5 Retargeting Strategies That Actually Work [With Examples]

You’ve heard a lot about it before, we’ve discussed it in detail in the past, but do you actually have a solid grip on retargeting? When done correctly, it is one of the most effective ways to market to people who already have some level of interest and knowledge of your brand. Maybe they have visited your website, checked out your social media, or subscribed to a newsletter. Perhaps they have even added items to their cart.

All of that sounds great, right? And it is. But if these people leave without converting, what are you left with? Not much. While it is unrealistic to believe that 100% of your visitors will turn into customers, it is true that you can recapture a lot of potential buyers and turn them into actual buyers.

Retargeting Strategies
The standard retargeting flow. Image credit(s): Parachute Digital Marketing.


Instead of discussing various types of retargeting, we want to discuss strategies that will make those retargeting efforts successful. You know you can retarget on websites, social media, and via web push (just to name a few), but how do you do it well? That is what we are here to answer.

Here are 5 retargeting strategies that actually work, along with solid examples you can apply to your own brand and marketing efforts.

1. Retargeting Specific URL Visits

Sure, you can broadly retarget all of your audience. That may be the easy way to get started with retargeting, but more than likely, it isn’t going to result in a big boost in conversions. Instead, one of the best retargeting strategies is to retarget a specific URL at your website.

By doing so, you are getting a more narrow selection of users who you can retarget with a message that is more relevant. Increased relevancy equals a greater chance that the person targeted will actually click your ad.

For example, if you run a blog as part of your website, you might retarget users who land on a specific blog post of yours. The content of the blog post gives you a major clue about what those users are specifically interested in. If you wrote a blog post about affordable sports cars, retarget those readers with an ad featuring an affordable sports car.

Retargeting Strategies
Showing an ad like this to users who have shown interest in this type of car will result in much better results. Image credit(s): Wishpond.


Apply this idea to your business by selecting certain pages that feature a more narrow type of content. Retarget users who visit that specific URL with an ad that relates to that content.

2. Segment your Visitors

Similar to the previous strategy, segmenting your visitors is another way to improve the effectiveness of your retargeting efforts. Think back to the last website you visited- were you ready to make a purchase? Maybe you were, maybe you weren’t. That is true for all of your site visitors as well.

Your audience isn’t going to be ready to buy from you right off the bat (or at least, most users won’t be). Instead, they go through what many marketers refer to as the buyer’s journey. You have a very different mindset at the beginning of the journey than you do at the end. Visitors that are just finding your website for the first time aren’t going to respond well to ads pushing your products. On the other hand, you don’t need to waste your time with awareness ads for visitors who have purchased with you before.

Retargeting Strategies
The basic buyer’s journey. Image credit(s): trellis.co


Instead, you should segment users according to where they are in the buyer’s journey. Understand what a user is looking for at each phase and build your retargeting campaigns accordingly (hint: read our guide for more help on understanding each phase).

Take someone who has visited your site many times and has in fact added items to their shopping cart. They have moved through the awareness and consideration phases and are ready to make a decision. You want that decision to be you!

Retarget users who are in this phase with an ad that shows products they are interested in. The more personalized, the better. You can get this done with dynamic product ads on social media, web retargeting, or via a web push notification.

Retargeting Strategies
Consider retargeting via Instagram Stories. Image credit(s): Sprout Social.


You can even take your retargeting to Instagram Stories, as seen in the ad above. This gives you a great opportunity to get creative with your ads. Need some inspiration? Here are some great Instagram Story ads that we really like.

3. Exclude Converted Users

You got someone to convert from your retargeted ad- congrats! That was your goal, and you made it happen. However, your work doesn’t stop there. Do you want them to shop with you once, or do you want them to turn into a loyal customer? Considering that loyal customers spend on average 68% more than new customers, you probably want to keep them around.

What’s one way to easily push a customer away? Annoying them with the same ads. For that reason, this is one of the most important retargeting strategies on this list. Once a user converts, they need to be excluded from that particular campaign.

That doesn’t mean you never show them an ad again! Instead, you can show them new ones that will help keep them engaged with you in the future. This could mean showing them other products they look at, making a product recommendation, or even showing them a discount code to use towards their next purchase.

Retargeting Strategies
After a user converts, they should receive new campaigns, such as a discount code to use for their next purchase.


By switching up your campaigns you are sure to not annoy your customers with the same messages over and over again. By including something like a discount code, you are giving them more of an incentive to buy from you again. Annoyed customer vs. repeat customer- which are you choosing?

4. Demographic Targeting

We’ve discussed how to make your campaigns more relevant based on how a user interacts with your site. There are other factors you may want to take into consideration, however, and that is where demographic targeting comes in. Perhaps you are running a campaign that is targeted at women, or at teenagers between the age of 15 and 18, or at people living in Los Angeles.

This is another type of audience segmentation, but this time, it isn’t based on their actions at your website, but instead is based on other info about them that will help make your campaign more relevant.

Retargeting Strategies
An example of a retargeted campaign that will only display to people living in the United States or Canada. Image credit(s): Hubspot.


Based on your brand, this type of targeting can seriously help you 1) increase conversions and 2) decrease your ad costs. Why serve your ad to someone if you know that they are not likely to convert?

If you are an ecommerce site but you also have physical locations, for example, you may run a retargeting ad that features products exclusive to one of your locations. There is no point to send that ad to people who live in a different location, and in fact, that may frustrate your customers who are seeing ads that are not relevant to them and are showing them something that they essentially cannot have. Don’t do that!

5. A/B Testing

Finally, as with any marketing strategy, it is always best to test out your campaigns. There will always be industry standards to follow and statistics that will point you in a certain direction. However, the data that matters most to you is the data you collect from your actual audience.

A/B testing is a great way to figure out what types of campaigns your audience actually responds well to. It takes time and patience, but making small changes over time can help you improve the effectiveness of your campaigns. Swap out elements such as your image, call to action, or headline and monitor your results.

We recently added A/B testing to our platform so that you can test your web push campaigns as well. Try it out with a retargeting campaign and see what your results are.

Retargeting Strategies
Change a single element of your retargeting campaign to accurately measure results.


Over time you will optimize your campaigns, resulting in more clicks and more conversions!

Wrapping Up

These 5 retargeting strategies are proven ways to boost your retargeting efforts. Sometimes all it takes is a small adjustment, like switching up a headline, targeting a certain location, or removing converted users, and the result is increased conversions.

Do you have another retargeting strategy that you have had success with? We want to hear it! Comment below or send us a message!

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Tags: digital marketing, ecommerce, retargeting, retargeting strategies*, web push notifications.
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