5 Different Retargeting Techniques Marketers Should Know

Briana Barkett wrote this on July 28, 2016

Retargeting isn’t a new concept in the digital marketing world, but that doesn’t mean it’s something that should be forgotten. While it has evolved over the years, the basic idea behind it has stayed the same. Using various platforms (like the ones we will talk about below), you can retarget individuals who have previously interacted with your brand in some way. By capitalizing on that initial interest, you are likely to see a higher percentage of these retargeted individuals returning to your website (in comparison to a general advertisement that is not directly targeted at anyone).

If you are unsure on how and where to use retargeting, keep reading and see our 5 favorite retargeting techniques that we think all marketers should know.


Website Retargeting

Let’s start out basic. If you know anything about retargeting, you are aware of (or have at least heard of) website retargeting. Basically, with this method you retarget individuals who visited your website but left without converting. You can choose to view site targeting as a very general type of practice, but keep in mind that there are ways to personalize and contextualize your retargeted ads.

For example, you don’t have to retarget everyone who visits your website all at once. This type of anonymous retargeting is very common (where everyone who visits any part of your site gets broadly retargeted), but is not necessarily the most effective. Consider grouping visitors together and retargeting them based on the area of your website that they visited. For people who have visited your blog, consider a retargeted ad promoting a new blog post of yours. Or, create ads about specific products and retarget users who have viewed those products in the past.

dynamic retargeting ads Retargeting Techniques
Image Credit(s): Wordstream

ShopBop does personalized retargeting well, displaying the specific items users looked at in their retargeted ads. They also feature a discount in their ad, a tactic that helps boost conversion rates even higher. Additionally, you may choose to retarget based on the relevancy of other websites people visit. While retargeted ads can show up anywhere, the location doesn’t have to be random.

hubspot wolfgang ad Retargeting Techniques
Image Credit(s): Hubspot


In this example, company Wolfgang Digital decided to retarget users and display their ads when a user was looking at related content. While the retargeting technique was simple (as in anyone who visited the website previously was retargeted), the context of where the ad was located was more complex.


Social Media Retargeting

Social media retargeting is the same as site retargeting, however in this case the location of the ads is restricted to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Just this May, retargeting also became available on Instagram. These ads also largely follow a personalized retargeting technique, displaying products a user previously looked at, for example.

dynamic instagram ad Retargeting Techniques
Image Credit(s): Social Media Today


The above image shows a retargeted carousel ad on Instagram. The item first displayed in the ad matches to the item the retargeted user was looking at. With a carousel ad you can display multiple images that a user can swipe between, which can be used to display related products. Because of the popularity of social media, this retargeting technique has become very popular. Depending on your industry you can decide which platform (or platforms) will work best for you.


Video Remarketing

Ever spent an entire afternoon watching YouTube videos? It’s okay to say yes. We’ve all done it. With that in mind, video remarketing (or retargeting) is another retargeting technique you should heavily consider. These video ads can be in the form of an actual video ad shown before a YouTube video, a banner ad displayed at the bottom of a video, or a display ad shown next to a video.

youtube ad Retargeting Techniques
Image Credit(s): Top Draw


These ads are typically used to promote video content, so if your ecommerce business utilizes video, this type of retargeting is for you. The cost for these ads is very similar to CPC ads, where you pay only when a user clicks the ad (or in the case of the video ads, you pay if a user watches at least 30 seconds of the ad). There is tons of research on the positive impact of videos, including the fact that 64% of users are more likely to purchase a product after watching a video. If you are able to produce high quality visual content, this retargeting technique should definitely be tops on your list.


Remarketing Lists For Search Ads

This next type of retargeting focuses on search, and is only available to those who use Google Adwords. This type of retargeting takes on users who have previously been to your website without converting, and are now searching again on Google. You can retarget these users with CPC ads in a couple of different ways. First, you can decide to bid on new keywords and display those ads only to those on your remarketing list. You may decide to bid on broader keywords that you typically wouldn’t bid on, for example.

Another method involves increasing your CPC budget only for those ads displayed to individuals on your remarketing list. By increasing your bid, you are increasing your chance that your ad will be displayed higher up on the search results page. Because these users have shown interest previously in your website, meaning they have a greater likelihood of converting, it makes sense to invest more money in these ads.


Web Push Notifications

Finally, what retargeting article would be complete without mentioning web push notifications? Web push notifications offer great retargeting possibilities, and are so easy to set up. Not only are web push notifications easy for users to set up, it is also easy on your end to set up campaigns based on retargeting.

safari push example closeup Retargeting Techniques
Image Credit(s): Aimtell


Once a user agrees to be sent your push notifications, you can retarget them based on just about anything. Did a user visit your site and never return? Retarget them. Put items in their cart but not purchase? Retarget them. Sign up for your newsletter and never return to your website? Retarget them. You get the idea.

Instead of visitors seeing ads on other websites you actually have the ability to send them an instant “push notifications” which, when clicked, drives them back to your site. Web push notifications are centered around this idea of retargeting and are one of the most highly effective ways to engage and retarget visitors to your website.

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