How to Recover Abandoned Carts with Facebook Sequential Retargeting Ads

recover abandoned carts

Engagement isn’t always equal to sale and purchases, and this is evident when it comes to abandoned carts. In the world of ecommerce, an abandoned cart is the term used to describe the instance where a customer decides to leave an ecommerce store without completing their purchase and transaction.

Depending on the type of products, store, niche and user experience, the percentage of abandoned carts can range anywhere from 50% to 80%.

According to Annex Cloud, abandoned carts costs ecommerce stores and businesses around 2 to 4 trillion dollars per year. Given the large economic impact, shopping cart abandonment solutions are becoming a priority for ecommerce store owners and marketers everywhere.

There are multiple ways for business owners to reduce and recover abandoned carts by bringing customers back to the website. One of the best and cost-effective ways to do this? Through Facebook sequential retargeting.

How to Recover Abandoned Carts with Facebook Sequential Retargeting Ads

In this post, we’re going to talk about Facebook retargeting and Facebook sequential retargeting. These methods are so effective, that – if done correctly – they can dramatically increase the overall conversion rate. Poorly executed Facebook retargeting ad campaigns can lead to wasted ad dollars.

Ecommerce Conversion Funnel

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Before we go into the process of how to implement sequential retargeting to recover abandoned carts, let’s talk about what retargeting actually is, types of Facebook retargeting and a little brief about how they work.  

What is retargeting?

Retargeting is also known as remarketing. It’s a form of online advertising that can help keep your brand or product in front of people who left the website.

According to Retargeter, only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit for most websites. Retargeting is a tool designed to help online businesses and ecommerce stores reach 98% of users who don’t convert right away.

Types of Facebook Retargeting

There are two main ways you can retarget customers who have abandoned their cart.

  1. Behaviour-based retargeting
  2. Sequential retargeting

Facebook behaviour-based retargeting

Behaviour-based retargeting can be triggered by multiple actions that visitors might have taken on the website – and not only in the event of abandoned carts. For instance, you can retarget visitors who came to your website but didn’t add any products to their cart, or people who added an item to their cart but didn’t make it to the checkout. This audience list is endless – but you get the idea.

Behaviour-based retargeting can become annoying and less effective after a certain ads frequency, or once it has reached the ad fatigue stage. This is because your message is repeated to the audience multiple times. And depending on the retargeting window you have set, your audience might be seeing your ads again and again for weeks/months after they visited your website.

Facebook sequential-based retargeting

Sequential based retargeting is a type of retargeting that takes place in sequences. Your visitors see the sequence of ads after they have left the website, or have abandoned their cart. Ultimately, sequential retargeting ads are not boring and repetitive like behaviour-based retargeting ads can be.

Using sequential-based retargeting ads, you will be able to nurture your visitors by showing them different education-based messages before acquiring.

For instance, you can show users how your website works by way of videos or blog posts that discuss tips, and how-to’s etc.

Benefits of Facebook sequential retargeting over behaviour-based retargeting

  1. Opportunity to nurture your visitors or audience: As a marketer or ecommerce store founder, and while carrying out Facebook sequential retargeting, you have the opportunity to nurture and educate your visitors about your brand, product or cause if you are behind one. This will help emphasise your message and make it easier to acquire a customer at a cheaper cost.
  2. Help you fight ad fatigue: Your audience goes through a sequence of ads with each sequence or ad shown from 1 to 5 days depending on audience size and retargeting strategy. This reduces repetition and keeps the content alive.
  3. Improves engagement and increases conversion rate: This is down to the fact that your audience/visitors go through different ad content every time they see your ad on the web. As a result, the engagement is boosted and conversion rate is increased. Ultimately, it helps you recover the abandoned cart.

Steps to Implement Add to Cart Retargeting Sequence to Recover Abandoned Carts

Without further ado, let’s dive into the important stuff 🙂

Step 1 – Auditing Facebook Pixel

The first (and most important) step is to make sure that you set up your pixel correctly and trigger all events without any delays.

Step 2 – Create Add to Cart Custom Audiences

Once the Facebook pixel is checked and audited, head over to Facebook Ads Manager > Audiences to create custom audiences.

You’ll need to create custom audiences for inclusion and exclusion based on the number of days visitors abandoned the cart. After that, you can retarget the visitors based on a specific day or range.

Let’s say we’re creating a 6-day ‘add to cart’ retargeting sequence. Over these 6 days, we’ll be showing your audience 3 different kinds of ads using 2-day intervals.

In order to do that, we need to create 3 ‘add to cart’ custom audiences on Facebook.

  1. People who added a product to their cart in the last 2 days
  2. People who added a product to their cart in the last 4 days
  3. People who added a product to their cart in the last 6 days

Here’s how to create them.

Audience Set 1

Audience Set 1 for sequential retargeting ads

Audience Set 2

Audience Set 2 for sequential retargeting ads

Audience Set 3Audience Set 3 for sequential retargeting ads

Step 3 – Content for Add to Cart Retargeting Ads

Day 1 – 2 Add to Cart Retargeting Sequence

You can use this ad sequence to either provide value to your visitor or to reduce the initial friction.

There are numerous reasons as to why the abandonment of cart occurs. For instance, visitors might have abandoned the cart because they might not be sure what to buy, or how to use your product or platform.

Let’s say you are selling premium perfume through your ecommerce store. You might want to give your visitors tips regarding the ideal occasions for them to use a specific perfume, eau de parfum or eau de toilette.

On another note, if your platform or product is complex, your visitors might need an education of sorts. For instance, how to use your platform, or how to use your product.

This will help reduce any initial friction while nurturing your audience and ensuring it’s ready for the next stage.

Check out this Facebook example ad from theViewer (one of our clients).

theViewer facebook ads by growthrabbit

Day 3 – 4 Add to cart Retargeting Sequence

You can implement this ad sequence to showcase your best selling products/collections – or offer the first level of discount.

Showcasing the collection or best selling products will help build interest and excitement and ultimately convert into sales. If you decide to go with the first level of discount (such as a certain percentage off or even free delivery if your store is not already offering free delivery),  it can then create urgency and the dreaded FOMO (fear of missing out).

Check out this Facebook example ad from Kierin NYC (one of our clients).

Kierin NYC facebook ads by growthrabbit

Day 5 – 6 Add to Cart Retargeting Sequence

You can use this ad sequence to showcase the second level of discount that’s higher than the first level of discount, or some kind of special offer (such as “get X for free”). This can help increase conversion and recover the abandoned cart.

Check out this example ad from Slidr (one of our clients).

Slidr facebook ads by growthrabbit


Retargeting works, and it is one of the most cost-effective ways to recover the abandoned carts or bring visitors back to your website. If you implement facebook sequential retargeting in the right way (as outlined above), you’ll see the drop in abandoned cart rates and an increase in conversion rate.

Ultimately, this will improve your CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) and ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) – the key driver of the growth engine.

Over to you.

Chintan Maisuria

Author Chintan Maisuria

Chintan Maisuria is the founder & CEO of He loves funnel building and paid acquisition. Spicy hot curry lover, big time foodie and fitness geek. Want him to assess your marketing and sales funnel? Click here --> Book your free strategy call now.

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