Are you a business owner or media buyer struggling with stagnated Facebook and Instagram campaigns? Maybe you’ve tested ads here and there, but they either haven’t generated a positive ROI, or maybe they have, but you haven’t been able to scale them up? This story is extremely relatable from small ecommerce entrepreneurs all the way to large enterprises. If it’s happening to you, you might be a good candidate to try out a relatively new type of Facebook targeting that’s been gaining a lot of hype: Repixeling.
Put briefly, repixeling is retargeting (sending ads to the visitors of) someone else’s website. For example, if you sell accounting software, traditional Facebook retargeting would mean tagging people who have visited your website and serving them a Facebook Ad if they didn’t purchase your product. Repixeling for that same accounting software company would mean partnering up with a different website, perhaps a blog about how to keep clean books or a review website that ranks the 10 best accounting softwares on the market and sending ads to their recent visitors. These types of partnerships can be very effective for many businesses—after all, the only reason someone would possibly be on a review website that ranks the 10 best accounting softwares is if they’re actively in the market and ready to buy one.
Repixeling has been around for quite some time in various forms, but thanks to recent improvements by major ad networks such as the newly released “Share Pixel” button directly within Facebook’s user interface, the process has become far more streamlined.
In this article, we’ll walk you through some top strategies on how to get started and execute an effective repixel campaign.
Getting Started with a Marketplace
From a technical perspective, retargeting someone else’s website is as easy to do as ever, but it can still be incredibly difficult to find good partners to work with. Not only do you have to find a good-fit company, but then you have to find the right person in that company to reach out to, and then you have to actually get in touch with that person.
Once both parties have agreed to the partnership, you have to negotiate pricing, sign a contract, manage invoicing, manage pixels, etc. It’s a lengthy process that few have time to do. Fortunately, there are marketplaces like Repixel that aggregate websites that are actively looking for new advertising partners and also have built-in technology to streamline the rest.
Determining if Repixeling is Right for You
Before we dive in on the mechanics of repixeling, it’s important to acknowledge that repixeling isn’t for everyone; some businesses operate on “impulse buys.” For example, if you have a $10 “workout at home” mobile app, a very large percent of the population is going to be passively in the market for your product at any given time, so timing isn’t much of a concern. In these cases, you should be able to make do with Facebook’s built-in targeting functionality.
But if your business sells something niche and timing-specific (for example, payroll software), even if you can serve ads to accounting departments in general, you still need to find the sliver of that sliver of people that are currently in the market for your product. With that in mind, indicating to Facebook that you want your ads to be shown to people who “have expressed interest in accounting” isn’t going to do you much good. You need to take it a step further.
In these cases, both retargeting and repixeling can be an extremely effective solution. After all, if someone was just on your blog, they’re likely in the market for your product, and that’s an excellent place to start. But the problem that many advertisers run into with traditional retargeting is that it’s limited in scale by the number of people who were on your site, and assuming you want to grow your business faster than recycling through your existing website visitors, you’ll eventually need to look elsewhere.
And that’s where retargeting someone else’s website can become your secret weapon. As an example, if you can find a person that was just Googling and then reading an article titled “Best Small Business Payroll Software,” it’s very likely that person is actively in the market and a great person for you to show an ad to.
Either of these articles would be incredible:
As mentioned above, the only reason someone would possibly be on these types of review websites is if they’re actively in the market for payroll software—a perfect person to show an ad to.
Customize Your Ad Creative
Businesses have different audiences that they can choose to sell into. For example, if you sell joint pain supplements, you might have success targeting after golfers, weight trainers, construction workers, or dozens of other segments of the population. For the purpose of this exercise, let’s assume you want to target golfers, so you head to Repixel’s marketplace and decide to send Facebook Ads to the recent visitors of Under Par Goals. When setting up your campaign, your first instinct might be to use your regular creative, something along the lines of, “Have joint pain? Get relief today.” But keep in mind you know this audience is golfers, so you might be able to increase your click-through-rate by showing a picture of a golfer to grab the viewer’s attention, like this:
By taking the extra effort to customize the creative for each specific audience, you’re more likely to engage your prospect and boost performance.
A “lookalike” audience is exactly what it sounds like. When you have a retargeting or repixeling audience that is performing well, advertisers have the ability to leverage Facebook’s AI and create an audience of people that “look like” the audience that’s performing well.
For example, you can ask Facebook to look at all of the people who were recently on your partner’s page—their age, gender, job title, interests, etc, and generate a targetable audience of millions of additional people that “look like” them. This is an excellent way to expand your reach in a campaign that’s performing well.
It sounds technical, but as seen below, all you need to do is 1) Select your source (also known as a “seed”), 2) The location you’ll be targeting, and 3) How broad you want to expand the audience into. Facebook will handle the rest.
Lean Into Alerts
Life gets busy and as your business grows, it can become increasingly difficult to keep track of all of your initiatives. Fortunately, there are a couple of key alerts that you can set up in your digital marketing efforts to alleviate the burden of keeping tabs on it all. If you haven’t already, here are three great ones that you can set up right away.
Google Analytics: Within Google Analytics, it’s very easy to set up alerts for when you see a large drop or spike in one of your core metrics from the admin panel. While this is helpful when monitoring the success of your Repixel campaigns, needless to say, it’s a helpful tip to keep track of your digital marketing efforts in general.
Facebook Automated Rules: From directly within Facebook’s user interface, you can not only set up alerts so you’re notified of large drops and spikes to your core metrics, but you can also set up triggers that will make automated campaign optimizations on your behalf. Similar to Google Alerts, this is recommended for all Facebook campaigns, not just Repixel ones.
Repixel Saved Search: New sites are being added to the Repixel marketplace every day. To make sure you don’t miss a newly added site within your filtered criteria, be sure to set up a “saved search” in the bottom left of the marketplace. If a good partner pops up, you’ll get an email letting you know.
Set the Right Conversion Objective
While repixel campaigns can get you the right audience to target, even within a great audience, there’s always room to narrow down even further, and picking the right “Marketing Objective” (the very first decision you’ll make when setting up a Facebook campaign) can help with that.
When picking between the 10 options that Facebook lays out for you, there’s no “one size fits all” answer, but the decision is important so don’t take it lightly.
Facebook knows its users very well. They know the people in your audience that don’t click on any ads, the people who are extremely “click-happy,” and also the people who are most likely to buy whatever it is that you’re selling. So if the goal of your campaign is awareness, make sure to select “Brand awareness,” which will effectively act as an online billboard—your ads will be served to the people in your audience that are unlikely to click on ads, but you’ll receive a lot of cheap impressions.
If the goal of your campaign is traffic, make sure to indicate that at the campaign level as well. You may not get a lot of sales, but you can ensure that the slice of your audience that sees your ads are the people most likely to make it to your landing page and see your message.
And if the goal of your campaign is leads or sales (as is typically the case with repixel audiences), make sure to select “Conversions.” The impressions and clicks might be more expensive, but you’ll be hitting the part of your audience most likely to help you achieve your goal.
Monitor Audience Saturation
When dealing with highly targeted audiences (which is common across the board but most prevalent with custom audiences such as retargeting and repixeling), it’s very important that you look out for audience saturation as your campaigns run for three main reasons:
- Spam Concerns: Showing a Facebook user an ad for your product 2-3 times per month is perfectly appropriate. Many experts would argue you could get away with being even more aggressive. But whatever the limit is, there is a limit on people’s tolerance regarding how much they’re willing to hear from the same brand, so be careful not to annoy the people that you’re trying to do business with.
- Losing Focus: The first couple of times a prospect hears from you, if they’re interested, you’ll capture their attention, they’ll read your ad, and they might even click through to your landing page and make a purchase. But as that prospect sees your ad more and more, they’re going to start losing interest and will eventually start to screen you out like wallpaper.
- Pricing: As the above two bullets start to happen, there are generally two consequences. First, your engagement rate will begin to drop. This is a signal to Facebook’s algorithm that people are less interested in your offer than they used to be, and because Facebook tends to care about their users more than their advertisers, you’ll start to see your CPM (cost per thousand impressions) start to creep up. This is Facebook saying, “We’ll keep showing your ad, but it’s going to cost you because you’re bothering our users.” Eventually, users will not only start ignoring you, but they’ll actually start telling Facebook that they don’t want to hear from you anymore:
Once this starts to happen, Facebook won’t just stop charging you a premium—you’re very likely to start experiencing “deliverability” issues, meaning no matter how high you set your bid, Facebook will refuse to deliver your ads. This can be very difficult to recover from so always take audience saturation seriously.
In terms of a specific recommendation, the easiest way to combat the above is to monitor your frequency. This is as easy as adding a column within Facebook Ads Manager. As a best practice, it’s good to keep your account-level frequency at around 3 over a 30-day period, broken down by country:
Monitor Your Audience-Size-to-Budget Ratio Closely
When you find an audience (repixel audience or otherwise) that starts to perform, your first instinct is going to be to scale it up. And you’d be right to! But keep in mind that whenever possible, Facebook is going to want to spend that extra budget through, so if your audience size is too small to absorb your budget, their system only has two options.
- They can increase the frequency of your ads. As demonstrated in the section above, this is likely to lead to higher spam complaints and annoyed prospects.
- If they decide not to increase your frequency, their only other option to spend your budget through is to increase your CPM, and if the system ends up taking this route, you’ll end up paying above market rate for no reason.
In most situations, you’ll end up seeing a combination of the two.
Consider this as an example to demonstrate this: Let’s say the going rate for 1,000 impressions is a $10 CPM. If your audience size is 1,000 people, at a $10 budget, you’ll pay the going rate, $10. But let’s say you scale that audience to $11 per day. Now Facebook’s only two options are (a) charge you $11 for those same 1,000 impressions, or (b) increase your frequency, which is typically not desirable.
There’s no hard and fast rule, but as a best practice, try to keep your daily budget about 1/1000th of your audience size. So if you’re spending $100/day, make sure to have a targetable audience size of ~100,000 so Facebook has plenty of people to spend your ad dollars against. And as mentioned above, always make sure to keep an eye on your frequency.
Be Thoughtful When Setting Up Your Exclusions
Choosing who you serve your ads to is only half the battle. The other half is choosing who you don’t want to serve your ads to. A few common reasons to set up exclusions are to:
- Exclude employees at your company
- Excluding existing customers
- Exclude prospects outside of your customer’s typical age bracket (or other demographic)
- Exclude people who are outside of your target location
Amongst dozens of others.
Most exclusions are pretty straightforward, but the one that tends to trip people up the most is what to do with your different retargeting and repixeling audiences, which can be in the dozens.
As a very straightforward example, let’s say you sell human resources software. You might have a lookalike audience for prospecting, a repixel audience for people actively in the market to buy HR software, an audience retargeting your blog visitors, and an audience retargeting people who recently visited your product page.
Assuming you’d like to serve customized ads to each bucket (as you should!), your first instinct might be to exclude each of these audiences from each other to keep them in their own “swim lanes” but by doing that, as seen in the visual below, you’d accidentally be removing the people who are in multiple audiences from your targeting altogether, and these are the people that should especially be seeing your ads:
Instead, you should consider “stacking” your audiences in order of priority, and exclude the audiences that are a lesser priority when targeting the higher priority audiences:
By doing it this way, you get the “full pie” but you still get to show customized ads to each of your different buckets rather than inadvertently excluding your most valuable prospects.
Set Your Location Correctly
This is an obvious one but is frequently overlooked by even the most advanced advertising professionals. When selecting your location in a new campaign, Facebook defaults to “People living in or recently in this location” which is great for many businesses, but not everyone.
For many businesses (particularly ecommerce which have shipping limitations), permanent addresses are what matter because they really can’t take orders from customers that live abroad, even if they were recently in their target location. With that in mind, always make sure to toggle down the location dropdown and select the option that fits best with your business to narrow your audience even more granularly.
Test & Learn
While there are always best practices, there really is no silver bullet or substitution for testing and learning what’s best for your business. With that said, we hope the above are useful strategies to think about, whether you’re just getting started with Facebook Ads or are a seasoned professional looking to scale up even further.