The Ultimate Retargeting Guide

Retargeting is a powerful form of digital advertising that has grown in popularity in recent years. It enables organizations to stay in touch with their website visitors even after they leave the site, thus creating an opportunity for organizations to build stronger relationships with potential customers. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the retargeting industry and discuss its key benefits and challenges.

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is an online advertising technique that lets marketers show relevant ads to people they’ve already interacted with. Then, depending on the target user’s interests, the ads are served on desktop and mobile devices across the Internet. By leveraging retargeting campaigns, advertisers can increase brand awareness, drive conversions and generate website traffic.

Retargeting works by tracking users’ behavior with cookies— tiny data files stored in a user’s browser when they visit a website or use an app — to identify them as having already visited the website and logged in activity on that site. Then, retargeting campaigns serve ads specific to the particular interests of that user based on their previous searches and interactions. This allows for tailored marketing messages across social media, search engines, and display ad networks. As a result, retargeting helps brands stay top of mind by ensuring their desired audiences see campaigns, increasing engagement and conversions from leads who may have otherwise forgotten about the brand or website altogether. Retargeting is incredibly valuable for driving customer engagement and sales from a pool of known visitors. It has shown to be highly effective at bringing those visitors back to complete their purchase or take other desired actions for marketers’ goals.

Benefits of Retargeting

Retargeting or remarketing campaigns are the practice of targeting internet users with ads after they have visited a website or interacted with it. Primarily online and powered by cookies, retargeting platforms create customized ads based on user behavior across different sites using marketing technology.

Retargeting is an increasingly popular digital marketing tool for businesses of all sizes and industries. By following a more tailored approach, when compared to other advertising techniques, retargeting campaigns make an attractive investment for any business looking to increase baseline performance and ROI.

The major benefits of retargeting advertisement include the ability to:

  • Reach out to people who have already shown an interest in your product/service;
  • Increase brand awareness;
  • Lower cost per acquisition (CPA);
  • Support riskier investments into unfamiliar markets;
  • Maximize ROI;
  • Enhance customer experience and achieve higher user engagement;
  • Create highly targeted ads based on customer segmentation;
  • Follow up with customers in real-time; and
  • Obtain access to detailed data reporting to optimize your strategy further.

Types of Retargeting

Retargeting is an effective method for advertising because it enables you to reach people who have already expressed interest in your product or service. Different types of retargeting include site retargeting, search retargeting, email retargeting, and social media retargeting. This section will discuss the various types of retargeting and their benefits.

Search Retargeting

Search Retargeting is a form of online behavioral advertising in which a user’s viewing history and search behavior are tracked. This type of advertisement allows marketers to target their ads in front of an audience who has already expressed an interest in the product or service by searching for it. Search Retargeting ties together search and display marketing strategies to engage with potential customers at different stages of the buying cycle, resulting in higher ROI.

Search Retargeting relies on data from search engines, such as Google and Bing, and data from other sources, such as shopping sites and competitor sites. This data helps determine which keywords are most effective for reaching target audiences. By analyzing search keywords, companies can tailor their message to reach users at the most appropriate point in their decision-making journey. Additionally, Search Retargeting can help enhance the impact of text campaigns by placing display ads on the webpages users are likely to visit after performing searches related to their interests.

For example, if a user searches for “baseball bats” on a major search engine and then clicks on related display and text ads, they may be served additional ads that contain relevant images or information about baseball bats after visiting related websites or blogs. This process allows companies to increase awareness about products or services throughout the browsing journey while ensuring greater relevance and control over ad placement. In addition, with its ability to reach more targeted audiences than regular display campaigns, Search Retargeting enables marketers to maximize budget efficiency while delivering more impactful campaigns that result in higher ROI.

Site Retargeting

Site Retargeting, also known as page-level retargeting, is one of the most powerful types of retargeting available. This technique involves showing ads to people who have visited your website but left without making a purchase or taking any other action. Site Retargeting can display highly personalized messages based on where a user has been on the site, such as specific product pages, shopping carts, or other tailored experiences.

Site Retargeting works by placing a special tracking code (known as a ‘pixel’) on every page of your website. As visitors move through your site, cookies are set in their browsers which contain data about them, such as their page visits and interactions with your website up until that point in time. Whenever someone visits your website and takes action on it (such as browsing specific product pages), their activity is tracked and stored in the cookie attached to their browser. This information can then be used to serve them personalized ads via display networks after they’ve left your website – helping to ensure that relevant messages are seen by potential customers who may otherwise forget about you.

Additionally, Site Retargeting can be combined with techniques such as Ad Sequencing, User Profile Building, and Programmatic Buying – which helps advertisers to create more engaging ad campaigns. Ad Sequencing works by delivering different ads to users based on what they previously saw or clicked on – something that can help marketers increase their campaigns’ effectiveness without spending extra money doing so. User Profile Building uses the data collected from Site Retargeting pixels and other sources to build detailed profiles of potential customers so they can be targeted more effectively with ads tailored specifically for them. Finally, Programmatic Buying automates ad buying processes, thus enabling digital marketers to buy and sell impressions based on key data points such as age, gender, and interests. This lets them know how much money will be spent/earned for each impression placed rather than relying solely upon basic auction pricing models like CPMs (or Cost Per Mille).

Social Retargeting

Social retargeting or remarketing is a form of digital marketing that targets website visitors who have interacted in some way with your business on social media. It takes advantage of analytics tools to identify and monitor your target audience’s behavior, allowing you to reach them through multiple channels, such as web ads and email campaigns.

With the rise of platforms such as Facebook Ads Manager, Instagram Ads, and Twitter Ads, social retargeting has become increasingly popular for businesses looking to increase sales by engaging with their audience more personally. With the availability of detailed targeting capabilities, you can easily reach users based on geography, interests, behavior, and demographics.

Common types of social retargeting include:

  • Follower/Fan Retargeting: Showing ads to existing followers can help encourage further engagement with your brand by targeting people already familiar with it.
  • Lookalike Retargeting: This ad delivers similar content to those who have “liked” or engaged with similar accounts or interests. It allows you to expand your reach beyond those that already know your brand.
  • Social Influencer Retargeting: This tactic targets fans who follow or engage with influential people within a certain niche and encourages these fans to engage directly with your brand instead.
  • A/B Testing: You can test different versions of an ad and measure its performance amongst different audiences within the same category to maximize conversions.

Contextual Retargeting

Contextual retargeting is a form of digital marketing used to target ads based on the user’s online activity. The process consists of placing tracking pixels on webpages and collecting data about the user, such as their IP address and usage patterns. That data is then used to create relevant ads displayed to users when they revisit the site or browse any partner websites with similar content.

Retargeting allows display ads tailored for users who have expressed interest in a particular product or service. It also helps open up avenues for gaining new customers through personalized campaigns and messages sent out via email and SMS. Contextual retargeting techniques include:

  • topical retargeting, which targets users based on the subjects they have been researching; 
  • geographic retargeting, which targets ads based on location; 
  • behavioral retargeting, which uses previous behavior to create relevant ad campaigns; 
  • demographic retargeting targets audiences by gender, age, income, and device type. 

By targeting audiences with personalized messages across different channels, contextual retargeting enables businesses to increase engagement and maximize ROI in their marketing efforts.

Retargeting Strategies

Retargeting is becoming an increasingly popular marketing strategy for businesses. This advertising method helps reach potential customers who have already shown interest in your brand. Retargeting also allows you to optimize your message and create a more personalized customer experience. We will discuss the different retargeting strategies you can use and how they can benefit your business.


Segmenting your retargeting campaigns can help focus your marketing activities and ensure that you’re hitting the right people with the right message. In addition, segmentation provides the advantage of customizing how you target customer segments based on their actions or behaviors. For example, you can effectively divide your audience and target specific customers with ads based on their histories, interests, or buying habits.

Segmenting your retargeting campaigns may involve isolating audiences by features such as web page visit frequency, type of device used, scroll depth, demographics, geographic location, language preference, recent activity levels, or purchase activity. When setting up retargeting campaigns, selecting a goal/objective is important to measure success and determine which segments yield the best results. The ultimate goal of segmentation is to ensure that an appropriate advertisement with relevant content is delivered at the most suitable time for customer conversion or growth.

To start segmentation for retargeting campaigns correctly, some basic questions should be answered:

  • Who are our customers?
  • What are they interested in?
  • How likely are they to convert?
  • When do they need our product/service?
  • Where do they live?

By implementing segmented retargeting strategies, companies have a greater insight into consumers’ needs and interests while providing a more personalized approach to their marketing activities.

Frequency Capping

Frequency capping is an important retargeting tactic to help advertisers avoid overwhelming users and appearing too intrusive. This feature limits the maximum number of times an ad can be served to a single user in a given period. This allows marketers and advertisers to stay top-of-mind with their target audience without possibly becoming annoying or creating customer pushback.

Frequency capping is important because it provides a better user experience and establishes trust with potential customers. When they don’t feel overwhelmed by the same ads multiple times, they are more likely to interact or take the desired action. Frequency capping also helps optimize budgets because it isn’t wasted on displaying ads too often.

Many factors must be considered when setting up frequency caps, including campaign objectives, average click-through rates, budget availability, creative quality (to maximize returns), and platform capabilities. Additionally, the frequency for each segment must be determined based on the group’s behavior, like age group or location. Moreover, different platforms may have different frequency cap settings and standard practices that vary significantly from platform to platform—so know what they are before setting up campaigns!


Timing is often an overlooked component of the retargeting equation. However, studies show that it’s crucial when setting up successful retargeting strategies.

For example, suppose you observe an extremely short dwell time of a few seconds as visitors visit your page. In that case, they may be looking for information only and not considering buying anything. If this is the case, you should consider waiting until later in the sales cycle before launching your retargeting ads.

While exact timing will depend on your customer’s buying patterns and the specific products that you are offering, some general guidelines can help:

  1. Immediately after Abandonment – Retarget visitors who have just abandoned their cart with personalized offers or discounts to increase conversion chances
  2. After a few Days – Take advantage of quick sales opportunities by quickly reaching leads with timely reminders or promotions
  3. After Few Weeks – Reach out to leads who are taking longer to decide with educational materials or demonstrations that can influence their decision-making
  4. Schedule Based on Past Purchase Patterns – Use historical data around purchase patterns to tailor campaigns to when customers usually tend to purchase items or services from your company.
  5. Last Moment Reminders – Strategically target customers who have been looking at items for some time but have yet to invest with last-minute reminders as they close in on making their purchase decision.

Custom Audiences

Retargeting through custom audiences is one of the essential components of an effective retargeting campaign. This method allows brands to create an audience of potential customers who meet specific criteria based on user behavior and demographics. Common custom audience types that marketers use include:

  • Website visitors: Users who have been to a digital property, like a brand website or online store.
  • Shopping cart abandoners: Visitors who added items to their cart but never completed the purchase.
  • Cross-platform audiences: Users who have interacted with the business across different platforms, such as social media or email marketing campaigns.
  • Offline data audiences: Customers who have already purchased from the business in brick-and-mortar stores can be targeted by leveraging offline customer information.
  • App users: Mobile app users who opened the app and interacted with it in some way, such as viewing content or engaging with ads.

Custom audiences are powerful because they allow marketers to reengage with previous customers while identifying and targeting new leads with similar traits. When crafting a retargeting campaign using custom audiences, it’s important to think through each stage of the customer journey –– from potential customers shopping for products down to those who’ve already made a purchase –– so that everyone is included in your targeting strategy.

Best Practices

Retargeting advertisement is one of the most powerful and effective marketing tactics. It allows you to reach out to an audience who has already interacted with your brand and, therefore, is more likely to purchase. However, to get the best results, there are certain best practices that you should keep in mind when creating your retargeting campaigns. Let’s explore these best practices.

Use the Right Platforms

Retargeting ads are useful for both consumers and businesses as they can bring users back to the site who may have forgotten about it, prompting them to purchase or simply explore the site further. When starting your retargeting campaign, you should use several best practices to maximize your advertisement’s effectiveness.

The first best practice is to use the right platforms for your retargeting campaigns. Facebook, Google Ads, and Twitter are the most popular options and provide a variety of ways to target audiences with different URLs or content. Making sure you carefully consider which platforms will have the largest reach for your content is essential to ensure you get the highest return on investment for your efforts.

Another important aspect of success in retargeting campaigns is understanding how to organize your list campaigns effectively. This requires careful consideration of what type of audience would be most interested in a specific URL or piece of content, expertise in segmentation, and knowledge of when targeting an audience based on a particular website they visited previously can be beneficial or detrimental.

Finally, another effective way of gaining success with retargeting campaigns is ensuring website visitors do not feel inundated when revisiting after being targeted by an advertisement. Conduct testing experiments with targeting frequencies, so users are not overwhelmed by having too frequent advertisements appear; at the same time, this test should also focus on having the right amount of frequency so that impressions still occur when necessary but do not become redundant. Suppose users feel their experience has been interrupted too much while navigating their web journey. In that case, they may likely disengage from any future marketing opportunities from businesses providing these experiences – reducing potential revenue opportunities and increasing cost-per-click values.

Leverage Dynamic Ads

Dynamic ads are one of the most powerful tools available to marketers today. They allow you to customize ads for individual customers and reach a broader range of audiences. With dynamic ads, businesses can more effectively target specific users with relevant content. Here are some best practices you should keep in mind when leveraging dynamic ads:

  • Utilize Lookalike Audiences: Leverage lookalike audiences from your existing customer base to expand reach. You can use your existing customer data to create audience segments that share traits with people already engaging with your brand. This can help you find potential customers like past buyers or prospects already interested in your product or service.
  • Maximize Automation: Automate ad experiences for each segment or user group through an automated marketing platform or personalization provider such as Adobe Target, Google Optimize, Bluecore, Evergage, etc. Automation allows you to quickly adjust messages, so they increase interest and engagement with potential customers more efficiently than manual processes alone.
  • Track Performance Metrics: Track performance metrics such as cost-per-click (CPC), impressions, ad view rate (AVR), conversion rate (CR), average order value (AOV), return on advertising spend (ROAS), etc., so you can get better insights into how your campaigns are performing and make adjustments when necessary.
  • Refresh Your Content Regularly: Refresh content regularly to keep it relevant and appealing for viewers over time. This helps maintain viewers’ interest by continuously giving them something new and exciting each time they see the ad again. Regular refreshes also help reduce fatigue from repeat exposures of the same creative over long time frames.

Test Different Creative

Retargeting advertisements can be an effective tool for engaging target customers, but it is important to remember that its success depends on creating interesting and dynamic content. To ensure that these advertisements effectively drive sales and create interest, it is important to test various creative options, including messages, images, videos, fonts, and presentations through different channels. This market research can provide valuable insights into what tactics are most successful for your target audience.

Testing different creative strategies may also help you uncover strategies you had not considered before. Experimenting with different tactics gives you insight into how people react to your message, so you know what resonates with individuals, encouraging them to click through or contact your business. By testing various creative materials and features, marketers can customize or adapt their techniques to reach customers with the right message at the right time.

Additionally, this strategy allows businesses to continually develop test campaigns and refine their marketing content to remain current and appeal to their target audiences. Testing can also reveal which creatives require updates or overhauls to remain effective as trends change rapidly over time. Keeping up with new visual and text trends can help keep current customers engaged and understand which approaches are best suited for new customer acquisition efforts via retargeting ads.

Monitor Performance

Monitoring the performance of your retargeting campaigns is essential to ensure that your budget is being used effectively. By tracking important metrics such as click-through rate (CTR) or conversion rate, you can determine whether or not your ads are driving the desired outcomes. Additionally, keeping tabs on campaign metrics will help you identify strategies that are working and those that may need more attention.

To get the most out of retargeting campaigns, it’s important to have a holistic view of activity and performance data. Start by staying up to date with basic website metrics such as time-on-site, pages viewed per visit, and issues with a user experience that could be causing potential customers to leave without completing their purchase. Then review campaign settings such as frequency caps, targeting parameters, and creative variations to see if they improve performance. Finally, take the time to gain insights from competitor trends and consumer behavior data to gain an edge over other brands targeting similar audiences.


In conclusion, retargeting advertisement is quickly becoming one of the top ways to reach potential customers and increase overall sales. By displaying ads to people who have already interacted with your website, you can impact their purchase decisions more than static display ads. Retargeting also allows companies to target audiences based on specific criteria and behaviors, such as past purchases and location.

Overall, retargeting is a great way for companies to stay in touch with people who have previously visited their sites. It allows the company to present highly personalized campaigns and create a sense of urgency in potential customers by giving them relevant offers tailored directly to their interests. With its proven success rates, retargeting is here to stay and will likely continue to be an integral part of any effective digital advertising strategy.

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