Editors note: are you using retargeting in your marketing strategy? Use retargeting to speak to potential customers even after they have left your website. Ever notice when you visit a website and then all of a sudden you see that brand wherever you go on the internet? That’s retargeting at work. And you can use it to reduce cart abandonment, nurture leads and drive conversions. Our friend David Campbell from Ramp Ventures breaks down what is retargeting (or remarketing) and how to use it to win more customers and generate more revenue.

Many people who visit your digital properties do so once and never return. Retargeting offers you a way to engage with these one-time visitors and turn them into customers. You can also run retargeting campaigns on your customers to increase their average lifetime value.

This guide will cover the basics of retargeting. I’ll then look at five retargeting strategies you can use to grow your business. Before you dive into the core part of this guide, I’d like to quickly get our definitions in order.

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting is the process of advertising to visitors who have engaged with content produced by your company. That could be content you shared through social media, a page on a website that a person visited, or something else entirely.

Most of the time, you want to retarget your audience across multiple channels. For example, when a person visits your website, you want to retarget them on Google and Facebook.

Retargeting across multiple platforms works by attaching cookies, essentially a little packet of data, to your website browser. Tracking pixels are used to store and monitor lists of cookies by various publishers so that you can retarget those visitors through their marketing channels.

How Retargeting Works Infographic
Source: Destresse Marketing

Most of the main publishing networks have a tracking pixel. For example, Google has a pixel, Facebook has a pixel, Amazon has a pixel and native ads networks have pixels.

The Google pixel allows you to run retargeting ads using Adwords, which appear around the search results and ads on websites. The Facebook tracking pixel allows you to run retargeting ads on Facebook and Instagram.

You probably get the idea.

Retargeting on a single platform works slightly differently. If you’re retargeting people on Facebook who engaged with a piece of content on the platform, you don’t need to use a pixel to collect users’ data to provide it to the platform. The platform has all the information you need to run a retargeting campaign.

Retargeting is one of the most effective ways to re-engage users who have left your app or site. Today, I’ll share five retargeting strategies.

1. Segment Your Audience

The starting point for any retargeting campaign is to set your campaign objectives. You need to decide what type of marketing campaign that you want to run. The three most common goals of a remarketing campaign are:

  1. Generate sales: run campaigns to people who visited a sales page on your website or added something to your online cart but never made a purchase.
  2. Convert them: run campaigns to grow your email list, social media following, etc.
  3. Promote content: some retargeting campaigns are run to promote content and bring more people to your website. Viral sites often use these types of retargeting campaigns.

If you’ve never run a retargeting campaign before, I suggest you start by setting up one campaign. That campaign should have a clear objective. For example, retargeting people who abandoned your shopping cart and trying to generate a sale.

Here’s an example of a remarketing campaign for Mark Rober. The advert is promoting his online course. I saw this advert after watching a Youtube video where he promoted his course.

Retargeting Example from Monthly - Mark Rober class sponsored ad on Facebook

You can see that the ad copy aligns with the objective.

When you see a positive Return on Investment (ROI), you can set up a second retargeting campaign. Each campaign needs to have a clear objective with ad copy that aligns with your goals.

2. Consider User Activity to Increase Your ROI

Most retargeting campaigns are relatively straightforward. You define your objectives and set up ads to target people who have engaged with your digital media.

In the Mark Rober example, he is running retargeting ads to people who watched his Youtube videos. There are various metrics that he might consider when creating his retargeting list:

  • Location: where the person is based has an impact on how much they are likely to spend. For example, the average salary in India is a lot lower than in the US. That impacts spending power and the likelihood of a purchase occurring.
  • Engagement Metrics: how long a person spends engaging with your content can impact their likelihood of purchasing. In the example above, an engagement metric might be how long the person watched a Youtube video.

You can use these initial metrics and others to ensure you create a high-quality retargeting list. You will use this list for your initial retargeting campaign.

A portion of the people who see your initial retargeting ad will take the desired action. For example, they might visit the sales page and make a purchase. Some people will not react to the ad, while others will click on the ad but fail to take the desired action.

You can create a marketing funnel that accounts for people’s actions.

Creating complex retargeting campaigns that consider user actions will generally improve conversions. In the case of this Mark Rober ad, he might run a different campaign for people who clicked through on that advertisement and visited the sales page.

3. Retarget Existing Customers

While the online stats around repeat customers’ value vary, it’s clear that repeat customers spend more than new customers and account for a significant portion of revenue for most businesses. Moreover, it’s easier and cheaper to get an existing customer to make an additional purchase than to convince a new customer to buy from you.

Existing customers are your number one business asset.

Retargeting is an effective way to make existing customers buy additional products or services. You can easily track them and offer attractive incentives to make them visit your site or app and make additional purchases. All these strategies heighten customer satisfaction which, in turn, will make your customers want to give more business to you.

There are three direct ways you can use retargeting to generate sales from existing customers:

  1. Up-sell Campaigns: offer existing customers the chance to buy relevant products that build upon their original purchase. You should run these campaigns shortly after they purchase a product from your eCommerce store.
  2. Cross-sell Campaigns: try to sell complementary products and services to customers. You should run these campaigns shortly after they purchase a product from your eCommerce store.
  3. Random Offers: you can run remarketing campaigns around the holiday season when you have a discount or for whatever other reason. You can run these types of retargeting campaigns any time of the year.

The example below from AppSumo is a straightforward campaign targeting existing customers.

AppSumo Facebook Retargeting Ad

The copy starts with a reminder of what AppSumo is before diving into the various offers they have available at the moment. It would be quite straightforward to run this type of retargeting campaign.

Multi-Channel Retargeting Campaigns

Retargeting campaigns like this are particularly effective when combined with other forms of marketing. For example, on the same day that these deals appeared in my Facebook feed, I also received an email from AppSumo.

Example - AppSumo MultiChannel Marketing Strategy, Email Marketing

Multichannel marketing campaigns like this are very effective. If you’re going to run a promotion to your email list, make sure to use an email verification service.

Building a loyal customer base is tough today as the market is filled with lots of competitors. The retargeting strategies I shared help you retain more of the customers you have worked so hard to secure.

4. Use Past Search Terms

Search engines like Google make it easy to run remarketing campaigns based on the search terms that people used to access your site. The process of retargeting people based on the search terms they used is called search remarketing.

Search remarketing allows you to target people based on their actions. The people who you are retargeting don’t need to have visited your website. Rather, you’re targeting them based on their search history. You’re making the assumption that, because they searched for a specific term, they are likely to be interested in the products or services you have to offer.

Effective search remarketing begins with learning about what keywords people use to find your website and which keywords convert. You can set up UTM tracking on Google Analytics to learn more about what search terms people use to find your website and combine this with conversion tracking data.

By analysing both sources of information, you’ll view the keywords people used to find your site that converted. You can then conduct search retargeting campaigns based on these keywords.

5. Run Multi-Channel Retargeting Campaigns

I mentioned at the beginning of this article that there are several major retargeting platforms. The three biggest platforms are Facebook, Google, and Amazon. Most people who run retargeting campaigns use Facebook and Google. Depending on your business model, you might use Amazon.

If you’re planning to run a major promotional campaign for your website, run retargeting ads across multiple platforms. That way, people will be reminded of your promotion, whatever they happen to be doing online.


Retargeting is an effective strategy for re-engaging visitors to your digital properties. This guide looked at five retargeting campaigns.

Make sure to define your goals before you start a retargeting campaign. Once you have defined your goals, design your retargeting campaign and create your ad copy. Create multiple versions of your copy and ad creative, so you can split test the results to optimise your Click Through Rates (CTR).

Finally, track everything. You need to know if the campaign you are running is delivering results. If you’re not getting the results you expect, review your copy and ad creative. If that still doesn’t produce a positive ROI, end the campaign—best of luck.

About the Author

David Campbell is a digital marketing specialist at Ramp Ventures. He helps manage the content marketing team at Right Inbox. When he’s not working, he enjoys traveling and trying to learn Spanish.