How to Use Retargeting to Boost Conversions & Branding

Stephanie Freeman

If you’ve ever felt like you’re being followed by a company’s advertisements online, you were probably right. You might have looked at a pair of shoes in an online store, but decided to purchase later on.  As a convenient coincidence, you see an ad for them later in the week online and purchase. It wasn’t a coincidence – it was the power of “retargeting” advertising at work to encourage you to complete your purchase.

Retargeting (or remarketing) allows you to show ads to users who’ve already visited your site. Using Google’s Display Network via Google AdWords, your site can target different types of visitors to increase conversions, sales, or engagement.

With 96% of visitors leaving a site before completing the actions that marketers want them to take (Source: Google), retargeting is a huge opportunity for businesses to re-engage past visitors and turn them into sales and enquiries. With retargeting, your business can:

  • Continue the conversation with prospects – Keep your brand “top-of-mind”  for later purchases
  • Maximise your return-on-investment by increasing the conversion rate of each visitor
  • Convert consumers who abandoned their shopping carts
  • Drive visitors back to your site with tailored messages and offers

Despite the huge benefits on offer for marketers, retargeting is often done badly; really badly. Visitors often end up feeling very closely followed by a site’s advertisements. That “stalked” feeling is bad remarketing, and will quite rightly annoy or even creep out potential customers. So, how can you do it effectively? Follow these tips to get your retargeting campaign right:

  • Use retargeting for both branding and conversionWhile remarketing is primarily useful for driving conversions from past visitors, don’t underestimate the potential of using retargeting for branding. You can keep your brand at the top of a prospect’s mind without asking for a sale right now – so that prospects remember who to come to when they do need to purchase.
  • Tailor your ads to your audienceYour targeting can be as simple or as complex as you like, with the ability to exclude certain segments from seeing the ad (i.e. those who purchased). Once you’ve pinpointed the segments you want to target, it’s just as important to tailor your ad messaging and any offers to that audience. Someone who enquired (or even purchased) is going to have very different needs to someone who simply visited the site – so tailor your messaging accordingly.
  • Don’t stalk your visitors too closely…Stalking someone all over the internet, all day and night, probably won’t increase their desire to purchase. Thankfully, you can control the number of times your ads are shown – so a user sees them often enough to be effective, without being irritating (or creepy).
  • Use multiple themes and test, test, test!While you’ll control the number of times your ads are seen, people will still see your ads often enough. Create multiple styles or themes of ads and above all, test to find which styles or offers are most effective. Ongoing testing will help you to refine your ads until you find the right mix for your visitors to achieve your campaign goals.

    Like any marketing activity, retargeting needs to be done well to achieve results (and importantly, to not creep out any potential customers!). When it is done well, the results definitely demonstrate the value of remarketing: increased sales, conversions, and brand engagement.

  • simmie

    Great Post! I appreciate your sharing,thanks

  • Luis Anderson

    Great Post and I really learned a lot. Regarding on the ads, is that paid or free? I am planning to post ads for my business sites but I don’t have yet budget for the ads.

    • Stephanie

      Thanks Luis! Google Retargeting is a paid feature, but it is a good way to start advertising once you have some traffic through to the site since you’re targeting past visitors who are already familiar with your company (and who are usually more likely to purchase).

  • Amanda

    Retargeting is great, I have used it frequently for a variety of clients to great effect.

    However I have noticed some large organisations using retargeting to pressure people into sales, especially in the travel industry – this is a terrible practice and needs to be avoided.

  • Michael Smith


    Interesting post, I was wondering if you could explain in further detail what exactly you mean by targeting an advertisement towards a particular audience. Would you be able to provide an example or two in depth so we can understand what exactly you have in mind?


  • http://www.positivechangehypnosis,net Joseph

    Very helpful informaton especially the part about using multiple themes. Thanks for sharing.