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Retargeting Ads in 500 Words or Less (Plus 3 Bonus Retargeting Tips)

Did you know that 96 out of every 100 people who visit your website will leave without making a purchase?

According to research from Forrester, it’s true. Just as it’s true that 70% of people who add a product to their shopping cart will leave without completing their order.

These are some depressing statistics. But don’t give in to despair—there’s good news here, too.

By using retargeting ads, you can bring many of those visitors back to your website and increase the chances that they will buy your product or sign up for your mailing list.

What Are Retargeting Ads?

You’ve probably heard of retargeting ads before. And you’ve almost certainly been retargeted by other advertisers, so you shouldn’t have any trouble grasping the concept.

Generally speaking, retargeting is the practice of serving online ads to people who have already visited your website.

So for example, if you happened to visit this product page for the clothing company Buttercloth…

Buttercloth clothing on their website

Then you might notice Buttercloth ads following you around as you browse the Internet. Like this one on ESPN:

A retargeting ad for Buttercloth

You can retarget on many different ad platforms, which explains how you might also see their ad in your Facebook newsfeed:

Another retargeting ad for Buttercloth on Facebook

Or on the right-hand side of Facebook:

As you can probably guess, the goal of retargeting paid ads is pretty straightforward: their intention is to bring visitors back to your website, where they will hopefully make a purchase.

(RELATED: Learn how to create the perfect Facebook ad)

It’s a smart advertising strategy for a couple reasons. In fact, let’s dig into some of the benefits of retargeting ads and talk about why this is such an essential element of any effective digital marketing strategy.

5 Big Benefits of Using Retargeting Ads

So why should you be using retargeting campaigns? Here are 5 of the biggest reasons to include retargeting ads in your paid traffic strategy:

  • It helps you convert more of your visitors into customers. This, in a nutshell, is the main reason to use retargeting ads. If 96% of visitors leave without making a purchase, retargeting gives you another chance to convince those people to come back to your website and buy something.
  • It improves the effectiveness of other traffic sources. It’s difficult to make a profit serving ads to cold traffic. But when you reinforce cold traffic campaigns with retargeting ads, you can improve the ROI of those ads—sometimes by a huge margin.
  • It reinforces your brand. By reminding people about your company, you can help cement your brand. Some studies have shown that retargeting has the additional benefit of improving brand recall.
  • It can follow people across devices. Some platforms, like Facebook and Google, can show retargeting ads to people across multiple devices—which means that you can serve ads to visitors on their phone, their work computer, their home laptop, and anywhere else they happen to log in.
  • It’s a cost-effective way to generate new customers. Retargeting ads generally have a high ROI, in part because you’re targeting people who have already demonstrated an interest in your product or service.

Hopefully you’re starting to see the light and realizing why retargeting is such an important strategy. But since  read on for some retargeting tips to help you get the best results out of these ads.

BONUS: 3 Retargeting Tips to Generate More Sales

There are plenty of traffic platforms out there that can provide retargeting. Some of the biggest include Google Ads, Facebook, PerfectAudience, and AdRoll, but there are many more.

And while the exact implementation of retargeting ads will vary from platform to platform, the basic strategy behind them will apply no matter where you choose to serve your retargeting ads.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most from your next retargeting campaign:

(RELATED: 3 Tips to Set Up a Retargeting Campaign in 24 Hours)

Target the people who are most likely to convert

With retargeting, you can get specific about which visitors you want to bring back to your website. Keep in mind that some behaviors show greater buying intent than others. For example, take these two visitors:

  • Person A: Added a product to their cart, then abandoned it.
  • Person B: Visited a product page, then bounced.

Here, Person A is a more valuable visitor than Person B.

That’s not to say that Person B isn’t worth retargeting. But when you’re prioritizing your campaigns and setting your bids, you’ll want to put more effort into retargeting Person A because they are more likely to complete their purchase than Person B.

So what should you look for to signal a high buying intent? In addition to adding a product to their cart, you might also want to focus on people who have bought from you in the past (previous customers) or highly engaged visitors who…

  • Spent a long time on your website
  • Visited your website multiple times
  • Visited multiple pages on your website

Focus on these visitors to get the most bang for your retargeting buck.

Segment your audiences

Some marketers take the easy way out and set up their retargeting campaigns to target all website visitors. And sure, that’s an easy way to get started… like it’s not the most effective method.

Instead, you’ll get the best results if you segment your audiences. For example, you might create an audience of people who visited your blog, another audience of people who visited your sales page, and a third audience of people who added your product to their cart.

Or, if you offer multiple different types of products, you might create a separate audience for each product category. A clothing store, for example, might have a “Men’s Shirts” audience, a “Men’s Shoes” audience, a “Women’s Shoes” audience, and so on.

Doing this will allow you to create more highly targeted retargeting campaigns. You’ll also be able to send each audience to a more relevant landing page.

If you want to learn a savvy way to segment your audiences, check out the Remarketing Grid.

Use compelling ad creative

Finally, remember that all the fundamentals of good ad creative still apply. You still need to use eye-catching imagery with compelling ad copy to create retargeting ads that grab the viewer’s attention and persuade them to click.



The lovely content team here at DigitalMarketer works hard to make sure you have the best blog posts to read. But some posts require a group effort, and we decided to stop the rock-paper-scissors tournaments that decided the byline so that we had more time to write. Besides, we all graduated from kindergarten: we can share.

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