How Does Retargeting Work?

How Does Retargeting Work

What Is Retargeting?

Simply put, retargeting enables you to market to your site visitors after they leave through cookie tracking. With the Google Ads interface, you can follow visitors across the web and send them relevant ads through Google’s Display Network or using traditional ads. Similar campaigns can be set up on other platforms like Facebook or Instagram, where your site visitors will see ads for your brand when they bounce from your website.

To break it down further, here is how you set up a retargeting campaign and how your ads reach your past site visitors:

  • Google Ads will give you a snippet of code for your website. This code will collect the cookie ID of site visitors and add it to your retargeting list. 
  • You can also upload email marketing lists to increase your retargeting efforts.
  • Once Google Ads has the user’s cookie ID, it will sort them into various retargeting lists based on user behavior. For example, you can have a general retargeting campaign for any visitor who comes to your homepage or you can have a specific retargeting list for users who click on certain product pages
  • The remarketing tag tells Google (or any other ad platform you plan to use) what ads to promote.  
  • Marketers determine how long the ads will run based on the typical buyer journey (usually a few days or weeks). 
  • Marketers can either use traditional ads for remarketing or create compelling visual ads on the Google display network.   
  • The retargeting ads remind site visitors about your brand and encourage them to return to your website and make a purchase.

For additional resources on setting up your retargeting campaign, including step-by-step instructions for navigating the Google interface, start with this YouTube video created by Google Ads. Keep in mind that this video was before Google updated its Ads interface. AdEspresso created a new guide for the updated format with screenshots of each step. These two resources should help you get your retargeting campaigns up and running.

When done well, retargeting can show compelling ads to customers who are familiar with your brand and already considering making a purchase.

Why Is Retargeting Effective?

Retargeting is an effective form of marketing because it reaches people already familiar with your products. Instead of constantly introducing your brand to new customers, you can market to people who already know what you offer. Some companies use retargeting to create a more compelling offer for buyers on the fence. If a customer bounced because they wanted to shop around, a coupon code or discount might bring them back to pull the trigger.

In order to make retargeting effective for your brand, you need to know why your site visitors bounce. While every customer is different, these are a few common reasons why people don’t convert:

  • Your customers want to compare your prices and products to others in your industry. 
  • The products are expensive, and your customers want to consider the purchase first. 
  • Your customers were distracted or were pulled away from your website by something else on the internet. 
  • The products are not a necessity, and your customer bounced to save money.

For example, think about a travel eCommerce site like Southwest. A customer might browse for flights but want to keep shopping before deciding where to go. They bounce, but a compelling ad reminds them about their vacation plans a few days later, so they return to the Southwest site to finally book the trip. The retargeting ads kept them in the sales funnel and brought them deeper to the point where they could buy.

Why Is Retargeting Effective

The Data Behind Retargeting

This information isn’t just based on theory, either. There is concrete data that proves customers respond well to retargeting and are likely to engage with your retargeted ads. Consider a few of these retargeting statistics:

  • Customers who see retargeted display ads are 70% more likely to convert than new customers. 
  • The click-through rate (CTR) for retargeted ads is 10x higher than for traditional display ads. The average CTR for display ads is around 0.07%, whereas retargeted ads see an average CTR of about 0.7%​.
  • Approximately 47% of shoppers are willing to sacrifice some level of privacy for better deals. 

This data shows that your customers want to buy from you – they just need a little extra prodding sometimes to come back and complete the purchase.

What Is the Difference Between Retargeting and Remarketing?

Throughout your research process, you may come across people and pages that refer to remarketing instead of retargeting. While remarketing and retargeting are similar, they have distinct differences:

  • Retargeting is reaching out to lost customers through paid ads – typically through Google Ads or other paid placements. 
  • Remarketing is reaching out to lost customers through email marketing or other campaigns.

For example, if you send a follow-up email to a customer who didn’t convert, that’s part of your remarketing campaign. If that customer sees an ad from the Google Display Network, they’ve been retargeted.

Let OuterBox Take Your Marketing Efforts to the Next Level

It’s time to stop losing the vast majority of customers who bounce from your website. OuterBox will help you develop a digital marketing campaign that brings your site visitors back and compels them to buy. Request a free audit for your website or a Shopify performance review. We can make sure you’re marketing your brand to its full potential. Contact us today!

Free Paid Search Quote
Need a paid search expert NOW?
For 20+ years we've been an award-winning paid search and SEO marketing agency. Talk with us and see how we can help your business grow online!