Retargeting 101: A Definitive Guide To Retargeting Fundamentals

It’s never easy to bring in new visitors to your website. Running a paid ad or promoting material in search requires tremendous work. Naturally, the goal is to turn every visitor into a prospective customer.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds. In an ideal world, the visitor would immediately purchase their first visit to your site.

However, the reality is that not every visitor who visits your website will make a purchase. Most visitors are just browsing or doing a bit of research, and once they leave the site, chances are they won’t visit ever again.

Therefore, the aim is to ensure that even when visitors exit the site, they would want to return. Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a type of an online advertisement that allows a chance that a previous visitor would once again visit your site by reminding them about your products as they continue to browse the web.


Retargeting is specifically targeted to visitors who have previously visited your website hence revealing an interest in your products or services. It works by utilizing ‘cookies’ to serve ads to previous visitors by showing them relevant ads, thereby raising brand awareness. It targets specific visitors through search engines or social media. You get to remind them about your products and services by showing them relevant visual or text ads while browsing the web. It works with apps, search, and website banner ads. 

How Does It Work?

Here is a quick overview of what transpires.

  1. A potential customer visits your website and begins to browse.
  2. Using JavaScript, a cookie is placed in the visitor’s browser.
  3. The visitor leaves without making a purchase. 
  4. The visitor continues browsing the web.
  5. The potential visitor checks out a website that serves ads.
  6. The cookie in your previous visitor’s browser will allow your ads to be shown based upon your pre-configured settings.
  7. Your ad draws their interest and brings them back to your website.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, chances are this has already happened to you. You visit a website, browse through, and even add items to your cart without checking out, then as you browse through the web, ads for the products that you previously looked at keep popping up. 

Why is Retargeting Important?

Retargeting is beneficial not only to the business but to the customers as well. The issue, however, is that not a lot of people know what retargeting is. Therefore, it raised concerns for some concerned if their browser history was being checked and precisely targeted. An eMarketer conducted a study in 2013 that found that 59% of the participants were neutral about retargeting ads, while 30% of them were favorable.  

From a business perspective, there are so many advantages to retargeting. First and foremost, it allows you to be at the top of the mind of potential customers.

If your visitor is still not yet ready to take the plunge and make a purchase, being presented with your ad campaigns at different periods over the next few days or weeks will help them remember the products or services that you offer. It helps your business to gain tractions and recognition. When your visitor is finally ready to make a purchase, there’s a higher chance that he or she will revisit your site.

Moreover, retargeting is a great way to increase brand awareness and advertise special offers to existing customers. It has been found that Retargeting can increase advertisement action to as much as 400%, and considering that even a small increase in conversion can result in an increase in sales, imagine how much more customers you’ll gain thanks to retargeting. 

When Should You Use Retargeting?

To ensure that your retargeting strategy is effective, you need to balance the fine line between wanting to be at the forefront of the potential customer’s mind without scaring them off by thinking their browser history is being checked. You don’t want to annoy or scare your potential customer by having your ads pop up on every website or social media platform that they visit. This is why it’s very crucial to stabilize the frequency, spacing, and placement of your retargeting. This way, it allows your targeted visitors to remember your brand when they’re ready to purchase without annoying them in the process. 

Website Retargeting

The most common type of retargeting is website retargeting. It concentrates on placing ads in front of users who have previously visited your website. However, the hurdle is that there’s no guarantee that all visitors who have previously visited your site are interested in seeing your ads or fall within your target market. It’s possible that they did not find your value proposition agreeable or had already purchased it from a competitor. Therefore, you must consider carefully where on your site do you wish to initiate tracking. 

CRM Retargeting

CRM Retargeting provides more pertinent advertisements to your customers using the data in your first-party platforms, such as CRM or POS. It allows you to specifically target your subscriber list that has been segmented based on several factors like data accumulated, or their online behavior, etc. AdRoll and Retargeter are just some of the numerous platforms that provide an effortless way of implementing CRM retargeting by furnishing your email list to their database. From there, they’ll be the ones to deliver the relevant ads. 

Dynamic Retargeting

Let’s face it. Our likes and interests are bound to change as time goes by. Just because you were interested in a specific product doesn’t mean that you won’t change your mind about purchasing it. Dynamic retargeting generates custom ads based on past purchases, location, products that they previously browsed, or even items left in their cart that they never purchased. 

Facebook Retargeting

It’s practically impossible to find an individual who doesn’t have a Facebook account. Facebook is an excellent platform for brands to use to retarget customers through Facebook fans, email lists, or site visitors. It works by using the data provided by your previous website visitors to find their profiles on Facebook and then running relevant ads to entice them to check out your site once again. 

Retargeting is all about enticing visitors who had previously expressed interest in your products or services to consider once again visiting your site when they’re ready to make a purchase. There is still so much more to learn and understand about retargeting, and this article has barely scratched the surface. While advertising may sound easy, the real conundrum is to target the right individuals at the right time and place. 

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