Here’s the deal: if you want to have Facebook retargeting ads that outperform 90% of all businesses in 2020, all you need to do is implement the strategies that I’m about to share.
As an added bonus, I’ve curated over 50 of the best Facebook ad examples from the most successful brands on the planet.
Truth is, Facebook retargeting is often just an afterthought. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen other businesses simply duplicate their top of funnel ads into their middle of funnel and bottom of funnel campaigns and hope for the best.
And I won’t lie: this tactic can work. But it doesn’t scale. If you want your business to grow and make money, then you need to change how you communicate with cold, warm, and piping HOT potential customers.
Do you want to be in the top 10% of businesses advertising on Facebook? *whispers* yes. Then you NEED to test these strategies in your Facebook retargeting funnel.
About the Author
I wished there was a guide that broke down what kind of ad copy strategies the best in the business were testing. It turns out that I had to be the one to create it. I’ve scaled businesses on Shopify from $0 in revenue to $100K in just one month. I’m a Sr. Digital Ads Manager at Fetch & Funnel that’s been building businesses on Facebook for over 5 years. Copy some of these tactics, and watch your business SCALE.
Strategy #1: Speak directly to your audience by using the word “you”
No, this tactic wasn’t stolen directly from Netflix’s YOU series… but maybe you can see why the main character’s creepy yet alluring inner dialogue is somehow… dare I say… effective for us viewers???
Let me show you something. Go back to the very first sentence of this article. Who am I talking to? *insert dramatic pause for you to scroll up to the beginning of the article*
I’m talking to you.
I’m talking to you like I’d talk with my friends over a beer or over text message. (With the obvious caveat that I don’t normally talk to them about Facebook marketing tactics… because I still want to have friends.)
This is all to say that by using the word “you” you know exactly who I’m talking about. (Hint… it’s you!) Is this getting old yet?
The point is that something different clicks in the brain of your potential customer when you speak to them directly like you might friend. And part of the reason is that it is just so rarely done that when it pops up in their social feed it feels more organic and more intimate.
Some brands scream meaningless copy into the void about their brand or so-called unique selling points that actually have little to do with their customer, and a lot more with maintaining “brand image” or even in the worst of cases…attempting to be clever.
Why not just speak directly to your customers? Especially to those that have already engaged with your business: this means they’re listening.
Pro Tip: Use this tactic with dynamic creative on products that your audiences has previously viewed. Directly speaking to someone about a product they already want changes the game. It’s A+ personalization for targeting your ideal customer on Facebook and Instagram.
Madewell exercises this tactic pretty well, pairing it with images of products I’ve already seen. For the first ad I think it works better with a single image, but could be easily be modified for a carousel ad containing multiple products. The second copy could work well for single or carousel, which is something to think about as you’r building out your dynamic product ads strategy.
Here again ASOS uses the dynamic product ad tactic. HOWEVER… this particular piece of copy could also work well when targeting cold audiences with Facebook Dynamic Ads. Just another thing to consider…
Strategy #2: Customer & PR Testimonials
I’m going to make this really easy for you: if you’re looking for the best strategy for your first attempt, MAKE IT THIS ONE. There’s a good chance you’re already doing this in one way or another (maybe on your landing page or website? I hope?!) but there are a few variations you should test and frankly… you should test them all.
Why are testimonials so important? Pull up a chair. You need to hear this one.
But really, they’re looking to pre-validate a purchase that they already want to make.
Your potential customers are already going to be looking for these testimonials: on your website and on other places around the Internet.
So why not bring the best reviews you’ve got right to their social feeds as a retargeting tactic? (Answer: There is no reason. You should do this.)
Mott & Bow learned early on to advertise their sexiest press hits… and they knew exactly which publication their target demographics were already reading. So instead of using the same testimonials for both men and women’s jeans, they thought deeper about their gender demographics and split it up, using Business Insider for men and Who What Wear for women.
But they did not stop there.
Mott & Bow is in part so successful because they don’t mess around when it comes to testing their ad copy…even when it comes to using press testimonials from the same article.
They tested a few things here:
- Having the testimonial come first.
- And then having a discount. (Which is not being tested on the other ad!)
- Tagging the publication first, which gives it much more of a spotlight.
- An additional quote.
- Alternative headline.
- Oh yeah, and they tested different images. Ironically…both with the person wearing high heels.
Testimonials from the press are important because it gives the brand some “street cred”. But the kind of reviews your potential customers really want are the kind from people just like them.
Pro Tip: Test shorter testimonials like the one Everlane did versus a much longer testimonial like Beardbrand. They both have their pros and cons, but I’m always surprised by which one rules out. (And it’s always different, depending on the brand, offer, and product!!!)
I’ll be honest with you: I’m always initially biased because I like the look of shorter testimonials. It’s cleaner, easier to absorb, and just looks nicer.
But there have been a number of times that I’ve tested longer testimonials and it absolutely crushes it. Why does short form copy perform so well?
Well, ultimately, yes, click-thru-rates tend to be lower with long form copy, but conversion rates tend to be higher.
This is because the intent from the customer is often a lot higher.
Want to put a potential customer to the test and see if they’re serious about buying from you? Place a big testimonial in front of them. The right people will go to town.
So say you’ve already tested long versus short testimonials? The next step is to test your winner by placing the testimonial in a graphic.
So you’ve tested your hottest press hits and your best customer testimonials. Another consideration is due for any influencer action the brand has received. Maybe you paid for them… maybe you didn’t… maybe they have 1+ million followers… or maybe they are a micro influencer with a following of under 5K. Either way, their reviews tend to seem more like marketing because, well, that’s what influencers sort of think they need to do.
Meaning that they often go a little deeper into the product technically than a customer review would. Like this ad from Little Spoon, as a potential customer I don’t think I would ever give out a review touting Vitamin E (because really…what the heck is Vitamin E?!) but there definitely is space for some more technical influencer love in this tactic.
Strategy #3: Discount Offers
This strategy offers a discount to your warm traffic. After all, retargeting 101 states that once someone has viewed a product or added it to cart (but hasn’t purchased!) you can give them a discount. 🙂
Looks familiar, huh? *cough* Mott & Bow combined this tactic with using a testimonial!
This tactic works because people love a discount. Even more than that, they love getting a discount for brands they are already a fan of.
There are a few ways you can utilize this tactic more strategically.
Take Puma for example. This ad was run during the 209 Christmas season. Targeting had to be broad, maybe general website visitors and social engagers in middle of the funnel.
There are a number of products shown within the creative. And messaging also indicates the discount is applicable to all orders.
This tactic is pretty simple: offer discounts to broad audiences for any product.
Here’s where Glossier differs. In this ad, which I LOVE for many reasons, features only one of their products, a bestseller called Lidstar.
Their strategy was to feature real people with different skin tones and types using their products in selfie position.
This content felt organic and authentic.
And if I’m being realistic, this Facebook ad was likely used for both prospecting and retargeting considering it’s a call out to place your first order.
But I loved the idea of using this content and discount strategy to give out a discount for a specific product.
Think about it.
Which is more effective?
A blanket discount code using some generally-branded lifestyle image…or a video that could have been filmed by your best friend showing the exact product you want in action?
- Test using discounts in your ads. Give special thought to what kind of traffic will get your discount: cold, warm, hot, or all users.
- Consider the following test: giving a broad discount to all warm users or only giving a discount to a certain product.
- Extra credit: Develop creative that features the product only and retarget view content and add to cart users with a discount using that creative. Bonus points if your creative is mobile-first and feels super organic. (My secret sauce tip: try running this kind of strategy on Instagram Stories only!)
Strategy #4: New Product Alert
Short and sweet: this Facebook retargeting strategy serves warm traffic by displaying alerts to new products.
If you really want to knock this strategy out of the park, there are two tactics you have to try in conjunction with the new creative about the upcoming products.
But first, the examples.
Brooklinen is one of those unicorn companies that has avid brand fans that haven’t even purchased one of their products. I know this because I am one of them. Should I ever move back to the United States and be in need of sheets: I already know I’m going to be buying Brooklinen.
They also have sizable marketing budgets: I know this because their frequency on me must be astronomical. I’m served their ads nearly every time I open Facebook or Instagram.
But what makes this so clever?
Messaging is tailored specifically for their Facebook retargeting audiences. They speak directly to an audience by calling out the fact that they know who you are: someone who is familiar with the brand.
They’re just popping back into your feed to let you know about a new product that you might be interested in.
LISA SAYS GAH goes by the same philosophy. With the added twist that this ad seems nearly perfect for your more middle of funnel traffic, like your social engagers on Facebook and Instagram.
This is because it doesn’t contain marketing fluff. It’s to the point, uses cute emojis, and the creative is something that your younger sister could have taken in front of the garage.
Ultimately, it’s effective because it looks organic.
So how can you truly own this strategy? It can’t be just as easy as plopping these new ads into your already existing retargeting campaign, right?
First: open your Facebook retargeting windows as big as they’ll go.
Through testing, you might have found a more profitable retargeting window for your brand…but by opening up your windows to 180 days for website and 365 days for social engagers, you’re giving people that are already familiar with your brand a glimpse of a hot new product.
Second: also try retargeting people that have already purchased from you. They are already a fan of the brand, in theory, so by reaching out to them in a more organic way (think the LISA SAYS GAH ad!) you’re giving them that extra-non-intrusive-nudge that they may have missed in their email box.
- Retargeting website visitors and social engagers of new product launches. They already know you; so this is a great opportunity to reconnect without seeming spammy.
- Open up your website retargeting windows to 180 days and your social engagers retargeting windows to 365 days to get in front of as many people as possible. Maybe they didn’t buy the first time around, but with a new product you could nab them.
- Also retarget your email list.
- Retarget old purchasers using the pixel and your email list.
Strategy #5: Use delivery dates to inspire action
One of the biggest blockers to getting hot as heck traffic to purchase is shipping: both shipping times and shipping cost.
This strategy works by eliminating one of their concerns: they will know the exact date that they will receive their purchase. So as your customers visualize their orders already coming in by a certain date… it’s like they’ve already made the purchase.
The best time to test out this strategy for your bottom of funnel traffic? During any holiday season. But especially during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday craze.
Free one-day shipping is pretty much as good as gets in terms of shipping deals. And PERFECT for last minute shoppers the week before Christmas. (I can definitely relate…)
Bonobos taps into that idea and more. This is a successful retargeting ad because all of their product types are shown in the creative. And it suggests the give or get idea which means: it can be a present for you or for someone else.
Here’s where things get even more compelling: pairing a free shipping offer with dynamic product ads.
Victoria’s Secret paired their holiday shipping offer directly with products users had already been eyeing for the holidays. Very effective for tipping a few more customers over the edge.
REI took this tactic a step further: they divided their product feed into separate product types and personalized the free shipping offer further by tailoring it just to that product type.
- Give your customer shipping estimates right in the ad copy—especially during select holiday seasons like the end of the year, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.
- Pair this copy with dynamic product ads to retarget website visitors directly with products they have already been viewing.
- Consider personalizing the copy by product type.
Strategy #6: Are you still interested?
This strategy calls out the question: “Hey, are you still looking?”
There are a few reasons why this is a must-try Facebook retargeting strategy in 2020:
One, this is perfect for middle of funnel audiences like social engagers where you know the general want of your audience (Like for Warby Parker… obviously it’s glasses!) and can call that want out in a non-threatening way. This is a great way to move people from idle social engagers further down into the funnel.
Second reason why this strategy is so great: refer back to our very first strategy… it often uses the word YOU!
Lastly: Pair this strategy with a hard-hitting CTA: great for lead generation or even purchases!
This Warby Parker ad is the perfect example of this strategy. It encompasses all three reasons why it’s a must try strategy: it was targeting social engagers, it uses the word “you”, and it has a distinct but easy CTA. This ad gets bonus points for great mobile-first creative.
This Peak Design ad is clever for a few reasons.
One: It calls out that you have the same kind of values that they do: design and function.
Two: They’ve combined this strategy with another Facebook retargeting tactic, which is to announce a new product launch!
- Ask users if they are still looking for something. Pair it with a popular product or even an idea. (Like: “Are you still looking for that Oscar-worthy outfit?”)
- Test this strategy first with your more middle of funnel audiences, particularly with social engagers or one-time-only website visitors.
- Pair this strategy with another strategy: this is a great mixer 🙂
- Use this with a distinct CTA: like for lead generation or even purchases.
Strategy #7: “I Saw You Looking”
Okay, so: I know what you’re thinking. This is similar to Strategy #1 which calls our your potential customers by using “YOU”.
But, it has graduated to let users know that you’re aware they were looking at your goods.
It’s similar to a retargeting version of “handing someone the receipt”.
However in my opinion where many get it wrong, is not speaking directly to the consumer. For this to work, you need to speak directly to the consumer. Call out their flakey buying behavior, and then pair it creative that shows the product or product category they viewed.
So… how the hell do you start off with this strategy?
Well, you could perform a split test and to find optimal language , just like Nasty Gal below.
These are Facebook Dynamic Product Ads being used at the bottom of the sales funnel. Perfect for cart abandonment.
The copywriting formula is very simple. Short and sweet with messaging about “forgetting” your cart or a reminder to “take another look”.
It’s always good to add an emoji. Actually…make it two.
But where Nasty Gal is truly winning…they test their messaging to see which works best.
[Insert copy testing rant here] Because this is another point for another article, BUT…
If you aren’t regularly testing your copy, you’re f***ing up.
Brooklinen uses a similar “ don’t forget” formula paired with a Dynamic Product Ad. For me, the lifestyle image stands out more. And major LOL at the “Holy sheet” part. Definitely makes you do a double-take.
Simple, sweet, and to the point for this great example with Love Wellness. Seems like something that a friend would write to you more than a brand… which is exactly what this strategy should do.
If you aren’t really sure where to start with this strategy: copy this one by Cosabella. The language is casual AND it gives the “there’s only a few left” illusion. For products that fluctuate in stock, this is a great one to test out.
Dynamic Product Ads. Check. Causal tone. Check.
I’d more likely expect a “Hey!” from someone random on WhatsApp. When used in ad copy, it’s sexy.
Casper has found out a clever way to cut down on product-specific work and group everything as “sleep products”. Not a bad way to go if you’re strapped for time or testing.
- This strategy uses ad copy to directly state… in some clever way to your potential buyers… “HEY YOU! I know you’re looking. And it’s time to buy.”
- Pair this strategy with dynamic product ads to retarget users with images of products they are already interested in.
- This strategy is HOT for cart abandoners. Run, don’t walk, to test out this strategy there.
Strategy #8: The Bold Tease
Listen, this strategy is not for the faint of heart.
But how meta would it be… if we used an ad that was posted onto social media to call out the fact that we’re on social media.
What’s the point you might wonder? I hear you on that one.
Although it might seem like millennial nonsense from a recent college graduate, but I have to admit…
I’m a millennial, and I love this strategy.
It uses short copy that’s direct and to the point, calling out the digital experience you’re participating in (whether you realize it or not).
I think it’s easier to understand with a few examples.
Frankly, if you have an apparel brand geared towards younger audiences ASOS is ripe with hot takes on a new copy designed to leap out to people while they scroll. This is definitely a new Facebook retargeting strategy for 2020. Naturally, they are crusaders paving the way for others.
We can see that they are running a small test.
Which performs best? Talking about the algorithm, or talking about how close this product is from going from your social feed to your home.
I’d pay money to look at this account. 😁
I believe this ad from Madewell is trying to demonstrate how easy it is to checkout.
Maybe you left this in your cart, and life happened. Maybe you were caught up at work, with family, or maybe just forgot about the product.
I’m not the only one who falls in love with a product I see online only to completely forget about it a number of days later. 😉
It’s a great tactic if you’re trying to hold off on giving your customers a coupon. Instead it forces people to see your value proposition, aka how easy it is to get the product into their hands.
- This strategy uses ad copy to call out the fact that this is a digital experience on a social media platform.
- Best paired with Facebook Dynamic Product Ads to show products your website visitors have already expressed interested in.
- This is a great strategy to use in place of coupons when attempting to elicit a purchase: ease of checkout, limited stock, etc.
Strategy #9: Our Ethos, This is who we are, Evergreen offers
We’ve concentrated on many bottom of funnel tactics, such as cart abandoners or behaviorally hot audiences.
So what do you do for folks that are more middle of funnel like social engagers?
Here’s where I (and many great brands) like to introduce the “ethos” strategy, which offers emotional testimony and evergreen offers.
Everlane does both in this retargeting ad.
I know what you’re thinking…this strategy can be used for prospecting and retargeting!
Yep, it certainly can. Which is why highlighting your introductory offer (free shipping) will move more people to your website.
Tom’s executes this strategy in a clean and clever way.
First, bullet points. Effective for bulky text, and for social media. (More specifically Facebook placements. Instagram is not too generous on copy)
Right at the top it offers a financing option, which is great for impulsive but price conscious consumers.
And there’s a 15% off discount.
Well done, ThirdLove. This evergreen “promise” is definitely something to highlight and I think this idea alone pushes many people over the edge to make their first purchase.
And this is where I’d like to give a slightly different take on an “offer”. It doesn’t have to be a discount. This could already be a promise that you are delivering to your customers without even thinking about it that will pull them closer to purchasing.
To offer a few examples…money-back guarantees, a healthy return policy, or any other reason that reduces risk and overcomes mental objections to making the purchase.
Use these blockers to your advantage and call them out directly in that middle of funnel area.
Doing so will increase your cart additions.
If your product has won awards, be sure to highlight this on your images in the middle of funnel.
What I’ve learned is this:
When people are on the fence in the bottom of funnel, they aren’t convinced about the product or the offer.
When people are on the fence in the middle of funnel, they aren’t convinced about the brand.
So highlight your best evergreen offers! It’s ok to brag a little.
- A great strategy for more middle of funnel audiences, especially those that may have interacted with you on social media but haven’t made it to the website or onto a product page.
- This helps frame the business as a whole for your potential customers: and why their values should align with your company.
- Also a great place to highlight evergreen opening offers.
- Great place to highlight any guarantees.
Strategy #10: Time’s running out…
This strategy is simple: let your customer know that the product they love might not be around…precisely when they’re ready to buy. And don’t be boring about it.
Coach executed this really well.
First, they paired it with a Dynamic Product Ad that displays the product of interest. And then for dramatic effect, they let you know that it’s going to sell out.
This split test is very clever as well.
The first one is tested a more branded and polished approach, while the second one is a little more punchy and casual. Definitely the right move to see which one their audience is going to favor.
Ah, Rent the Runway. What a way to turn up the spice on their one-outfit rental product. I mean… what could be worse than spending all that time sifting through dresses you want to wear for an upcoming wedding only to discover the one that you LOVED is now out of stock.
- Tell your potential customer that TIME IS RUNNING OUT.
- This strategy is best paired with dynamic product ads to showcase products that your potential customer are already interested in.
- Concentrate on view content folks and cart abandoners.
Strategy #11: The casual problem solver
Companies using this strategy: Ann Taylor
This strategy hones in on the problems you’re able to solve for your customers. Spell it out point-blank.
There’s one company I thought really crushed. I then found proof that they were testing copy to figure out which best emulates the problem they solve.
Can you figure out what problem Ann Taylor is solving?
To me, Ann Taylor is highlighting how their products are the perfect no-fuss solution for professionals who have an active career and personal life.
They highlight “busy mornings”, “Monday-to-Friday style”, “morning meetings to date night”, and “office or anywhere”.
For this particular test they paired it with Dynamic Product Ads, but I think this kind of strategy would also suit broader collection collection creative that could be targeted for more middle of funnel audiences.
Over 80% of customers do not buy on a first touchpoint… which means they need to do research. Do it for them: be explicit about which problems your product will solve for them.
- Explicitly state which problems your product solves for the customer. The more emotions you can conjure up, the better.
- Test with bottom of funnel audiences using dynamic product ads.
- Also test using lifestyle images at the middle of funnel.
So there you have it. The best Facebook retargeting strategies in 2020. There are many more, but these strategies get results.
If you’re sort of lost at where to begin from here…this is good.
Because you need to test your copy in order to discover what resonates with your audience.
One of the biggest problems I see as a professional media buyer is a lack of testing. Especially within copywriting.
To get started, just select your two favorite strategies and try them out.
Which tactic are you most interested to try? Have you tested any of these before?