Your Business Guide to Retargeting Campaigns

retargeting on different channels
Alex Corral
Alex Corral
April 30, 2018
Search Engine Marketing

Table of Contents


Every online business thrives on
obtaining traffic from targeted audiences. If you want to boost your digital
marketing success rate, then it's time you paid attention to the people who
visit your website and leave without converting.  While rejection is a normal part of every
business, there are ways of turning the people who leave into
paying customers. How can you do this? By using retargeting campaigns. Read on to find out everything
you need to know about retargeting audiences in this comprehensive guide for business

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting is essentially a method of
advertising to people who visited your site or are already in your database.
This type of advertising, also known as 'remarketing' uses cookies to help you
to remain visible to the visitors who have clicked away or maybe even opened
one of your emails. This is what sets these ads apart from your typical banner
ads.  Retargeting ads can be shown
anywhere you like, such as on search engine result pages, Facebook, or other
websites. There are many platforms that can be used for retargeting campaigns.
We've listed some of them below: 

Retargeting Platforms 

  • Facebook Retargeting
    with Custom Audiences
  • Google AdWords Remarketing
  • Twitter
  • Adroll

Why is Retargeting so

This method of advertising
works so well because you already know that the visitor has an interest in your
site. If you maintain a presence when this user browses the internet after visiting
your site, familiarity develops which ultimately leads to trust.  Retargeting audiences is also a wonderful
branding strategy. It not only helps to build your base of potential conversions, but
the conversions that you do get are more likely to turn into repeat

Looking at Bounce Rates in a
New Light

The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your site who leave
after they visit just one page. These figures are a key aspect in common
retargeting practices. Bounce rates are undoubtedly the most discouraging
aspect of any campaign, but perhaps it's time to start changing your opinion of
them when conducting your campaign analysis. 
Rather than just viewing your bounce rate as rejection, why not perceive
those no's as not yet's? Just because a potential customer clicks off your
website does not mean that they won't ever buy from you.

How Retargeting Works 

There are basically two
main types of retargeting methods: List-Based Retargeting and Pixel-Based
Retargeting. They each work in different ways and have their own benefits
depending on what your campaign goals are.  

Pixel-Based Retargeting  

By far
the most widely used type of retargeting, pixel-based retargeting is a way of
re-displaying your material to anyone who visited your site or landing page.
Whenever someone comes to your website, their browser is 'cookied' by placing
an unobtrusive bit of JavaScript (a pixel) on it.  After they leave your site and continue with
their web surfing, the cookie in their browser notifies the retargeting
platforms so they can serve specific advertisements of your choosing. This is where strategy comes into play as you can have this ad trigger based on the particular
pages they went to on your site, or if they exhibited certain behaviors that you are targeting.  

Pixel-based retargeting has a distinct advantage in that it is quick.
Potential customers can be retargeted as soon as they leave your site. Another
major benefit is that you can be as specific or not-so-specific when you are implementing your targeting. This is why behavior-based marketers love it!  On the flip side, this type of advertising will have a lower
volume of prospects in the campaigns at any given time since it's based on
factors that will limit the overall pool.

List-Based Retargeting 

This type of retargeting is used when you already
have the person's contact details in your database. Your list of existing
contacts can be used for various kinds of retargeting ads. To make this work,
you upload the email addresses onto your chosen retargeting campaign (it could
be Facebook, Twitter or any other platform). The platform will then identify
users through those addresses and show retargeting ads only to them. While it's
used less than pixel-based retargeting, this type of advertising allows you to
highly customize the criteria for your ads since it's based on more than just
behavior. You choose who goes on which list and create a custom audience.  

The negative aspect of list-based retargeting
is that if you're using, say, Facebook for your remarketing campaigns, it's possible
that the individual used one email address to sign up on your list and another
to join the social network. This means that they won't see your ads in such a
case.  Because this happens quite a lot,
it means that you will need a fairly large list to succeed in effectively
retargeting audiences this way. Yet another drawback of using list-based
retargeting methods is that you have to upload and maintain the list, which
makes it a whole lot less automatic and more time-consuming than pixel-based

Setting Goals for Your
Retargeting Campaigns

Your retargeting campaigns are only ever going to be as
good as your goals. With most campaigns for retargeting audiences, the focus is
on one of two goals: one, driving conversions or sales and two, building awareness or

Driving Conversions

Marketing is about producing new revenue for
businesses and the ultimate goal of every ad campaign is to drive sales, but
that doesn't always happen. This means that if you want to make the most of
every click you're paying for, then you have to make use of retargeting
campaigns.  With pixel-based ads, you can
help potential customers transition to actual paying customers by getting them
to submit lead forms. If you're using a list-based campaign, you could get
those people to attend your webinar, download your brochure, or you could even
upsell those who are already customers. 
Retargeting audiences can be a very effective way of driving conversions
and ultimately of increasing sales, depending on how your particular business

Building Awareness

Not all marketing campaigns lead directly to sales,
and because of this, your sights must be set a little bit higher in the funnel.
As previously explained, customers are more likely to buy if they remember your
business from before.  The harsh reality
is that a very small portion of visitors who land on your site is ready to
convert. But, that doesn't mean that they are not going to convert or even make
a purchase some time in the coming days, weeks, or months.  Awareness campaigns help you stay on the
radar until those potential customers are ready to commit. And when that time
comes, you'll be the first business they think of. While awareness campaigns
may not be profitable in a direct way, they are a great way to improve the
performance of all your other campaigns. This makes them well worth investing

Segments and Frequency

There are some important principles that you need to keep in mind when setting
up your retargeting campaigns. One is the audience segments and the other is
the frequency with which you show your ads. 

Segmenting Your Audiences

segmentation involves crafting your marketing message to cater to the different
audiences that you have. For example, sending the same message to someone who
is interested in making a purchase and another who is just looking for
information on your blog may not prove effective.  Since people are on your site for different
reasons, it makes sense to speak to them in different ways. This is where being
able to segment your audience comes in handy. You can set up different criteria
such as demographics, time spent on your site, pages visited, geographic
location and so on.  You could even use
different pixels on various pages on your site so that your message will be
specific to those people's particular needs. With audience
segmentation, you can target someone who left items in their shopping cart with
one set of ads while you send a different set of ads to someone who read your
blog. That way you get the most benefits out of each of your retargeting

Retargeting Frequency

When it
comes to the frequency of your retargeting ads, some recommend capping ad
impressions at about 17 to 20 ads per person per month to avoid irritating
potential customers. Others advise differently. They recommend that if someone
visited your site, then they have an interest in what you're selling so it's
best to display as many ads as you can to those people.  A plan that is a mix of those two
perspectives is ideal. For example, you could set up your retargeting campaigns
based on the time since the person visited your site. This means that your ads
can present themselves to these individuals in the first couple of weeks after
they came to your site.  But, as time
goes on, there is less of a chance of conversion so you can start to decrease
your ad frequency. Whatever frequency caps you choose, it's a good idea to run
retargeting ads for as long as you can since you never know when those
potential customers will be ready to buy. Besides, it's a relatively
inexpensive way of building brand recognition, anyway.  

Common Mistakes to Avoid

than the frequency of your ads and segmentation of your audience, there are
other factors to take into consideration when planning your campaign. Here are
some common mistakes to avoid when creating retargeting

Lack of Differentiation 

there anything as annoying as being served with a remarketing ad after you just
bought the product being advertised? Avoid making this mistake in your
retargeting by using a burn pixel. Adding a pixel to your thank you page
excludes them from your normal retargeting campaigns.  


If you address users at the wrong time, it may result in your
retargeting campaigns losing their effectiveness. For example, if one of your
customers has just purchased a printer, it doesn't make any sense to send an
advertisement for replacement cartridges their way a few days later. Rather
wait a few weeks and you will have a more responsive audience.  

Different Types of Retargeting

So, what are your options when it comes
to retargeting campaigns? There are actually a lot of different portals that
you can use online to reconnect with potential customers. In this section,
we're going to dive deep into the various ways of regaining contact.  

  1. With only about 2% of PPC
    clicks actually converting, it seems like a good idea to do everything you can
    to extend your PPC campaigns a bit more. Using retargeting campaigns is one way
    to do so. When someone clicks on your PPC ad, it means that they have some kind
    of interest.  If they click away, you can
    display a follow-up ad to them (via that anonymous cookie we talked about). You
    can even choose whether the ad appears on the search engine results pages of
    their future searches, different websites, or on their social network
  2. If you already
    have an email list, you can use it to retarget people and remarket your
    business by sending out an email that leaves a cookie if it's opened. Sending
    the email already puts your business back in the minds of anyone who has
    already purchased something from you. 
    The targeted ads that they see as they are browsing the internet extends
    that familiar relationship. This is a very simple yet extremely method of
    enhancing your email campaign.  
  3. With billions of people using Facebook today, there are
    vast benefits to using this social network for retargeting audiences. The
    average person spends over an hour on this social media network every day which
    makes it the perfect location for posting both primary and retargeting
    ads.  If you want to take advantage of
    Facebook ads for your retargeting, you can program your campaign to place a
    cookie when one of your visitors takes a particular action such as click on
    your PPC ad, visit your site, or if they open one of your emails. After the
    cookie is placed, the next time they are on Facebook, your add will be
    displayed to them.  
  4. The search engine results page (SERP) is the one you see with a list of links
    when you search google. No matter where your cookies are placed, you can always
    resort to SERPs marketing space as this is a great way of capturing customers
    early on in their search (before they get distracted by other websites).  Using SERPs for your retargeting campaigns
    presents your potential customers with the opportunity to visit your site once
  5. on other
    Websites Just like PPC marketing, there are a lot of websites who offer space
    for advertising on their pages. You can choose to place ads retargeting
    audiences onto these sites either randomly or strategically, depending on which
    ad platform you're using.  Such ads are
    often in the form of banners. Appearing on other sites like this can
    substantially increase your business, although often times it results in the
    billboard effect.  


So what's the takeaway? Retargeting ads are a
very simple and effective way to build trust with potential customers as well
as to brand yourself. No matter what your goals are, whether it's to capture
more of your bounced visitors or to extend your business with the customers you
already have – there's no denying just how beneficial these types of
retargeting campaigns can prove to be for the growth and sustainability of your

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