You are currently viewing Re-Targeting: A Beginner’s Guide To The Advertising Strategy

Re-Targeting: A Beginner’s Guide To The Advertising Strategy

The majority of visitors who land on your site will leave without opting in or making a purchase.

Some studies show that this figure can be as high as 98%, which is very frustrating especially when you consider just how hard you work to get that traffic to your site through various marketing efforts and platforms!

But, if only 2% of visitors convert when they visit your site for the first time, is there anything that can be done to get the ones who don’t to come back to your site (in the hopes that they convert on their second visit)?

The good news is that there absolutely is a way to grab those visitors who leave your website without opting-in to your email list or making a purchase.

And the process of finding them again is actually very easy. You don’t always have to start at square one with all your site visitors.

Retargeting gives you the key to re-engage with people who have already been on your site so you can try and convert those who just looked but didn’t buy anything the first time around.

Understanding Retargeting

To understand the concept of retargeting (also called remarketing), you can think of it as the equivalent of having a physical store, and being able to grab any potential customers about to leave your store without buying your product, and give those people a personalized sales pitch.

That’s the same reason why salespeople trip over themselves in stores trying to catch visitors before they leave.

The sales associates know that by engaging those potential customers in conversation and learning more about their needs, they are more likely to discover what they are in need of and therefore get them to make a purchase.

Retargeting is the online version of that process.

It’s simple, yet super effective. It allows online marketers to engage with prospects even after they have left their websites, and make more attempts to convert those people as they move around the web.

The statistics around retargeting are quite impressive:
  • Three out of four consumers notice retargeting ads
  • 70% of people who see retargeted ads are more likely to convert
  • Over 60% of marketers dedicate a part of their budget to retargeting efforts

There’s no denying that retargeting is a hot topic in digital marketing at the moment and it’s considered by most to be one of the most effective tactics when it comes to converting.

This is a technology that is driven by cookies that allow you to track your visitors after they leave your site without signing up or making a purchase.

You can target them with ads on various platforms.

This is a perfect tactic for reducing shopping cart abandonment and it also works to significantly boost brand awareness, too.

Platforms for Retargeting

You can retarget people using email, Facebook ads, Twitter ads, and Google display ads among others.

The display ads on any of these platforms can be extremely targeted for viewers. They are eye-catching, engaging, and effective simply because the people seeing them have already shown some interest in you, your business or products.

Some consumers find these types of ads a little bit intense, but for most, it’s not really an issue.

A portion of the people who see your retargeting ads won’t even be aware of what they are, and many of those who are aware simply don’t mind them.

Some people are actually quite pleased when they see the retargeting ads that are relevant to them because they are reminded of something that they may have forgotten.

With retargeting, you’re also able to present your prospects with specific offers like pricing discounts, free shipping, or other related products to entice those users back to your site where they can complete their purchase.

How to use Retargeting In Your Business

Now that you have a firm understanding of what retargeting is, it’s time to explore the details of how you can get started.

The concept is extremely simple, but the process of putting a retargeting strategy together will take a bit of time (and a lot of white-boarding).

This is particularly true if you want to make your display ads as personalized and targeted as possible.

But, no matter how time-consuming it may be to get started, in the end, it’s going to be worth every second that you invest into it because of the major boost that it will give to your business’s sales over time.

Some of the options that you can use as part of your retargeting plan include:

Social Media Retargeting

You can use social sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram for retargeting your audience. These platforms are all great places for retargeting ads because your fans, followers, and friends can help to drive engagement with your brand.

Social media retargeting works in the following way:

When retargeting ads are shown to you on Facebook, you not only see the special offer and the call to action, but you’re also shown that some of your friends ‘like’ the brand.

The ad itself will often also be ‘liked’ and if it’s to do with an event, you get to see who among your friends is attending it.

This is a smart tactic that adds legitimacy to your business and the message that you are sharing, and it can be really powerful, particularly when displayed next to discount messages.

If anyone who saw your retargeting ad was still unsure about the credibility of your business, or if they were unsure about buying from a site that they hadn’t been to before, then this would help in alleviating their concerns and encouraging them to convert.

Retargeting With Facebook

Facebook typically offers the best return on investment thanks to its ad products and advanced targeting features which make promotions on social media easy.

With this social platform, you’re able to create a custom audience for your display ads based on the visitors who come to your site in general or those who visit specific pages.

By doing this, you’ll be able to focus on retargeting high-potential individuals.

By adding Facebook pixels to the pages on your site such as the product page, sale confirmation page, shopping cart buttons, etc, you will be able to show specific ads to people who previously looked at or purchased your products.

If anyone added something to their cart and they didn’t proceed to check out, you will be able to remind them that they didn’t finish their shopping experience, thus reducing your percentage of abandoned shopping carts.

Or, even more simply, your ads could feature products that your visitors showed interest in.

Your audience can be segmented into different groups using criteria such as their shopping cart value, and whether they are new or repeat customers.

Doing this enables you to present them with specific ads that are perfectly suited to them.

Also, if you want to take it up a notch, you can use Facebook for sequential retargeting. This is where your visitors would be presented with different ads about your business or brand over the course of a few days.

For instance, you might display an ad about an amazing video or blog post pertaining to your business to build recognition, or you might feature one about some business achievement or award that you won.

When you’ve built up a bit of brand awareness and trust, you can then show them ads about some of your products.

Facebook and Twitter both offer in-depth guides on how best to use retargeting on their platforms.

Retargeting With Google

Google’s Ad Network encompasses a lot of websites with some of the highest traffic numbers in the world, and they are all available for you to use in your retargeting ad campaigns.

Just like Facebook, Google Adwords lets you do some really basic remarketing but you also have the option of retargeting visitors using ads that feature any products that they looked at and didn’t buy on your site.

Additionally, you can remarket lists for search ads.

With this type of remarketing strategy, you can use the remarketing lists that you have in the Google Adwords tools to adjust bids for your keywords.

For instance, if someone came to your site previously, they are more likely to convert as compared to users who are coming to your site for the first time, which means that you can increase the bid for this audience.

By doing this, you increase the likelihood that your ads show in Google’s top positions in the results pages when your most valuable prospects are conducting searches that are related to your business.

Email Retargeting

This is a simple way of maximizing the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.

You do this by uploading your email list to Facebook, Google Adwords, or any other platform that you choose to use.

When using Adwords, it’s possible to target Gmail users with ads across all Google products including the display network when they are signed in to Google.

An alternative is to use tools like Retargeter or Perfect Audience to create a line of code that you can place in your email’s HTML.

This process is similar to that of placing code on your site for retargeting. When you do this, any person who opens one of your emails can now be shown ads relating to that particular email message.

A lot of online marketers use some combination of retargeting and email marketing to encourage visitors to convert.

You can boost your sales significantly when you combine retargeting with various other channels such as email. An email service provider that does this particularly well is MailChimp.

It allows you to set up integrated campaigns where you can create ads in Facebook, Google, and Instagram to go with your emails.

The platform also allows you to send retargeting emails for products.

In these emails, you can remind your prospects about a cart that they abandoned or you can include some information about the product they viewed last on your site.

You should note that you can also use CRM platforms like InfusionSoft in conjunction with your other retargeting tools.

Video Remarketing

A relatively easy way of finding engaged customers is simply by looking toward those consumers who have spent time watching some of your online video content.

If anyone is willing to give up their time to listen to one of your messages, the odds are that they are interested in the products or services that you’ve got to offer.

On social sites like Facebook or Instagram, you’re able to serve ads to users who have watched your full video or even half of it. If someone watches your video all the way to the end, you might follow up with an ad for a related product.

However, if they only watched 30 seconds into the video, then you could remind them to watch it to the end.

On YouTube, there are retargeting options which include showing your ads to people who have liked or commented on one of your videos.

You can also target your site visitors with video just as you would with any other ad, as long as the platform supports it (Facebook and YouTube, for instance).

Link Retargeting

If retargeting works very well for your business, you may want to use link retargeting as a way of getting prospects into your retargeting funnel.

This works even if they have never come to your site before. Link retargeting lets you show ads to people who showed interest in your posts on social media.

You can target people who click on any curated content that you produce, or if you share one of your product reviews on a third-party site.

For instance, say your business sells antique furniture, and you share a magazine article about the topic, you’ll then be able to retarget anyone who clicks on that particular link.

Since they interacted with that article, it’s a great sign that those people are very interested in what you do (regardless of the fact that they have never visited your site).

Link retargeting is simple and easy to do simply by adding a pixel code for the platform that you’re using (Google, Facebook, etc.) whenever you shorten a link that you want to share on social media.

In Conclusion

Retargeting sure can be a time-intensive process, but it will definitely give you bang for your buck.

This strategy pays off in both increased sales and long-term engagement. Use tools like AdRoll or Retargeter to help make the process simpler for you.

Feel free to post your comment below.  An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!


Updated: Originally published September 4th 2018

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Tiffany Domena

    Hi Steven!

    I really enjoyed your article. You grabbed my attention with the suspense at the beginning.

    I haven’t used retargeting, but I have read about the effectiveness of social media and search engine retargeting before, but I wasn’t aware of link retargeting or email retargeting.

    Do you know if email marketing providers like Convertkit enable this feature? That sounds really cool. Something to definitely think about.

    1. Steven

      I don’t know a whole lot about Convertkit just yet. The little I recall, from what I’ve heard, it sounds like a versatile email tool. I will have to look into this sometime soon.

      Thanks for the comment Tiffany!

  2. Clay Westfall

    I never really understood how retargeting worked. Whenever I go to other websites, they always have the little box offering a free newsletter if you simply give you their email address. Now, finally, I can see how it all works together, and the benefit of the whole process. Thank you for taking the time to explain it all in a way that even I can understand.

    1. Steven

      I’m glad to hear the article helped you out.

      Thanks for the comment Clay!

  3. Florence Ki

    I always thought retargeting is only for social platforms and Adwords. Didn’t know that it can be done via links and email. Are the tools recommended in your article is a one stop tool for ALL retargeting methods that you mentioned? I would appreciate if you could recommend me the best tool that can do ALL retargeting on one single dashboard.

    1. Steven

      Google and Facebook control about 80% of all referral traffic on the Internet. If you do retargeting with those two platforms you will cover just about everyone. There are other companies out there that do retargeting campaigns you can look into if you wish. Between Google and Facebook, you will have all forms of retargeting covered though.

      Email retargeting can be done with Google for Gmail users.

      Link retargeting can be done with both Google and Facebook using pixel codes.

      This is just a beginners primer to get you started. You’ll probably have to do some research to figure out what path you want to take with this kind of marketing.

      Maybe I will put up an intermediate guide on retargeting in the future.

      Thanks for the comment Florence!

  4. David Guffey

    Interesting topic, I need to look into this further. The idea is a strong point in trying to get users to purchase something if you target someone that has been to your site once they were interested enough to go there once, maybe they will return with a little nudge. Your site has a clean look about it and the topic is something that made think about the people that have been to my site and have not bought anything. Keep the good work.

    1. Steven

      Retargeting can be powerful if implemented properly. Setting it up takes a bit of effort but is well worth it in my opinion.

      Thanks for the comment David!

  5. Eli

    I’m not so good with retargeting and I have a lot of trouble applying it to my site. I don’t have a lot of content yet so I’m not sure how to integrate things, most of all, I don’t have enough traffic yet. This article helps me to understand some of the retargeting concepts and apply it when I’m ready for it.

    I might apply email and video retargeting when the time comes. I’m reading Retargeter and audience now and try to understand how these two work.

    Thank you.

    1. Steven

      Keep studying, none of these concepts are difficult to understand once it all clicks in your head. It is a bit overwhelming to beginners though. With experience, you’ll be utilizing all the tricks of the big boys in no time.

      Thanks for the comment Eli!

  6. Kenny

    Hi I agree that having the right ads in place can and does make a difference to your sites profitability. I think you have done a good job in demonstrating just how this works and I think your site has some really valuable content on it. Thank you for sharing and I hope to visit again soon. Kenny 

    1. Steven

      Having the right ads and staying in front of the tire kickers is a powerful combination. Many people will leave your site on the fence, keeping your ads in front of them will convert a decent percentage.

      Thanks for the comment Kenny!

  7. Kent

    It definitely sounds like remarketing is a very good strategy to make the most out of every visitor. I have heard so much about email marketing and it seems like every successful blogger is using it these days. I have always doubted it and never used it with my blog, but now I’m thinking about learning how to use it. For the email service provider, are there any other good free ones you recommend besides MailChimp?

    1. Steven

      They all offer some kind of free trial. It is wise to take advantage of these trials to see which service suits you and your situation before spending money.

      Thanks for the comment Kent!

  8. Norman

    When it comes to this type of business it can get really touch at times as you seek to build your traffic base but it is good to see the kinds of information that you are sharing that can still give persons hope that are struggling in getting traffic to their website because traffic is the life line to any website in order to make money.

    1. Steven

      Traffic is always a struggle, especially for beginners. If you have no budget to buy targeted traffic at the start, you just have to be patient and keep adding good quality content, the traffic comes eventually.

      Thanks for the comment Norman!

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