Retargeting Dos and Don’ts

Retargeting Dos and Don’ts

By Casey NewmanSep 10 /2020

You’re shopping online for a green sweater. You find one you like, add it to your cart, but get distracted and abandon your purchase. Later, when you’re on a different site, you see it. That same green sweater you put in your cart. The retailer that sells the sweater is retargeting you, trying to get you to come back and complete your purchase.

Only 2% of shoppers make a purchase during the first visit with a brand. Retargeting can bring those 98% back.

Retargeting can be a useful tool in your toolkit as a marketer, but do it incorrectly and you could lose your chance to make that first impression…again.

Retargeting Campaign Dos and Don'ts

Here’s a look at some of the dos and don’ts for retargeting.

Do: Use First-Party Data

Whenever you’re working with data, you want to be sure it’s reliable. And since first-party data comes directly from your customers, it will be more accurate than third-party data.

Many marketers (65% of those surveyed in this AdAge report) said they did not fully understand the origin of their third-party data sources.

Don’t: Forget to Exclude

You’ve purchased that green sweater, but now as you’re browsing another site you get an ad for 20% off that same sweater. Though it might seem obvious, site visitors who have recently purchased from you are not going to want to purchase again in a short amount of time, nor are they going to want to see a discount for an item they just purchased.

Consider the transaction time of your product or service. Is your product or service one that can be upsold or cross-sold soon after purchase? Does your product or service have a seasonal element to it? All of these things can also impact how frequently you retarget a potential or previous buyer.

Do: Segment, Segment, Segment

Let’s go back to the green sweater example, except let’s take a B2B twist. Let’s say someone visited your site and looked at your case studies or work examples and looked at your FAQs and then left. It’s safe to assume that person had some interest in your product or service based on the actions they took on your site.

Segmentation lets you break site visitors into groups based on their behavior — or sales readiness — much like you would for deciding who would or would not receive an email from you or be enrolled in a workflow.

So, the person who visited your case studies and FAQ section would get a different set of retargeting ads than someone who subscribed to your blog.

The following ads are from Kuno’s client Horizon Education Centers. These ads are an example of targeting people based on their previous interactions with Horizon’s website. The ads specifically targeted people who visited Horizon’s preschool page but didn’t convert. Here’s how they performed:

  • 115,000 impressions and 476 clicks
  • 64 conversions
  • $17 per conversion


Do: Have a Purpose

Yes, retargeting can be a fairly cheap and easy form of advertising, however, like other marketing tactics, decide what you want to achieve before launching your efforts. This could be to get more leads, close more sales or simply get more subscribers.

When you’re creating your campaign, think about the types of audience you want to reach. Do you want to target people who have purchased from you in the past with an upsell or cross-sell? Or are you looking to target people who are not yet customers but have expressed an interest in your product or services?

Here are some different types of audiences to consider when planning a retargeting campaign:

  • People who have visited one of your landing pages, but left without converting
  • People who have visited your product or pricing pages, but haven’t purchased anything
  • People who have made a purchase, but haven’t upsold or cross-sold
  • People who have read a piece of your content and need to be moved along the sales funnel

Do: Know Why They Didn’t Take Action

It’s helpful to know why a person abandoned your site or their purchase. This information will help you better address their needs in your ad and landing page copy. You’ll have a clear idea of what you want someone to do once they land on your landing page, and you’ll know exactly what you want to highlight on that page as well.

Your data can play an important role in uncovering why someone didn’t take action. If someone immediately bounces when arriving on your landing page, perhaps your content was too long or your ad copy does not align with your landing page. Or maybe someone bounced because your form asked for too much information. When offering something through a landing page, always make sure the information you’re asking for aligns with the value of the content. So for example, if you’re asking for a blog or newsletter subscription, someone’s first name and email address will do.

If you’re giving someone valuable information in a whitepaper or report, then more form information is warranted. In this case, you might ask for a person’s company name, company size, industry, phone number or address in addition to email and name.

Don’t: Forget to Have Custom Landing Pages or Use Variation

Different audiences have different needs and should be targeted with variations of ads and landing pages. Just like you would send different emails to different segments, so too should your ads and landing pages be different.

The following ads are from Kuno’s client Fund That Flip. These demonstrate the effectiveness of using variations of ads. The ads targeted people who visited one of Fund That Flip’s lending pages but didn’t take action. The campaign was successful in generating impressions (staying top of mind) and getting people to re-engage with the website. The cost per click (CPC) was lower than the industry average. Here are the results:

  • Drove 1 million impressions and 2,933 clicks
  • Average CPC of $0.42 (industry average is $0.75)
  • 7 conversions


Don’t Forget Coherence

Having coherence between your landing pages and ads helps build trust with your audience and can help positively influence conversions.

Create Successful Retargeting Campaigns

By keeping these strategies in mind as you create your retargeting campaigns, your brand can increase engagements with potential customers and stay top of mind.

The New Demand Generation

Casey Newman
The Author

Casey Newman

A former journalist, Casey tells brands’ stories and helps to create engaging content strategies for companies. Before joining Kuno, she was in charge of public relations for marketing tech company Knotice. She earned a gold Hermes Creative Award for Knotice’s blog content and spearheaded several content initiatives that helped lead to the company's acquisition.