Facebook advertising strategy
March 06, 2017 | Shares:

Three Methods of Personalization for Your Facebook Advertising Efforts

In August 2016, Mark Zuckerberg announced (in a Facebook post, of course) that for the first time ever Facebook had one billion users sign in on a single day. To put that in perspective, that is just under 14% of the entire global population.

Can you, from a business perspective, imagine that?! 1 out of 7 people, in the whole world, coming to your website in One. Single. Day.

Facebook for Businesses: a crowded market place?

It is the stuff that business dreams are made of. And it is of course, fantastic news for Facebook – but Facebook is no longer a tool just for socializing, it is a place for businesses too. And one billion users in a day means it is no longer a marketplace your business can afford to ignore.

But with such a huge and vocal user base, not to mention the companies flocking to the site, the challenge of standing out can feel greater than the opportunity. But all is not lost – personalization has proved itself as a genuine Facebook advertising strategy with which to cut through the noise, with 54% of consumers finding personalized ads more engaging.

Facebook retargeting is an important strategy

Personalize your message to create effective Facebook ads

The premise is simple, by tailoring your message and making it more relevant it is more likely to be both noticed and of interest to the person it is aimed at. This is particularly relevant for millennials who, due to the fast scrolling speeds they have acquired growing up as native technology users, have been shown to consume content two and a half times faster than people in their 60s.

Find a Facebook advertising strategy that cuts through the noise

When we scroll through our Facebook feed we are constantly and quickly making snap decisions as to what we do and don’t want to engage with. This sounds like it is an active process, but attention is a limited resource and so in one sense it is automated by our body, using something called your Reticular Activating System (RAS).

Your RAS is effectively a gateway that filters information, allotting attention to that information that requires or deserves it, whilst allowing you to simultaneously ignore that which doesn’t. And it will always give precedence to information that is most relevant to us as an individual.

For example, if you have previously engaged with a product the relevancy that made you look at it in the first place, paired with the familiarity from having interacted with it, will allow it to break through this barrier with much more ease. This is why personalization has continually proved itself to be an effective tool.

Luckily, advances in technology have finally given us the tools we need to properly take advantage of this eCommerce trend.

We are now able to track relevant online activity to discover what is attractive to our target market, and then seek out those shoppers in the relevant spaces and serve them that information accordingly. This can be done by looking at your target market as a whole, as segments, and even as individuals.

Here are three approaches and their respective advantages and disadvantages, allowing you to choose the personalized Facebook advertising strategy that suits you.

Collaborative filtering

As an approach, collaborative filtering is lead by crowd logic, relying on the analysis of the masses and based on the assumption that people’s behavior is often driven by that of their peers. It is most likely to manifest itself in product level ads that highlight the best selling items in your store. Since it is based on an assumption (that if most people liked this product, it’s more likely to be liked by others), it is best utilized to target new shoppers for whom you don’t have the relevant information to target individually.

Collaborative formatting - an effective Facebook ad strategy

The inclusion of this on my list isn’t without controversy, however – since, personalization as a term brings to mind individuality but here you are looking at what is most likely to appeal to the general population. In that sense it is almost an utilitarian approach to eCommerce personalization – tailoring according to that which is most likely to bring the most happiness to the most people. But because it is still more strategic, more focused and more likely to make it through your RAS filter- it earns a spot on the list.

The advantages of personalizing ads according to this approach:

  • Allows you to reflect current buying trends and their underlying causes- for example, if it is raining and you sell umbrellas, it is likely that more people will buy these rather than something sun related. This change in weather will be reflected in that product automatically populating your ads.
  • You are able to provide shoppers with buying options that are approved by general consensus, utilizing social proof as a sales technique.
  • Allows you to provide a snapshot of what is available in your store, specifically those items that have proven themselves most likely to convert.
  • Enables you to differentiate your ad without requiring knowledge specific to the individual.


  • The disadvantage of course is that this is not true 1:1 personalization; people are individual and they may go against the behavior of the group, in which case the advertising won’t be relevant.


While collaborative filtering relies on the group as a whole, segmentation depends on your ability to split your target market into groups definable by shared attributes. They are then targeted with products, content and offers tailored to their shared preferences in relation to your brand.

Facebook segmentation ads

This strategy of course relies on you having a good understanding of your target market, as well as your ability to split your potential audience into sub-categories. Groups can be selected on a number of attributes- with more traditional digital advertising these would be quite basic, for example, demographic, geo-location or device type.

However, one of the primary benefits of Facebook advertising is just how much Facebook users reveal about themselves on the platform through actions such as interests they list, to the content they engage with. This has allowed the platform to build on these basic targeting options to offer much more specific segmentation possibilities.

For example:

  • Demographics: Targeting people based on factors such as age, gender, relationship status, education, workplace etc.
  • Interests: Defining your ideal audience by their interests – these may be gleaned from their listed interests, activities, education, job titles, pages they like or the groups which they belong to.
  • Behaviors: Select people based on their purchasing behavior, device usage and history of or likeness in engaging in certain activities (such as travel or moving house).

It is also possible to layer the segments. So, for example, you may want to target females, age 16-25, with an interest in fashion. This allows you to get super specific in the message you want to deliver so as to fully resonate.  

Facebook also allows you to target your existing customers by uploading a list of people you want to target, or find new but relevant prospects by selecting a lookalike audience – those profiles which are most like your existing customer database.

So, to personalize in this way you would create ads with your different groups in mind – then send them to those groups specifically. For example, you are a fashion retailer who wants to target 25-30 year old pregnant women that are interested in fashion. You would then create an ad around the relevant topic of your maternity line and target the ad accordingly.

The advantages of this approach:

  • You are able to be more specific in your messaging than with crowd logic, recognizing some of the individual traits that may be presented within a wider group.
  • Increased chances of relevance to an individual’s preference means that they are more likely to engage. For example, with crowd-logic recommendations you may display baby clothes just because they are the most popular items on your store but you could be showing these to someone who has not got a baby. By making an ad for your baby clothesline and then sending it to people who have liked “New parent magazine” you are much more likely to see engagement.
  • More cost effective. With Facebook ads normally being priced on a CPA (cost per acquisition) or CPC (cost per click) basis, you want to avoid spending money bringing the wrong traffic to your site. Which, brings me onto my next point,
  • By focusing on your target market (existing customers or otherwise), you are also focusing on people who are more likely to be interested in your product – this means they are more likely to convert.


  • As with collaborative filtering this is not true 1:1 personalization, the behavior and preferences of an individual may not be in line with the group they belong to. Yes I may be a young girl, living in the US with an interest in fashion – but maybe my personal taste means I hate the style of clothes you are presenting.
  • In some cases the information people provide about themselves may no longer be accurate – we are prone to change and by not going on their most recent behavior you risk ignoring this. I may have liked a page about horses 5 years ago, but I could have since moved to a city area, not updating my profile, and now have no need for equestrian accessories.

One-to-one personalization

The tailoring of the eCommerce experience to individual shoppers, and what purists would state to be the true meaning of personalization. Also known as Facebook retargeting.

One-to-one personalization of Facebook ads

This approach works by tracking your customers buying and browsing behavior and using that information to serve them the most relevant experience. It relies on your ability to build individual customer profiles which can then be used to dynamically and automatically tailor your ads.

When profiling a customer, information may be collected across hundreds of data points from several sources- including onsite and offsite behavior, interaction with emails and social behavior. Information collected can include interests, context and even where they are in the buying cycle. As an approach it is most suited to bringing shoppers back to your site as it relies on previous experiences and interactions with that individual.


Personal re-engagement ads – Targeting customers who have visited your store previously by recommending products picked just for them based on their previous shopping behavior.               

Abandoned cart recovery ads – Encouraging shoppers who selected items but didn’t quite make it to checkout by recommending products related to what they had in their cart.

Post-purchase ads – Encouraging converted customers to continue their spree by suggesting items that are relevant to what they have already bought.                             

The advantages of this approach:

  • You are able to focus not only on your target market but those that have already visited  your website, meaning they are heavily engaged with your eCommerce brand.
  • Allows you to utilize data from your store which would otherwise be wasted, turning people’s actions into meaningful and profitable return.
  • Makes it possible to attend to the needs of the individual – this targeted approach means engagement is much higher as suggestions are based on browsing or buying behavior.
  • More cost effective – traffic driven to your site is more relevant, more engaged and therefore more likely to convert!

By advertising on Facebook you include your business in a marketplace of 1.4 billion people, but by personalizing those ads you increase your value in that space.

The world of personalized advertising is where ads are no longer created with a spray and pray approach, but as a targeted medium for you to engage customers and prospects. It’s an exciting time for the eCommerce world!

To find out more about this, checkout our joint webinar on Social Commerce.

Lottie Coltman
Lottie Coltman, Content Marketing Manager @ Nosto
Lottie is the Content Marketing Manager for Nosto, writing on topics such as personalization, conversion optimization and social commerce. Nosto helps online retailers to deliver their customers personalized shopping experiences at every touch point, across every device.
No account? Sign Up

Interested in Yotpo?

Schedule a call with one of our marketing consultants to learn more.

Let's make the most
of our time

More info helps us prepare the best
and most personalized call for you.

Thank you.
We'll be in touch ASAP.
In the meantime, enjoy these: