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News Feed retargeting – what we've learned

Published: May 21, 2013

Author: Molly Shotwell

Today’s post is by Jonathan Lau , Content & Marketing Manager at AdRoll.
Just last week, we rolled out retargeting in Facebook’s News Feed for a select group of 40 beta customers. Though the product is still in its early stages, we’re already seeing striking results. In fact, you could say that Page Post Link Ads (the official name for the News Feed ad unit) has quickly become the killer app of Facebook advertising, taking the phenomenal success of standard FBX ads to the next level.
I know you’ve seen that Jasper’s Market stock ad a few too many times already, so I’m just going to get right to it and highlight our early findings running these units.


Besides serving front-and-center in Facebook’s most prominent location, retargeted ads in the News Feed offer a higher-quality, more engaging advertising experience. With the additional 500 characters of text in the message portion, advertisers can connect with potential customers with more nuanced updates, descriptions, and/or offers.
In our campaign, for example, we used that space to introduce retargeting as a concept and elicit initial reaction from viewers. Facebook’s trademark like, share, and comment buttons underneath each retargeted News Feed ad serve to increase engagement and improve social sharing of the units.
Another nuanced difference is that technically speaking, News Feed units are bought and served on a Cost-Per-Insertion (CPI) basis, deviating from the usual Cost-Per-Impression (CPM) model. Instead of focusing on a single ad impression, we now bid on insertions or slots in a person’s News Feed. This results in the potential to serve more than a single impression per insertion – an added bonus! The insertion remains in a feed until it’s forced out by new events.


These units have performed incredibly well for our initial group of advertisers. We’re finding click-through-rates (CTR) to be in the single-digit percentages, which is orders of magnitudes better than the fractions of a percent we see on standard FBX ads. Additionally, ads are seeing viral distribution — our house campaign is a great example of this.

newsfeed ad adroll

Our call-to-action inviting those who viewed our ad to “comment to let us know if you’re excited about retargeting in the News Feed” saw more comments and likes than any other post on our page.

Best Practices

We’re ramping up more and more clients each day and are excited to see how these units perform. In the meantime, we’ve come up with a few early best practices and will be posting more retargeting best practices in the next few days:
– Carefully choose creative (image and copy) when launching campaigns. Because of the highly visible nature of these units, users aren’t going to be able to miss them! Advertisers need to make sure they’re putting forth only the most relevant and useful information.
– Keep an eye on frequency cap and adjust accordingly. Advertisers will know if their potential customers enjoy the advertisements or not – customers can easily leave feedback in comments. Keep heed of the responses (and number of likes) and don’t hesitate to test and iterate.


News Feed retargeting is the newly minted gangbuster of Facebook advertisers. With an opportunity like this, there will undoubtedly be a few challenges to overcome. However, those who can do so quickly will be rewarded handsomely.
jonathan lau adroll– Prior to joining AdRoll, Jonathan Lau spent almost two years at Google, helping Canadian businesses develop their digital marketing strategy. He possesses a rich understanding of the online advertising ecosystem, consultative selling, and customer service. He thoroughly enjoys heading each morning to ShangRolla, AdRoll’s SOMA-based HQ, where intellect, hard work, humor, and a flurry of new dogs collide. 

25 E Washington Street
Suite 420

Chicago, IL 60602(650) 539-4124


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