June 20


Building Marketing Strategies: Retargeting Audiences

By Hanson Cheng

June 20, 2023

  • minute read
  • Last Updated on June 20, 2023 by Hanson Cheng

    Dive into the world of retargeting in this comprehensive article, which covers everything you need to know to understand, set up, and optimize retargeting campaigns for your business. Learn about the definition and purpose of retargeting, the various types, and its importance in digital marketing.

    Discover how to identify your goals, segment your audience, and choose the right platform for your campaigns. Get tips for creating effective ads, personalization strategies, and optimizing for better results. Finally, explore common challenges and best practices to ensure success with your retargeting efforts.

    What is Retargeting?

    Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a digital marketing strategy that involves targeting online users who have previously interacted with a brand’s website, app, or any other digital platform. In simple terms, it is a technique of reconnecting with potential customers who have shown interest in a company’s products or services but did not convert into sales at the initial interaction.

    Retargeting primarily aims to remind users of their previous engagements with a brand, encouraging them to reconsider making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or completing any other desired action. Retargeting helps in increasing the chances of conversions by keeping the brand on top of the user’s mind and ensuring they do not forget about the products or services they once showed interest in.

    Moreover, retargeting is also efficient in building brand awareness and increasing user engagement through personalized and dynamic ad experiences.

    Different Types of Retargeting

    There are several types of retargeting methods that marketers can leverage to reconnect and engage with their audiences, some of which include:

    1. Site Retargeting: This method involves showing ads to users who have previously visited the brand’s website. Using site retargeting, brands can serve personalized ads based on the user’s browsing history, with the intent of reminding them of the products/services they showed interest in and persuading them to reconsider their decision.
    2. Email Retargeting: Email retargeting targets users who have received, opened, or clicked on an email from the brand. Ads are served across various platforms to remind users of the content in the email or the brand itself, making sure that the brand remains relevant in the user’s mind.
    3. Social Media Retargeting: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offer retargeting options for advertisers. Brands can leverage these platforms to target users who have engaged with their content, and ads, or visited their website via a link shared on these social platforms.
    4. Search Retargeting: This method involves targeting users based on the search queries they have made on search engines. If a user searches for a specific keyword related to a brand’s products or services, they will be served an ad from the brand, making them aware of the offerings and enticing them to visit the website.

    The Importance of Retargeting in Digital Marketing

    Retargeting is a valuable asset for digital marketing campaigns because it can reconnect with potential customers who have already shown interest in a brand. Some of the key reasons why retargeting is essential for digital marketing include:

    1. Higher Conversion Rates: Retargeting helps increase the likelihood of conversion by reminding users of their previous engagement with the brand, thus making them more likely to follow through with a purchase or any other desired action.
    2. Better ROI: Retargeted ads often lead to higher click-through rates and conversion rates, ultimately improving the return on investment for the advertiser. Additionally, retargeting campaigns have lower costs per click than other digital marketing strategies, making them cost-effective.
    3. Personalization: Retargeting ads can be tailored to individual users based on their browsing habits and previous interactions with the brand. By serving personalized content, brands can create a more impactful and engaging ad experience for users.
    4. Increased Brand Exposure: Retargeting allows brands to maintain their presence in the user’s online journey, keeping them engaged and aware of the brand’s offerings even after they have left the website.
    5. Improved Customer Retention: Retargeting can play a crucial role in retaining current customers by promoting related products, upselling, or keeping them informed about new offerings and deals.

    In conclusion, retargeting is an essential digital marketing strategy that plays a crucial role in engaging with potential customers who have previously interacted with a brand.

    Businesses can effectively drive higher conversion rates, improve ROI, and build long-lasting relationships with their target audience by adopting various retargeting methods such as site, email, social media, and search retargeting.

    Setting Up Retargeting Campaigns

    Identifying Your Retargeting Goals

    Before setting up a retargeting campaign, it’s essential to identify the specific goals you want to achieve with your campaign. These goals will not only guide your campaign strategy but also help you measure the success of your efforts.

    Some common retargeting goals include:

    1. Increasing sales:

    Retargeting can help increase conversion rates by reminding potential customers of previously viewed products or services that may be of interest.

    2. Brand awareness:

    Retargeting helps increase familiarity and credibility with your target audience by continually presenting your brand to potential customers.

    3. Customer retention:

    Retargeting can help you stay top of mind with your existing customers, increasing the likelihood they will return to your site to make another purchase.

    4. Lead generation:

    Retargeting can be used to collect contact information or direct prospects to new content, helping you build a list of qualified leads.

    Once you have identified your goals, you will need to determine the best approach to achieve them through retargeting. This involves segmenting your audience, setting up retargeting pixels, and choosing the right retargeting platforms.

    Segmenting Your Audience

    Audience segmentation is a crucial aspect of setting up a successful retargeting campaign. By targeting different groups of people based on their behavior and characteristics, you can deliver more personalized and relevant ads that are more likely to convert.

    Some common ways to segment your audience for retargeting include:

    1. Based on Engagement: You can target people who have engaged with your brand in various ways, such as visiting specific pages, spending a certain amount of time on your site, or consuming specific types of content. This kind of segmentation helps in delivering highly targeted ads based on user’s interests.
    2. Based on Behavior: Behavioral segmentation is based on a user’s actions on your site or app. For example, you can target users who abandoned their shopping cart, viewed a particular product or category, or searched for specific keywords. This allows you to serve retargeted ads that directly address each user’s specific needs and interests.
    3. Based on Demographics: Demographic segmentation involves targeting people based on factors like gender, age, location, interests, and more. This information can be used to create customized ad messages and offers that resonate with different user groups.

    Setting Up Retargeting Pixels

    You must first place retargeting pixels on your website or emails to start retargeting campaigns. These pixels track user behavior and collect data that will be used to serve ads to the right audience.

    1. Website-Based Pixels: Website pixels are small pieces of code placed on the website that track user interactions and enable you to create custom audiences. For example, Google Ads and Facebook Ads provide pixel codes that you can place on your site to enable retargeting.
    2. Email-Based Pixels: Email-based pixels work similarly to website-based pixels but are placed directly in your email content. These allow you to serve retargeted ads to people who have opened or interacted with your emails, providing an additional touchpoint for lead nurturing and conversion.

    Choosing the Right Retargeting Platform

    Deciding which platforms to use for your retargeting campaigns is another essential factor to consider when setting up your campaigns.

    1. Google Ads: As one of the most popular retargeting platforms, Google Ads offers a wide range of targeting options and reaches users across various websites within the Google Display Network.
    2. Facebook Ads: With access to a vast user base, Facebook ads allow you to retarget users on both Facebook and Instagram, tailoring your ads to suit different audience preferences and behaviors.
    3. Other Ad Networks: Many other ad networks are available for retargeting, such as AdRoll or Criteo, which specialize in retargeting and offer a wide range of features and tools for customizing your campaigns.

    Choosing the right platform for your business ultimately depends on your retargeting goals, target audience, and advertising budget. Whichever platform you choose, tracking and monitoring your campaign’s performance is essential to ensure your retargeting efforts drive your business’s desired results.

    Creating Effective Retargeting Ads

    Retargeting ads are an essential part of any digital marketing strategy, as they help you reach potential customers who have previously visited your website or interacted with your brand. These ads remind them of their interest in your products or services and encourage them to return to your site and complete a purchase.

    In order to create effective retargeting ads, you need to focus on designing visually appealing ads, crafting compelling ad copy, personalizing your messaging, implementing dynamic retargeting, and continuously testing and optimizing your campaigns.

    Design Tips for Retargeting Ads

    An effective retargeting ad should be visually appealing, easy to understand, and resonate with your target audience. Here are some tips for designing retargeting ads that stand out and drive conversions:

    1. Maintain consistency: Make sure your ads are consistent with your brand’s colors, fonts, and overall design aesthetic. This will help build brand recognition and ensure a seamless user experience.
    2. Use high-quality visuals: High-quality images and graphics can significantly improve the user’s perception of your brand and make your ads more appealing. Use professional product photos, lifestyle images or custom illustrations to enhance the visual appeal of your ads.
    3. Opt for clear and simple layouts: The simpler and cleaner the design, the more likely users will engage with your ad. Focus on creating an impactful visual hierarchy with clear call-to-action (CTA) buttons and minimal text.
    4. Optimize for mobile devices: Mobile usage continues to increase, and your ads should be designed and optimized for users on the go. Make sure your ads are easily readable, have tappable CTAs, and are responsive to different screen sizes.
    5. Refresh your creatives regularly: Updating your ad creatives frequently can help prevent ad fatigue and maintain the user’s interest in your brand.

    Ad Copy and Messaging

    How you communicate with your audience can greatly impact the performance of your retargeting ads. Here are some guidelines for crafting compelling ad copy:

    1. Be concise and compelling: The space for copy on digital ads is limited, so make sure your messaging is clear and to the point. Highlight your product or service’s unique selling propositions (USPs) to capture users’ attention.
    2. Create a sense of urgency: Encourage users to take action by incorporating phrases like “limited time offer” or “last chance” into your ad copy.
    3. Use social proof: Including customer reviews or testimonials in your ads can help build trust and credibility for your brand.

    Personalization Strategies

    Personalizing your retargeting ads can significantly improve engagement and conversion rates. Here are a few ways to personalize your ads:

    1. Segment your audience: Divide your audience based on their previous interactions with your website (e.g., product views, abandoned cart, etc.) and tailor your ad messaging accordingly.
    2. Use dynamic content: Serve users’ ads with content that is directly related to the products or services they viewed on your site. This can be achieved through dynamic retargeting (discussed in the next section).
    3. Geolocation targeting: Customize your ads based on a user’s location to provide more relevant content and offers.

    Dynamic Retargeting Ads

    Dynamic retargeting allows you to show personalized ads to users based on the specific products or services they viewed on your website. To create dynamic retargeting ads, you generally need the following:

    1. Dynamic Product Feed: A well-structured product feed containing relevant product information such as images, titles, prices, etc.
    2. Tracking and Tagger Setup: Implement the necessary tracking pixels and tags to identify and segment users based on their site interactions.
    3. Ad Template: Design a flexible ad template that can accommodate various product images, titles, prices, etc.
    4. Ad Platform: Choose an ad platform that supports dynamic retargeting, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads.

    Testing and Optimization

    Continuous testing and optimization are crucial to ensure the long-term success of your retargeting campaigns. Consider the following testing and optimization strategies:

    1. A/B testing: Experiment with different ad designs, messaging, CTA buttons, etc., to determine which elements result in the highest engagement and conversion rates.
    2. Analyze campaign performance: Regularly review your ad campaign’s performance metrics, such as click-through rate (CTR), cost per acquisition (CPA), and return on ad spend (ROAS), to identify areas for improvement.
    3. Adjust targeting settings: Experiment with various targeting settings, such as recency or exclusion, to optimize your campaign’s reach and efficiency.
    4. Control ad frequency: Find the optimal balance between brand exposure and over-saturation by adjusting your ad frequency settings.

    By following these guidelines, you will be well on your way to developing effective retargeting ads that drive your business engagement, conversions, and revenue.

    Measuring and Evaluating Retargeting Success

    Retargeting Metrics and KPIs

    Measuring and evaluating the success of retargeting campaigns is crucial in understanding their effectiveness and making data-driven decisions for optimization. There are several key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics that can help measure the success of these campaigns:

    1. Click-through rate (CTR) – CTR indicates the percentage of users who clicked on a retargeted ad, providing insight into how engaging and relevant the ad content is to the audience.
    2. Conversion rate – The conversion rate shows the percentage of users who performed the desired action after clicking on the retargeted ad (e.g., making a purchase or filling out a form).
    3. Cost per click (CPC) – CPC allows you to understand how much you pay for each click on your retargeted ads, which is essential in determining if the campaign generates a positive return on investment (ROI).
    4. Cost per acquisition (CPA) – CPA measures the amount spent to acquire a customer through a retargeting campaign. Comparing the CPA to a customer’s average lifetime value (LTV) helps gauge the campaign’s profitability.
    5. Return on ad spend (ROAS) – ROAS calculates the revenue gained as a result of your retargeting campaign divided by the advertising spend, giving an overall indication of the effectiveness and profitability of your ads.
    6. The ratio of new users to retargeted users – This metric helps identify whether your retargeting campaign brings in new prospects or simply re-engages existing users.

    Analyzing Retargeting Campaign Performance

    Evaluating retargeting campaign performance is of utmost importance to identify improvement areas and optimize future campaigns. Here are some steps to conduct a thorough analysis of your campaign performance:

    1. Track and monitor campaign KPIs and metrics regularly using tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Ads Manager, or other ad platforms.
    2. Compare your retargeting KPIs with those of the industry standards to understand how you’re performing compared to your competitors.
    3. Segment your retargeting audience based on different factors, such as user behavior or demographics, to better understand which audience segments are driving results.
    4. Evaluate the performance of individual ads and creatives, identifying which ad formats and messaging strategies are most engaging and lead to higher user conversion rates.
    5. Track conversions and attribution data to measure the direct impact of your retargeting ads on the customer journey and overall sales funnel.

    Optimizing Retargeting Campaigns for Better Results

    Continuous optimization is vital for maximizing the effectiveness of retargeting campaigns. Follow these steps to improve your results:

    1. Refine your audience targeting: Regularly review your retargeting audience and adjust your targeting criteria as needed, focusing on segments that are most likely to convert.
    2. Test different creatives: Experiment with different ad formats, visuals, and ad copy to identify which combinations resonate best with your audience.
    3. Utilize personalized and dynamic content: Serve users retargeted ads that are relevant to their interests and past browsing behavior, which can significantly increase ad engagement and conversions.
    4. Adjust bidding strategies: Experiment with different bidding strategies, such as cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM), to find the most cost-efficient approach for your goals.
    5. Set frequency caps: Limit the number of times a user sees your retargeted ads to prevent ad fatigue and negative brand perceptions.
    6. A/B test landing pages: Optimize your landing pages to ensure they provide a seamless and cohesive experience that matches your retargeted ads, increasing the chances of conversion.

    Retargeting Challenges and Best Practices

    Common Retargeting Mistakes

    Avoiding common retargeting mistakes can significantly improve the effectiveness of your campaigns. Some common errors include:

    1. Over-generalized targeting: Failing to segment your audience and not serving them personalized content can lead to low engagement and conversion rates.
    2. Excessive retargeting: Bombarding users with too many ads can lead to ad fatigue and a negative brand perception.
    3. Poor ad creative: Boring or irrelevant ad creatives can result in low CTRs and conversions.
    4. Inconsistent messaging: Incoherent messaging between retargeted ads and landing pages can confuse users and lead to lower conversion rates.
    5. Ignoring user privacy: Not adhering to regulations and respecting user privacy when retargeting can result in penalties and cause harm to your brand’s reputation.

    Frequency Caps and Ad Fatigue

    Establishing frequency caps on your retargeted ads can help prevent ad fatigue and ensure your ads remain engaging. Ad fatigue occurs when users are exposed to the same ad too many times, leading to a decrease in ad performance due to overexposure. Frequency caps limit the number of times a user sees your ad, ensuring that users are not overwhelmed and maintain a positive perception of your brand.

    Privacy Concerns and Compliance

    In the age of data privacy, adhering to regulations and user privacy preferences is critical. Ensure you follow the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), among other regulations. Provide users with clear information about how their data is collected and used for retargeting purposes and offer them the option to opt out of retargeting ads.

    Best Practices for Retargeting

    Implementing best practices for retargeting campaigns can help maximize their success. Some of these best practices include:

    1. Use a mix of retargeting channels, such as display ads, social media, and email, to create a cohesive cross-channel user experience.
    2. Layer your retargeting strategies, engaging users across different customer journey stages with tailored content and messaging.
    3. Track and measure the success of your campaigns, evaluating KPIs and metrics to optimize performance and ROI.
    4. Foster trust and transparency by properly addressing user privacy concerns and meeting compliance standards.
    5. Collaborate with other marketing strategies, integrating retargeting efforts with other marketing activities to create a cohesive and consistent user experience.

    Retargeting – FAQs

    1. What is retargeting, and why is it essential for advertisers?

    Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a marketing practice that focuses on showing targeted ads to potential customers who previously visited a website or interacted with a brand. This method maintains brand awareness and increases the chances of conversion, as visitors are more likely to make a purchase based on familiarity and repeated exposure to the product.

    2. How does retargeting work from a technical perspective?

    Retargeting works through scripts or pixels embedded in a website’s code. When a visitor arrives on the site, the pixel places a cookie in their web browser. The cookie tracks their behavior and engagement, allowing retargeting platforms to serve personalized ads based on the user’s preferences and previous interactions across different websites in the advertising network.

    3. What are the primary tools and platforms used for retargeting?

    Several tools and platforms specialize in retargeting, including Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and AdRoll. These platforms provide extensive tracking, targeting, and optimization options, helping advertisers create and manage successful retargeting campaigns. Each platform offers unique features and capabilities, enabling businesses to choose the best fit for their needs.

    4. How can a business create effective retargeting ads?

    To create effective retargeting ads, businesses should focus on personalization, relevance, and engaging visuals. Ensure that ads showcase products, services, or offers that align with the user’s past interactions and use high-quality images or videos to capture attention. Testing multiple ad variations and utilizing data-driven insights can help optimize ad performance.

    5. What measures should be taken to avoid irritating potential customers with retargeting?

    Avoid ad fatigue and irritation by setting frequency limits on retargeting campaigns, so potential customers are not overwhelmed by ads. Additionally, utilizing audience segmentation and burn pixels can help ensure that ads are targeted only to relevant users and removed once a conversion has occurred.

    6. How important are privacy concerns in retargeting and remarketing practices?

    Maintaining user privacy is crucial when implementing retargeting tactics. Adhering to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) standards is essential to protect user data and ensure compliance. Consider providing users with a transparent explanation of data collection, and use and easy opt-out options in your privacy policy.

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    Hanson Cheng

    About the author

    Living in Portugal with my wife and puppies.
    Scaling online businesses and sharing lessons learned on this website and in our email newsletter.

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