July 21


Why Retargeting Tactics Are Essential for Your Brand

By Hanson Cheng

July 21, 2023

  • minute read
  • Last Updated on July 21, 2023 by Hanson Cheng

    In this article, readers will gain a comprehensive understanding of retargeting, a digital marketing strategy that focuses on re-engaging potential customers who have previously interacted with a brand. Topics covered include the definition, benefits, and functioning of retargeting and various types of retargeting methods.

    Understanding Retargeting

    Retargeting is a popular online marketing strategy that helps businesses reach and engage with potential customers who have previously interacted with their website, social media profiles, or online advertisements. Retargeting works by tracking and targeting these visitors once they have left the brand’s digital properties, with the aim of encouraging them to return and complete a desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or booking an appointment.

    What is Retargeting?

    Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a digital marketing tactic that uses online advertising platforms to show targeted ads to users who have visited a website or interacted with a brand’s digital properties. This is done using tracking technologies, such as cookies or pixels, that identify visitors and enable marketing platforms to display tailored advertisements to them as they browse other websites or use social media.

    The primary goal of retargeting is to re-engage potential customers and convert them into paying customers by offering them relevant and enticing content based on their browsing history and interests.

    The Benefits of Retargeting

    There are several advantages to implementing a retargeting strategy, including:

    1. Increased brand exposure: Retargeting keeps your brand visible to potential customers who have previously interacted with your website or ads. This helps maintain brand awareness and ensures that your business stays top of mind, ultimately increasing the likelihood of customer engagement.

    2. Improved conversion rates: Since retargeting focuses on users who have already shown an interest in your products or services, it tends to have higher conversion rates than other marketing approaches targeting a broader audience. By displaying personalized ads based on user behavior, retargeted campaigns can more effectively convince users to complete a desired action.

    3. Better ROI: Retargeting can help optimize your marketing budget by only showing ads to users who have demonstrated interest in your business. As a result, your marketing spend is concentrated on high-potential leads, potentially leading to better returns on investment (ROI).

    4. Increased customer retention: Retargeting is not limited to acquisition-focused marketing; it can also be used to re-engage with existing customers. By targeting users who have already made a purchase or signed up for your services, you can encourage repeat business and strengthen customer loyalty.

    How Retargeting Works

    For retargeting to function, businesses need to employ tracking technologies and partner with advertising platforms capable of targeting specific users based on their previous interactions with the brand’s digital properties. Here’s a step-by-step rundown of how retargeting works:

    1. Set up tracking: Businesses implement tracking technologies, such as cookies or pixels, on their websites or within their apps. These tracking tools collect user behavior, interests, and preferences data, providing insights for targeted advertising campaigns.

    2. Create retargeting segments: Businesses create audience segments based on the collected data to define which users will be served retargeted ads. Segments can be customized based on visited pages, time on site, specific products viewed or added to the cart, and more.

    3. Design retargeting ads: Brands need to create visually engaging ads that are relevant to their segmented audience. This may involve presenting special promotions, personalized product recommendations, or reminders to complete abandoned tasks, like an unfinished checkout process.

    4. Launch retargeting campaign: The prepared advertisements are pushed live, and the retargeting platform or ad network delivers these ads to their predefined audience segments as users browse the internet or use social media platforms.

    5. Monitor and optimize campaigns: Regularly reviewing campaign performance data allows businesses to assess the efficacy of their retargeting efforts. Based on these insights, ad creatives, segment definitions, and targeting criteria can be adjusted to improve overall performance.

    Retargeting is an essential component of modern digital marketing strategies, helping businesses recapture the attention of potential customers and driving increased engagement and conversions. By understanding the basics of retargeting, businesses can better harness its potential for improving their marketing outcomes.

    Different Types of Retargeting

    Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a digital marketing strategy aimed at targeting users who have already interacted with your website, app, or content. This can help improve brand awareness and conversion rates, as users who have visited your site are already likely interested in your offerings.

    There are several types of retargeting, each with its own unique approach and benefits. In this article, we will discuss four main types of retargeting: pixel-based, list-based, CRM-based, and engagement-based retargeting.

    Pixel-Based Retargeting

    Pixel-based retargeting is the most common type of retargeting, which utilizes cookies to track and target users. When a user visits a website, a small piece of JavaScript code called a pixel, is placed on their browser. This pixel will track their interaction with the site, and when they leave the site, the pixel will prompt the retargeting platform to serve relevant ads to the user as they browse the web.

    However, pixel-based retargeting also has its limitations. Since it relies on cookies, users who clear their browser history or use private browsing may not be served the retargeted ads. Moreover, pixel-based retargeting can face issues with data privacy regulations, such as GDPR, which may restrict the use of cookies on websites.

    List-Based Retargeting

    List-based retargeting targets users who have provided their contact information, such as name and email address, to a business. This type of retargeting is typically used in social media platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn, where advertisers can create and upload a list of user information, which the platforms then match to their user database. Marketers can then serve ads to the matched user profiles.

    However, list-based retargeting can have a lower reach than pixel-based retargeting, as it requires users to provide their contact information. Moreover, the matching process between the user list and social media platform’s user database may not be entirely accurate, leading to some targeting inaccuracies.

    CRM-Based Retargeting

    CRM-based retargeting is similar to list-based retargeting, but instead of using a simple list of contacts, the customer relationship management (CRM) tool incorporates a wider range of user data, such as user behavior, purchase history or interactions with customer support. This additional information enables marketers to create even more tailored and dynamically segmented ad campaigns, increasing the likelihood of successful conversions.

    The primary advantage of CRM-based retargeting is its ability to provide in-depth user data and facilitate advanced audience segmentation, leading to highly personalized ad campaigns. Additionally, it allows marketers to have better control over the targeting process, as they can track multiple touchpoints and interactions with each user within the CRM system.

    Engagement-Based Retargeting

    Engagement-based retargeting targets users who have engaged with a brand’s content on various platforms, such as watching a video on YouTube, interacting with a social media post, or downloading an app. By identifying users who have already shown interest in a brand’s content, engagement-based retargeting allows marketers to serve highly relevant ads that are likely to be well-received by the target audience.

    The primary benefit of engagement-based retargeting is its effectiveness in reaching highly interested users who have already shown an affinity for a brand’s content. This type of retargeting can potentially lead to higher conversion rates, as users who have engaged with a brand’s content are more likely to be interested in its offerings.

    However, similar to other types of retargeting, the reach of engagement-based retargeting is dependent on the number of users who have engaged with the brand’s content. Additionally, it is crucial to ensure that the content being used for engagement-based retargeting provides genuine value and an accurate representation of the brand, as it will be the foundation for the user’s perception of the brand moving forward.

    Setting up a Retargeting Campaign

    Retargeting campaigns are an essential part of online marketing aimed at engaging users who have already shown interest in a brand, product, or service. They help businesses increase their conversion rates and build customer loyalty. This guide will discuss how to set up a successful retargeting campaign by determining objectives, segmenting the audience, creating retargeting ads, and implementing retargeting pixels or lists.

    Determining Campaign Objectives

    Before starting your retargeting campaign, it is crucial to outline the campaign objectives. Setting clear and measurable objectives will help you efficiently track and optimize your campaign performance. Your objectives might include generating more leads, increasing sales, or enhancing brand awareness. To determine your campaign objectives, consider the following:

    1. Analyze your website or app data: What are the main sources of traffic, and where do users drop off? Identifying the areas with room for improvement will allow you to set specific goals.

    2. Look at your competitors: Evaluate the performance of your direct competitors in the market, and understand their strategies. This will help you identify untapped opportunities in your niche and set up appropriate objectives.

    3. Align your objectives with your marketing funnel: Consider the different stages of the marketing funnel (awareness, consideration, conversion, and loyalty) and determine which stage requires retargeting efforts the most.

    Once you have determined your objectives, set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track the success of your retargeting campaign.

    Segmenting Your Audience

    Not all customers are equal, with each having unique preferences and behaviors. Segmenting your audience based on their interactions with your brand is crucial to increase your retargeting campaign’s effectiveness. Here’s how you can segment your audience:

    1. Behavioral Segmentation: Group users based on their behavior on your websites or apps, such as pages visited, time spent, and products added to the cart.

    2. Demographic Segmentation: Separate your audience based on demographic information like age, gender, and location.

    3. Psychographic Segmentation: Group your audience based on their interests, values, and lifestyle preferences.

    4. Technographic Segmentation: Divide users by their device types, such as desktop, mobile, or tablet, and their preferred browser or operating system.

    By segmenting your audience, you will be able to create personalized ads that cater to each user’s preferences and increase the likelihood of them converting.

    Creating Retargeting Ads

    Compelling ads are essential for a successful retargeting campaign. Consider the following tips while creating your retargeting ads:

    1. Personalization: Create personalized ad creatives based on the audience segment. Tailor your messaging, visuals, and call-to-action (CTA) to fit each audience’s preferences.

    2. Consistency: Maintain consistency across all touchpoints by matching your ad creatives’ design, language, and tone with your overall brand identity.

    3. Urgency: Add an element of urgency to your ads, such as a limited-time offer, to encourage users to take action immediately.

    4. Testing: A/B tests your ads to identify the most effective creatives and messaging that resonate with your target audience.

    Setting up Retargeting Pixels or Lists

    You’ll need to set up retargeting pixels or lists on your website, app, or email campaigns to enable retargeting. Here’s how:

    1. Retargeting Pixels: A pixel is a short snippet of code you embed on your website or within your app. It collects and stores data about your visitors, allowing you to retarget them later. Most online advertising platforms, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, provide simple instructions to set up your retargeting pixel.

    2. Retargeting Lists: These are lists of users who have previously interacted with your brand, such as those who have subscribed to your email newsletter or made a purchase. You can upload these lists to your advertising platform to reach these users with retargeting ads.

    Optimizing Retargeting Campaigns

    Retargeting campaigns are an essential part of any digital marketing strategy, as they allow advertisers to tailor their advertising to users who have previously visited or engaged with their website or app. To maximize the effectiveness of retargeting campaigns and achieve the highest possible return on investment (ROI), optimizing these efforts is essential.

    This can be achieved through frequency capping and ad fatigue management, determining the ideal duration for retargeting efforts, A/B testing ad creatives, and adjusting bid strategies.

    Frequency Capping and Ad Fatigue

    One critical aspect of optimizing retargeting campaigns is setting the right frequency cap on ad impressions. Frequency capping limits the number of times a particular user sees a retargeted ad within a given time frame.

    Duration of Retargeting Campaigns

    Another essential component of optimizing retargeting campaigns is determining the optimal duration for each campaign. The duration of a retargeting campaign should be tailored to the products or services you are promoting and the user’s position within the sales funnel.

    For example, products or services with a short buying cycle may require shorter retargeting campaigns, while those with longer cycles might benefit from campaigns spanning weeks or even months. Additionally, users in the awareness stage may need longer retargeting campaigns compared to those who have already expressed strong interest or intent to purchase.

    By determining the right campaign duration for your audience and goals, you can avoid wasting valuable advertising dollars on users who have lost interest or bought from a competitor.

    A/B Testing Ad Creatives

    A/B testing is a powerful method for finding the most effective ad creatives and formats for your retargeting campaigns. By running multiple creatives simultaneously and analyzing the performance of each variant, you can identify the best-performing designs, copy, and layout for your specific audience.

    Elements to test in your retargeting campaigns can include headlines, value propositions, call-to-action phrases, images, and video content. Remember that even small changes can significantly impact an ad’s performance, so be sure to test variations systematically and continually refine your creatives based on performance data.

    Remember to maintain consistency in your brand messaging and visual identity across all ad creatives to ensure a cohesive and seamless campaign experience for users.

    Adjusting Bid Strategies

    Effective bid strategies can make or break your retargeting campaign’s performance. Bids that are too high can result in wasted ad spend, while bids that are too low may not reach your target audience.

    Incorporate machine-learning algorithms and automation tools if possible, to optimize your bids in real-time based on the campaign metrics and target audience’s behavior.

    You can optimize performance and maximize ROI from this powerful digital marketing tactic by continually refining and monitoring the various components of your retargeting campaigns.

    Retargeting Platforms and Tools

    Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is an online marketing strategy that involves displaying targeted ads to users who have already visited your website or engaged with your content in some way. Retargeting aims to remind these users of your brand, products, or services and encourage them to return to your website or make a purchase. 

    Google Ads Retargeting

    Google Ads, previously known as Google AdWords, is one of the most popular online advertising platforms. It offers a powerful retargeting feature that allows businesses to display ads to users who have visited their websites or interacted with their content in some way.

    Facebook Retargeting

    Facebook is another significant player in the online advertising landscape, boasting over 2.8 billion monthly active users. Facebook retargeting, also known as Facebook Custom Audiences, allows advertisers to display targeted ads to users who have visited their website or engaged with their content on Facebook.

    Like Google Ads, Facebook retargeting requires adding a tracking pixel (Facebook Pixel) to your website, which tracks users and adds them to a custom audience list. These users will then see your retargeting ads when using Facebook or Instagram, thus maintaining top-of-mind awareness and increasing the chances of converting these users into customers.

    LinkedIn Retargeting

    LinkedIn is a professional networking platform with over 760 million users, making it an ideal platform for B2B marketers to reach their target audience. LinkedIn retargeting allows you to display ads to users who have interacted with your content or visited your website.

    LinkedIn retargeting is similar to other platforms and requires adding the LinkedIn Insight Tag to your website to track user interactions. You can then create custom retargeting campaigns, targeting users based on their professional information, such as job title, industry, company size, and more.

    LinkedIn retargeting is particularly effective for B2B businesses and can help increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads, and facilitate sales among a professional audience.

    Other Retargeting Platforms

    Apart from the popular platforms mentioned above, several other platforms, such as Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube, offer retargeting capabilities. Each platform has its unique features and targeting options, allowing businesses to reach different audiences and achieve various marketing goals.

    Third-Party Retargeting Tools

    Several third-party retargeting tools can help streamline your retargeting efforts across multiple platforms. These tools typically offer features that extend beyond the native capabilities of individual platforms, such as cross-platform retargeting, advanced audience segmentation, and performance reporting. Some popular third-party retargeting tools include AdRoll, Criteo, and Perfect Audience.

    Measuring and Analyzing Retargeting Performance

    Retargeting campaigns have become integral to digital marketing strategies, allowing businesses to re-engage with potential customers and ultimately increase their sales. Measuring and analyzing the performance of your retargeting efforts is crucial to ensure that your campaigns are effective and provide a positive return on investment. 

    Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

    The success of a retargeting campaign can be measured using various key performance indicators (KPIs), which can give you insights into what works and what doesn’t. Some common KPIs that can help you assess your retargeting campaign’s performance include:

    1. Click-Through Rate (CTR): CTR indicates the percentage of users who click on your retargeted ads. A high CTR suggests that your ads are engaging and relevant to your target audience. Examining your ad creatives, messaging, and targeting options is essential to optimize your CTR.

    2. Conversion Rate (CVR): This metric indicates the percentage of users who completed the desired action (purchase, sign-up, etc.) after clicking on your retargeted ad. A high CVR implies that your retargeting efforts are successful in driving users to take the desired action, turning them into customers.

    3. Cost Per Click (CPC): CPC represents the average cost incurred for each click on your retargeted ads. Monitoring and optimizing CPC ensures that your ad budget is allocated effectively, providing the highest ROI.

    4. Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): ROAS represents the revenue generated as a result of your retargeting efforts divided by the ad spend. A high ROAS indicates that your retargeting campaigns are profitable and contributing positively to your overall marketing strategy.

    Conversion Attribution Models

    Attribution models are essential in determining the effectiveness of retargeting campaigns. Several conversion attribution models are available, and choosing the right one matters for accurate measurements. Some common attribution models include:

    1. Last-Click Attribution: This model assigns credit to the last touchpoint (usually a retargeting ad) before the conversion, giving you insights into the effectiveness of your retargeting efforts.

    2. Linear Attribution: This model equally distributes conversion credit across all touchpoints in the user’s journey, providing a more comprehensive view of your marketing efforts.

    3. Time Decay Attribution: This model assigns more significant credit to touchpoints closer to the conversion event, giving more importance to ads viewed more recently.

    It’s vital to choose an attribution model that aligns with your business goals and accurately measures the impact of your retargeting campaigns on conversions.

    Optimizing Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

    To optimize the return on ad spend (ROAS) for your retargeting campaign, consider the following strategies:

    1. Segment your audience: Create segments based on user behavior (pages visited, time spent on site, etc.) and target them with tailored ads, increasing relevance and conversion probability.

    2. Implement frequency capping: Limit the number of times a user sees your ad, preventing ad fatigue and potential negative associations with your brand.

    3. Test and iterate: Continuously analyze ad creatives, messaging, and targeting options to improve performance and ROAS. Conduct A/B testing to determine the most effective elements of your retargeting ads.

    4. Optimize bids and budgets: Allocate your ad budget to high-performing campaigns or audience segments, and adjust bids based on performance, ensuring the best use of your resources.

    Tracking Multi-Touch Attribution

    Multi-touch attribution is a method that assigns conversion credits to multiple touchpoints in a user’s journey, providing insights into the overall effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. To track multi-touch attribution for your retargeting efforts:

    1. Choose a suitable attribution model: Select a model that accurately represents your customer journey and business objectives, such as linear or time decay attribution models.

    2. Implement tracking tools: Use specialized tools, such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, to capture and analyze data regarding user interactions with your ads and other marketing channels.

    3. Analyze data: Collect data and analyze the performance of each touchpoint in driving conversions, providing insight into which channels and tactics are most effective at various stages in the customer journey.

    Tracking and understanding multi-touch attribution can help you optimize your overall marketing strategy, ensuring that your retargeting efforts are effectively contributing to your desired outcomes.

    Maintaining Ethical Retargeting Practices

    Retargeting is a powerful digital marketing tactic that enables brands to re-engage with users who have previously interacted with their websites or ads. While retargeting can boost conversions and revenue, it’s essential for marketers to ensure that they maintain ethical practices in their retargeting strategies. 

    Data Privacy and User Consent

    One critical aspect of ethical retargeting is ensuring that you respect your users’ data privacy and consent. Advertisers should ensure they comply with various privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States, and other relevant laws and regulations applicable in their location or to their target audience.

    Managing User Preferences and Opt-outs

    It is important to manage user preferences in your retargeting campaigns. Provide users with clear and easily accessible options to manage their information and preferences, such as which types of ads they want to see and how often they want to see them.

    Moreover, it’s important to facilitate easy opt-out options for users who do not wish to be part of your retargeting campaigns. Users should be able to easily find and execute their opt-out preferences either through your website or within the advertisements themselves.

    Respecting user preferences demonstrates ethical behavior and helps ensure that your advertising efforts are not wasted on uninterested or annoyed users.

    Transparency in Advertising and Disclosures

    Transparency is another vital aspect of ethical retargeting. Advertisers must disclose the nature of their ads and the reasons why a particular user is being targeted. Being open and honest about your retargeting efforts can build trust with your audience and avoid potential backlash.

    For example, one way to increase transparency is to add a recognizable “AdChoices” logo or icon on your advertisements, informing users that the ad is behaviorally targeted. When users click on this logo, they should be directed to a page with more information about the ad, who is responsible for it, and how they can manage their ad preferences.

    Another way to be transparent is to avoid misleading or deceptive ad practices, such as hiding the identity of the advertiser or using clickbait tactics. Ensuring that your ads are transparent helps maintain consumer trust and promotes a healthy digital advertising ecosystem.

    Ensuring Ad Quality and Relevance

    The relevancy of the advertisements is also crucial. Segmenting your target audience based on their interests and past interactions with your site is essential to ensure that you are showing them ads that accurately reflect their preferences.

    Additionally, it is important to pay close attention to ad frequency. Overexposure to your retargeting ads can lead to ad fatigue and ultimately damage your brand’s image. Set appropriate frequency caps for your advertising campaigns to avoid ad fatigue and continuously monitor user engagement.

    Retargeting Tactics – FAQs

    1. What is the main purpose of retargeting tactics in marketing campaigns?

    Retargeting tactics primarily aim to bring back potential customers who have previously interacted with a brand, product, or service and re-engage them to convert and boost sales effectively.

    2. How do retargeting tactics work?

    Retargeting tactics involve using cookies and digital marketing tools to track a user’s online behavior and display tailored ads to those who have visited a specific website or engaged with a particular brand in the past.

    3. What do marketers use some popular retargeting platforms?

    Popular platforms include Google Ads, Facebook and Instagram Custom Audiences, Twitter Tailored Audiences, LinkedIn Matched Audiences, and AdRoll, providing multiple channels for marketers to reach targeted users.

    4. What role do cookies play in retargeting tactics?

    Cookies, small files saved on a user’s device, help marketers track and collect user data, such as browsing history and product preferences, which assists in creating customized and targeted ads for better retargeting efforts.

    5. How can I measure the success of retargeting campaigns?

    To measure success, marketers use key performance indicators (KPIs) such as click-through rates, conversion rates, cost per conversion, return on ad spend, and overall sales attributable to retargeting campaigns.

    6. Are there any privacy concerns associated with retargeting tactics?

    Yes, privacy concerns exist around tracking online user behavior, collecting personal data, and potential misuse of information. Marketers should adhere to data privacy laws and regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA, to protect users’ rights.

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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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