The Right People at the Right Time – A Guide to Facebook’s Dynamic Retargeting

Now more than ever, advertisers need to ensure that their ad units are both highly personalized and relevant when running direct response campaigns. Facebook’s dynamic ads were purposely built to enable brands to hit the right people with the right products and services, at the right time. These campaigns can be tricky to set up, and will only drive strong results if you orchestrate them properly. Below are several points to keep in mind when you’re trying to get personal with your audiences. 

Dynamic Ad Requirements

  • The Facebook Pixel or SDK

In order to successfully track users who are viewing products and taking actions on your website you will need to set up a pixel to track purchases, add to carts and page views. If you are focusing on app downloads then the Facebook SDK will need to be installed on your app.

  • A Product Catalog

An up to date product catalog which contains all of the available products will need to be uploaded to your Business Manager. If your website is powered by a Facebook ecommerce partner (Shopify, Magento or BigCommerce) then you can automatically set up dynamic ads without a feed!

Targeting Capabilities

  • Viewed a Product 

Targets users who have viewed specific products on your site but have not yet purchased.

  • Added to Cart

Targets users who have added to their cart on your site but have not yet purchased.

  • Cross-Sell Products

Targets users who have viewed, added to cart or purchased specific products and shows them products that compliment those items.

  • Upsell Products 

Reaching users who have viewed, added to cart or purchased specific products and shows them higher cost yet comparable products.

When setting up these different targeting types we also can select any retention window between 1-180 days to target users based on. This allows for flexibility of reaching users who just looked at your products, or focusing more on users who looked a couple months ago to remind them about the products!


Now that we have an understanding of how to set up these ads and what they can target, we have to ask the big question. What makes these crucial to a direct response campaign?

  • Always personalized 

The creative in the ads will always be extremely relevant to what the user has viewed or added to their cart. This experience should result  in stronger conversion metrics.

  • Automatically updated ads based on stock

As long as you are utilizing an updated product feed, dynamic ads will know when an item is out of stock and not include it! This prevents advertisers from having to pause ads with items that are close to selling out.

  • Easily showcase sales

Dynamic ads on Facebook placements allow you to include the sale price of the item in the creative to let users know they can buy at a discounted price! This encourages people to purchase without having to manually adjust the creative & copy.

Tips for an Effective Buy

  • Utilize Product Sets

Although you can run ads that can showcase all products in the catalog, you should  consider creating specific product sets for each product line, price point, categories, etc. This allows you to showcase specific items you care most about, and customize your copy for the specific set.

  • Utilize Creative Copy

Dynamic ads have a quick setup and are focused on visuals, however advertisers should ensure they are still keeping ad copy fresh and relevant. We recommend mentioning the price of items in the ad copy, calling out any sales, utilizing urgency language and including a strong single CTA!

  • Optimize your Retention Window

Depending on the amount of traffic your ecommerce site receives, you should experiment with remarketing retention windows to ensure you are controlling your ad frequency as well as reaching people in a time period when they are likely to be potential buyers.

iOS 14 Challenges

With iOS 14 rolling out we expect some changes to the dynamic retargeting landscape. Dynamic ads will continue to work but Facebook may not report some events from iOS 14 opted-out users. For iOS 14 opted-in users, all event reporting will remain the same. Additionally, remarketing will be limited to a 7-day retention window. Be on the lookout for a Gupta Media blog post on the impact of iOS 14 as more information rolls out!

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