• Daman Soni

11 Ideas to supercharge your retargeting game

It would be ideal if customers bought on the first visit to your website. However, that's not how it usually works. Here's a list of ideas and use cases for retargeting.



You have a website with thousands (nay, millions) of visitors. However, like most other websites not more than 5% of users end up buying your stellar products. They browse, spend some time on the site, check out prices, some even add them to the cart but never return.


You are using retargeting get some of the users back so that they can reconsider buying the awesome products that you have listed on your site. Ther's much more that can be done on the retargeting front.


Here's a typical retargeting flow:

Sounds good. Reminding them that your products exist and can make their lives better is a great way to increase conversions. How can we supercharge this?


There are a number of ways- target them differently at different stages of the funnel, innovate on content shown, use videos. Additionally, you can also retarget not only drop cart customers but users who have subscribed to your newsletters or who haven't come back to your site for a long time. Let's get deeper into these use cases and ideas. We will focus mainly on the use cases and not on the mediums or companies (like Google, Facebook, Adroll, Criteo etc) that can enable retargeting.


As an example, let us take Darth Vader, who once was a Jedi knight and went to the dark side to become a sith lord. He is looking for a new light sabre since red is no longer his colour.


1. Website Audience Retargeting

Users have visited your website but have not registered or activated their account. They've only read about your services and have moved on. Retargeting helps remind someone of your product as they continue to browse the internet, whether they're on social media or their news sites. Retarget these users to get them activated.


So, Vader has been on your site, looked around and moved on to browse for other not so evil stuff. Retarget users like him, buy showing him relevant when he is browsing on the net.


2. Subscriber Retargeting

You have many subscribers to your email list. These people haven't bought anything however they potentially have high intent and definitely have a high brand recall. Use custom audiences on Facebook to target these users and get them to come back to the store. Upload the email ids, phone numbers or Advertiser id to create a custom list.


In this case, Vader has been to your site a number of times, he's subscribed to your newsletter on the newly discovered planets. Get him back using subscriber retargeting.


3. Customer Retargeting

Retarget existing customers who haven’t made a second (or third) purchase. Show them ads that show products similar products ( or upsell) to the ones they bought. This will reactivate customers who liked what they purchased but haven’t thought to return to your site again.


It's been a while that Vader has bought a light sabre from your site. Try retargeting him by creating a custom audience to check is he might want to purchase a new one. Don't throw a lot of money behind this retargeting, merely reminding him a few times should be enough.


4. Power User Retargeting

Create a custom audience of your power users. This can be especially effective when you have a new product offering. Power users know your brand well and trust your services. They have bought numerous times from your site or come to your site to consume the services regularly. They will be more likely to engage with your ads and show more interest in a new offering.


You also sell a paid subscription for content on newly discovered planets. Vader is a regular visitor since he is a lifelong learner and you paid content is awesome. Retarget him to purchase the new light sabre that you have just launched.


5. Leads Retargeting

If you are in the business of selling high involvement products and services you will have a lead form. While users get into the sales funnel once they fill up a lead. It may help to retarget the users with specific content that might attract them or a discounted price to help close the deal. When in the funnel you retarget is very contextual. For example real estate firm may want to do a call before retargeting, an appliance OEM may want to retarget before getting an outbound call done.


Vader doesn't fill forms, so we'll just leave it at that.


6. Dormant Retargeting

Try to get users who have stopped coming to your site for a definite period of time- after which you tag them dormant. Over 50% of users in your email list will go dormant after a specific period in time( again very contextual to each business). It will be worthwhile to allocate some budget to win them back. The further back you go in trying to reactivate dormant users, the lesser the probability to win them back. Retargeting dormant users should be a focus area in your marketing automation efforts.


It's been 3 months since Vader has come to your site to read about planets. Either he is dead or he's found some other place to read about this stuff and forgotten about your awesome content. Try to win him back with retargeting emailers, web banners or when he does a google search. It can also be that he is no longer interested in planets and is chilling in Alderan. Therefore be mindful of your retargeting budgets in this case.


7. Retargeting the Churn Probables

This is slightly different from dormant retargeting. In this case, you need to retarget users who are on the brink on getting dormant. Retarget former frequent visitors who have exhibited behaviours ( like not visiting frequently or consistently reduced amount of time spent on the site) that may lead them to churn. Retaining these users can have a large impact on sales and engagement. It is usually cost-effective to retain an existing user than to acquire a new one.


Therefore, get your marketing engine aligned to figure out what is causing the decreasing interest by Vader. Retarget him with personalised content so that you can get him engaged again.


8. Step-By-Step Retargeting

For this, you will need a marketing automation engine so that the retargeting can be scalable. Depending on where the user is in the funnel, you will need to customise the message and the use the right medium. For example, if the user has landed on the product page and left the site, you can retarget him with image and copy referencing that item. If he got deeper and added an item to the cart, you can prompt to come back to their cart and complete the transaction. If he still hasn’t returned, you can try and give a discount. Post-purchase you can follow-up with upselling a second item.


9. Video Retargeting Audience

Retargeting people who have watched your video is a powerful way to turn brand awareness into transactions. A user that’s seen your video is much more likely to engage with your ad and will be less annoyed with a harder sell. Leverage platforms like Facebook and youtube which allow you to target based on how much of the video was watched. Often videos are used for a top of the funnel campaign to create brand awareness. In this case, use retargeting to guide users deeper into the funnel.


If Vader has seen the full product video for a new star cruiser on your site, retarget him and get him interested in a test drive. If he hasn't gone past the first 5 seconds of the video, probably he is not interested in the star cruiser for now and has other world domination plans to worry about for now.


10. Website Retargeting Onion

Configure your website audiences according to the time elapsed since their last engagement on your platform. The creatives and content used to retarget users who haven’t been on the platform for a week need will be different for those users who haven't come aboard in the past 4 weeks and different for those who haven't been on the platform for over 6 weeks. This will help you fine-tune your win-back campaigns and preempt user behaviour over time.


11. Retargeting Specific Website URL Visits

Ensure that the retargeting pixel is active on all pages. You can then retarget users who have visited specific pages only. For example, education institutes retarget visitors who have only visited the professor section of the site to retarget them with ads highlighting the quality of the faculty. This will enable you to have targetted messages for users and drive greater ROI for your campaigns.


Retargeting techniques are constantly evolving with newer mediums offering greater targeting options. Drive a culture of experimentation and data-driven decision making to figure out which retargeting campaigns are working and how you can constantly work to improve them.


Reach out to me if you want to discuss what more can be done in retargeting. Have been privileged to work with teams who have run 100s of retargeting campaigns to drive marketing ROI. We have only scratched the surface here.


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