What is Retargeting?

What is Retargeting?

In an ideal world, every person who visits your site would make a purchase. He would land on a product or service page, read through the offer, then either purchase directly from the site or reach out to a sales representative for more information. This individual would then become a customer for life.

The reality is that consumers tend to be rather fickle.

Visitors landing on your page may browse through your offer but then get distracted and never complete their purchase. Or they may decide to purchase later on after they have done their research. You can see that the process can be rather convoluted.

Normally, visitors who leave a site would be lost forever. But now businesses can “follow” these and reach out to these individuals again on different sites with retargeting. The result is more conversions to your business.

The idea is rather straightforward.

Visitors who have landed on your site have already expressed interest in your business. But they may not necessarily be ready to buy right away or they may simply have gotten distracted with something else. Retargeting allows you to serve ads to visitors who have previously visited your site when they browse the web.

Here is an example to illustrate what retargeting looks like:

retargeting-graphNow you have a chance to convert visitors who may have left a sales page but didn’t complete their purchase.

How Does Retargeting Work?

You place a piece of code on your site which is known as a “retargeting pixel”.

When new visitors land on your page, the pixel drops a tracking cookie in their browser. When visitors browse other sites that are in the display network where you have a retargeting campaign running, they will see your ads. This ensures that your ads are only displayed to people who have visited your site previously.

Retargeting ads are different from regular ads as you can be more specific with your targeting. For example, if a visitor lands on a specific section of your site (e.g. running shoes), you can target these visitors with a highly targeted ad to come back and complete their purchase. Since they are already familiar with your brand, they are much more likely to convert.

Which Retargeting Platform Should You Choose?

There are a number of options available to implement retargeting such as Retargeter and AdRoll. You can also do retargeting through social platforms including Facebook and Twitter. Google also has its own platform called remarketing (different name but same idea) that lets you reach visitors across Google’s vast network of sites including visitors who have interacted with your videos or use your mobile app.

Retargeting is the same for each platform. You set up a campaign and you are able to reach visitors who have previously visited your site. Each network has its advantages and disadvantages so be sure to read through each for a better idea of what to expect.


Not every visitor to your site will make a purchase.

But retargeting lets you reach out to them and target them with ads as they browse the web. Visitors you may have otherwise lost could now be customers. There are a number of retargeting platforms to choose from with different targeting options. Be sure to do your research ahead of time when choosing a network to advertise on.