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What is Retargeting and How Does it Work?

What is Retargeting and How Does it Work?

Retargeting is one of the best ways to bring traffic back to your website. It's a simple concept yet often overlooked by the digital marketing industry.

This post will give you a brief introduction to retargeting and explain how you can use it to your advantage.

So you've decided to start retargeting campaigns? It's a great thing to do, and there are many benefits. But before you get started, here's what you need to know about retargeting.

What Is Retargeting?

Engage Your Audience With Retargeting

Retargeting shows people ads they already interacted with or visited on your site. The idea is that you can use the context and content from their previous visit to help them decide on purchasing from you. It has two goals:

1 – Attract new customers.

To attract more potential customers, you need to put yourself in your prospects' shoes. Try and figure out why you think they're not interested. It's often because they don't know who you are, what you're about, what you have to offer, or what your product does. But if you're not trying to sell something directly, you can show your potential customers an image or video of your brand or product. This is called remarketing, and it helps bring in people looking for what you have to offer.

2 – Keep customers from leaving.

You've heard the saying, “Don't fix what isn't broken.” Retargeting applies that to marketing. Retargeting is the act of continuing to reach people who were previously exposed to your brand after they left your site. 

Retargeting involves tracking your visitors as they move throughout the web, and creating highly personalised, individualised ad campaigns to keep them engaged.

Why Retargeting Works

Retargeting Vs Targeting

While retargeting is used primarily for website banner ads, Facebook advertisements and mobile apps are just as effective. You don't even need to target specific demographics anymore.

If someone was interested in your service but never bought anything from you, you could show them a message encouraging them to sign up for your services or buy something new. In other words, retargeting lets you nudge people into making the next purchase.

The Advantages of Retargeting

Retargeting ads help keep your customers and potential customers engaged with your brand. They are designed to get people who have already shown some interest in your company or brand to show up again on your site—so that you can continue to drive conversions for your business.

If someone visits your site but doesn't buy, they'll see your ads on other sites. Retargeting is when advertisers show your ad to that same person after leaving your site. This allows your brand to reach your audience multiple times over. While remarketing is most common for B2B buyers, it's also beneficial for B2C consumers.

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Disadvantages of Retargeting

Many disadvantages come with retargeting ads, mainly because people aren't necessarily aware they're being retargeted. Your ad will be ignored, even if it appeals to them. On top of that, ads can be pretty expensive, primarily if you target a specific demographic.

The Difference Between Direct and Organic Traffic

You need to look beyond conversions to know what's working (or not) in retargeting. It would be best if you also saw what's driving people to visit your site and what's driving them back to your site after they left. 

That's where retargeting insights can help you understand what's working for your audience.

While there is no hard line between direct and organic traffic, marketers usually think of direct traffic as being traffic from search engines (e.g., Google), email newsletters and direct mail, social media traffic from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms, and referral traffic from websites and blogs. Organic traffic comes from the search engine results page — all other traffic is direct traffic.

How to Create Effective Campaigns

“If I can't find anything new, I'll just check in with some of the stuff I've already done,” said David H. Lee, who leads marketing at PPC provider AdRoll.

1 – Choose Your Target Audience

Brand Find Your Target Audience

Your customers are already there. When they're looking at something on your site or Facebook or Instagram, they're not necessarily trying to make a purchase. But they could be interested in learning more about your business, or they could be thinking about buying your products or services, and they're simply browsing the Internet.

You know what retargeting is, but how should you choose whom to target with it? You can take some broad considerations into account when thinking about your audience. 

Your primary marketing goal indeed is to increase sales. However, it's not a significant loss if you can't make sales because you're not targeting the right people. So, it pays to choose your target audience carefully. Consider things like:

  1. Who is likely to be more interested in your product or service?
  2. Who will see your ads the most?
  3. Who is your ideal customer?
  4. Who might be most receptive to a sales message?
  5. Who could benefit most from your product or service?

2 – Pick Your Trigger

Your marketing budget gets split between social media, email, search, and display every day. That means there's no way to spend every dollar you earn. 

Many companies that rely on digital advertising are looking to retarget consumers who have visited their site but haven't converted yet. 

Retargeting ads appear on a person's screen after they visit a website or take an online action, such as viewing an article or adding items to their shopping cart. 

You can target people who have visited your site and are interested in the products you sell by using a remarketing campaign.

3 – Make Sure You Get Enough Traffic

I'm not talking about traffic from Facebook ads or Google Adwords; I mean traffic from organic searches. For example, check out this guide to Google shopping in Australia to see how you can grab the market share from your competitors.

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This traffic converts and brings customers back again and again, so it should always be part of your marketing strategy. Retargeting requires an ongoing effort. It's like building your house brick by brick – if you stop now, you have nothing.

5 – Measure Your Success

A new campaign can drive much traffic to your site. But if those people aren't buying, they're not valuable traffic. You can continue sending them traffic and keeping them on your site with ads. This means they are exposed to your ads more frequently.

How to Measure ROI

Measure Roi Retargeting

I always tell our clients, “If I were running your business, I would have spent more money on marketing.” When we talk to clients, they often say they didn't see much of a return on their ad spend. But what do they mean when they say they didn't see much of a return on their ad spend? 

We ask them to explain precisely what they're trying to prove. They want to show that they made more than they spent on the campaign, but if they're comparing their spending on ads to the cost per conversion, they'll never come up short. Instead, they need to do a little math to demonstrate a return on investment.

Suppose you are planning to implement remarketing in your marketing campaigns. In that case, it's essential to determine how much you can expect to spend on advertising and how much you can expect to save by using retargeting. 

According to a study conducted by HubSpot, when using retargeting, you can expect to spend anywhere from $10 to $100 per acquisition, depending on the method used. 

There is, however, a greater return on investment if you choose to use it. By measuring the results of your campaign, you'll be able to determine if this approach is worth the money invested.

After you've created your retargeting audience, you need to figure out the cost of acquiring a new customer vs losing an existing one. 

Most marketers don't have an excellent answer to that question, but two approaches can help. 

One approach is called cost-per-acquisition (CPA), and it relies on your data about the cost to acquire a customer (usually in the form of a dollar amount). The second approach is called lifetime value (LTV) and requires some assumptions on the part of your team.

How to Grow an Email List

Segment Email List

It is an excellent tool for growing your email list because it allows you to reengage with customers who have already shown interest in your products and services. 

It gives you the chance to build stronger relationships with your past customers, keep them up-to-date on your business, and build a recognisable and familiar brand. 

The key to successful retargeting is to use content targeted to each audience and remember that every interaction is a new opportunity to connect and grow a relationship with your ideal customer.

This is another way that many marketers are using retargeting to increase conversions. However, if you're interested in growing an email list, there are some tips you should consider. 

Think about why you're growing an email list and how you plan to use it. Do you want to be able to send targeted emails to your subscribers or just email everyone at regular intervals? This will affect how you approach the process. Once you have those questions answered, you can decide how to grow your list.

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How to Retarget an Existing Email List

Your current email list is a valuable asset. You should treat it as a precious commodity and do everything to keep it happy and healthy. It should be kept up to date, nurtured, and managed with care. 

This means that if you want to make sure that you get the most out of your list, you need to focus on how to attract new people and keep the ones you already have. 

There are plenty of ways to do this, from offering deals and discounts to asking people to do small tasks (like sharing a link to your site) for a reward. And while it's true that you shouldn't bombard your existing audience with offers to buy, you do have to make sure to offer something that will appeal to your list.

So, the next question is, ‘what do you do with the list now?' The answer to that question depends on what you want to achieve from the email. 

In some cases, retargeting may just be keeping the campaign up to date with the latest information on the company's offerings. 

In other cases, retargeting may involve getting in touch with the people who have already signed up to see if they are interested in a new offering.

How to Add New Customers to Your Retargeting Campaign

Retargeted Customers Statistics

To add new customers to your retargeting campaign, the first step is to make sure that you can target your existing customers with the same advertising that you're using to attract new customers. 

It might seem logical to target all your ad content to all your audiences, but if you're not getting a positive response, you'll likely see no benefit in running ads for the people who aren't interested.

The major mistake businesses make is that they do not understand their customers. They assume that their customers are a homogeneous group who want the same thing. But that's not the case. 

While some customers may want the same product, they don't all want the same things. The most important thing for businesses to remember is that every customer wants to feel special. That's the only reason they came to your business in the first place. And if you keep doing what you've been doing, they will never find out.

This principle is all about making your ad look better to potential customers than its competitors. When they see your ad, they immediately start to form opinions about what your brand stands for. 

So if they see your ad and think you're a luxury car company, but you're a cheap auto insurance company, you've just lost some potential customers.

How to Retarget Offline Traffic

Instore Pickup

After you launch your new website, you'll need to start driving traffic to it. Your website needs to have a strong online presence, meaning it should have a site map, links back to your homepage, and even a contact form. 

These are all things you can add to your website once it launches, but when you're building a new site, it's better to think of these as things you build while your site is still under construction.

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The online advertising industry is booming, but there's a growing concern over how to measure its effectiveness. Most people equate online advertising to email marketing and assume that all it takes is an email address to trigger a response. 

But what if you had a website? What if that website had thousands of visits per month? This scenario is far more common than most people realise. 

In fact, according to the Webtrends eCommerce Performance Index (ECPI), nearly 80 per cent of online retailers have a large audience (10,000 monthly pageviews). 

But there are new opportunities to target this traffic for those online advertisers who have a website and have yet to implement an email strategy. By offline retargeting traffic, you can reach this massive audience for a fraction of the cost of traditional methods.


In conclusion, Retargeting works because you constantly remind a customer of something already been bought from you. 

When you target someone on a social media platform like Facebook or Google AdWords, you send them advertisements to your site or app. This could be for something like an eBook you sold a year ago or an item in a physical store that someone bought.

If you're looking for some help on how to get the most out of your market budget, we'd be happy to share some tips with you. Sign up here to receive more valuable advertising tips.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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