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6 Steps To Create Facebook Messenger Ads For Your Retargeting

6 Steps To Create Facebook Messenger Ads For Your Retargeting

Facebook Messenger has recently surpassed 1.2 billion active users, showing a tremendous growth rate since its official launch in 2011.

And with the ever-growing mobile usage, we can expect the number of active users to grow even further.

While emails have been around since 1971 the perception of emails has changed a lot over the years.

Think about it, when was the last time you have sent an email to a friend instead of a text message, iMessage or even a voice message?

Today people associate work or “official” information with emails, while we write our friends through the Facebook Messenger.

And wouldn’t it be great if your customers considered you a “trusted friend”? 

While you should not put your email marketing on hold as of now, start testing Messenger today.

In this article, I’ll show you exactly how to:

  • Find your “easy-to-convert” traffic
  • Segment your retargeting audience
  • Develop irresistible second tier content
  • Get dirt cheap leads thru retargeting
  • And build an automated Messenger sequence that drives conversions

First let’s see, why Messenger works:

Here’s a screenshot of a Facebook traffic to messenger campaign I have been running over 18 days (US audience).

messenger campaign

With Messenger all your link clicks are basically leads. They appear in your automation tool of choice as “unknown leads” until they opt-in. You’re still able to send them messages while they are unknown.

And here is a screenshot of the opt-in rates of my welcome message.

opt-in welcome message

But don’t just take my word for it. A study conducted by smartinsights compared email open and click-through rates with those of the Facebook Messenger.

They found that Facebook Messenger messages have a 286% higher open rate and 768% higher click-through rates.

To show you how you can get such awesome results as well, I am going to walk you through the exact 6 step process that I use.

Let’s dive in.

Step 1 - Find Your Low Hanging Fruits by Segmenting Your Website Traffic

Not everyone visits your site for the same reasons.

Understanding the different visit intents behind your traffic is crucial, as each traffic segment needs a different communication approach. This will allow us to follow up with a highly targeted ad, placing an offer people can’t refuse.

To understand the different visitor intent, we first need to look at the customer journey.

The customer journey can vary from one-stop-one-shop to multiple complex touchpoints over the course of months or even years, but it can be broken down into the four different stages explained by the AIDA model.

aida model

For example:

Top of Funnel

  • Your Blog - Create content closely related to your product or service.

Middle of Funnel

  • Product Feature Page - Craft product feature pages, explaining each feature and showcasing testimonials.

End of Funnel

  • Pricing Page - Once people express interest in your service, they’re directed to your pricing page which highlights benefits.

All of the different content parts described above can be potential landing pages of our website visitors.

Every traffic source has different user intent: 

  • Users coming from search engines are looking for information.
  • Social media traffic usually comes from curiosity.
  • Direct traffic is usually the most profitable as people are explicitly looking to visit your website.
traffic sources

The last step in our traffic identification process is to take a look at if our visitors are returning or new visitors.

To give you an example of what we can do with all this, let’s take the three mentioned traffic sources and the three different landing page options and pair them.

This is the user intent we would get:

Traffic Source

Landing Page

Visitor Intent

Search Engines


Informational - Looking for Answers



Curious - Figuring out if you are of interest



Intentional - Using you as a source of trusted information

Search Engines

Product Feature

Informational - Browsing and looking for ideal software solution


Product Feature

Curious - Figuring out if your product is of interest


Product Feature

Intentional - Actively comparing product features

Search Engines


Informational - Comparing prices and options



Curious - Trying to find a bargain



Intentional - Monitoring your pricing changes

Knowing this, we can move on to create your different content upgrades, which we can later use in our Facebook ads as a teaser to generate leads.

The Takeaway
Do not consider all your website traffic equal. Dive deep into your website visitor intent to identify the low hanging fruits that you want to retarget.

Step 2 - Create Specific Second Tier Content to Boost Opt-In Rates

So you know your visitor’s intent. 

Now it’s time to create our second tier content.

The purpose of this content is to provide extra and relevant value to your website visitors to push them further down our marketing funnel.

Here is an overview over all the audience combination opportunities we get through our segmentation process:

audience combinations

We end up with a lot of different audience combinations. This also means that we need to create a different piece of content for each audience segment, to push them further down the funnel.

I am not going to create all 54 different content pieces, but to show you in greater detail how such a second tier content can look like I am focusing on three different segments.

traffic intents by segment

We have tremendous potential for our retargeting campaigns if we start to deliver content that is highly specific to each audience segment.

The Takeaway
Create specific second tier content for each of your retargeting segments to ensure that people are willing to opt-in.

Step 3 - Creating Your Segmented Audiences in Facebook

Now that we have created an overview over the different audience segments we want to target, it is time to create the audiences in our Facebook account so we are actually able to target them through ads.

To do this we are going to use our Facebook Audience tool. But before we get started we need to modify our Facebook pixel slightly.

Let’s walk through this process together:

Step 1
Track the referral source in your Facebook pixel. You can do that by adding some javascript to your website.

My favorite way to do it, is to add a data layer with the new parameter. Here is how it can look like:

'page Referrer': if(document.referrer == null ) {
document.referrer == ‘direct’

Like that we are able to capture every referral source in our Facebook pixel in a parameter.

Next, you want to make sure that you are tracking the parameter with your Facebook pixel. So go ahead and modify your pixel:

fb pixel modification

If you did everything correctly, you are now able to capture the referral source in your Facebook pixel.

You can check your results in the Facebook pixel helper. And it looks something like this:

facebook pixel helper check

Step 2
Now create the three different audiences mentioned above.

To do that we are going to use our Facebook Audience tool.

Audience One: New Website visitors from search engines landing on our blog

audience one - settings

Audience Two: Returning visitors that come from social and land on our pricing page

audience 2 - settings

Audience Three: Returning direct visitors landing on product feature page

audience three - settings

Step 4
Now create each of the three audiences twice.

One time you want to select the time frame within the last 14 days and the other time within the last 28 days.

The Takeaway
Make sure to capture the traffic source in your Facebook pixel. Doing so allows you to create highly targeted retargeting ads.

Step 4 - Preparing Your Retargeting Ad Strategy

Studies show that the value of returning visitors is greater compared to new visitors, as they are more likely to convert.


So to attract as many returning visitors as possible, we are going to show at least two different ads to our retargeting group in one month.

The first ad will run for 2 weeks, offering people the piece of second tier content you created.

After two weeks, the people that did not yet convert will see a different ad, asking them why they did not download our second tier content.

That ad will also be shown for two more weeks. The people that did also not respond to this ad will be put into a general retargeting audience, used to push into any kind of first tier content again, to repeat the process.

Make sure that most of your addressable audience is reached. If your marketing budget is not high enough to reach most of your audience within this given period, you can extend the period of time, in which your ads are running.

The shorter, more “aggressive” ads convert better.

If you map out the process, it will look like this:

retargeting process

The Takeaway
Don’t show one ad too long to the same audience. We want to move people that did not convert in the first 14 days of retargeting into a new ad group. Like this we are able to show a new ad that drives conversions.

Step 5 - Setting Up Your Facebook Messenger Ads

There are two types of Facebook Messenger ads:

  1. Destination ads: Normal Facebook ads that appear in your News Feed and link to the Facebook Messenger
  2. Placement ads: Ads that appear in your Facebook Messenger linking to a website
placement vs destination ads facebook messenger

Destination ads need to be selected when creating the ad itself. They will send traffic to your Facebook Messenger.

Audience One - New Website Visitors From Search Engines Landing on Our Blog

Step 1
Head over to your Facebook Business Manager and then go into your ad account.

business manager

Step 2
Create a new campaign. The objective we select is traffic.

traffic campaign

Step 3
In your ad group targeting add your custom audience you have created before. In this case we are going to select the audience that runs for 14 days. As our audience is coming from all over the world, we set the country settings to worldwide. (note: If your paying audience comes primarily from a particular country focus on that one!)

set audience in facebook

In the placement settings we only select the news feeds, as send-to-messenger ads can only be published on those two formats.


Step 4
Create your ads. First select the Messenger as destination instead of a website link.

send to messenger (1)

Then head on to create your ad copy. Make sure the value is communicated.

send message to blueprint

Now add your messenger content.

send to messenger

By letting people click on a button below a text within the Messenger ad, you right away teach them to start responding to your messages which will later increase the CTR for your automated sequences.

Step 5
Now, this was the ad for the first 14 days, we will need to add the second ad for the next 2 weeks.

To do this duplicate the ad group. Include your second audience which ranges from 14-28 days and exclude the audience of all leads.

set audience in facebook

Step 6
Next we create the ad for this ad group. Remember, that this is the same audience but now only consisting of people, that have consumed your first tier content but did not download the second tier content.

What we will want to do, is tap into one of the 7 psychological principles of persuasion to get people to get in touch with us.

The principle I am referring to is called unity. Which, in a nutshell, describes that we (humans) are more likely to respond to something if we feel we are actively being part of something.

To convey this message, we simply ask for the help of people.

need your help message

Audience Two: Returning Visitors That Come From Social and Land on Our Pricing Page

Step 1
Now create another ad group in the traffic campaign you created earlier.

create ad set

Step 2
Select the audience number two within the first 14 days and add that to your target audience. Make sure to exclude all new leads again.

add your audience

Step 3
Create your ads. This audience has landed on our pricing page but did not convert yet.

To be more likely to convert here, apply two principles of persuasion into your ad copy:

  1. Reciprocity. We do people a favor by offering them a discount on our product.
  2. Scarcity. We limit our discount at the same time by stating that they can only access it in the next 14 days.
offer ad

Again, make sure you have chosen the Facebook Messenger as destination. If you did so, then go ahead and add your messenger content.

messenger coupon

You might wonder why we don’t send our audience the coupon right away in the message. The reason for that is, that we want to get our leads into the habit of clicking our CTAs as early as possible.

Step 4
For your second audience, show a different message to all the people that did not use our coupon and ask why.

Duplicate the ad group and exchange the audience. We will include the audience which ranges from 14-28 days and exclude all leads as well as the audience that goes from 0-14 days.

Step 5
Create another ad applying the concept of unity.

advice ad

Audience Three: Returning Direct Visitors Landing on Product Feature Page

The third audience we're targeting are people who have repeatedly visited our product pages, which means that they are very likely comparing our features to competitors. What we want to do, is take away all the questions they might have.

Step 1
Again in your Facebook ad account, we can create another ad group in the same Traffic campaign.

create ad set

Step 2
In the ad group settings, we select our last audience within the first 14 days range. Again don’t forget to exclude all new leads.

add your audience

Step 3
Next we create our new ad. Again select the Facebook Messenger as destination goal.

send to messenger (1)

Then add your ad copy.

product comparision ad

Last, add your Messenger content again.

messenger product message

Step 4
Duplicate your ad group. Then exchange the audiences. Include the third audience within the range of 14-28 days and exclude the previous audience as well as all leads.

Step 5
Next, we create our last ad again. Applying the same principle of unity again, we ask people for their help and advice to figure out why they have not read our article.

help out product feature ad

Next, create your Messenger content.

message feedback

The Takeaway
Initiate a conversation with your target audience. Ensure your ad copy is personal. Because Messenger is still new, you need to tell people that they’ll be pushed into their Messenger app.

Step 6 - Leveraging the Full Power of Messenger Through Automated Sequences

We’ve created different highly targeted and specific ads. These will increase our engagement and of course our Facebook Messenger audience.

Use this newly gained audience as fast as possible to build an everlasting relationship with them.

To do this, set up automated sequences in the Facebook Messenger.

You are able to setup automated sequences for each of the ads we have created above. I am going to show you how to do that at the example of our audience number one.

Step 1
While there are a lot of different Messenger bot and automation tools out there, my favorite currently is ManyChat.

So head over to your tool of choice and get started.

manychat homepage

Step 2
Once you have set up your account, navigate to “sequences” on your left hand-side navigation bar.

manychat navigation

Step 3
Next, add your new custom sequence.

new sequence add

And name it.

naming your sequence

Step 4
As we have already sent this audience some extra information in form of second tier content, we are now going to layer an interactive messaging sequence on top, that triggers curiosity and pushes people towards the urge of buying our product.

The first thing we want to do, is create an automated message consisting out of one single message. The goal of this message is to segment our traffic based on their biggest problem.

This is how the process would look like:

messenger process

Step 5
Now in your sequence add your first message.

create new message

Then click on “Create New Reply”.

add new reply

Step 6
The very first message, is addressing that people have recently viewed our blueprint and that we have now even taken this topic one step further and created two different free courses.

messenger text one

When creating two different “Quick reply” options, make sure to add an action, that subscribes people based on their decision to another sequence.

add action to quick reply

After people have selected either one of the options, you are able to send them a short 5 day educational course on this topic, which includes a sales message in the end.

This is how this sequence can look like:

example messenger sequence

Message 1
The very first message you are going to write will explain in detail, what people are going to learn over the next days.

message intro

Message 2-5
Those messages are the educational messages which contain further information on the topic at hand.

educational messages

Message 6
In this message you are going to ask for feedback, how people liked the course. You can either do that quite sophisticated by sending people to let’s say a Google Form, or you can do that quick and dirty right within the messenger by asking them to react with a smiley.

feedback text

Message 7+8
Those two will be sales messages, pushing people to your sales page, on which you are going to promote your product which is closely related to the free education course people have just completed.

sales messages

The Takeaway
To create the best possible experience for your Messenger audience, get started by creating a simple onboarding process for your new leads. That will help you build a relationship on autopilot.

6 Actionable Takeaways to Kickstart Your Facebook Messenger Success

Starting early with Facebook Messenger Marketing gives you the head start needed to survive in this marketing “Newland”.

Here are 6 takeaways to get you started:

  1. Facebook Messenger is an intimate, personal medium. So focus on people that already know you. This will increase your CTRs and Lead conversion rates.
  2. Traffic from different sources has different intent. To boost your opt-ins provide relevant content to every traffic segment.
  3. To segment your traffic properly go beyond the “typical” retargeting settings. Modify your Facebook pixel to track the traffic source.
  4. Don’t fall victim to “banner blindness”. Show different ads after 7 and 14 days. This will increase the likelihood of conversion.
  5. Keep your ad copy conversational. Mention that people will be pushed into their Facebook Messenger and leave nothing up to surprises. This will increase your CTR of your opt-in message.
  6. “Train” people to get used to communicating with you thru Messenger. Setup an onboarding Messenger sequence that eases people into the habit of responding and clicking your messages. That will help you in the long run maintain your audience and CTR.

Do you have any other ideas of how you can leverage Facebook Messenger ads, then let me know in the comments below.

  • September 13, 2017