What Is Retargeting And How Does It Work?

Over the past few months I’ve been experimenting a lot with retargeting, and I came to understand that it’s so effected that I decided to write this guide and explain how to use retargeting in your marketing effectively, I’ll show you a few examples so you could see how it works.

Why is it so effective?

The main reason is that your prospective customers already saw your offer before, so they have a good understanding who you are and what is your business about. The traffic quality that you can get from retargeting is really high, because it is pre-qualified audience that chose to show your marketing to again.

It’s really easy to implement, you just need to give your web-master a small piece of code and you’re done.

After I started implementing retargeting methods I saw those users who were “almost there” actually taking the next steps that I wanted them to take.

I hate to mention the word “branding”, but that’s something that you will inheritely get when you use retargeting, people will get to know your brand and even though I don’t believe that most us need to spend big on marketing like Nike / Coca-Cola, it will have positive effect for sure as your customers will get to see you everywhere around the net.

What will you get?

More conversions for sure, but not the “front end” kind of conversions, but converions that in the past you would only get from email marketing, you can now get from retargeting.


How do we use it?

You can start by recreating your initial follow up sequence that your user get on email when he first sign up to you, and create ads that will run from the moment he was on your website, until 3 days later, then another ad for day 3 until day 6 etc. Some people will of course not sign up to your email list, or won’t open your emails, so this is a good and elegant way to market to them, This kind of campaign is called “sequencing campaign”.

Another way we can use it is to give discounts, if they just saw your product for $60 on your website, you can now give them this “5% coupon code” and win them after they left your store, because after all getting the initial customer is the hardest part right? once he is your buyer, you can market him other stuff for the full price.

We can use it with CPV and sneak into our competitor’s traffic, what we essentially do is creating a CPV campaign for example if our product is a toy for kids, we can bid on the keyword toysourus.com and put a retargeting pixel to whoever landed on their site, and then we can market our product to their visitors.

Email retargeting is huge as-well, what we can do is install a retargeting pixel on our broadcast emails that we send to our list, once they open the email they will get the pixel install, and we will know that they are interested in whatever we market in the email, so if for example our email headline was “Get More Out Of Your Facebook Marketing”, we can use that campaign and market to those visitors who got the pixel install our latest “Facebook Marketing” product.

Got youtube channel? then you can install the pixel to whoever see your youtube channel page (not the individual videos, the main channel).

Which companies offer retargeting?

There are lots of companies that offer retargeting, but we will only touch a few in this post.Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 10.48.31 AM

Facebook have got a pretty good “audience” platform that let you create pixels and put them wherever you want, so that you can keep marketing them (within facebook).

Adroll, Perfectaudience – Companies that let you collect audiences from just about anywhere, and then retarget them on Facebook / Google adsense, so essentially you can market them all over the internet and get great exposure to your campaigns.

Google also let you create retargeting campaigns, but I didn’t really tried it so I can’t say how is it.

Launching campaigns checklist

We’ve got retargeting pretty streamlined, here are the steps we take before making any kind of retargeting campaign.

1. Make sure you’ve installed the retargeting codes in your pages. That way your retargeting platform will know which users to target.
2. Install the conversion pixel on the your thank you pages, so that when people already purchased your product you can exclude the people who already converted from your campaigns, and you could know what was your cost per conversion from the retargeting campaign.
3Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 1.57.38 AM. Create your banner creatives, this means that you will have to comply with the websites you retargeting at, these days facebook accept 1200×628 for newsfeed ads and 600×315 for right column ads, the ads I usually create for google ads are 300×250, 728×90 and 160×600.
4. Create your landing pages, I usually create mine with leadpages, but you can create them just the way your web designer is comfortable with, we usually create one landing page per theme, so if your theme is for them to “buy” your product, that would be one type of landing page, other types could be pages for leaving leads, or pages for a special coupon etc.

Targeting tactics

The most basic kind of retargeting is just putting a pixel on your sales page, so that you could send your visitors to that page again, but I wanted to talk about some more advanced targeting methods.

The first advance one is the “order form” targeting, what if your customer already saw your offer, wanted to buy, but thought it’s too expensive for him? what we can do is offer him a discount and send him right back to the order form again.

Do you use exit pages? the ones that your user see just when he click “x” to exit your page… if you do, you might already offer a different price in that page, so when doing retargeting, it’s better to already give the cheaper price, many of our users just skip the exit page and click “x” again so we don’t want to send them back to the full price.

Upselling much? Once you sold your initial product and your customer see your upsell page, it’s better to put an “exclude” command on your retargeting platform for your initial sales page so that you won’t market them what they already bought, now it’s time to market them with your upsell product (yes, with retargeting as-well).

“Do you want fries with that?” – That’s the multi-million dollar sentence that was discovered in mcdonalds, offering fries in addition to the burger prove to increase mcd’s revenues by more than 100%, so why don’t we learn from that and do the same?
You pretty much send your buyers to a “thank you” page after they bought, a good method is to target your buyers, you know your audience and what they like, now you can offer them complementing products that are similar to what they bought.

Advanced timing:

This is a strategy that has proven to be a gold nugget, it basically means that you put few pixels in the same page, say you’re launching a video sales letter product, and you know that if your users saw it for more than 30 minutes it means they are hooked, what you could do is this:
First pixel you install on the first 30 seconds, that users are usually those who have been in the page, and don’t know exactly what it’s talking about, so in our banners we wil usually give them a more general ad that they can relate to, for example if you’re marketing facebook ads it will be “Tired of spending money on Facebook and not getting results?”.
The second pixel will fire after the initial 30 seconds, now your audience is more engaged, they saw your hook and you can now talk to them in your own words, for example if in your video you blamed the gurus you can create an ad: “Tired of gurus selling you worthless products that don’t work?”.
The third pixel is going to be fired in the middle of the video, so if your video is 30 min long, it will fire after 15 minutes, usually this pixel is where we get most of the sales, the audience is engaged but they didn’t want to finish waiting for the price, so we usually send them back to the Video but this time with the hidden “Add to cart” button being visible so they can see the price.
The last pixel is for people who saw all of your video (including the price), you can again send them to a page with visible buy button, but this time you can offer a slight discount to make them come back.

Banner creative creation

In terms of Click Through Rate, you should strive for 0.3%, but the average is 0.1%, and Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 5.39.27 PMsometimes we get ads that have 0.8% CTR.

The creative should be pretty simple, don’t over-complicate it with fancy graphics, it’s not required, try giving them something away, as I mentioned before a discount or coupon is working pretty good.

Always have a “call to action” in your add, so you can add a button image of “Click Here” inside your add, another trick that works is adding blue underline url so they will automatically click on it, we click on this blue underline unconsciously.

Another trick that works for us is including handwritten script on the pictures, this way we come across as “people” and not a huge corporation, people hate to buy from corporations.

Make sure to add picture of people if you’re advertising on Facebook, it works great. And the last banner tip is to put something that will stick, you can be mysterious or funny, but make it something that they didn’t see today.

Landing page guidelines

Your landing page should match the style of the original page they saw when you retarget them, same color schemes usually work best, in your privacy policy you should add a section about retargeting, and mostly no exit popups allowed in retargeting campaigns, Facebook for sure don’t tolerate exit popups.

Metrics to check

- Click to conversions
- We drop banner that have 10,000 impressions and no conversions. – Switch creative
- We drop landing page that have 400 views and no conversions.


If you read until here it means that you are serious and ready to start retargeting, you should know hat every segment (pixel you created) should have it’s own campaign, so you can exclude the conversion pages. It’s important to test more banners if the ones you have don’t get clicks.

And one final word, if you don’t see direct conversions, it doesn’t mean your campaign is not working, by exposing the same audience to your message all over again, you are indirectly creating an authority to your audience whether you tried it or not.

I hope this guide was helpful for you, feel free to read it again when you implement it in your campaigns, it covers most aspects of retargeting.


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  • http://www.earn1kmonthly.com/ Franck Silvestre

    Awesome article Tomer. I’m planning to use retargeting very soon, your article is just what I needed!

    Always coming up with great content man.

    Stay STRONG!

  • Byamba-Erdene

    I like