How To Set-up Facebook Dynamic Ads For Re-targeting: A Step-by-step Guide With Screenshots

How To Set-up Facebook Dynamic Ads For Re-targeting: A Step-by-step Guide With Screenshots

In this guide, I will walk you through the process of setting up Facebook Dynamic Ads for re-targeting. Why should you use re-targeting? In short – it is one of the most efficient advertisement strategies with amazing ROI (Return on Investment). As you might have heard – around 96% of your site visitors are not ready to buy your product on the first time (this number could be lower if your ad copies are great “selling” tools or you have a long and convincing funnel).

Nevertheless, there will always be people who will visit your store with the intention to buy your product and then get caught in some side activity. As of result, they will forget about the product. The only way to bring them back?

Exactly… Re-targeting!

In this step-by-step guide, I will guide you through a simple way how to set-up your re-targeting campaigns using Facebook Dynamic Ads with your Product Catalog. In other words – you will have an efficient re-targeting campaign that will dynamically insert one or more of your products from your store into your advertisements.

At the end of the article, I will quickly go over some other re-targeting campaigns and ideas and share some resources to help you with your re-targeting strategies!

Let’s cut to the case. I present you…

A step-by-step guide for setting up effective re-targeting campaign with dynamic Facebook ads.

First of all, you need to have set-up a Facebook pixel (therefore you need a Facebook business page and an Ad account). If you haven’t set-up the pixel yet, you can check out my detailed guide for setting up the Facebook pixel on Shopify store.

There are two essential parts for setting up a re-targeting campaign with Facebook Dynamic Ads.

  1. You will need to import your Product Catalog in your Facebook Ad account
  2. You will need to set-up a re-targeting campaign in Facebook Ad Manager

Note: You can set-up various re-targeting campaigns also without using your Product Catalog. Hence, without a need to import your Product Catalog into your Facebook Ad Account. I will go over some of these examples at the end of this article. However, Product Catalog is a really powerful tool. I would highly recommend using it together with Facebook Dynamic Ads for re-targeting campaigns – they perfectly fit together!

Part 1: How to import your Product Catalog in your Facebook Ad account

There are two methods how you can import your Product Catalog into Facebook Ad account.

  1. Use Facebook and Shopify built-in Product Catalog integration
  2. Use Shopify app called “Facebook Product Feed (by Flexify)” to download Product Catalog file from your Shopify store and import the file manually to your Facebook Ad account.

The first option is much easier and really can’t mess up anything. This way the Product Catalog will also update automatically. So if you will delete or hide a specific product from your Shopify admin panel, it will also be immediately effective on your Facebook Product Catalog and any advertisements etc..

The second option has been popularized by some e-commerce store owners, as it allows to choose which products to extract and import into your Facebook Product Catalog. However, if you import all your products using the first option, you will still be able to select specific products and collections for your ad campaigns. Hence there are really no benefits to using the second option. Regardless of that, I will share the walkthrough of the second option as well, in case someone has some unexpected problems with Facebook and Shopify.

First method – using Facebook and Shopify Product Catalog integration

1) Log into your Shopify account

2) Click on + next to sales channels

Add new sales channel on Shopify

3) A modal window with a list of different sales channels will pop up. Find and choose to add Facebook.

Add Facebook as sales channel

4)  Click on “Connect” and allow Facebook to access your page information.

Connect Facebook with Shopify
5) Choose your business page and click “Connect page” and accept Facebook terms. You should see a yellow notification in your Shopify window. Here’s how it looked like in my case:

Facebook shop Shopify verification

Don’t worry about this 48-hour review process. You will be able to create Facebook Dynamic Ads with your Product Catalog right away. This 48-hour review is just meant for verifying and enabling shop section on your Facebook business page.

Some might ask – What do you mean by “shop section on your Facebook business page”?

That’s a section on your Facebook page where your page visitors can check out your Product Catalog. You can also hide it if you want. Don’t worry – by doing so you will not affect any current or future advertisement campaigns using Product Catalog. These things are not interconnected.

Now I will quickly go through the process of setting up the Product Catalog using Facebook Product Feed app by Flexify for those who do not want to use Shopify and Facebook native integration. So feel free to jump over to the second part of this article where I will walk you through creating the campaign itself.

Alternative method – using “Facebook Product Feed (by flexify)” app and manual import

Another alternative is not synchronising these products directly with Facebook but using Shopify app called Facebook Product Feed (by Flexiby). That’s a tool that allows you to export a file from Shopify with all your products, pictures and descriptions.

1) Visit Shopify App Store and search for an app called “Facebook Product Feed (by Flexiby). Install the app.

Facebook product feed

2) Choose all products or specific collection if you don’t want to import all products in your Facebook Product Catalog, and click save.

flexify collection settings

3) Then click on the link called “grab your feed at”.

Don’t use my link in the screenshot below, or else you will just import my products on your Facebook page and advertise them on my behalf.

grab your facebook feed at

4) After clicking on the link a new tab will be opened on your browser which will contain some code. You don’t need to understand the code or do anything on that page. Just click right click and select save as… The format should be RSS web feed.

example of facebook rss product feed


save as rss format

5) After saving the document, go to your Facebook business admin settings and visit “Catalogs” section.

Where to find product catalog settings on facebook

6) Click on “Create Catalog” button, choose appropriate Catalog Type and click “Next”. On the next window choose the business page to which the product feed belongs to and name it. The name won’t be visible to others and will be used just for internal purposes. Click “Create”.

Select page and name the catalog

7) Click on “View Catalog” and then on “Add Products”. Choose “Upload Once” and an upload section will show up. Drag your previously saved .rss file there. Choose the currency and click “Start Upload”.

single product feed upload

For some reason, it didn’t load for me with the first try. If that happens to you, hit reload and you will see the final screen. Click “Done”.

Product feed uploaded

That’s it, you have successfully uploaded your product feed now.

Side notes:

For me it showed me the following error: Without google_product_category information, your products may not appear the way you want them to in ads.

If this is also the case for you, don’t worry. I checked their support forums and found out that this error code is generated if you are using Google Shopping App. The “Google Shopping App” looks promising and it has been developed by Shopify, however, it has gotten lots of negative feedback lately. I would suggest waiting until it actually gets fixed before jumping in that field as it can mess up product feed etc. (as of February 8, 2018).

If you ever need to update the Product Catalog, go to the specific Product Catalog’s Data Sources tab, choose your RSS file, click “Settings” and scroll down. Choose “Single Upload > Via File Update” again, upload your updated file and hit “Replace”.

Product data sources settings

Single upload via file upload


Part 2: Creating a re-targeting campaign using Product Catalog and Facebook Dynamic Ads

Now that you have integrated your Product Catalog (and installed Facebook pixel), you can start creating efficient re-targeting campaigns. First, you will need to set-up an audience to which you will target these re-targeting ads, and afterwards – create the campaign itself.

Creating a custom audience

1) Go to Facebook Business Manager > All Tools > Audiences

Audience settings

2) Click Create Audience > Custom Audience

creating a custom audience on facebook

3) Choose Website Traffic

audience based on website traffic

4) Click on the drop-down menu that says “All website visitors”. There you will see various options.

Different audience settings

Here’s a short overview of all options:

  • All website visitors – This one is the simplest one and will create an audience of all people who have visited your website
  • People who visited specific web page – By selecting this option you will be able to create an audience of people who have visited specific page(s)
  • Visitors by time spent – This option allows you to create an audience with visitors who have spent the most time on your website (or specific pages). You can select top 5, 10 or 25% percentiles.

And event specific options:

  • PageView – This is the basic event tracked by Facebook pixel. It is tracked when a person visits any (or specific) URL. In terms of creating an audience – it functions the same as the above-mentioned option “People who visited specific web page”.
  • ViewContent – This one confuses many people as it seems equal to PageView. In general – this event is tracked when a person views a key page (such as product page), watches a video on the landing page, product images or any other content. In simple terms, the difference between PageView and ViewContent is that the first one is recorded as soon as the browser loads the specific URL (and any URL of your website), while the later one is recorded when the person has loaded a product page (and viewed a content, for example, when the product image has loaded).
  • InitiateCheckout – Using this event will create an audience consisting of people who have initiated a checkout (self-explanatory, right?).
  • AddToCart – Similar concept as in the event above. Will create an audience consisting of people who have added one or more products to cart.
  • AddPaymentInfo – Once again, a similar concept. Will create an audience consisting of people who have added their payment information (so one step forward from adding a product to cart and initiating a checkout.
  • Purchase – Using this event you will be able to create an audience consisting of people who have purchased one or more products from your store.
  • Search – This event tracks people who use the search tool on your website. Perhaps not the most popular function, but can be used to create an audience with people who have searched something on your site. This could be useful for marketers with websites that have many blogs or products.

In this example, I will be creating an audience that has visited any Men’s Watches collection or any of the Men’s watches. But the same guidelines can be applied to any custom audience specific to your needs.

5) Choose “URL > Contains”, write in the necessary URL, audience name and click “Create Audience”.

Including specific url

Note: It is important to understand the URL structure of your website. In my case (default Shopify URL structure) all products under specific collection have the respective collection name included in the URL. Therefore, by using the URL “/collections/mens-watches” I will create an audience with people who have visited the specific collection page or any product under that collection. If your product URLs do not contain the collection URL part, then you can use the button “+ And also” right under the URL input field to add other URLs.

Here’s a simple example in which case my site visitor will be included in the audience (green line), and in which case he won’t be added to the audience.

How to correctly set specific URL targeting on Facebook

6) You can also exclude visitors who have already made a purchase on your website. To do so, click on the “Exclude” button in the same window and choose “Purchase” event. I like to keep the default value of the 30-day range. As of result, the people who made the purchase in the last 30 days would be excluded, but those how made a purchase longer time ago (e.g. 2 months ago), wouldn’t be excluded and would see an ad. Actually, people who have made a purchase some time ago, have a higher chance of making another purchase than those who have never done so.

How to exclude people from your audience who have already made a purchase

That’s it. Now that you have created a custom audience, it is time to make the Dynamic Re-targeting campaign.

Setting up Facebook Dynamic Re-targeting campaigns with your Product Catalog

1) Go to your Facebook Ads Manager and click the green “Create Ad” button in the top-right corner.

Visit facebook ads manager

2) Choose “Catalog sales objective”

How to choose catalog sales objective

3) Choose the Catalog which you want to use. Write your campaign name (for internal use, others won’t see this) and click Continue.

choosing product catalog

4) On the next screen, choose which product set from your Product Catalog, which you want to advertise. This should be a logical decision based on the audience you will use. In my case, I selected Men’s products because I will use the audience of people who have visited Men’s watches pages and want to show them all Men’s products from my store. With the goal to remind them about these products.

Choosing a product set

Alternatively, you can also set up a more detailed re-targeting strategy where you show a very specific product for the audience which has visited this product’s page. In order to do that, you will first need to create a more specific audience that contains people who have visited that product’s URL (using the guidelines above). Afterwards, you will need to use it to set-up a separate campaign. The rest of the process for creating a final re-targeting campaign remains the same and can be implemented by following the guidelines below.

5) Choose “Create New Tab” and click into “Custom audience” input field and it will show your newly created custom audience(s)

Where to find your previously saved Facebook custom audience

6) Define your audience further by selecting gender, age and location. In the following case, I am creating a retargeting ad for men first, so I chose additional parameter – gender “men”. I deselected any specific countries suggested so it would show it to all visitors who have been in my store, regardless of their location.

Define details of your custom audience


7) Keep the placement to “Automatic Placements” or edit the placement of your ads.

Which one is a better option? It depends on the store and your customer behaviour. In my case the majority of new traffic comes from mobile (people notice first product ads, visit the page and learn about my product), however, way more customers finish their purchase on the desktop web.

If your store is generating a significant amount of sales also on mobile platforms you can keep Automatic Placements, or Edit Placements and choose, for example, only Instagram.

Selecting a placement of your Facebook ad

8) Next, choose the Event Type – “Purchase”, so your advertisements would be optimized for purchases. Regarding the “Conversion window” – currently there are four options (Facebook may add more in the future):

  • After clicking ad – 1 day click or 7 day click
  • After clicking or viewing ad – 1 day or 7 day click or view

Choosing a conversion event

Which one should you choose? From my experience, they are very similar. 1 day time frame will count the purchase as a successful conversion only if it happens on the same day. While the 7 day time frame will count it as a successful conversion if it will happen in 7 days. Every successful conversion data will be sent back into Facebook ad algorithms and used to further optimize your ad delivery.

In general, any conversion is good. I would choose 1 day frame if the product is rather cheap and doesn’t involve difficult decision maker. While 7 days will work better if the product is more expensive and more important purchase. Regarding just “clicking” or “clicking or viewing ad” I would suggest choosing the second option. People can see your ad, remember the brand and make the purchase not directly from the ad. As a result, it will still count as a conversion and gather valuable information about that customer. This will help to further optimize the ad delivery strategy.

9) Click Continue. On the next screen, choose the page you want to advertise. Regarding the format – I would suggest using carousel ads, they work great for Facebook Dynamic Ads with Product Catalog. However, if you are advertising just one product, it might be a good idea to create a single image. By doing so you can focus on highlighting the product and its features. You can also create additional ad copies with a single image or video. Facebook will run them simultaneously and check automatically which one performs better and start (automatically) focusing on that one.

Selecting Facebook page and ad format


10) Next, edit the appearance and ad copy. If you are using Carousel format with Product Catalog, you can add overlay labels showcasing price or discount. Write in the Text, Headline, News Feed Link description and Call To Action button to create an engaging ad copy. Emojis do work well and help to get extra attention. While it might be effective for most ads, in general, it depends on your product. If it is a serious product or is meant for older people, then emojis might not work so well.


editing ad copy explained

11) Click Confirm.

That’s it, congratulations; you have created your re-targeting campaign using Facebook Dynamic Ads with Product Catalog. It will take a few minutes until they confirm your ad. It usually takes 15 minutes but in some cases up to 1-3 hours.

If you want to create an additional ad set with same campaign objectives, just click duplicate on the ad-set level. This will open a new window for editing ad set settings (audience, placement, conversion). You can also edit ad copies (text, images, videos etc.). This is a useful feature and can be used to A/B test a different audience, placement or conversion method.

Duplicating an ad set


Editing duplicate ad set

If you have any comments, extra tips or questions; feel free to write them in the comments section and I will help you!

Below I will shortly summarize some other re-targeting campaigns.

Re-targeting is not only meant for reminding customers about the products they saw on your website. It can also be used in different ways:

  • To showcase a special offer for visitors if they return and complete a sale. For example, free shipping or discount with a special code.
  • Offer a customer service to visitors who hesitate with Call To Action button “Contact us” (on messenger)
  • Stay in touch with visitors who are not ready to make the purchase. Offer them to sign-up for your newsletter to receive special deals or latest blog articles.

You can read more about these examples in an insightful article about different re-targeting methods to send your customers on Facebook re-targeting journey.

In conclusion, re-targeting isn’t so hard to set-up and can dramatically increase your store’s revenue. Thanks for reading! Remember, if you have any comments, extra tips or questions; feel free to write them in the comments section and I will help you!

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