How to DOUBLE Your Facebook Retargeting Results

use women in your retargeting ads

I’ve been using retargeting to drive conversions on my primary website since late spring (2013) and its the best most effective paid marketing I’ve done – period.

There are a lot of different things I could talk about; like how you should segment visitors, for example segment people who have already opted-in to your email list  to show them a different offer; we could talk about how a free course or other giveaway offer beats a discount or a “come look at my sales/pricing/features page” – hands down – but I’m going more base than that today.

For 3 months I tested both AdRoll and PerfectAudience and in the end I opted to dump AdRoll and use only PerfectAudience but that is for another blog post.

So I know you want to get right into how you’re going to double your retargeting results but first let’s look at what that means and how you’d measure.

Retargeting Stats You Should Care About

Retargeting services want to prove their value to you so they show you a lot of stats. Some of the stats (in my opinion) are just pure bullshit. The “View Through Conversion” for example is meaningless. If I send an email to someone on my list and then they buy but on that same day they saw an ad of mine on the web then the conversion belongs to the email and nothing else.

So here’s what you should care about in your retargeting campaigns.

  • Clicks – How many people click on your ad
  • CTR – Click Through Rate
  • CPC – Cost Per Click
  • CTC – How many clicks resulted in a conversion
  • CTC% – What is the click to conversion percentage

The other retargeting rates and ratios are for the purpose of convincing you to keep advertising as far as I’m concerned. I’m ready to be wrong but that’s where I stand.

So before I reveal this super-secret top performing formula that’s going to rocket your site to stardom (oh man is that awful I’m selling so hard you can taste it, right?) I need to apprise you of a couple of caveats.

  1. I’ve only tested this with Facebook retargeting so far and not with any other web retargeting.
  2. Your best results are going to be when you’re retargeting in the Facebook feed, not on the sidebar.
  3. If you’re going to test this yourself make sure you use the exact same copy for each of your ads and only change the image or your results won’t be valid.

I hinted at what works with the image in the post, but OK here it is, without further ado…. sex…. its SEX, there I said it. You happy?

FaceBook Retargeting Results


I like to think that this ad is pretty well though out.

  • The colors and graphic on this ad match the landing page perfectly.
  • There’s a button to encourage the right kind of action
  • The fact that the course is free is emphasized
  • There’s a graphical depiction of the actual thing you’ll get when you click
  • It’s branded like a site the visitor has already been to (it is retargeting after all)
Losing facebook retargeting ad
The colors, graphics, and offer are all designed to match the landing page perfectly. Still, bupkis.

Winning Treatment (Or Test)

This ad plays to pure human nature. It’s lizard brain or bust (pardon the pun) for this.

  • There’s a hot girl with a low-cut blouse looking towards the words
facebook retargeting ad
This image more than doubled the effectiveness of this facebook wall retargeting campaign.

Here’s how the numbers bear out.

  • Metric     Original     Treatment
  • CTR        0.678%      1.132%
  • CPC        $1.10         $0.65
  • CTC%     0%              38%

Coincidentally, or maybe not, that 38% conversion is exactly the conversion I’m seeing on the landing page from other sources.

About This Test

I ran this test on both retargeting services named above. I first ran it on AdRoll and later was allowed beta access to PerfectAudience. I had actually shut down the original ad on AdRoll after some obvious results and then re-started the same test on PerfectAudience. I’m using the PerfectAudience numbers. I’m not sharing my spend or number of clicks. I am maxing out the available spend for a website with unique visitors in the low 5 figures.

You could argue that real estate is male dominated but I’ll tell you that my Rapleaf analysis of my list says “not so much”

Business cleavage” out performs the graphic that I had made to perfectly match the landing page. So there you have it, the ladies, pictures of good looking women in low-cut but non-offensive frock…. “business cleavage” will double the effectiveness of your ad.

I know what you’re thinking… alright I don’t… but it could be a variety of things, you could be thinking:

  • Well, yeah this is obvious…
  • That’s offensive! I don’t care if it sells
  • My audience doesn’t respond to this kind of thing
  • I don’t know if I want my product/service to be associated with ads like that
  • Where can I get some cleavage pics?

Here’s what I have to say about it. If we’re in the business of selling something and we’re really interested in maximizing then we’re going to occasionally find a line that we may or may not want to cross. GoDaddy is an example of company that’s crossed some lines in this department and has its share of haters.

I have a mother, a wife, and a daughter.

I don’t plan to put up g-string pictures or just wildly objectifying content but I also don’t plan on leaving much on the table if I don’t have to and I do plan to continue to use strategies and tactics that are proven to work – and if people want to click on chicks by gosh I’ll give’em chicks to click…

By the way the links to the services in this article (AdRoll, PerfectAudience) are affiliate links and I might make some money if you use one to sign up.

Update: 9/8

In response to the a couple of hypotheses challenging the test results I’ve launched the following Facebook wall retargeting campaigns and I’ll update this post with results. Since the physical attractiveness of a person is more than a little subjective I tried to choose a man of similar age and style who is also looking towards the words with a computer in front of him.

Here are the new treatments.

Facebook wall retargeting campaign
Simple ebook cover which represents the contents of the free course that’s being offered

and the additional the male head shot

facebook wall retargeting ad with a man looking towards the words
Attractive man looking in the same direction as the woman above both with a computer between themselves and the words

I’ll look forward to posting results in the next few weeks.

Update: 9/13

I’m pulling the plug on these additional tests. As much as I’d like to continue to experiment with this the early numbers are in and they strongly support my original findings to go any further would increase the cost of clicks and diminish my CTR.

The ebook cover alone performed the worst. It got no clicks.

The picture of the smiling dude did not fair as well as the professionally designed graphic. The CTR on that was .509 or only about 40% as effective as the young lady.

So there you have it.

I’m excited about retargeting an the results that are available generally and I’ll be writing more about my Facebook wall retargeting and other retargeting campaigns as I test.

12 thoughts on “How to DOUBLE Your Facebook Retargeting Results”

    • Hey thanks Jack. I’d love to say I was original on this but I’m not. There’s some data out there – especially in the “internet marketer” space folks are willing to try a lot more than probably you or I would be.

  1. You’re probably right, but I’m curious if it’s more ‘appealing/interesting picture’ or ‘cleavage’. Not that your headshot isn’t appealing/interesting 😛

    I’ll try some experiments with some similar image (appropriate to my market) vs ‘cute baby pic’ or something for example.


  2. Okay, here’s my ‘wannabe-designer’ thought: you’re not just testing ‘business cleavage’ vs. ‘non-business-cleavage’ – you’re testing two entirely different ad layouts as well. One includes several lines of text + book icon compressed into an image, the other is in a sense a single icon – what I’m saying is that the well designed ad may simple just not make sense on facebook due to the text on the side + size of the ad being compressed.

    I’d be curious to see how an image of just the book (maybe a modified title to include ‘free’) would work.

  3. I’ve concluded the tests on this. The overall CTR of the campaign was suffering form the other treatments so it was time to shut those down. If anyone has any other bright ideas for images to test please mention them here and if they’ve not been tried and show promise I’ll test them (if I haven’t already) and report results.


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