How to Target Inactive Subscribers on Facebook

Inactive subscribers are often overlooked as checked out (in a bad way) and thrown into newsletter purgatory. In reality, we shouldn’t take this view of inactive subscribers at all. It’s a simple fact that it’s cheaper to reactivate inactive subscribers than it is to acquire new customers. While some might argue that inactive email subscribers are a lost cause, it’s quite possible that they simply don’t like email or are receiving way too much of it.

Sending countless emails to inactive subscribers is bad business and that massive stream of unopened emails are in turn damaging your email deliverability. If you have already gone through the process of trying to reach inactive subscribers through email, it’s time to try Facebook. With Facebook retargeting you can pinpoint the exact people you want to spend ad dollars on. When they have re-engaged, segment them out so you’re not wasting money.

Let’s take a look at how to target inactive subscribers on Facebook.

What inactive looks like

The most important aspect of this type of retargeting is deciding what an inactive subscriber looks like. Think about these three data points:

1. Determine a time period

While regular list cleaning is recommended every 90 days, deciding how long you want to wait for someone to be considered inactive is up to you. This goes back to understanding the buying cycle for your business.

It really depends on how aggressive you want to be and what types of products you are selling.

Let’s take a look at a few examples:

  • Replenishable goods and subscriptions: This buying cycle is easiest to identify, if someone falls out of the regular purchasing cadence, they should be considered inactive.
  • Seasonal products: These typically follow a longer break between purchases. This can make it a little harder to forecast, but it’s still achievable!
  • Bigger ticket items: This type of cycle comes down to understanding when another product could assist the original product in a timely fashion.

2. Choose an action

What action do you want your audience to have taken in order to qualify them as inactive? Most ecommerce marketers would use opening an email as the action. You could also use CTR or purchase as an action to qualify.

3. Set a threshold

In the case that you’re not regularly sending emails or want to get even more precise you will want to add a threshold. Let’s say we decided that for our time period we wanted to go with 30 days, our action was “hasn’t opened an email”, we might decide to choose a threshold of at least four.

Our targeted group would make up folks that have received at least 4 emails in the past 30 days and haven’t opened any of them. But if I wanted to get even more targeted I could start to add additional conditions to my search parameters such as:

  • If someone has made a previous purchase
  • Previous behavior (buy/not buy) discount/personalized message
  • What they have looked at (browse abandonment)

Understand why they choose your brand to begin with. It’s easier to re-engage someone if you know why they choose your product in the first place, this will help in making them choose you again. It can also be helpful when deciding what you want to include in the creative and offer for your Facebook ads.

Get even more targeted

We know that the more targeted and relevant an email is, the higher chance you are to convert that email into a sale. The same goes for Facebook retargeting. Instead of sending everyone on your re-engagement list the same message, why not segment subscribers to give them an even more targeted message?

These are a few different ways you could segment your re-engagement list:

  • Previous purchases: Group everyone who bought the same thing together
  • Previous behavior (buy/not buy): A good opportunity to offer a discount and personalized message based on behavior
  • What they look at (browse abandonment): Re-entice them with a promotion or reminder of what they looked at

To save ad dollars, you’ll want to setup a filter to automatically filter out anyone who purchases.

How to target inactive subscribers on Facebook using Klaviyo

If you’re already using Klaviyo, you can easily target inactive subscribers on Facebook with our Facebook Audiences integration. The integration will allow you to sync list and segments with custom audiences in Facebook’s Ad management platform. This way, you can target ads on Facebook using the data you have in Klaviyo.

1. Create a segment of your inactive subscribers. If you’ve already gone through the steps mentioned above to decide what inactive means to your business, you should be rocking and rolling in under 3 minutes.

2. Setup Facebook Audiences Integration (if you haven’t already). This will take under a minute to get setup.

New to Facebook advertising in general? Head over here.

3. Finally, sync your segment to a Custom Audience.


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