Introduction to retargeting and its importance in a business marketing strategy


Advertising plays an important role in most businesses' marketing strategy but did you know that 98% of the visitors drawn in from your advertising efforts leave without ever taking any action?

Left untouched, this 98% of web traffic that you have already paid for may be lost for good! This is where retargeting comes in – it helps you bring back some of these interested visitors that interacted with your content but for some reason never took any action. 

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting is a type of advertising that allows you to target visitors who interacted with your site but did not convert into leads or customers. It helps to keep your brand on top of these visitor’s minds and shows them relevant ads that help them convert. Retargeting ads also have high conversion rates compared to normal display ads because they have a high probability of being shown to your web visitors when they are ready to buy or take action.

Retargeting vs. remarketing

What is the difference between retargeting vs. remarketing?

These two terms are sometimes used interchangeably to mean the same thing but the difference between them lies in the people you are targeting and the strategy behind the marketing effort.

Retargeting is focused on serving ads to visitors who visited your website but left without taking any action, while remarketing is aimed at re-engaging existing customers using emails. A good example of remarketing is sending a reminder email to a customer when they abandon their cart before making a purchase.

How does Retargeting work?

There are two main types of retargeting: (1) Pixel-based retargeting and (2) list-based retargeting. 

Pixel-based retargeting; When a visitor comes to your website from an ad a cookie will be placed in their browser. This unique cookie is used to identify the visitor when they visit other websites and show them retargeting ads.

List-based retargeting; This involves uploading lists of contacts who have shown interest in one of your products or services to a retargeting platform. The retargeting platform will use the contact information to serve retargeting ads to the people on the list. 

Why is retargeting important?

Retargeting helps increase your ROI and reduce cost-per-lead – since higher conversion rates are expected from ads served to leads who have already shown an interest in your brand.

Retargeting also acts as a “gentle reminder” for leads who had left your site unconverted and can bring them back to your website when they are ready to convert.

Retargeting also keeps your brand top of your customers’ minds such that when they decide to make a purchase in the future your brand will be forefront in their minds.

How effective is retargeting?

Here are some statics about retargeting that you should consider

  • Website visitors  are 43% more likely to convert after seeing a retargeting ad (source: Criteo )
  • According to research done by Google, combining retargeting with other forms of advertising can increase your sales by more than 50%
  • Retargeting ads get 10X Click-through rate(CTR) compared to web display ads (source: Wishpond)
  • 25% of website visitors enjoy seeing ads about products/ services they had seen before (source: CMO)
  • Running retargeting ads can boost searches for your brand up by 1046% (source: PR Newswire

Retargeting strategy

There are two main strategies that you can use when running retargeting ads:

  1. Campaigns to increase awareness: These campaigns are aimed at informing your web visitors about your product/services and other important information about your brand. Awareness campaigns are not targeted and mainly help in keeping your brand top of mind of your audience. In some cases, it’s beneficial to run awareness campaigns before doing a campaign to increase conversions.
  2. Campaigns to increase conversions: The primary aim of this campaign is to push web visitors towards a certain conversion goal such as signing up on a landing page and converting into leads. These campaigns are normally targeted and the ads are best shown to site visitors who are more familiar with your brand’s products/services.

Retargeting best practices

  • Segmenting your audience; It is recommended to segment your audience based on factors such as; time spent on the website; pages they visited; products they showed interest in and; whether they are already a customer. This allows you to run focused retargeting campaigns that are relevant to your audience.
  • Optimizing your ads and landing pages; The styling and messaging on your ads should match with what is on the landing page. Having this consistency between your ads and landing pages increases conversion rate resulting in higher ROI.
  • Setting a frequency cap to your ads; This is to ensure that your audience is not overwhelmed by your retargeting ads. The recommended frequency cap is one that shows your ads between 15 - 20 times a month.
  • A/B testing of ads: You should split test a number of creatives before and checking the results to see which ones perform well. This ensures you are always running ads that give you the best ROI in terms of ad spend. 
  • Rotating your ads regularly: This helps to keep your ads fresh and prevents your audience from developing ad blindness and fatigue from seeing the same ads repeatedly. For example, you can rotate between 3 - 5 variations of the same ad targeted at one conversion goal in your campaign, instead of having 1 ad alone running for that conversion goal.

How do I create a retargeting campaign?

If you are considering using retargeting as part of your business marketing strategy we recommend using FunnelBud Ads – a retargeting platform integrated with Facebook, Google, Twitter and other major ad exchanges that allows you to reach over 100,000+ websites from a single place. Get in touch with us to create your free retargeting account on SharpSpring, and to help you set up your first retargeting campaign. 


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About the Author

Denis Muhuri

Denis is a project manager with FunnelBud who enjoys helping companies to realize the benefits of marketing automation. He is SharpSpring Gold certified and is experienced in the field of search engine optimization(SEO).