Anyway, how do retargeting ads work?

The evolution of this strategy has changed tenfold since Google Ads first rolled out retargeting in 2010.

It is no longer a question of whether redirects should be used; it is how You should use it.

Whether you’re new to the marketing industry or a seasoned professional looking to improve your remarketing skills, this article will cover the ins and outs of creating remarketing campaigns recently.

The value of retargeting ads

Ecommerce conversion rates range from 0.7% to 4% globally.

Since consumers have low attention spans and are accustomed to endless scrolling, retargeting ads should be an important part of your marketing strategy.

If you’re having a hard time understanding why only a small percentage of your website visitors buy from you, don’t worry (for now). In fact, most people are not in the buying stage when they visit your website for the first time.

For example, if only 3% of users are ready to buy, the other 97% may not be ready to convert.

So if your retargeting goal is simply to get people to buy or convert right away, you may be setting yourself up for failure.

why is that? Well, telling people to “buy now” when they’re not ready means your message is wrong for 96% of your audience.

Where is the value in repositioning? There are multiple factors for a successful retargeting ad:

  • Segment audiences by behavior.
  • Identify the right advertising platform.
  • Deliver the right message to the right audience.

Take this redirect ad I got for example.

I’ve been researching places in Arizona for personal health and wellness vacations. After landing on the site, I received this redirect ad within 24 hours of my visit.

The ad itself captures the most important aspects I’m looking for on vacation:

  • Recreational activities.
  • Healthy Food.
  • hiking.
Screenshot of author’s Facebook feed, July 2022

What do retargeting ads do?

Simply put, retargeting ads help guide users to the next step in the buyer’s journey. It’s not just ads that make users “buy now”.

Your redirect message should not be a rehash of your original marketing message.

However, smart retargeting focuses on understanding where your customers are in their buyer journey and helping them take the next step.

For example, let’s say you’re a SaaS company and your goal is to get users to sign up for a free trial.

Your initial strategy is to bid on terms like “cloud software,” where you can send users to a page that discusses your software and encourages them to create accounts.

Unfortunately, only a small percentage of users take this action. You might be tempted to retarget all non-transformed network traffic with more information about your software.

Did you see the problem here? The message didn’t work the first time, so why does it work now?

You need to change your remarketing strategy here.

First things first: start with markers

The key to running a retargeting ad starts with the right markup. Pixels and tags are necessary if you’re targeting any kind of web or app user.

Each platform on which you want to run a retargeting ad has its specific pixel. Now, the options seem endless. You can retarget on major platforms including (but not limited to):

  • Google Ads.
  • Microsoft Advertising.
  • Yuan (Facebook).
  • Instagram.
  • LinkedIn.
  • Twitter.
  • Snapchat.
  • Tik Tok.
  • interest.

Too many hardcoded pixels can slow down your website if you plan to test all of these platforms. Try Google Tag Manager to simplify tag/pixel management for a more straightforward implementation.

How do these labels work?

These tags identify users based on their website activity (anonymously), which are then collected into platforms where you can target them later.

Now, one of the main things to consider is to deprecate third-party cookies. It has been announced that Google is removing third-party cookies, and many others are likely to follow.

This change in the consumer landscape leads us to the next core item in retargeting advertising: the audience.

Create meaningful audiences

As mentioned above, the deprecation of third-party cookies may affect future redirects. But in what way?

The most important shift will come from protecting users’ first-party data – at the beginning of the user journey.

First-party data means that consumers give you their information directly, such as submitting an email address on your website.

Once you have first-party data, the segmentation possibilities are endless. For example, you can segment users based on:

  • How they visited your website for the first time (organic, social media, referrals, etc.).
  • How long they stay on your website.
  • If the user completes (or does not complete) a specific action on your site.
  • Which categories or products they viewed.
  • If the user is a previous buyer.
  • The length of time they watched one of your videos.
  • What type of offer they claim on your website to provide you with their data.
  • How they interact with your social pages.

Again, these are just a few examples of how you can do remarketing. You can be as creative as you want!

Now, if consumers provide specific user data, you can upload this information to many platforms to retarget them. This data is uploaded in a secure hash to keep users anonymous.

You can upload data points such as:

  • Email address.
  • first and last name.
  • phone number.
  • address.
  • Additional data points are available through the platform.

It works because if your user data matches cross-referenced data from a specific platform, you can retarget them.

Additionally, if you set up pixels or tags, you can create audiences for specific behaviors and use them on the appropriate platform.

For example, if you link your YouTube channel to your Google Ads account, you can create a remarketing list of people who watch a video as an ad.

These types of remarketing audiences are very powerful at retargeting people who may be in the awareness stage.

Choose the right message

Now that you’ve identified the audience you want to retarget, you have to get your message right.

If your company’s average sales cycle is 6 to 12 months, can you expect someone to convert to that sale immediately?

I wouldn’t bet.

This is why segmenting audiences is so important. You shouldn’t give everyone the same redirect message, or use the exact same message that you originally approached them with.

Let’s go back to the cloud security example.

Selling cloud security software to a company can be a lengthy sales cycle that requires multiple decision makers.

If this is the first page you see as a new user, do you want to take action now?

Example of a cloud security login page.Screenshot of Cloud Intelligence Platform, July 2022

maybe not.

What if you get to the same page a second time from a retargeting ad and there is no difference in the ad copy?

Again, probably not.

The idea is simple, but many companies get it wrong. Everyone is looking for an eventual sale without giving users a reason why they should trust their brand.

Now, what is the ideal scenario?

  1. Let your ideal audience know about your product → lead them to an information page about what it does.
  2. Create a redirect audience based on the page’s qualifiers encourage them Download the informative white paper.
  3. If they do, segment that audience further start introducing them Offer a more robust offer (such as a demo or trial if it’s an easy user experience).

This very simplified scenario should probably include more steps to make the user feel good about you. But hopefully this gives you an idea of ​​why your message or offer should be different every time.

More importantly: don’t expect them to take the ultimate action you want them to take!

Reach your users on the right platform

We’ve discussed tags, audiences, and messaging for retargeting ads. Now is the time to choose the right platform.

We’ve touched on some of the platforms you can retarget. So, since there are countless options, does that mean you should use all redirection options?


The key to identifying a retargeting platform is to conduct audience research. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the key demographics of my audience?
  • Where does my audience spend their time?
  • Am I primarily collecting business user information or personal information?
  • What message do I want to convey to my audience?

Gain insight into your audience behavior to help influence your retargeting platform decisions.

For example, if you want to reach business decision makers and collect work emails, you might want to try LinkedIn or Quora as redirection options.

Personal social platforms like Facebook or Instagram may not be the best choice for you.

Messaging should also influence which redirection platform is used.

If you’re trying to get someone to sign up for a demo or start a free trial, you probably don’t want to use more of a platform for raising awareness, like YouTube.

in conclusion

While retargeting options have changed dramatically since its inception, the premise hasn’t necessarily changed.

Repositioning and user brand expectations have become more complex.

In this day and age, it is imperative to stay abreast of industry changes and how they affect your repositioning strategy.

Use these tips above to help expand your retargeting strategy for better conversions and user experience.

More resources:

Featured Image: eamesBot/Shutterstock

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