What is Ad Retargeting and How Does it Benefit My Business?


Retargeting Ads. You’ve seen them. But, do you know what they are and how they benefit your business?

Smart marketers and business owners use Ad Retargeting to:

  • Bring back landing page visitors who don’t convert
  • Re-engage with abandoned shopping cart prospects
  • Upsell products to highly targeted, interested customers
  • Increase brand awareness

A highly optimized, targeted, conversion-centric landing page averages an 8-10% conversion rate. Remarketing can bring back those lost 92%  – and result in more leads or sales.

Want to beat out your competition by being the first to use them well? Read on.

Note: Unfamiliar with the difference between retargeting and remarketing? They’re the same thing. Google uses the term “remarketing” while Facebook tends to use the term “retargeting”.

What is Remarketing?

Savvy online marketers have been using remarketing for years. It’s more than likely you’ve seen them in action – even if you didn’t know it.

Here’s a general example of how you’ve been retargeted:

You visit a site, get interested in what a business has to offer, and then leave to go do something else. As you’re skimming and scanning through other sites, their branded image keeps following you around. You think about the business, feel familiar with who they are, and before you know it, you’re back on their site converting to download an ebook or buying that product you were contemplating.

That’s remarketing. And it works.

How Does Remarketing Work?

In a nutshell, remarketing works by keeping track of anyone who visits your particular landing pages or website pages (check out  the difference between a landing page and website page). We can then display your remarketing ads to those lost leads, as they visit other sites online.

There’s a few steps to technically set up a campaign. Basically you:

  • Add a remarketing tag to your website. This is a snippet of code you copy and paste to embed on your entire website.  The code looks something like this:

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  • Create remarketing lists so you can segment your pages, and begin to set up multiple ad remarketing campaigns for specific URL visitors.  _For example, you might have a ‘best-seller product list’ for people who visit your #1 selling product page.
  • Build ads for your retargeting campaigns that match your lists (for example, to market your product again with the item image and link back to the ‘buy now’ page on your site)

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  • When someone visits a landing page, they get a ‘cookie id’ which is added to your specified remarketing lists
  • Through your lists, your retargeting provider then follows the ‘cookies’ around as your lost lead travels around the internet
  • Your visitor gets to see your branded ad (and might even think you’re everywhere!) on Google Ad Network sites

For advertisers, remarketing is a dream come true. Imagine being able to follow customers around, increasing your touchpoints and gaining brand awareness with razor sharp precision targeting. You only pay for ads that reach people who are interested enough in your product or service to have actually visited your website and landing pages.

How Does Ad Retargeting Benefit My Business?

As you can see, remarketing gives your business the edge by keeping your business front and center in the minds of your consumer.

If you have an online store or product pages, remarketing can bring back your online window shoppers. You can create product specific ads that will be seen again and again by those people who have in a sense, visited your store, maybe walked through door, browsed and then left. Your lovely ad can then chase after them to remind lost customers how great it would be to fully convert and buy that item.

For B2B’s and other businesses with a longer sales funnel, retargeting is also successful in generating more leads. You can entice more people to download your ebook or participate in your webinar, by creating campaigns that are periodically shown to your site visitors. You already know they’re interested. Remarketing is an effective method to keep reaching and warming those genuine prospects.

Remarketing ads get high click-through rates and have shown to increase conversions by 400% or more. So, yes, they do benefit your business.

Why is remarketing so great? Here’s 3 more reasons:

1. It gets your brand seen by the right people. Only someone who’s made the effort to visit your site – or specific landing page – will see your ad. You don’t need to know the right keywords or the right Likes.

2. It shows them the right ad. Let’s say you have a retail store that sells men’s shoes and women’s shoes. If someone clicks on to your women’s shoes website section, you can show your ad for women’s shoes to them – not men’s shoes. The better your ad fits to your consumer needs and wants, the more likely they’ll click on it.

3. It shows you in the right place. Your paid message follows each of your visitors around the internet. Your ad is shown throughout the Google Ad Network and it is displayed based on the cookie in your bounced traffic’s browser. There’s no guess work in finding the sites that best reach your demographic.

Remarketing in Action

As we’ve seen, remarketing essentially allows your brand to walk beside your bounced traffic as they travel the internet. More than that, however, is that it gives you the opportunity to target them so specifically as individual consumers.

Retargeted ads are not the same as your regular network ads. You’re making ad content toned, honed and designed exactly for your bounced traffic. And yes, with this highly personalized communication – your results are many times the click-through rate of even the more traditional (highly-targeted) online ads.

Your remarketing ad objectives might be to:

  • generate leads
  • increase sales
  • drive traffic to your website
  • develop brand awareness
  • re-engage lost shopping carts
  • upsell to existing customers

There are tons of strategies you can use with remarketing. If you’ve got your marketer’s hat on, you’re probably like me and just chomping at the bit with creative and effective advertising campaigns. Here’s a few examples of actual ads that have retargeted me.

Remarketing for Lead Generation

If you’re a content marketer, online advertiser, social media manager or anyone who markets online, you spend a lot of your day checking out top websites and staying on top of the trends. (That’s why you’re reading this article right now, right?)

I visit blogs a lot, so I’m often followed around by smart companies that use ad remarketing. This ad showed up while I was checking out the trends in Growth Hackers.

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Variations of the ‘A/B testing webinar’ ad keep following me around from one site to another. I’m sure if I visited other pages that weren’t content related, I’d be seeing different campaigns from these companies. If I visited a free trial page or product information page, they’d likely follow me around with incentives to bring me back and sign me up directly on those pages.

Tips for remarketing for lead generation:

  • Promote lead gen content such as ebooks, webinars and how-to guides (check out more lead gen landing page ideas)
  • Target your ads to visitors of your content pages and homepage
  • Show the benefits of your content and use a friendly, personalized tone

Remarketing to Re-engage Lost Shopping Carts

I’ve never met a business who doesn’t want to bring back a lost shopping cart conversion. I’ve written about how to use email marketing automation to reconnect with these warm leads. You can use remarketing too.

This past week, I’ve been shopping around for a rental car. We’re planning a road trip to the Okanagan, and I’m not keen on driving for 8 eight hours on winding highways in my city-friendly smart car. So, after my research into the best place to rent a car, I’m now being followed around the web by this ad:

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It’s pretty cool. It’s a product I’m looking for and Avis clearly wants my business by giving a 30% discount. The ad links directly to their online booking landing page.

Tips for remarketing to re-engage lost customers:

  • Give a discount or coupon that wasn’t offered in the original shopping cart funnel
  • Link the ad directly to the specific and unique campaign landing page
  • Show an image of the product to remind dropped customers what they wanted


Ad remarketing is a cost-effective method of achieving your online marketing goals. Try them out. As always, A/B test your ads to optimize campaigns and get the best measured results.

Read more about Ad remarketing:


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