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Retargeting: Why Your Marketing Strategy Needs It in 2019

February 1, 2019

Imagine a world where every single person that landed on your website bought your product.

Even if you’ve created personas, developed funnels, researched multiple paths to purchase, and created a website that's optimized for conversion, the modern buyer’s journey (unfortunately) is not that straightforward.

The fact is, 96 percent of visitors that land on your website will not make a purchase. The game that we’re playing as marketers is to get this 96 percent back to your site so that they can convert when they are ready. 

There are a few tactics you can apply to better align with this convoluted customer journey.

Keep researching and producing relevant content for every stage of the sales funnel. Website visitors want to create their own paths. Say they discover a blog post on your site from another brand’s post on Twitter. Once they land, they’re curious about what you do, but not fully interested in researching. A few months later – now that they’re following you – a new eBook piques their interest. Once they finally reply to someone from your sales team, it takes a few weeks to be convinced of the product and then be on-boarded to learn how to use it.

If your brand is armed with all types of content targeted to personas that you’ve developed, you are paving the way for customer success while they are “window shopping.” Be sure that you’re nudging these customers along, as they are in this consideration phase. Enter: retargeting.

What is retargeting?

In the most simplistic terms, retargeting, also known as remarketing, is the digital version of selling to a customer after you’ve already met and had a conversation with them.

Rather than having to rely on targeting customers that have filled out a form for an ebook, call, blog, or newsletter, you can retarget ones that have interacted with your site. You can engage with visitors even when they leave your website and work to convert them at their own pace.

TIP: Learn about the best digital advertising platforms in 2019 to help run your retargeting strategy.

Read reviews of Digital Advertising Platforms, FREE. Learn more →

Why you should invest in retargeting

First, it’s a fact that returning visitors have a higher chance of converting. This is because returning visitors recognize your brand and, with each subsequent interaction, their recall increases.

Retargeted ads can be displayed in search results, on social media, and other websites. When consumers see the ads, they will be reminded of your brand and head back to your site.

One of our teammates at Rebrandly ran an experiment on his personal website. Out of all first-time website visitors, only .5 percent of them opted in to his email list. However, 9.5 percent of returning visitors chose to opt-in – a 1912 percent increase from first-time visitors.

If people that are visiting your site multiple times are more likely to convert, why not prompt these returns through retargeting advertisements?

Through retargeting, this number can double or even triple. Just consider human nature and your own behavior on websites. It takes a lot to be convinced to make a purchase or just give away your email address. Remind consumers to come back and build trust with them through retargeting.

Retargeting is a hot topic in marketing right now, with 63 percent of marketers dedicating some budget to it. Not to mention its proven success rate. Website visitors who see a retargeting ad also have a higher chance of conversion.

How does retargeting work?

The most common type of retargeting is known as pixel-based retargeting. This works by placing a piece of JavaScript on the browsers of visitors to your website. This makes their browser “cookied.”

After they leave your site and continue to surf the web, they will be served ads based on what they viewed on your website.

Cookies and retargeting

(Source: ReTargeter)

There are many perks to implementing a retargeting strategy. Retargeting is timely. So, just as someone leaves your site, you can retarget and remind them to come back. It is also extremely personalized because you can retarget based on a specific page on your website, such as an abandoned cart page directly resonating with the person you’re targeting.

How your company can use retargeting

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what retargeting is, let's move on to discuss how it can align with your current marketing efforts. Although it is simple in theory, it can take time to fully put together a complete and well-thought-out retargeting strategy.

Here are some options to get you on your way:


Google’s Ad Network works with some of the most highly trafficked sites at a much more affordable price than working directly with the site (i.e. Mashable or BuzzFeed). Through a Google AdWords campaign, you can retarget visitors with ads that show the products they viewed on your website.

For example, check out these two ads that were retargeted to me on BuzzFeed news.

google ads

For more advanced retargeting, you can also use something called remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA). Using this service, you work with the retargeting lists you’ve been collecting in Google AdWords to adjust the bids of your keywords. Basically, you can invest in different people (or leads) depending on how often they have visited your site or the actions they have taken.

For example, you could target people that have made it to the pricing page, but didn’t convert. This means they made it much further through the funnel than someone reading one blog article. This is an effective way to increase your return on investment (ROI) in retargeting because you’re increasing the chances of showing ads in the top positions in Google when your most valuable audience is searching.

Social media

Retargeting is beneficial on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Retargeting ads on social networks contain an extra layer that can lead to higher conversion, social proof.

In retargeting ads on Facebook, like the one below, not only are you seeing a special offer with a clear call-to-action (CTA) – you also see how many of your friends “like” the brand. This is playing on herd or pack mentality – when people mimic the behaviors of those around them. This adds credibility to your brand, which can sway unsure customers.

Check out the example below of a company that retargeted me on Facebook after I was shopping for some new glasses.

social media retargetingHistorically, Facebook retargeting has had the highest ROI for these type of ads because of its advanced targeting features.

When developing your retargeting strategy, create custom audiences for ads based either on visitors to your website in general or visitors to specific pages. To target specific pages, don’t just add a retargeting pixel to your home page, add one to your pricing or checkout page (or button), product pages, and sales pages.

Additionally, Facebook offers a type of advertising that's known as sequential retargeting. This type of retargeting shows website visitors a different ad from your brand every few days. One could be about an award you recently won, the next an ad to a 30-second video about what your company does, and one to a new promotion that you’re offering. This helps to slowly build up brand recognition and trust that can lead ultimately to conversion.

Major social networks offer their own guides to retargeting. Check out Facebook’s here and Twitter’s here.

TIP: Learn how to set up a Facebook business account in 2019.


Another less utilized form of retargeting can be done through email. There are two options to get started with email remarketing.

Option one: Upload email mailing lists to Facebook, Google AdWords, or whatever platform you are using for retargeting.

Option two: Use a tool, such as ReTargeter, that will generate a line of code that is to be placed in your sends.

email remarketingWith either of these options, anyone who opens your email can be served a follow-up advertisement related to the email.

This is a great branch to add to your overall retargeting strategy because you’re able to combine your efforts on Google or Facebook with your email marketing strategy, creating greater alignment.

TIP: Learn about the best email marketing software in 2019.

See the Easiest-to-Use Email Marketing Software →

Link retargeting

If you’re a new company working to build up your retargeting list, or if you’re finding that retargeting is providing a great ROI already – consider adding link retargeting to your strategy.

With link retargeting, you can add prospective customers to your retargeting funnel – even if they have never visited your website before.

It works in the same way as traditional retargeting, but, in this case, the pixel is added to a branded link, which allows you to retarget people that clicked on that link.

If you share a link to a review of one of your products or some media coverage from a third party website. With link retargeting, you can bring anyone that clicked the link back to your website.

Say you’re a startup that sells sustainable clothing. If you share a piece of curated content on this same topic, you can retarget the people that click on that link. Because they interacted with the article, it’s likely that they would be interested in your product – even if they have never been to your website or even heard of you before.

This is beneficial if you’re trying to grow your business and create awareness, because it creates an entirely new audience for your website. It’s also beneficial if you run out of bandwidth for content creation and rely on sharing others’ posts on social media. You can retarget the links to this third-party content to gain a larger audience of your own.

Wrapping up

Retargeting can seem overwhelming or confusing at first, but when you look at it from a human perspective, it is actually quite simple.

It’s just like trying to bring window shoppers into a physical store. Guide your audience along and nudge them back to your website through various forms of retargeting.

There are plenty of tools and resources that will help you along the way, and you can research the best retargeting platforms in G2's best cross-channel advertising software hub.

Want more ways to increase your marketing-driven sales? Learn how to connect with over 3 million B2B buyers using customer reviews. 

Learn more →

Retargeting: Why Your Marketing Strategy Needs It in 2019 Learn what retargeting is and ways you can use it to bring potential leads back to your site and convert them into customers.
Hannah Harrington Hannah is the content manager at Rebrandly, a link management solution that empowers users to put their brand name on all the links they share. With a background in marketing and creative writing, Hannah’s passion lies in telling compelling customer stories. You can find this American expat exploring the streets of Dublin or nestled up with a cozy cup of tea.

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