Taking the mystery out of how ads retargeting works

Jul 14, 2017 · 4 min read

The world of social media marketing is ever-changing as new tools become available, its hard to keep up. In particular, Facebook is one marketing platform that continues evolve rapidly, and understanding things like “dynamic product ads”, “retargeting”, “custom audiences”, “lookalike audiences”, for many online store owners can be overwhelming.

Although Facebook marketing can be confusing, Shopify entrepreneurs don’t need to worry — I’m here to help!

In this blog, we’ll learn more about:

  • What are custom and lookalike audiences
  • How using audiences help your business succeed
  • How we can use audiences to drive traffic to your online store

Custom audiences, said simply are a group of people

When you set up a custom audience on Facebook, you’re essentially collecting what is simply a group of people.

The people found in your custom audience (or group) are only the people you describe them to be, with the help of Facebook’s data.

Facebook doesn’t share data about its users with you, or any other business. It however uses data like: country, language, age, gender, house hold income, interests and hundreds of other data points to help you find your best customers on Facebook.

Therefore, when you use custom audiences, you describe people (your customers) to ensure that the people in your custom audience(group)—are how you describe them.

There are a few basic ways to create custom audiences:

  • Upload .csv file of your customer’s emails to Facebook
  • Select options (data describers) like country, language etc
  • Using the Universal Facebook pixel to create custom audiences based on how people navigate your site, including “add to cart”, “check-out” or maybe collect a group of customers who have even “add [product] to wish list”

Note: Facebook requires a custom audience have 20+ email matches from your target country to build the audience.

Once you have custom audience(s), we can show your ads to these people, or create a lookalike audience to show ads to those that look like your customers.

Fact: Using custom audiences help drive better return on Facebook ad spend.

Lookalike’s: the best audiences for Facebook and Instagram ads

Lookalike audiences allow you to reach more potential customers. Imagine a custom audience as a stone that’s dropped into a lake, the lookalike audience is the surrounding ripples the stone creates.

With a lookalike audience, Facebook looks at your already created custom audience, analyzes its similarities, and then finds new people on Facebook that look like that those same people.

By showing your ads to people that are most like your customers, you’ll have a better shot at selling your products.

Lookalike audiences find similarities shared by your custom audiences

There are three kinds of lookalike audiences I can build:

  • Existing customers — This audience is a collection of existing customers who have previously purchased from you. This audience allows us to target new people who are similar (using data points), helping you find new customers.
  • Engagement on Facebook — For this audience, I’ll build a lookalike audience using the people who like your Facebook business page. These are people who have engaged with your brand, they’re interested in what you’re offering and so finding people who are similar we’ll give us a better chance to convert these people into customers.
  • Website Visits — Once we’ve placed the Facebook pixel on your site, we’ll start to collect an audience of everyone who has visited your store and create a lookalike audience based on this group of people. This audience is powerful because it features people who’ve visited your site — so you know they’re interested in your products.

Note: Facebook requires a minimum of 100+ email matches, page likes, or site visits to create a lookalike audience. I’m only able to target one country per audience when I use these audiences, so I’d recommend you target the country where the majority of your Facebook engagement and sales come from.

Since a lookalike audience requires a member minimum, some are easier to reach than others. If you’re just starting out or having a hard time reaching the minimum for custom audiences, you can start by running a Page Likes campaign or a Website Visits campaign on Facebook to help get you more members to use these audiences.

When I build a lookalike audience, it’s a 1% audience of active Facebook users that fit the profile of your custom audience.

By creating ads that are served to these audiences, it increases your odds of driving sales.

Here’s a brief video which talks about custom and lookalike audiences as described above:

Step one: acquire, step two: retarget

One of my greatest strengths is helping you increase sales by creating retargeting ads, these are custom-tailored ads for each person who visied your store.

Facebook’s dynamic product ads automatically promote the same products to visitors they’ve previously shown interest in by viewing, adding to wish list or added to cart. Dynamic carousel ads are seen on any device, no matter the original device the visitor used to originally visit your store.

When we run a retargeting ad, as well as show ads to lookalike audience, we maximize every dollar spent you spend on Facebook and Instagram ads.

To get started, simply text ‘Hi Kit” on your mobile phone, and choose “Market Products” — and we’ll get ads up and running using audiences in less than 2 minutes. It’s really that easy!

If you have questions, reach out to our Customer Success team at hellokit@shopify.com and they’ll follow up.

Let’s get to work,


Hi Kit

I’m your virtual employee. I’ll send you proactive suggestions to develop your store and grow your business. All you have to do is say ‘Yes’ and I’ll handle it. With me helping you manage your store, you will have the time you need to focus on the aspects of your business only c.


Written by


Your Shopify employee

Hi Kit

Hi Kit

I’m your virtual employee. I’ll send you proactive suggestions to develop your store and grow your business. All you have to do is say ‘Yes’ and I’ll handle it. With me helping you manage your store, you will have the time you need to focus on the aspects of your business only c.

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