Retargeting: AdWords & Facebook

Tips on getting your retargeting audiences into AdWords, Facebook, etc.

Key Concepts

Some of this may be a bit in the weeds for some readers, but this is a semi-technical introduction to how retargeting works, so that you can compose your retargeting triggers as accurately as possible to get what you are expecting.

Static vs. Dynamic Audiences

This is a common concept in CRM's, marketing automation tools, as well as analytics and advertising tools. Briefly, a static audience is like a list of people which can only be changed by explicitly adding a person or removing them. This contrasts with a dynamic audience which is defined by a rule that can be used to evaluate a person, and if that person matches the rule, they are in the audience, otherwise, they are not.

There is no direct explicit way to add an individual to a dynamic audience without them meeting the rule for the audience. Similarly, there is no way to automatically and implicitly add people to a static audience without enumerating each individual who belongs in the audience.

To bring this to more concrete terms, a static audience may be a list of people's emails. You can only add or remove a specific email to the audience. A static audience is what you see in Woopra's segments or labels. You can define a number of rules that together make a dynamic audience and each time you ask the system who is in that audience, it will run the query and find exactly who is in it now. A dynamic audience will change over time as well even if you never alter its definition.


In order for two services like Woopra and AdWords to exchange any information about a person, there must be some sort of shared way of identifying that person so that the person is uniquely and unequivocally identified in both services. In this case, there isn't much information "about" the person that is being shared, simply the fact that you want this person to be in an audience in your advertising platform for specific messaging, etc., but the concept still applies.

Generally, services like Adwords and Woopra try to minimize the personal information that is shared to other services for privacy concerns among other reasons. Even if this weren't the case, often the people to whom you want to retarget are not even identified in your platform yet. While we can assume that Google and Facebook probably know who they are, there is no way that those companies will be sharing that information.

So how does it work?


Everyone has heard of cookies, but what are they??? Cookies are a vital part of remarketing, so a basic understanding of them will go a long way. The concept is simple but broadly used for different purposes, so it can seem daunting. Very simply, a cookie is a piece of information (usually just a random string) that uniquely identifies a browser to a server. This way, when a browser sends two requests to a server, that server can have the option of using cookies to know that both requests came from the same browser. A request is simply the browser asking a server for a web page.

Cookies are set on the browser by the server, and are only sent back to the domain that set them. So if you make a request to, and then you login, Woopra will set a cookie on your browser that says you are logged in for future requests. This cookie could automatically become invalid if the server decides that you must log in, say, every 12 hours at least. It is an important security feature that is implemented in all modern browsers, that a cookie is only sent back to the server/domain that set it, and no other services can get access to it.

Advertisement platforms use this to be able to tell if a person who is not identified, and/or not logged in, is the same person between sessions, and even requests. This seems like a small thing, but it is a keystone in both tools like web analytics and remarketing, as well as in the very experience we have on the internet--it allows web services to provide a more personalized experience, remembering preferences, and showing us the content we tend to find, even if they don't know who we are.

So in short, a cookie is an anonymous identifier. Services use it to uniquely refer to a single person, even if they don't know who that person is and have no personal information on them. This is key to remarketing to people you don't yet know and have not signed up for your service.

Serverside vs. Clientside Triggers

Often, retargeting code has to run on the browser because we send the events to the remarketing platform by injecting their code into the clientside. This then sends an event to those platforms that you'll use to configure the remarketing audience. Serverside tracking cannot inject the script on the client side so we must rely on clientside events for remarketing.


Triggering events must be an event that is tracked from the clientside (user's browser). Woopra's clientside triggers can only be fired as the result of a client-side event. Typically this means a pageview event.

Specific Apps


Retargeting will not work if you're using Google Tag Manager or Segment since they suppress responses from Woopra. You will need to add the Woopra code directly to the pages you're tracking/retargeting for the events to be fired to AdWords or Facebook.

Google AdWords

The AdWords app in Woopra makes use of dynamic audiences only, and uses a cookie-based.

The AdWords app will send events to AdWords where you can configure the retargeting based on these events and behaviors. You can install the integration under the integrations page in Woopra, which will allow you to select the retargeting events in triggers.

Google Ads setup

Create a trigger under the automation section in Woopra. The trigger must be based on a pageview or a clientside event.

Once you create the trigger, you can add an event and select to retarget to your visitors. You'll need to enter a Conversion ID and a Conversion Label which can be found here.

Once this is done, you can create a new audience in Google Ads based on website visitors. The members would be "visitors of a page with a specific tag." You can then select the tag you created and use that audience to retarget.

Facebook Marketing

This integration allows you to send events to Facebook which can be used to create audiences to retarget. These triggers need to be based on a pageview event or some client-side event.

The Facebook integration's setup is as follows:

1- Click the install button in the upper right to install the integration under the integrations page. You do not need to authorize an account. This simply allows you to select the integration when creating a trigger.

2- To create a trigger to send a user to an audience in Facebook, you’ll need to navigate to the Automate tab and create a new trigger event. When you create a new trigger, after you set the ‘Trigger When’ configuration, click to add an event and select the Facebook event.

3- You’ll need the following info to put into the fields: Facebook Account ID and Pixel ID. To create a pixel ID if you do not already have one:

4- When you have this info, you’ll enter the Account ID and Pixel ID in the fields in Woopra.

5-Enter an Event Name. This could be anything you want to call the event.

6- Set the event toggle to ‘on’ to make the event live. Save the trigger and that’s it!

Common Issues

More users in Woopra than Ad Platform

There are a number of reasons why you may find that your audience or segment in Woopra has more users in it than are reported in the matching audience in your remarketing tool.

The biggest reason this will happen is that sometimes, the remarketing tool does not know who the user is. This can especially be the case when creating static audiences based on email addresses. This can be done in Facebook Ads, for example, and where it goes wrong is if Facebook does not have a user associated with the email you've added to the list. One common reason this happens is that the user shared a professional or work email whereas they have signed up to Facebook using a personal email address.

Another reason that this happens is that data from many retargeting services is sampled. That means that you will only get an approximate number of people in an audience. Further, if the audience is growing quickly, it is likely that this approximate count in the remarketing audience is lagging by a couple days or even by a week behind the actual numbers of incoming people who are being added to the audience.