Tips for Retargeting B2B Leads: A Beginner’s Guide

Tips for Retargeting B2B Leads: A Beginner’s Guide

By Jessy SmulskiJan 29 /2016

retargeting-b2b-leads.jpgNeed a way to rein in leads who wander off before completing a call-to-action? Retargeting is the solution.

Retargeting is a form of online marketing that works by using insights about a person’s online activity to serve them with relevant display ads. As AdRoll puts it, “retargeting converts window shoppers into customers.” The marketing tactic has two main goals:

  1. Creating awareness about a brand
  2. Inspiring return visits or search inquiries.

But does it work for B2B?

Many marketers think not, because most of the information on retargeting is directed toward the B2C community. But think about it: The buyer’s journey is far more drawn out in B2B because no business decision is made lightly. There’s usually several decision makers involved, budgets to consider, approvals to obtain—in which case, retargeting is a perfect way for brands to stay in front of businesses as they deliberate about purchases.

The Power of Retargeting B2B Leads

There’s no shortage of mind-blowing statistics related to the efficacy of retargeting for B2B marketing; this is why businesses need to start using it.

    • Advanced Web Ranking claims retargeting can increase conversion rates by 150 percent
    • Marketingsherpa says they’ve seen a 278 percent increase in conversion rates
    • ComScore did a study and reported a whopping 1,046 percent increase in conversion rates

Marketers who haven’t tried retargeting practices yet are usually holding back because:

      • They lack understanding
      • They have a limited budget
      • They doubt retargeting will work for them

One of their chief questions is, How does the customer feel about being stalked by retargeting technology? According to one source:

      • 30 percent of customers felt positively about retargeted ads
      • 59 percent were neutral
      • 11 percent felt negatively about retargeted ads

3 Types of Retargeting

Retargeting performs best when implemented as part of a larger marketing plan that incorporates inbound, outbound and demand generation strategies. Content marketing, AdWords and social media efforts do an excellent job driving traffic—but they don’t necessarily help convert leads into customers. At the same time, retargeting’s focus isn’t on increasing traffic. Therefore, you need both to reap full potential.

There are three main types of retargeting, each with different advantages depending on your marketing goals.

1. Pixel-based retargeting works like this:

      • The marketer places a javascript code on its website. This code is completely hidden from visitors and doesn't affect site performance.
      • The code drops a cookie (also referred to as a pixel) on a visitor’s browser. Cookies are tiny pieces of data that store information about the visitor’s activity.
      • When the visitor continues their Web browsing elsewhere, the cookie goes with them and signals your programmatic marketing platform.
      • Your programmatic marketing platform automatically bids on ad space and displays an ad wherever they’re currently browsing.


Retargeting can happen immediately after a visitor leaves your site (while their inquiry is still relevant). It’s also behavior-based and personalized, meaning the visitor will be served with an ad based on which page(s) he or she viewed on your website.


It depends entirely on the number of visitors you draw to your website. And it may take extra time and effort to properly code JavaScript depending on your website.

2. List-based retargeting works like this:

      • The marketer compiles a list of contacts (including email addresses). This list can be from an email marketing campaign, a landing page form, etc.
      • The marketer uploads the list to a retargeting campaign (usually a social media network like Facebook or Twitter).
      • The social platform identifies users with matching contact information and serves them with a specially targeted ad.


You can get extra personal with this type of retargeting because it uses more than just behavioral data. You have control over how lists are organized based on other criteria.


It’s more time-consuming and less automated. Moreover, if your contacts gave you one email address, but registered on a social network with another, your retargeting campaign will turn up with low match rates. For best results, use list-based retargeting with large contact lists.

3. Search retargeting works like this:

      • The user keyword searches in Google, Yahoo or Bing.
      • Third-party data companies embed cookies in the user’s browser (post search) which creates audience segments.
      • The marketer sets campaign rules and, when these rules match the audience segments, users are served a display ad.


You can market to individuals who have never visited your website. This means marketers can connect with new, relevant audiences and expand reach.


It does not necessarily help nurture the leads your business has already acquired, such as first-time website visitors.

Tips for Retargeting in 2016

1. Segment Audiences

Like lead scoring, categorize your contacts into groups based on behavior and sales-readiness. This will help determine which ad they receive (depending on where they are in the buyer’s journey) to create a more personalized interaction.

2. Use Frequency Caps

Frequency caps are limits you can put on the number of times a particular ad will be served (and thus regulate the number of impressions you make on a prospect). In other words, they help prevent you from being obnoxious. According to ReTargeter, the recommended number of times you should serve an ad to a prospect per month is 17 to 20.

3. Play Around with Duration

Duration refers to the lifespan of the cookie. Test longer campaigns (one to three months) versus shorter campaigns (a week or less) to see which converts more leads.

4. Try Burn Pixels

If your product or service is usually a one-time purchase, use a burn pixel (JavaScript code that’s located on the transaction page). The script will recognize when a visitor is on that page, and will stop serving them with ads once they complete their transaction.

5. A/B Test

Not enough marketers are taking the time to reflect on which ads perform best and why. A/B testing can be done to figure out which size, content and value propositions work best.

6. Keep Ads Fresh

Nobody wants to be served the same dish 17 to 20 times a month, even if it is one of their favorites. Eventually, they’ll become frustrated or blind to them. Keep your ads fresh by routinely rotating them and mixing in new ads.

Retargeting Tools to Check Out


GoChime is a retargeting tool that re-engages prospects via their Facebook newsfeed and right rail ads. GoChime matches email addresses with Facebook profiles. When a match is made, the contact is served display ads directly on their newsfeed.


AdRoll specializes in retargeting products for cross-platform and cross-device display advertising. What they do differently than most is offer users a rich dashboard that delivers complete transparency into campaigns and enables greater controls and options.


ReTargeter offers site retargeting and a display-focused platform that targets visitors based on demographics, location or content verticals. They are highly regarded for their customer service and ideal for large-volume websites.


Chango (which was acquired by Rubicon Project this year) offers search and site retargeting, and scores extra points for having a huge network of data partners. They also implement a scoring system that allows you to evaluate each visitor based on what they did before, during and after they visited your website.

While retargeting is a great way to re-engage leads once they have left your site, there are several other demand generation strategies your B2B marketing efforts should consider, too. Find more of them in The New Demand Generation eBook.

The New Demand Generation

Jessy Smulski
The Author

Jessy Smulski

Jessy turns everyday industry talk into simple, insightful, humanized conversation. Often described as bold, empathetic and charmingly sarcastic; her writing style reflects her personality and reads like a friend telling stories over supper. When she isn’t writing, you can find Jessy backpacking the Midwest, snowboarding the Rockies, or capturing life through the lens of her camera.