Top 5 Retargeting (Remarketing) Ad Best Practices


Getting ready to jump into retargeting?

It can be overwhelming, I know – there are a million different aspects of retargeting to wrap your head around. So in this article I just want to share my top 5 best practices you need to know before you launch your first ad.

These are some of the top best practices we’ve seen used by top brands and that we’ve come to rely on ourselves.

In this article you’ll learn how to:

  • Segment your audience to create ads relevant based on their interests
  • Add a conversion pixel to stop advertising to (and wasting money on) people who have already purchased or signed up
  • Limit the Frequency you show your ad to avoid annoying your customers
  • Keep your ads fresh and exciting to encourage clicks
  • Optimize conversions using a dedicated landing page

But first…

What is retargeting and why should I use it?

Retargeting allows you to show ads exclusively to people who’ve already visited your website, but have not converted (meaning signed up on a lead generation form, or made a purchase). By adding a simple tracking pixel to your website, you can follow these lost visitors with ads across the web, even though they may be completely anonymous to you.

Retargeting allows you to follow these visitors with highly relevant ads on almost any website that features banner ads. You can segment your audience, showing only ads based on the pages they’ve viewed. For example, if you own a cosmetics store and a visitor looks at three product pages, makeup, skincare and hair then you can show them ads related specifically to the products they viewed (when you set up audience segments).

Now that you see how valuable retargeting can be, let’s get into some of the ways you excel in it!

1.) Segment your audience to create ads relevant based on their interests

One of the most powerful aspects of retargeting is the ability to personalize your retargeting ads based on the products and services a person is interested in. Tailoring your ads based on the web pages they visit and how they interact with your site will make them more likely to click-through and convert. For example, someone who visits your pricing page is going to be ready buy sooner than someone who has just visited your blog.

There are 4 types of audiences that you can target based on their interest and interaction with your website.

  • If they visit your homepage only, your retargeting ads should be focused on highlighting your business to keep you top of mind in the eyes of your bounced traffic. These ads will be the most general but your main goal should be generating awareness and driving them to an optimized landing page.
  • If they visit your product pages, this means they’re starting to consider making a purchase. Your ads should be tailored around the specific products or product categories they were looking at. This will create excitement (and combined with a great offer) it’ll entice them to come back to your website.
  • If they’ve read your blog, they’re trying to make a decision about whether your company will meet their needs. This type of retargeting ad needs to feature a strong call-to-action offer, something like a free trial or one-on-one demo. The purpose of your ad is to ensure they have all of the product information necessary to make a purchase.
  • If they’ve download your content, nurture them with additional content and customer case studies. Show them how they will benefit from using your products.

2.) Add a conversion pixel to stop advertising to (and wasting money on) people who have already purchased or signed up

The last thing you want to do after someone has converted on your offer is continue to retarget them with the same offer. It’s like when you give money to one of those street charity people and then you turn the corner and there’s another one. Pretty soon you’re having to cross the road to avoid them because you’re sick of saying “I’ve already given you money!”

Don’t make your customers feel like they have to avoid your website. By adding a conversion (burn) pixel to your post-conversion page you can either stop or change the ads that they’re being shown.

For example, if a visitor downloads your ebook, invite them to join a webinar on the same topic. Or, if they’re already a customer, you could show them offers for complementary products to cross-sell them.

When you add a conversion pixel you’ll not only keep your customers happy but you’ll also be saving yourself money. After all, what’s the point in showing a retargeting ad that contains an offer someone has already converted on?

3.) Limit the Frequency you show your ad to avoid annoying your customers

In order to achieve the highest click-through-rate on your retargeting ad you need to show it the right amount of times. But what is that magical number? This is something you need to test to be certain but as a general rule most people will behave in a similar fashion based on where they are in your buying cycle.

Keep these rules while thinking about how often you’d like to show your ad:

  • Overexposure will generally result in decreased campaign performance because of banner blindness (where consumers ignore ads) and may result in a negative association with your business.
  • Showing your ads approximately 17-20 times per month will result in optimal performance.
  • The number of ads you show will vary based on what you sell, who shops for your items and how long your potential customer will be receptive to your ads. For example, if you’re selling clothing for consumers versus software for businesses you’ll want to change the frequency your ads are shown. This is something you will have to play around with to find the right number for the product you’re selling.

4.) Keep your ads fresh and exciting to encourage clicks

Just because someone hasn’t converted on your retargeting ad doesn’t mean they’re not going to. There’s a big chance that the offer or benefit in your ad just didn’t resonate with them.

If someone doesn’t convert on your retargeting ad after the first 10 days, chances are they’re not going to convert on the 30th either. Plus, the longer it’s been since the last time they’ve visited your website, the less likely it is that they will be interested.

The best way to convert people who you have been retargeting for a while is to change up your ads. When you change the benefit, offer or combination of the two your ads will be fresh and they’ll stay top-of-mind in the eyes of your consumers.

Here’s how you can keep your ads fresh:

Change the benefit: A benefit is something that the customer perceives as valuable and as something that will help them accomplish their goals or relieve their pain. For example, if you were the owner of a cleaning business and someone visited your website but left without sending in a request. The following are different benefits you could highlight:
Flexible times: “Come home to a fresh house every night – we clean while you’re at work!”
Making your life easy: “We clean so you have time to relax”
Giving you more time: “Spend more time doing the things you love (not cleaning)”

Change the offer: Your offer needs to be compelling enough for someone to click it. If you have an irrelevant offer or an offer that isn’t worth their time, they’re not going to click it.

Here are some different offers you can highlight that will encourage people to visit your cleaning website (and convert):

  • Free Trial: “First clean is on us”
  • Discount: “20% off when you buy a cleaning package – this month only!”
  • Free product with purchase: “Free cleaning products when you purchase any cleaning package”

Top tip: Many marketers try to lure abandoned visitors back with coupons or discounts. This can be risky as some customers may deliberately abandon their carts to search for future discounts.

On your retargeting you can switch between showcasing benefits or offers to see which performs better.

Always keep in mind that customers don’t always follow a linear buying pattern. Just because they’ve visited your website or downloaded your ebook, doesn’t mean they’re ready to convert. Giving them more information will assist them in their purchasing journey.

5.) Send your ad traffic to a dedicated landing page

Your retargeting ad needs to send traffic to a landing page that has the same look and feel of the ad that was clicked. This is so that people understand they’ve been directed to the right page. You also need to make sure that your landing page has a single call-to-action. Having a single call-to-action will make it easy for the visitor to focus on it and not get distracted by anything else.

Keep in mind that your landing page is essentially an extension of the banner ad. You want to provide the same messaging in the headline and call-to-action without over doing it with irrelevant information.

Here’s a great example of a retargeting ad and matched landing page from Google:


As you can see they’ve created a designated landing page that matches the same colors and feel of the ad and contains the same call-to-action. Keeping the ad and the landing page consistent helps guide the visitor to conversion.


Retargeting is an easy and profitable way to increase your click-through-rate and ROI so long as you know how to do it. I hope these best practices have given you some insight in how to create and find success in your own retargeting.

Do you have any questions or comments about retargeting? I’d love to hear them! Please, shoot me a message below.

For further reading:

Ad Retargeting: Fundamentals of the Google Display Network

Wishpond’s Facebook Contest Apps make it easy to create sweepstakes, photo contests, Instagram hashtag contests & more.


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