(Re)Target Locked Down: Using Retargeting to Boost Your Business

In an ideal world, conversions would be a cakewalk.

A potential client stops by your website. Immediately, they find the thing they’re looking for, pop it in their shopping cart, and complete the sale. Easy peasy.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it goes in the real world.

Here, the client stops by your site, pokes around a bit, and leaves without purchasing anything. Maybe they come back in a few days (or weeks, or months); maybe you never see them again.

The first part of this scenario is unlikely to change. People accessing your site for the first time aren’t usually ready to make a purchase. But, you can influence what happens after they leave. Don’t let them disappear forever. If you want them to come back (and buy!), it’s time to add retargeting to your marketing toolkit.

How Does Retargeting Work?


How retargeting works illustration

It’s simple! When someone visits your site, a small piece of Javascript code (often known as a pixel) places a cookie in their browser. Now, whenever that person spends time online, the cookie alerts your retargeting provider to show them ads for your product. Clients are frequently reminded of the potential purchase they walked away from, and many of them return to your site and complete the sale.

Alternatively, you upload all the email addresses in your existing contacts list to a retargeting platform. That platform matches the addresses you provided with its own users and shows them ads whenever they access the platform. This method is called list-based retargeting (as opposed to pixel-based). It gives you a better idea of who’s seeing your ads, but it only works if the address a client gave you is the same address that client uses for Facebook, Twitter, etc.

How Do I Use Retargeting?

It’s pretty easy to set up retargeting ads on your own using the Google Display Network, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also hire a retargeting company to expand your reach even further. If you don’t want to shell out money for professional help, make sure you adhere to the following best practices.

  • Be specific. One of the great things about retargeting is that you can customize your ads based on what parts of your site a client visits, how long they spend there, etc. So if they get all the way to putting a specific pair of shoes in their shopping cart, your retargeting ad can show them that pair of shoes. If they just browsed around, you can show them a more general ad that keeps your company fresh in their mind.
  • Find the right frequency. No one likes to be bombarded. You want to get your ad out there enough times to be memorable, but not annoying. We recommend no more than 17-20 ads per person per month. Since retargeting lets you know how long it’s been since someone visited you, you can show them more ads immediately following a visit, then slowly taper off as the weeks go by.
  • Switch it up. If someone sees the same ad over and over, it eventually becomes part of the landscape. Keep your material fresh so that it continues to get noticed.
  • Burn codes are essential. Let’s say your retargeting campaign works, and the client completes their purchase. Burn codes make sure they don’t keep seeing ads for the thing they just bought (so annoying). Put another pixel on your “Thank you for your purchase!” page to exclude them from future retargeting (or for extra credit, figure out what they’ll want next and start showing them those ads).

personal targeted consumer marketing

Better Than Memories

They’ve been to your site; they know you’ve got something great to offer. Don’t let distraction or uncertainty prevent them from buying. Use retargeting to help clients keep your product in mind by putting it right in front of them whenever they’re online.