5 things to stop doing with your Facebook Exchange retargeting

Today’s post is by Brad Flora, CEO of Perfect Audience.

So you’re advertising on Facebook Exchange and want to make it rain conversions?  Real-time bidding is a complicated, messy process with dozens of variables at play. Here are 5 to-do items that are a good start for pointing you in the right direction.

1. Stop retargeting users who already converted.

Retargeting the right people is half the battle in creating a successful campaign.  Sometimes, identifying those people can be tricky, but other times it’s crystal-clear.  Those people who just signed up for your offer? Those are the wrong people to retarget.  Stop doing that. Create a cookie list that captures recent converted users, then exclude the users in that list from your campaigns so you don’t spend any more than you already have advertising to them. This will save you dollars so you can spend them getting more conversions.

view through vs. click through2. Stop using a retargeting platform that doesn’t distinguish between view and click conversions.

Facebook Exchange introduced conversion tracking to the Facebook advertising world.  This is awesome but needs to be considered carefully.

FBX conversions fall into two categories: click-through and view-through. Click-through conversions are conversions that happened some time after an ad in your campaign was clicked on. View-through conversions happen after your ad was loaded on the page. It’s important that your retargeting provider clearly and transparently breaks out this information so you can gauge campaign performance with clear eyes.

When you advertise to users who already showed interest in your product, of course you’re going to see a lot of view-through conversions. If your product’s good, people will come back. So those stats can and should be taken with a grain of salt. At the same time, since all impressions on Facebook Exchange are viewable, unlike the wild-west banner exchanges, it’s not fair to completely write off view-through conversions either, especially for products with strong brands and memorable domains.

However you want to count your conversions, that’s up to you. The first step, though, is making sure they’re clearly labeled.

3. Stop barricading your campaign data from your first-party customer data.

You’ve probably got a ton of information about your customers. For instance, if someone makes a purchase from your online store, at a minimum you get their e-mail address, IP address, the price paid, and the content of their order. Using that info, you can make wise decisions about which products to stock up on and which ones to promote more aggressively.

It’s a different story for your ad campaigns. When your retargeting campaigns drive in a conversion, typically all you know is which conversion event was triggered, which campaign did it, and when it happened. Matching those stats to your own data is a real pain in the butt. It shouldn’t be. You should look for ways to meld together your first-party data with your Facebook Exchange retargeting data so you can learn things like which of your sales came from your campaigns or even how much actual revenue was generated.

Stop guessing about the real impact of your campaigns. Use a retargeting provider that lets you pass first-party data into your tags so you can market smarter.

4. Stop retargeting based on pageviews.

Pageviews are increasingly outdated as a primary unit of activity on the web.  As web applications use more and more javascript to provide real-time, dynamic experiences in the browser, actions and events become more important. So it’s vital that you work with a retargeting platform that lets you cookie users based on what they do on your site, not just what pages they visit.

Sure, it’s probably a good idea to cookie users when they visit their shopping carts, but it’s also a great idea to cookie those same users when they add items to their carts –  often real-time, ajax-powered events. If all you’ve got are a pile of image pixels, that can be a tall order. Find a retargeting provider with great javascript tools that let you capture user data within the browser in real time.

generic facebook ad

And you would be…?

5. Stop running generic creatives without a clear connection to your brand.

The most basic function of an ad creative in a retargeting campaign is to remind the user of your business. Yes, it’s great to get a click, or even a sale, but to make either of those happen, you must first jog the user’s memory and bring back to mind the positive experience they had during a previous visit. This is why it’s critical to mention your business by name or include your logo in your creatives.

Generic ads don’t work. The power of retargeting is its ability to incite very personal experiences, a specific memory about your business, at scale. If you leave your brand out of your creatives, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

There are other missteps we help advertisers avoid with their Facebook Exchange campaigns at Perfect Audience, but these items are a good place for performance advertisers to start. If you have ideas for other common pitfalls, send them my way on Twitter (@bradflora).

Brad Flora Perfect AudienceBrad Flora is CEO and co-founder of Perfect Audience, the fast, easy, and free-to-try Facebook Exchange retargeting platform used by more than 2000 companies to profitably bring back lost customers.

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