<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-TGDZQT" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">

Never Miss an Update.

Be sure to subscribe to get the latest news and recent updates.

7 DOs and DON'Ts for Your Retargeting Campaigns

Posted by Ethan Giffin on Aug 23, 2016 10:00:00 AM

You already know how valuable an engaged audience can be. You build sales funnels because you know that getting someone to sign up for your email list or click on a social media post makes them that much more likely to buy. You know that businesses have a 60-70% chance of selling to existing customers, as opposed to just 5-20% for new prospects.

And you know that retargeting campaigns are an effective way of reaching interested consumers who are still on the fence.


Retargeting should be a central feature of your ecommerce sales funnel. When someone pokes around your site and sees your ad pop up on social media a day later, featuring the exact product they almost bought not 24 hours ago, they are ten times more likely to click through compared to a non-retargeted display ad, and 70% more likely to make a purchase when they land on your site.

But consumers are also wary of retargeting, with more than a third saying they are "put off" by retargeted ads. So how do you retarget in a way that attracts the right kind of attention without annoying your ecommerce customers? Practice, practice, practice, of course, and start out by following these seven tips if you want to see faster progress.

  1. DO Link Retargeted Ads to Specific Pages on Your Ecommerce Site

The beauty of retargeting is the ability to send a specific ad to a specific customer based on their specific interactions with your ecommerce site. When they click that ad, you should take them to a specific page on your site—ideally, a product page they've already looked at or even their shopping cart if they have one they abandoned.

Give your ecommerce customers a customized experience with as few steps as possible between clicking the ad and completing a purchase.

  1. DO Suspend Your Retargeting After a Purchase is Made

As mentioned above, repeat business can mean big bucks for an ecommerce business—retargeting existing customers is a great way to build sustainable revenue. At the same time, once your retargeting efforts pay off in the form of a sale, you need to back off for a bit and give your customer some breathing room.

Every retargeting platform should have a way to remove customers from a campaign once they've made a purchase. Cut your customers a break for a few weeks after they buy, and make sure they're seeing new ads once you put them back in your sights.

  1. DO Keep Your Ecommerce Ad Campaigns Updated

Old products, expired offers, and copy that references yesterday's news are all more likely to hurt you than to help. This is true of all ad campaigns generally, of course, but the negative effects of an out-of-date retargeted ad are even worse. Not only can your clickthrough rates decrease by 50% in a matter of months, but you'll be giving the impression that your brand can't keep up.

Retargeted ads are more effective because they're more relevant. Make sure that's reflected in the ads themselves, not just in the targeting.

  1. DON'T Keep Retargeting When Customers Ain't Buying

Retargeting allows you to reach out individually to people who visited your ecommerce site. That means you also have the ability to stop reaching out to certain individuals when they aren't responding. By setting an "impressions cap"—a limit on the number of times your retargeting ad(s) will be shown to a given customer—you're both conserving your ad budget for stronger prospects and avoiding becoming an annoyance to the customer.

We've seen impression cap suggestions as low as 2 and as high as 20; you'll need to do some testing to find the sweet spot for your ecommerce business.

  1. DON'T Get Too Personal In Your Retargeting Copy

There are plenty of tools, services, and sites that offer some manner of retargeting potential. Some, like Facebook pixels, don't give you direct access to any additional customer information; other retargeting tools might be built on consumer data you've managed to pick up along the way.

Using that info to customize retargeting emails can pay off, but if you use personal information in retargeted ads you're likely to freak out your ecommerce prospects. Customize the products and the experience with your business, but leave customer-specific information out of your ads.

  1. DON'T Use More Than One Ad Network Retargeting Provider At a Time

This one gets a bit technical, but it's important to understand if you want to protect your ad budget.

Retargeting platform bid for ad space just like any other advertiser would. If you've signed up with multiple retargeting services and trying to target the same users on the same ad networks, you'll end up in a bidding war with yourself and pay higher PPC fees than you otherwise would. It's fine to test different providers to see what works, but do it one at a time.

Keep in mind that this only applies if you have more than one retargeting service attempting to place ads with the same ad networks. You can use Facebook retargeting in conjunction with a Google AdWords retargeter, for example, because the two services won't ever be bidding on the same ad space.

  1. DON'T Forget to Measure What Works in Your Retargeting Campaigns

The goal of any digital marketing effort—any marketing effort at all, really—is to increase sales. If you aren't measuring the link(s) between your retargeting campaigns and your ecommerce sales, you're never going to see the kind of profits and ROI you deserve.

Some ecommerce niches might be better served by heavy retargeting during the "research" phase of the customer buying cycle—one survey says 62% of consumers found retargeted ads useful during this period—or you might have better luck pouring more of your ad dollars into retargeting cart abandoners who almost made a purchase but didn't quite get there.

Play around, measure the results, and find the right retargeting mix for your ecommerce business. We'll be here to make things easy when the orders start pouring in.