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Why You Need to Be Retargeting Your Website Traffic


With an ever-increasing focus on digital marketing, it can be hard to keep up on all the different tools at your disposal. You may have heard of retargeting (also called remarketing), but never quite got around to figuring out exactly what it was. Or you developed a retargeting campaign but didn’t have the time or knowledge to really segment your lists or create customized creative. And without those aspects, you probably didn’t get everything out of the campaign that you could have. In this blog post, we are going to discuss what retargeting is and how you should be utilizing it as a part of your marketing efforts.

What is Retargeting?

Google defines retargeting asa way to connect with people who previously interacted with your website or mobile app. It allows you to strategically position your ads in front of these audiences as they browse Google or its partner websites, thus helping you increase your brand awareness or remind those audiences to make a purchase.” Essentially, retargeting allows you to advertise specifically to anyone who has previously visited your website.

Research has shown that the average conversion rate across industries is around 2.35%. This means that nearly 98% of your visitors are leaving before checking out. When potential customers visit your site but leave without converting, retargeting allows you to recapture their interest and bring them back to your site. Because this audience is already familiar with your brand and products, they are more likely to make a purchase and convert than a first-time visitor.

How Retargeting Works

To set up a retargeting campaign, first, you can input a retargeting pixel in the backend of your website. This retargeting pixel will save user information by placing a cookie inside the visitor’s browser. This will then allow you to strategically place ads in front of those who have been on your website before. Retargeting campaigns can be set up on many different platforms like Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.

Hands typing on a laptop with retargeting ads.

The other way to set up a campaign to retarget customers is by uploading a list of user information that you have gathered. If people have signed up for a newsletter or given their email address, you can use this information for retargeting. Upload the list of emails to the platform of your choice, which will convert them to hashed emails. This means that the email addresses will be converted into a string of numbers and letters to protect your customer’s privacy. Then you can serve those people ads across the web or even send them personalized emails convincing them to come back and make a purchase.

After you have either input the tracking pixel onto your website or uploaded contact information, you can start retargeting these users. The most basic retargeting campaign would be to retarget anyone who has visited your site at all. However, segmenting audiences allows you to more precisely target consumers.

One of the great things about retargeting is that it allows you to tailor your ads more specifically for individuals. When incorporating a retargeting campaign into your PPC strategy, make sure you are segmenting audiences. If your retargeting campaign is too broad, the value of the targeted ads is essentially lost. So, make sure you narrow your retargeting campaign to get the most ROI by increasing audience engagement and familiarity.

How to Segment Retargeting Audiences

Segmenting audiences is a crucial aspect of a successful retargeting campaign. There are many different ways to create audience lists. Here are a few ways to segment users that are extremely effective.


You might have a customer that lands on your page and then immediately leaves after only spending seconds on the site. Or you might have a customer that hits your landing page, reads a blog, signs up for a newsletter, and looks through a few product pages. These customers are very different. The same ads are not going to appeal to both customers because they are in very different stages of the buyer’s funnel.

The Buyer's funnel showing how retargeting ads capture users in the desire and action stages.

Instead of using your retargeting campaign to retarget ANY visitor who visited your site, try identifying and refining a set of behaviors to be retargeted. This may be a certain URL that the customer visited. If a user spent time on a particular product page, they are more likely to purchase that product than someone who read a blog post. So set your retargeting campaign to target visitors that viewed specific URLs of product pages by showing them ads of the products they viewed. This makes the ads much more relevant to the consumer and may recapture their interest in the product, leading them to convert.

Between 50% to 80% of shopping carts are abandoned before buyers check out. These buyers are prime for retargeted ads because they are even further down the buyer’s funnel. You can target these people with ads that contain a discount code. Let them know that you saved their cart and now they can get 10% off. Or you can use email retargeting to send them a reminder that they have items in their cart. These reminders will bring the shopper’s interest back to your site and may be just the push they needed to finish their purchase.

Time on Site

Instead of segmenting audiences by behavior, you can also segment them by time spent on your site. Visitors who spend 10 minutes on your site are probably closer to converting than visitors who spend 30 seconds on your site. But every site and industry is different. For one site, a visitor spending a few minutes on the site may be great, but for another, that may be way below average.

So, how do you know what time you should be setting your retargeting campaign for? Take a look at your Google Analytics account to find the average amount of time visitors spend on your web pages. You can find this metric under Behavior > All Pages. You can use this time to set your initial criteria. If your average time on page is 3 minutes, maybe only retarget people that spend at least this much time on your site.

Existing Customers

Another easy way to increase your conversions using retargeting is to actually remarket to previous customers. Usually retargeting is only thought of as a way to reach visitors who didn’t actually make a purchase. After all, if someone bought dishes off of your website, you wouldn’t want to send them ads for those dishes. That is just wasting ad money- they aren’t going to purchase those same dishes again.

This has led many people to believe that retargeting users who previously bought something a waste of money and resources. However, retargeting customers to cross-sell or up-sell is actually a great way to create loyal, repeat customers. It would look like this: Someone buys dishes off of your website and then starts seeing ads for glassware that matches. By retargeting previous customers, you know that they are already familiar with your brand and products.

Things to Remember when Implementing a Retargeting Campaign

A credit card reader and credit card representing a purchase

After you have built your audiences for your retargeting campaign, there are a few things you want to remember before you start retargeting them.

Frequency Capping

Frequency is the average number of times a unique user sees your ad. You don’t want to be the brand that is basically stalking users. This only leads to ad fatigue and a decrease in click-through rate. If a user ends up seeing an ad that they aren’t interested in over and over again, it only makes them angry. So make sure you are utilizing frequency capping in your campaigns.

Frequency capping will let you adjust the number of impressions you want to show users. You can usually adjust your frequency settings by the day or week. Your frequency caps will be different for the type of campaign you are running. If you are an e-commerce site that is having a weekend sale, your frequency caps will probably want to be a little higher. So, decide what is the right number of impressions for your business.

Customized Creative

Again, retargeting allows you to specifically target consumers who have already shown an interest in your products or services. You don’t want to use the same ad for these users as you would use for a first-time visitor. Design your creative to provide new information for those you are retargeting.

This could be a discount code like we discussed earlier. Or you could provide new details and functions of the product or service. Make sure you are displaying your USP (unique selling proposition) and helping customers to further understand why they should choose your brand over others.

Brand Continuity

Lastly, make sure that you are designing your ads in the same style and format as your website. The whole point of retargeted ads is that users will be able to associate the ad with your brand because they have seen and interacted with your brand before. If your ad does not resemble your website, users are going to have a harder time making this association.

Make sure the colors and fonts you use are the same. Also, make sure you have a clear call-to-action (CTA) on your ad. You want users to see the ad, immediately recognize the brand and product, and understand what the next step is. There should also be a link on the ad that takes the user to a landing page that makes it incredibly easy for them to then make a purchase without having to jump around your website.

So, Now You Know

If you haven’t already been including a retargeting campaign in your digital marketing strategy, now is the time to do so! Retargeting is an efficient and cost-effective way to target consumers who showed interest in your product or service but never quite converted. It really is a great way to persuade users to move down the buyer’s funnel to ultimately make a purchase. Use the strategies above to create a killer retargeting campaign, or contact us today and we will do all the hard work for you!