Considerations for Retargeting Success

  • Categories:

    Paid Media

  • Date:

    November 03, 2014

Considerations for Retargeting Success

Paid Media

Have you ever felt like you’re being followed online by certain brands or products? If you’ve spent much time online at all, you’ve experienced retargeting.

Retargeting, sometimes referred to as remarketing, is an online strategy reaching a prequalified audience of users who have engaged with a brand, searched for a product or previously visited a website. Those users are tagged to receive ads while they are browsing other websites. Messaging is meant to move them to complete a desired action – or at least nudge them along the decision-making journey or purchase funnel.

Have you dipped your toe in the retargeting pool, but been disappointed in the results? Or maybe you’ve been afraid to try retargeting because of its complexity. Where should you start?

Consider the following before beginning your next retargeting campaign:

Contact does not have to begin with a website visit. Initial contact can happen when an email is opened or search is performed using one of your keywords. Certain companies can find your customers online if supplied with email or mailing addresses, so first contact can also happen in-store or at an event.

Campaign purpose and audience must dictate messaging and landing pages. A common mistake is running the same creative as your other digital campaigns or sending visitors to your homepage. This will lead to disappointment. Some thoughts to consider:

  • Build brand awareness or recency of message. Does your product have a short purchase cycle and competition with bigger online spending? Build familiarity and stay in front of current customers or people searching for like products, but give them something new to consider.
  • Launch new products or services or post new content. Current customers are predisposed to your products or content and will likely show more interest than others. As another option, reach someone searching for like products or content.
  • Answer visitors’ questions. Why didn’t they complete the desired action? Do you have several common sales objections?  Digital ads are short on detail due to limited space, so focus on the most common messaging needs. Test multiple messages on multiple product or service attributes to provide answers needed to close the sale.
  • Purchase. Close the deal by adding an incentive such as a percentage off or a giveaway that has value.
  • Cross-sell or up-sell. Do you have a starter product? How long does it normally take for people to grow out of the product? Will they grow into another offering? Do you have a complimentary product offering?
  • Post purchase. Invite them to fill out a customer survey; offer something of value to ensure satisfaction with their new purchase. Or re-engage your audience through Facebook and Twitter.

Don’t annoy and alienate your audience. Bombarding your audience with ads is a bad idea. Industry consensus is no more than 20 times per month. A frequency cap is important; otherwise, you could hit this target daily. Rotate creative regularly to keep it fresh and offer new information. Once a conversion or action takes place, make sure a burn pixel is on the conversion or “thank you” page to stop serving your ads.

Track KPIs and refine based on ROI. Track metrics based on what you want to accomplish, e.g. increased brand awareness, ROI, customer retention, up-sell or cross-sell, leads, etc. as well as lowering marketing costs or lifting sales. Each objective requires specific metrics to measure progress; these will guide optimization decisions and determine success. For example, if you’re tracking leads, you should track cost-per-acquisition or lead (CPA or CPL) and value per lead to determine if campaign costs are worth the effort. If you’re tracking sales, you should track cost-per-conversion (conversion being the sale), click-through-conversions and view-through-conversions. You could go as far as attribution models, lifetime value of acquired customer, etc. Measurement is much more than click-through-rates, cost-per-clicks and site visits. Consult an expert for help with measurement and metrics if needed.

It takes time, patience, perspective and resources. Commit. It will take time to build an audience (weeks if not months) and find the right timing and combination of messaging, landing pages and targeting that will accomplish your goals. Be patient. Don’t expect to deliver the same results overnight as a large digital banner campaign. Your audience will be smaller simply by nature. You will also need physical and monetary resources. If you don’t have time to execute the campaign yourself, you will need to hire a specialist or agency with experience driving results. You will also need to budget for multiple creative messages and landing pages.

Happy retargeting, and best of luck! Need help? Leave us a note in the comments or email me at

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