A Beginners Guide to Retargeting

Retargeting keeps your brand in front of potential customers as they browse the web. Learn more about this powerful advertising tool now!
Reading Time: 7 minutes

As a business owner, you understand how advertising can drive prospects and customers to your website. But what if these visitors aren’t ready to buy your products or services when they find your site?  Most B2B purchases are not occurring immediately following a prospect’s first engagement with your brand. At this point, you’re probably thinking you lost these visitors as customers. 

But what if you could bring them back? That’s where retargeting comes into play. Keep reading to learn some retargeting basics!

Retargeting Defined

There is a huge opportunity for B2B brands to grow their business through retargeting as it can help them stay in front of leads during the purchasing cycle. Other ideas as to why this is the case:

  • Business consumers are more ready to purchase a solution
  • Retargeting acts as a reminder for B2B consumers who tend to be remarkably busy
  • There tends to be a higher sense of purchase urgency with business solutions than with consumer goods

As a powerful marketing tool, retargeting advertising keeps your brand in front of recent website visitors as they browse the internet. When people leave your site without buying anything, retargeting helps you categorize these visitors and essentially “follow” them while they do other things online. 

This not only helps increase brand awareness but reminds them about their intent to purchase an item. Retargeting is an effective method of influencing a second or third reaction for increased impact. For example, you visit Zappos, look at a pair of shoes, and leave the site without buying. After going to other sites, search engines, and social media platforms, you see Zappos ads all over the web.

This strategy provides an opportunity to pull visitors who weren’t quite ready to purchase back to your website. According to CMO by Adobe, retargeting influences website visitors in such a powerful way that they are 70% more likely to convert.

Retargeting vs. Remarketing

You may hear “remarketing” in conversations about retargeting. Both forms of online advertising have the same goals:

  • Target audiences who have visited your site and are aware of your products and services
  • Engage and target people who are most likely to make a purchase
  • Help build a lasting connection through brand awareness and recognition

However, the primary difference between these two campaigns are the tactics used:

  • Retargeting mainly uses paid ads to target audiences who have visited your website or social media profiles
  • Remarketing mostly uses email to target people who have already purchased a product or service from your business
How Retargeting Works

Retargeting isn’t a brand-new tactic. But with the advancement of tracking technology and third-party software, it has become a basic marketing tool. These developments now provide a wide breadth of outlets and ways to segment your website visitors.

Here’s how it works: Based on cookie-based technology, retargeting uses simple JavaScript code to anonymously follow your visitors after they leave your website. Each time a new visitor comes to your site, the code drops an anonymous browser cookie or pixel. Later, when your “tagged” visitors browse the internet, the cookie signals your retargeting channel (i.e. Google Ads) of when to display your ads. This ensures that only those who have previously visited your site view see the display ads.

After these visitors leave your website and move on to other sites or mobile apps, your visual or text ads for your brand will begin to appear. These reminders should prompt them to return to your site and purchase your products and services. Statistics show that businesses who implement retargeting see a higher return on investment (ROI) than from most other digital channels.

Personalize Your Retargeting Campaign

With a retargeting campaign, you can access data, such as demographics, interests, and unattended carts, after visitors go to your website. Using this data, you can tailor your ad and messaging based on the data. So, don’t just put out another generic branded ad; show potential customers that you’re paying attention to their needs.

Benefits of Retargeting Campaigns

Before someone decides to buy something, they need to feel they know you and your business. The Rule of Seven is an old marketing adage. It says that a prospect needs to see or hear your marketing message at least seven times before they act and buy from you. Retargeting builds visibility for your brand, letting you reach an audience that has already expressed interest.

Used as a strategic advertising component, retargeting campaigns provide the following benefits:

  • Precisely-timed reach — Get your ads in front of people who’ve previously interacted with your business as they browse elsewhere, and they are more likely to make a purchase. You can also help customers find your website by showing them your ads when they actively look for your business on a search engine.
  • Promotion of best-sellers —Showcase your top-selling products. By promoting items your current customers love, this helps convert visitors into customers and increase ROI for your ads.
  • Targeted advertising — Create lists for specific audiences. For example, you could create a list focused on people who added something to their shopping cart but didn’t complete a transaction.
  • Extensive reach — Connect with people across their devices as they browse more than two million websites and mobile apps.
  • Campaign statistics — Add tracking codes to your ads to gather and analyze information. This data includes a campaign’s performance, where your audience sees your ads, demographics and buying patterns of people responding to your ads, and the cost of using a retargeting advertising platform.
Using Marketing Channels to Retarget

Although you only get one chance to make a first impression, you have several ways to make a good second impression. By combining advertising, content marketing, and retargeting, you can increase your influence and turn prospects into customers. According to Google, having a channel mix helps increase sales as much as 50%.

You can execute retargeting campaigns with the help of Google Ads, Facebook retargeting, LinkedIn Ads, and other retargeting advertising platforms. Not only does this let you connect with prospects and customers through a multitude of websites, it could lead to increased sales and customer loyalty.

  • Search Engine Marketing – Make use of the retargeting feature in search engines. This does require that you’re using paid search ads. For example, Google network provides multiple choices to retarget visitors that have searched and previously clicked your paid search ad. Depending on the search term or page viewed, use retargeting ads to move them further along in the buying cycle. You may even decide to offer a specific deal related to their initial search.
  • Social Media Ads – Use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media platforms to create custom ads. You can develop these ads based on such things as what products previous visitors bought or which pages they viewed. From there, these platforms track these visitors through the social channel and serve content based on set criteria. This can result in greater brand recognition and increased traffic back to the site.
  • Abandoned Shopping Cart Reminders – On average, nearly 70% of would-be buyers abandon their carts before making a purchase decision. You can help improve the conversion rates by reminding recent visitors of their intent to purchase. For example, emails sent within three hours of an abandoned cart averaged a 40% open rate according to Listrak.
  • Loyal Customers – Retargeting converted visitors means the cost per acquisition decreases and the lifelong value of their loyalty increases. Focus on making recommendations based on previous purchases or send messages based on their interests to support their needs or preferences.
  • Website Personalization – Your website can retarget previous visitors and customers by offering already viewed products or making recommendations based on past activity. Amazon is a prime example of a website that uses internal retargeting with lists of items designed to attract the individual user.

How to Get Started – DIY or Outsourcing?

With most social platforms, you select your ads’ graphics and content, which lets you manage the integrity of your brand voice and image. It also provides flexibility to control how your marketing campaigns look – both within individual ads and across whole campaigns.

Even if you’re not a professional designer or don’t have the budget to hire one, you can still create custom ads for your retargeting campaigns. That’s particularly important if you send multiple messages and don’t want prospects to see multiple versions of the same ad.


To learn more about whether to outsource, check out our guide on the cost difference between in house and outsourced lead generation.

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