Person using facebook on their mobile phone
Data, Digital Trends

Is a Facebook-Only Retargeting Program The Right Approach?

James Mullany BCM's Group Director

By James Mullany

Facebook’s media budget share has continued to grow over the years. One of the sources of this growth is retargeting budgets, as a result of its automated ad features (Dynamic Product Ads) and scale (68% of US adults). When faced with limited advertising budgets, the absence of uniform attribution models (such as multi-touch or last-touch), or limited resources to manage multiple partners a brand may consider taking a consolidated approach. Can an advertiser consolidate all of their remarketing budget into Facebook exclusively and still have effective coverage? This article will investigate the following key factors that marketers should consider when determining their answer:

  • Facebook’s Matching Logic
  • Reach Against Target Audience
  • Total Opportunity vs. Available Budget
  • Available Creative Resources

What is Facebook Retargeting?

Facebook Ad Retargeting is a marketing tactic that displays ads to people who have already shown interest in your product or service by visiting your website. These ads are displayed to the same site visitors within the Facebook platform in their personal feed and other areas of Facebook.


Facebook relies on a deterministic match based on an email or phone number. This can be limiting if your website traffic does not originate from a Facebook traffic source. For example, if 70% of your site traffic is attributed to organic, direct and search sources – its likely that Facebook will have trouble matching your website cookie to a Facebook ID. To evaluate this impact on your media, compare unique reach metrics through Facebook retargeting to your unique traffic over a 90-day period. If your website traffic is significantly higher than your unique Facebook retargeting reach, it’s likely that you need to look beyond Facebook inventory and matching logic to re-engage with a higher percentage of your site traffic.

Comparison showing 68% of U.S., adults use Facebook and 90% of U.S. adults are reached on the Google Display Network


Over 90% of all US internet users are reached by the Google Display Network (GDN). While that number is difficult to beat, many audiences are spending more time on Facebook media and can be reached more quickly on Facebook. Similarly, If your products are sold on Amazon, it may be a better decision to focus on Amazon Retargeting first before expanding to Facebook, Google, etc. It’s important to prioritize partner selection based on the partner’s ability to reach your target audience quickly and frequently after leaving your website. BCM leverages one of the largest and most comprehensive databases on consumer behavior to help better inform media partner selection, such as Google vs. Facebook, based on media consumption habit data.


I would love to have the resources to travel internationally for 3-months every year. Unfortunately, my budget and professional priorities don’t allow for this. Likewise, marketing budgets often don’t provide enough flexibility to maximize opportunity. If you have a total budget of $10k/mo. and the total Facebook retargeting opportunity is a $15k/mo. budget, it’s likely a better option to focus your entire budget on Facebook before adding additional partners. As more partners are added, such as Google, Criteo and Amazon, there will be duplication in media activity, high frequencies, as well as double-conversion counting that will need to be properly accounted for. These tradeoffs need to be evaluated before simply assuming that more partners is a better investment decision. Complexity is not efficient.

Flowchart of Facebook’s Dynamic Ad Creation Platform


Both Facebook and Google offer dynamic ad template options to limit the creative requirements for campaign activation. The dynamic ad templates typically lack customization options to carry through all brand style guides. When custom creative is required and more than one media partner is selected, costs will increase to properly account for the varying ad sizes for Facebook, Google, etc. If budget is limited and return on ad spend (ROAS) is the utmost priority, it may be best to limit the media partner selection to 1 based on the above factors so that the working-media budget is maximized.

In addition to the above factors, there are other elements that will contribute to your overall performance such as ad unit format, viewability, media cost, etc. Retargeting will be one of the top performing eCommerce tactics of your media plan. BCM can assist you with identifying the proper balance of media budget, partner set and creative assets to yield maximize results for your brand. Let’s connect and discuss your marketing challenges.

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James Mullany

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