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How to Get Better Results from Your Retargeting Campaigns

How to Get Better Results from Your Retargeting Campaigns

Retargeting campaigns are magical gifts from the marketing gods. You’ve got direct access to warm traffic, cheaper costs per click, and a more pleasing return on your ad spend. What’s not to love?

Still, retargeting is not an instant cure for your conversion woes. If you charge headlong into a campaign with no strategy in place, you risk losing those interested visitors — for good.

The Undeniable ROI of Retargeting Campaigns

Research and case studies show that retargeting will outperform any other kind of targeted  campaign.

All the cookies, pixels, and emails that your website is capturing leave a magical trail of breadcrumbs straight to your warmed-up customers. Now all you need to do is follow them around the web with some persuasive image and text ads to woo them back.

The retargeted customer journey, if successful, follows a path something like this:

Image source

But to avoid the acute embarrassment of a campaign failure, your retargeting efforts must start with a plan.

Always Start with a Strategy

Retargeting works best when you have a funnel strategy mapped out before you start. You can even automate your process to make things easier.

Although you know how to reach your site visitors, you need a solid understanding of where they fit into your funnel so you can meet them at their stage of awareness.

Using the data you collected the first time around, you can figure out whether your visitors need a little more content and information, or whether they’re ready for more of a hard-sell style of ad.

HubSpot lets their copy do the talking in this retargeting ad, overcoming common subscriber objections in a few short characters. There’s no pushy call to action in sight, just some helpful information.

If you segment your ads for different awareness levels, you should be creating targeted landing pages for each segment. This will give customers a more relevant experience and guide them toward your end goal.

Without a clear marketing plan, you risk retargeting segments the wrong way and losing sales.

Don’t Sabotage Your Retargeting Campaign

Accurately targeting your visitors is a delicate game. You want to be interesting and persuasive, but not borderline creepy with your approach.

When it’s obvious a person is seeing an ad based on their web activity and personal data they may get annoyed and feel like their privacy has been invaded. Which is fair enough, because it has (just a little).

Your retargeting ads need to be subtle in their approach to knowing about a prospect. Even though you know where they’ve been and what they’ve looked at, they don’t need to know that you know. You know?

As a marketer, you’ll understand that the journey of a customer from awareness to making a purchase is not linear. It can often take weeks or months for them to make a decision, if at all.

Since they’ve already shown an interest in your products you need to approach them with an understanding that they shop online just like you do. Be human and personal, but not too personal.

Most importantly, make sure you’re not paying for previous customers to see ads for something they’ve already bought from you.

Other Retargeting Options to Try

Businesses often forget that their existing customers are the easiest targets. You’ve already won their clicks and their trust, now you just need to focus on the next steps with these smoking-hot leads.

Cross-selling and upselling

Previous customers might be interested in your new services but haven’t gone back to your site recently. There’s no better way to show them your awesome new offerings than to fire up that retargeting campaign and go and hang out in their social and search feeds.

Online retailers seem to be the ones charging full-speed ahead in this category, always on point with their cross-selling ads. New arrivals regularly show up for previous customers with a clear call to action to check out fresh goodies.

Upselling is another great retargeting tactic. Bought a webinar online recently? You might have noticed that you’re now getting ads that want to upsell you on a free trial or product demo. If you have a “next-level” product that you want your current customers to come back for, now’s the time to put that upsell retargeting into action.


For physical storefronts, geo-targeting should be on your to-do list. Localized advertising is a highly effective way of winning customers back.

Geo-targeting takes personalization and segmentation to new heights and is the perfect way to make location-specific offers. You can even target those interested customers who may be walking or driving toward your business to offer them well-timed special deals.


Retargeting is an excellent and cost-effective way of capturing warm leads for your business. But like everything else in the world of marketing, success is not guaranteed.

You’ll need to take the time to think about your strategy and customer awareness, and how best to engage those interested visitors without coming across as an internet creeper and frightening your customers away.

We love retargeting, so if you’re struggling with your strategy or are keen to start your first campaign, feel free to contact me.


(Graphic by Garrett Davis, summer 2018 intern)