipped you are to land new business (without overspending to make it happen). Remember, when you want awareness, consider colder audiences. When you want engagement or lead flow, you’ll need to go warm by leveraging retargeting.

Stephen Boswell is a partner with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell

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