What Is Retargeting? And Why Every Digital Advertising Campaign Needs It

Chris Down AdWords, Digital Advertising, Facebook Ads Leave a Comment

Have you ever been browsing the web Christmas shopping, and it seems like every product you’re looking at is following you around the web?

It might seem like some kind of creepy surveillance system that knows your every move around the web, but it is actually much simpler than you may think.

So, what is retargeting?

Sometimes known as behavioral retargeting or remarketing, retargeting ads are simply advertisements that are shown to you based on different actions that you take on the internet.

These actions are actually tracked by a few lines of code on the website that register when a visitor to a website views a particular page, or takes a specific action on that page like clicking a button.

This information is then saved on your computer thanks to cookies.

If you feel like you want to learn everything you could ever want to know about cookies, check this article out!

If you’re like me, and would prefer to just think about cookies, then I’ll just leave this here…


… now if we could only figure out a way to save these to my computer every time I visit a website…

Every advertising platform has their own retargeting code that you will need to put on your website. So, if you are using Facebook Ads for example there are plenty of resources on their platform to guide you, or you can check out one of my other posts about the Facebook Pixel here.

No need to worry about things getting too technical. All you will need to do with the code is copy and paste it. Getting it set up is the easiest part of the process!

Either you can hand it off to your web developer and they’ll be able to handle it no problem, or if your website is on a platform like WordPress there are tons of plug-ins that allow you to just copy the code and paste it onto your website without ever looking at a line of code.

Here’s why this is important

You get to follow up with potential customers on autopilot.

If you don’t follow up with potential customers, whether it is online or offline, they are very unlikely to make a purchase.

For example, the average eCommerce site converts first time visitors into customers at a whopping 2%.

With retargeting, businesses get the opportunity to increase that number many times over.

Once your retargeting is set up all you have to do is run the advertisements, and they will take care of all of the following up for you!


You get to build a relationship with the customer.

One of the biggest flaws that I see in online advertising is that about 90% of businesses go straight for the sale.

This kind of tactic can work in an environment like Google where people are actually searching for something they need, but in general you want to approach your advertising and marketing as you would building a relationship.

People don’t like other people that try to sell to them too quickly. It’s awkward.

Full disclosure, this is why myself, and many other people create content and then advertise that content. It gives us an opportunity to provide value to people by either educating or entertaining them, and this allows us to form a more genuine relationship.

From there we can keep the conversation going through content, email, social media, or more advertising, and when the time is right you can send out a retargeting ad with your offer.

Either way you approach it, just know that a single advertisement or a single touch won’t be enough to build trust with potential customers to get them to make a purchase.


You can segment your audience.

This is a bit more of an advanced tactic, but it’s worth mentioning to highlight the importance of retargeting. Through retargeting you can send out advertisements to the exact people that you want to send advertisements out to.

By setting up things like custom audiences in Facebook Ads you can send advertisements back out to people who may have looked at a specific product or offer that you have.

Let’s use an example for this. Let’s say you own an accounting firm, and one of your website visitors checks out a page for business tax services.

You can then retarget an advertisement to that person that specifically makes an offer for business tax services.

All too often I see businesses who will follow up with generic retargeting advertisements about their business, or even worse, about offers that have nothing to do with what some of their website visitors were interested in when they were visiting the website in the first place.

Incorporate this and your advertising will become much more powerful.


It’s where the money is made.

Just like with in person sales, the money is made in the follow up.

Not only are your retargeting ads the advertisements that are going to be the ones that are going to convert your visitors to customers, but they also tend to be a bit cheaper as well!


Ultimately the sky’s the limit with retargeting. There are so many different ways that you can use it for your business, from building brand awareness, to generating more leads, to selling more products.

If you’re just getting started keep it simple, but as you go get more granular and specific because the most important part of your digital marketing is ultimately the message you are communicating to your customer.

If you have any questions, or would like me to provide a completely free audit report and video for your business’s PPC advertising or a free competitive analysis to reveal your top 2 to 3 competitors’ digital marketing strategies please feel free to contact me at cdown@growthsparkdigital.com.

I love talking about digital marketing and helping anybody with any questions they may have, so don’t hesitate to reach out on LinkedIn or on Twitter @chrisdownjr, or just comment below!


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