Retargeting: 7 Best Practices and 5 Common Pitfalls

In this third and final installment of our series on retargeting, we go over best practices and the typical pitfalls encountered by marketers that leverage this type of advertising strategy.

Retargeting Funnel

If you haven’t yet read Parts 1 and 2 of our retargeting series, we encourage you to do so. In the first installment, we discussed what retargeting is and how it works. In the second, we explored more advanced techniques for segmenting your audience according to user behavior.

Now we’ll get into more specifics on how to refine a retargeting campaign using best practices and avoiding common pitfalls.

Best Practices for Retargeting: A 7-Point Checklist

  1. Refine your audience segments. Separate your site visitors according to what they did or did not purchase. For those who purchased a specific item, consider re-targeting them with a complementary product. When appropriate, exclude visitors who’ve converted.
  1. Set a limit on how often a segment is retargeted. Also closely related to No. 1 is setting a limit on how often a site visitor is retargeted. For instance, Google AdWords allows you to limit the number of times a user is exposed to your brand’s display ad per day, week or month.
  1. Promote an offer specific to the site page visited. Did potential customers visit a particular page without converting? Promote a sale or other incentive to this segment from that page’s content.
  1. Be sure to include a clear call to action (CTA). Make sure you’ve defined the action you want the person to take depending on where they’re at in the sales funnel. For instance, a CTA for those at the top of the sales funnel may be “learn more,” while a CTA for those at the low end may be “buy now” or “request a demo.”
  1. Segment by geographic location. If you have a wide range of products or services, think carefully about what might appeal to your different audiences. For example, what appeals to visitors residing in warmer climates may not be appropriate for those in colder climates at any given time of year.
  1. Be mindful of time relevance. Depending on how short your sales cycle is, time-sensitive retargeting requires a sense of urgency. This is true of sales events, certain entertainment events and other periodic or one-time events.
  1. Use multiple creative to keep display ads fresh. This serves to keep retargeting campaigns from getting stale by avoiding overexposure to any one or two display ads.

Retargeting Pitfalls

Retargeting Pitfalls: 5 Common Errors

A counterpart to the seven best practices is a checklist of five common pitfalls:

  1. Poor targeting and segmentation, which leads to wasted time, resources and money.
  2. Failing to understand user behavior, especially around intent and the decision-making process throughout the entire buying journey.
  3. Featuring offers and/or landing pages of marginal relevance to key business goals.
  4. Not pausing or stopping low-performing ads.
  5. Relying too much on it and neglecting other marketing initiatives that help bring visitors in at the top of the funnel (like organic search).

Retargeting helps you put the right offer in front of the right visitor at the right time. Start small and run some tests before you go all in. You’ll find there’s quite a bit that goes into making a campaign run smoothly from the set up to ad creative, management, optimization and tracking.

With the best practices outlined in our series, you’re armed with a few ideas that can get you on the path to a higher conversion rate and making good use of the traffic you’ve sent to your website through other marketing channels.

Want to learn more?

Retargeting eBook