social media promotion

What is Facebook & Instagram Remarketing or Retargeting?

Do you ever get the feeling your being followed (on Facebook and Instagram at least)?
Well, it’s true. It’s called ReMarketing or ReTargeting and it is one of the most effective tools in digital marketing.

Isn’t that right Mark?


Do you wonder why an ad is displayed on your Facebook or Instagram feed for a product you have just been looking at on another website? It’s not a coincidence. In this article we will explain how it works and how you can utilise it for your business.

So, what is remarketing/retargeting?

The word ReTargeting was first used by Google’s Adwords platform and ReMarketing was later termed by Facebook, both essentially mean the same thing and are now used interchangeably.

“Facebook remarketing (also known as Facebook retargeting) is a way of reconnecting with Facebook users who have visited your website. This is achieved by installing a pixel on your webpage(s), which relays information back to Facebook.”


what is facebook instagram remarketing retargeting

Image source:

How do Facebook and Instagram know what websites you have visited?

Facebook has a tool called a “Facebook Pixel,” which is a small bit of code that can be inserted into a website. This piece of code allows website owners to understand who is visiting their website and their behaviour. Although this may feel like an invasion of privacy, the concept of the Facebook pixel is to provide website owners with insight to their audience. They can then use this information to serve ads and content that they are most interested in. It is also incredibly powerful for business owners and marketers as it allows you to understand your audience and then serve them ads on Facebook & Instagram to remind them of your business. To see this in action, visit, (this is a great WordPress builder btw)  and then refresh your Facebook news feed.

You will likely see something like this:

what is facebook instagram remarketing retargeting
what is facebook instagram remarketing retargeting

Image source:

How do I see ads on Facebook and Instagram from websites I have visited?

A business who is using a Facebook pixel on their website can create audiences based on user activity. This is called ReMarketing or ReTargeting. Within Facebook’s business manager, businesses can create broad or specific audiences. An audience could be as broad as “website visitors,” which will create an audience with everyone who has visited the website or a specific audience, such as “website visitors who live on the Gold Coast who visited a specific page on my website in the last 7 days”.  Businesses can then create ads specific to the audience they have created.

“Over 90% of marketers surveyed in a study commissioned by AdRoll said remarketing is as effective or more effective than email, search, and other display campaigns.”


Ps. We are also running remarketing ads. This means that once you exit this page and then head over to Facebook and scroll through your news feed you’ll see our ads.

what is facebook instagram remarketing retargeting
what is facebook instagram remarketing retargeting

How do Facebook and Instagram know what items I am looking at online?

Have you ever shopped online for a product but didn’t commit to the purchase and then you see the exact product on Facebook or Instagram? This is called Dynamic ReMarketing or Dynamic ReTargeting.  With the help of the Facebook pixel, businesses can automatically create Facebook and Instagram ads tailored to specific products you have been looking at. This is possible by adding products within Facebook Business manager to a catalog. This catalog is directly linked with your online store so that Facebook can serve ads for the exact product you were looking at.

This is especially useful for online stores with high abandoned cart rates.  According to a study from Barilliance, “over 3/4 of shoppers choose to leave the site without completing a purchase.” With Dynamic remarketing, it is possible to show ads for the the exact products that was in a users abandoned cart.

If you haven’t seen this in action, I recommend you visit . Add a few products to your cart and then scroll through your Facebook feed. Voila!

After visiting Surfstich, I was also served ads on a blog I was reading through Google Adsense. The blog was actually about Facebook remarketing. This was because they are also using Google Adwords – Dynamic remarketing. If your interested, we will be posting another blog on how Google Ads Remarketing works.

How can you utilise this for your business?

Facebook remarketing is an incredibly powerful tool, especially for ecommerce sites. The benefit of remarketing is that it reminds users of your business, brand or products to revisit your website or complete a transaction. Over 90% of users won’t purchase from a website the first time they visit. Often users will look at multiple sites, researching their desired product or service before making a decision. Or maybe they were distracted and were unable to complete the purchase or submit an enquiry online. Remarketing allows you to reconnect with your users. Plus, remarketing only targets users who you already know are interested in your business, this means that you are not wasting advertising budgets on audiences who might not be interested; this provides lower advertising costs.

How to set up Facebook and Instagram remarketing – Installing a Facebook Pixel?

This guide to install a Facebook pixel is for websites built on WordPress. However, the process is very similar for other CMS’s, such as Shopify. There are also plugins which can help you.

Step 1:

Head on over to Pixels in your Facebook Business Manager

Step 2:

Click “Create a Pixel” in the green box that appears:
what is facebook instagram remarketing retargeting

Step 3:

Select from the below two options shown, in this case, we assume you will be installing the pixel code yourself. Click Install the code yourself:

what is facebook instagram remarketing retargeting

Step 4:

Head over to your WordPress website and hover over Appearance and click editor:

what is facebook instagram remarketing retargeting

Step 5:

Locate the tags these are commonly found in the header.php file of your theme. Paste your Facebook tracking pixel code just before the closing tag. In code close tags will have a “/”:

what is facebook instagram remarketing retargeting

Step 6:

Save the file and be sure to empty any cache or minification settings you may have setup:

what is facebook instagram remarketing retargeting

Step 7:

The best way to test your pixel is working is to install the Facebook Pixel Helper Google Chrome Add-on:

Facebook Pixel Helper Chrome Addon

Oh and incase you were wondering…

Do Facebook and Instagram listen to your conversations?

Let’s clear this up. The answer is, No (according to Facebook officials, at least).

Although you may think that they do, they are only tracking your web activity. However, they do track activity even when you are logged out of Facebook or have the app closed. The reason you often see ads based on a conversation you had is because you (or your friends) have likely been visiting websites related to your conversation topic. Following the Cambridge Analytica sage, Joe Osborne, Facebook Spokesperson stated that. “Facebook does not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed.”

For example, if you and your best friend have been talking in person about a trip to Fiji and suddenly you see an ad on facebook for Fiji Holiday Tours. You might think something is a little suspicious. However, even if you haven’t researched anything related to Fiji holiday tours, your friend might have and Facebook’s algorithm calculates that you would likely engage with a Fiji Holiday tour because your best friend is interested.


What seems to be a creepy breach of privacy is merely an attempt to try and serve you ads that you are most interested in. If your an 18-year-old guy who is interested in Surfing, you would probably get annoyed if you kept seeing ads for mascara. But if ads for a new range of wetsuits from RipCurl might just tweak your interest. If you own a business and are relatively tech-savvy, you could install the Facebook pixel yourself and learn how to use Facebook Advertising. Alternatively, you can use an agency like us and we will do everything for you so you can focus on your business and we can focus on generating website traffic, sales, engagement and leads for you.

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