Let Them Go but Don’t Lose Them - Retargeting

There are three groups of people who visit and then leave your website. Those who are ready to convert but need to be presented with one more opportunity seal the deal, those who are not ready to convert and need to be prepared to convert before being provided one more opportunity, and those who previously converted and need to be reminded of what a fabulous experience it was to interact with your brand so why not do it again.

These groupings are, obviously, an oversimplification, but they bring to light the need for retargeting strategies within your marketing plan. There are two main goals – brand awareness and conversions. 71% of consumers prefer to be shown ads that are tailored to their interests and purchasing habits. Retargeting builds trust as people keep seeing your brand, your ads, in different places and is an effective way to drive traffic back to your website and increase your conversion rate.


When you embed a JavaScript tracking pixel on your website, a cookie will attach to the browser of all your site visitors. This allows information to be compiled about which pages the viewer visits, how long he is on those pages, and more. Then the cookie tells your retargeting platform to provide the consumer with pre-determined ads based on what was previously viewed. (We’ll discuss segmenting in a bit.) The best part is that this tracking and ad-sharing starts almost immediately after the consumer leaves your website.

Social media retargeting is pixel based and is sometimes referred to as third-party tagging. This is where, for example, Google or Facebook, install a retargeting pixel that triggers when someone clicks on a content recommendation that shows in his feed.


This is when the list is of people already in your database whether they are previous or current customers. The consumers have an established level of familiarity with your brand and you have information about their interests and previous shopping and purchasing behaviors. This knowledge allows you to deliver a more personalized marketing approach. Your lists can also inform platforms like Facebook and Google and they can build smart audiences that have similar interests or online behaviors as the consumers on your list. This enables you to reach audiences that have never visited your website or provided you with contact information of any sort. Beware of manually created lists. If they are not frequently updated, you may retarget consumers who have already converted on the offer.


Break your audience into segments so the ads you show them are relative to their previous online behaviors and interests. Audience behaviors to consider include which pages they showed interest in, how recently they were on your site, and how many different pages they visited. By breaking your audience into groups, you can show them more relevant ads that always feature your branding and a compelling call to action.

You can retarget based on any number of characteristics:

·       Amount of time spent on your site

·       Number of times someone visits your site in a 10-day period

·       Time elapsed since the last visit to your site

·       Demographics

·       Geographic information

·       Subject matter viewed (products or services)

·       Videos viewed

·       Content interaction (likes, reviews, comments, etc.)

·       Search terms used on search engines like Bing or Google – another effective way to reach consumers who have never visited your site or provided contact information

Retarget people who: visited but didn’t convert, are on your email list, had an impression on a social media ad, consume content similar to your current customers, or performed Google (et. al) searches relevant to your brand. Retarget people who abandon their shopping carts. Offer them a coupon or special discount. Create a sense of urgency by limiting the validity period of the offer.

Beware not to over-target and hijack someone’s browsing experience. You can come across as creepy if you don’t manage the frequency with which you show ads to particular consumers. Set frequency caps to limit the number of times a person will see your ad over a given period of time. Frequency capping not only helps you avoid the “creeper” title, it also keeps you from spending money targeting people who might not purchase.

Retargeting can be correlated to the buyer’s funnel. In the awareness stage, show consumers branded ads with your logo that vary slightly from the ads you might show to cold traffic. For people in the interest stage, push out ads related to specific pages or products they’ve interacted with on your site. People in the evaluation stage need to see ads that contain carefully crafted content that combats common objections. Consumers in the decision phase will respond best to promotions and time-sensitive discounts. And to take it one more step, send related products and retention ads to post-sale customers.

Where you drive people to on your website depends on their previous level of exposure to and interaction with your brand. When clicked, retargeting ads should send consumers to a specific landing page, not your home page. The landing pages should parallel the page or ad previously viewed and they should be designed specifically for conversion. Retargeting should lead your visitors to a point that they will complete the purchase. Address their objections and resolve concerns. Reduce prices if need be or offer discounts. Suggest combinations of complementary items to be purchased together.

Utilize multiple creatives to keep things fresh. Rotate your ads so people are not seeing the same thing over and over again. Create a series of related ads and run them in sequence to avoid ad fatigue and increase the odds that the ads will attract viewers’ attention. Show enough impressions to keep your brand at the forefront of consumers’ minds.

Other tips? Allow for an opt-out feature to save consumers some frustration and you some money. Exclude people by IP address – for example, exclude your company’s IP address to avoid marketing to your own employees. Pause and change or completely stop low-performing ads. Letting them continue won’t change their ineffectiveness.

Set up a conversion pixel on your post-conversion page. This will keep you from retargeting people who have already converted on that offer. It’s not that you shouldn’t retarget previous and current customers, you simply want to ensure that you retarget this segment with new ads and offers. It is also helpful to acknowledge the power of promotions. Strategically offer incentives as you retarget. For example, offer free shipping to someone with an abandoned shopping cart. (Speaking from a personal experience, please make sure the order would not have qualified for free shipping anyway…)

Retargeting keeps your brand in front of people and leads them towards conversion. It allows you to show something different to consumers who visited your home page but didn’t convert. Retargeted ads are 76% more likely to be clicked than regular ads. Each conversion or action taken can lead the consumer to another offering or interaction with your brand. Whichever way you choose to segment your audience and regardless of the content you choose to show them, retargeting should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. To learn more about how you can make retargeting work for your brand and for all of your digital needs, contact the experts at Strategy Driven Marketing.