Creating and Optimizing Your Retargeting Campaigns

June 30, 2018

Marketing budgets need to be spent wisely and to increase the performance of your activities a remarketing campaign can help you to boost your conversion rate. In this guide, I have put together the key points to consider when creating a retargeting campaign from content to trigger points and how to measure success.

Retargeting, also known as remarketing, means to advertise to users that have previously interacted with your brand on channels such as email marketing, advertising, website or social.  

The benefit of running a retargeting campaign is that it helps you to tailor your advertising message based on past behavior. If someone opened a specific email, you sent or clicked on a particular link you may know what products interest her or him.  

Retargeting is an excellent way to win-back lost traffic, increase conversions and provide relevant content to your customers.  

Where to get started?

The first step to create a retargeting campaign is to understand your purchase funnel, the actions users take along the way and what are the potential trigger points you can use to track retargeting data. The next step would be to identify the messages and content you can push through your retargeting campaign to advance your users along the funnel.  

Lets take the example of someone looking for a car dealership. The purchase funnel for someone looking to buy a new car could look something like this:  

Consider �_� Research & Compare �_� Book Test Drive �_� Purchase �_� After Sales

Each of these stages will provide you with signals that allow you to identify the users you can retarget. For example to engage with potential customers in the "Consideration" stage you may advertise on car review websites. (You will know that the traffic coming from there is most likely users that are interested in cars and are researching the latest models.)  

Now that you know that the traffic you are getting from this source is potentially in the "Consideration" stage you can retarget them with an offer to move them to the "Book Test Drive" stage.  

It shows that the most critical part of a successful retargeting campaign is to understand the purchase funnel in detail identifying the ideal trigger points and then creating the perfect content and call to actions (CTAs) to push your customers from one stage to the next.  

Identifying Trigger Points

Triggering a retargeting campaign requires you to have some form of interaction with the user.  

Here are some examples:

  • Watching clicking or liking a Facebook Ad
  • Opening an email that you sent
  • Visiting a page on your website
  • Clicking on an advertisement
  • Searching for a specific term on Google
  • Chatting to a customer support
  • Calling your office (yeah that's possible too)

There are endless possibilities and that's why it is essential to choose the right trigger points that will get you the best results.  

I suggest identifying those of most value. Think about the actions that are a clear signal for specific user intent. In contrary it means that someone just because they liked your Facebook post will not necessarily buy your product. However someone who went to the product page and clicked "  add to shopping cart" looks definitely like a good prospect.  

However remember the paths your customers will take until they make a purchase can be magical and only relying on the last click attribution to make a retargeting decision cannot bring optimal results.  

It's true just because someone liked your Facebook Ad doesn't mean they are ready to purchase but it also doesn't say they will never do so either. That's why even for these type of interactions it can be highly valuable to provide them with the right retargeting message to come back explore more and consider your product.  

Creating the Right Content

The content for your retargeting campaign needs to be spot-on and tailored to each purchase funnel stage. Also it needs to have a clear call to action to drive users to the next stage.  

Let's take a look at another example.

Our car dealership customer is in the research phase which could mean:

  • He is looking for the best car to buy i.e. the best value for the best price.
  • He feels excited because he wanted a new car for a long time.
  • He is worried how he will finance it.
Questions during research phase

The content you produce for your retargeting campaign needs to tackle all his current feelings thoughts and barriers.  

You may send a seasonal offer talk about your latest award provide finance options and offer a free test drive.  

Take a look at some of these examples what stage of the funnel do you think they are for and are they all doing a great job?  

car ads


Measuring Success

After this is done you want to make sure you can measure the impact of your retargeting campaign because setting them up in the first place takes quite some effort.  

There are different ways to measure the contribution of your retargeting efforts to the actual sale.  

The easiest one is an actual lead or conversion that is a direct result of your retargeting campaign. If someone clicked the ad or opened your email and made a purchase then that is a clear way of attributing this sale to your retargeting campaign.  

Views are another indicator that your retargeting may work. Imagine you are retargeting previous website visitors they may see your retargeting campaign but not make a purchase nor click. The fact that they saw the ad still will help you to increase your brand awareness and frequency and help you to close the deal in the future.  

Click-throughs on your retargeting are another way to measure their performance and can also be used to optimize your content and creatives to increase clicks.  

Finally you can utilize your retargeting campaign for lead scoring purposes and create marketing qualified leads that potentially sync back to your CRM tool giving your sales force a great insight on which leads to focus their attention. Imagine you are retargeting all customers that clicked on a specific product page retarget with an email campaign and track who clicked on the particular offer. You now have a list of prospects that have shown apparent interest in your product or service.

Google Analytics has some great tools to measure the attribution of each channel including your retargeting campaigns. To learn more about attribution modeling I have a  blog post for you here  that may be of interest.


Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

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