Post Purchase Retargeting – The most valuable audience you’re likely not using

The majority of businesses know the drill by now when it comes to paid traffic: new customers and retargeting. Maybe some engagement campaigns to boost social awareness, but for the most part these 2 campaigns are our primary money makers.

However, there is a 3rd audience that very few businesses utilize that can be 5-10x more profitable than both of these previous 2 combined. In fact, after having looked at hundreds of businesses Facebook Ads Manager, I can say that maybe 1 or 2 are using it effectively.

This magical 3rd audience? Your previous customers. Previous customers are a literal goldmine for both revenue and sales.

Think about it: these people have already demonstrated enough interest in your brand that they’ve taken their credit card out and purchased from you. Assuming you fulfilled ‘your end’ of the deal, the barrier of effort to get them to buy again is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than someone who has never bought from you before. Your ad costs and resulting ROI will be enormously improved, compared to your other campaigns.

However, when I bring this up with business owners, they often tell me, “Oh we have an email list which works just fine,” or, “Oh we don’t want to annoy people”. Sure, an email list works okay. And you definitely don’t want to advertise to people so much that you annoy them. But I can assure you that 1. An email list is nowhere near as effective and 2. These people already like you! They’ve bought from you, and given the opportunity would likely do so again. Unless you seriously start over-advertising to them, they’ll be thanking you, rather than telling you (politely) to fuck off.

So. We know that post-purchase retargeting is something we should be using. But what does a good post-purchase retargeting ad look like?

First of all, you should make it abundantly clear in the ad copy that you recognize them as previous customers. This is called a pattern interrupt: something that catches people attention from the normal bullshit they normally see. To prevent your ad from becoming just another piece of spam in someone’s newsfeed, you have to stand out.

Some examples of copy that can be used as patterns interrupts:

  • The request for feedback: “We want to hear your feedback, good or bad!”
  • The simple thank you: “Thank you for being a loyal customer!”
  • The upsell/cross-sell: “We think you’ll love this too!”

All of the above are different than the generic ad-copy of, “We do X, Y, and Z come buy from us blah blah blah”. Since we are inherently limited in this audience by the number of previous customers we have, we have to be very selective over the quality of ad we show them, lest we exhaust them too quickly.

Next, what sort of products should we show to previous customers? For eCommerce, it’s pretty simple. Simply upsell/cross-sell other products that seem like the logical next step. One of the biggest advantages of this audience is the degree of control you have over it. For example, you could find every customer that purchased a specific t-shirt design, then show them an ad of the same design on a hoodie (“for the colder weather!”). Get creative and you will soon reap the rewards.

The downside of this audience, as previously mentioned, is its inherent size/inability to scale. Because of this, I recommend running these campaigns in intervals, eg. 1 week on, 2 weeks off, both to prevent ad fatigue but also to introduce an element of scarcity.

Have you or your business ever experimented with post-purchase retargeting ads? Let me know in the comments below your results 🙂

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