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How Retargeting Works: A Guide

How retargeting works, and why has it become a staple in the digital marketing world? Tracing the development of retargeting from its inception with Google Ads to modern technological advances, we will look at how it has become a core element in digital marketing. We explore how you can implement retargeting on your website by adding pixels/tags and using tools like Google Tag Manager.

We will discuss integrating retargeting with inbound and outbound marketing strategies to maximize campaign effectiveness. You will learn how to identify suitable platforms for ad delivery based on audience research and customer behaviors. Additionally, we will cover segmenting audiences based on sales funnel stages for targeted campaigns.

We address the impact of third-party cookie deprecation on retargeting efforts and share strategies for overcoming potential limitations through first-party data collection. Discover the benefits of partnering with specialized agencies like WebFX for managing your campaigns seamlessly. So let’s begin our journey into understanding how does retargeting work and harness its full potential!

Table of Contents:

The Evolution of Retargeting


Since Google Ads first launched retargeting in 2010, the tactic has evolved significantly. Retargeting is a form of online advertising that targets people who have already visited your website and helps companies reach bounced traffic by serving ads only to those who have previously visited your site.

Early Days of Retargeting with Google Ads

In its infancy, retargeting was primarily used for display ads on the Google Display Network (GDN). Advertisers would create simple banners showcasing their products or services and use them as ad retargeting tools. This approach allowed businesses to remind potential customers about their offerings based on previous behavior.

Current State and Advancements in Retargeting Technology

  • Social Media Platforms: With the rise of social media giants like Facebook, advertisers can now take advantage of Facebook retargeting, which enables them to serve personalized ads directly within users’ news feeds.
  • Cross-Device Targeting: Modern-day remarketing campaigns are not limited to desktop browsing experiences; they can also be tailored for mobile devices, ensuring consistent messaging across all touchpoints.
  • Data-Driven Personalization: Advanced algorithms help businesses analyze user data more effectively than ever before. Using sophisticated algorithms, companies can create tailored ad content that speaks to particular groups of people based on their characteristics, interests and online activities.

As retargeting technology continues to advance, businesses can leverage these tools to create more effective and personalized retargeting ads, driving higher conversion rates and improved customer engagement.

Retargeting has progressed significantly since its inception with Google Ads, and modern retargeting technology offers more options than ever before. With this newfound knowledge, it is now time to explore how you can implement retargeting on your website.

Implementing Retargeting on Your Website

To effectively leverage retargeting for your business, you need to add a small line of code (often called pixels or tags) to your website. This permits you to place cookies on browsers of visitors and observe their activities, so that ads tailored to them can be served in accordance with their likes.

Adding Pixels/Tags to Your Website’s Code

Start by creating a retargeting pixel in the advertising platform of your choice, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads Manager. Once generated, insert this code snippet into the header section of every page on your site. This will enable tracking and help build an audience list for future retargeting campaigns.

Using Tools Like Google Tag Manager for Seamless Implementation

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a powerful tool that simplifies the process of adding and managing various tracking codes on your website. By using GTM, you can easily implement retargeting pixels without having direct access to your site’s source code – perfect for those with limited technical knowledge or working with developers who may not be familiar with ad platforms.

  • Create an account: Sign up for a free GTM account if you haven’t already done so.
  • Add container: Create a new container within GTM associated with your domain name where all tags will reside.
  • Add tag: Add custom HTML tags corresponding to each desired ad platform’s retargeting pixel/code snippet within the newly created container.
  • Publish: Save and publish your changes to make the tags live on your website.

These instructions will get you started with retargeting campaigns that can lead to improved conversion rates and help your business expand. Retargeting works by tracking visitors’ previous behavior on your website and serving them targeted ads based on their preferences. This helps to increase the likelihood of conversion and can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. Ad retargeting is a cost-effective way to reach potential customers who have already shown an interest in your brand. Facebook retargeting is a popular option for businesses looking to reach a large audience with targeted ads. With the right strategy and implementation, you can create retargeting ads that drive results for your business.

Retargeting can be a potent force in achieving website objectives, but only when correctly implemented. By integrating retargeting with other marketing strategies, you can maximize your return on investment and increase customer engagement.

Integrating Retargeting with Marketing Strategies

Retargeting works best when used in conjunction with inbound and outbound marketing or demand generation strategies as it focuses on users who have recently demonstrated interest in your product or service. Create awareness about what you offer before leading potential customers through an informative journey about its benefits.

Inbound Marketing Tactics Complemented by Retargeting Campaigns

To enhance the effectiveness of your inbound marketing efforts, integrate retargeting ads into content promotion and lead nurturing initiatives. For instance, use Facebook retargeting to show relevant blog posts to those who visited your website but didn’t convert. This technique allows you to reach out again and provide helpful info that encourages them further along the sales process.

Outbound Marketing Efforts Supported by Strategic Remarketing

Outbound marketing techniques, such as cold emailing or display advertising, can also benefit from ad retargeting. By creating retargeting ads based on previous behavior like clicking a link in an email campaign or visiting a specific landing page, you ensure that prospects continue receiving personalized messaging even after their initial interaction with your brand.

  • Create awareness about what you offer before leading potential customers through an informative journey about its benefits.
  • Use Facebook retargeting to show relevant blog posts to those who visited your website but didn’t convert.
  • Create segmented audience lists for targeted remarketing based on user interactions within both inbound and outbound campaigns.

Retargeting campaigns can be a powerful way for businesses to expand their visibility and outreach, but they should be incorporated with other promotional tactics in order to achieve maximum efficiency. Identifying suitable platforms for ad delivery is the next step towards successful retargeting efforts.

Identifying Suitable Platforms for Ad Delivery

To make the most of your retargeting campaigns, it’s crucial to identify suitable platforms for delivering targeted ads. This process involves conducting thorough audience research and analyzing customer behavior patterns throughout their sales funnel journey – from initial brand exposure down towards final purchase decisions.

Conduct Audience Research and Analyze Customer Behaviors

An effective way to start is by using tools like Google Analytics, which can provide insights into user demographics, interests, and previous behavior on your website. By understanding who your audience is and how they interact with your content, you’ll be better equipped to create retargeting ads that resonate with them.

Choose the Right Platform Based on Target Personas

  • Facebook Retargeting: With its vast user base and advanced targeting options, Facebook offers a powerful platform for reaching potential customers through retargeting. Use Facebook’s Custom Audiences feature to serve tailored ads based on users’ past interactions with your site or app.
  • Email Retargeting: Email remains an essential channel in digital marketing strategies. By integrating email marketing software like Mailchimp or HubSpot into your workflow, you can send personalized emails based on subscribers’ browsing history or abandoned shopping carts.
  • Paid Search Ads: Create remarketing lists within Google Ads or Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads) platforms so that searchers who have previously visited specific pages of your website are shown relevant ad copy when searching again later on related keywords.

Selecting the right platform for your retargeting ads will ultimately depend on the preferences and behaviors of your target audience, as well as the specific goals you have set for your campaigns.

By properly researching and analyzing customer behaviors, businesses can effectively identify the right platform for their ad delivery. By segmenting audiences based on sales funnel stages, businesses are able to create targeted retargeting campaigns that will help maximize return-on-investment.

Segment Audiences Based on Sales Funnel Stages

To make the most of your retargeting campaigns, it’s essential to segment audiences based on where they are within your sales funnel. This allows you to tailor ad messaging more effectively and maintain a reasonable frequency cap (15-20 ads per month) to avoid overexposure or annoyance. Implementing this strategy can lead to improved conversion rates and an enhanced overall user experience.

Creating Segmented Audience Lists for Targeted Retargeting

Create separate audience lists for each stage of the sales funnel, such as awareness, consideration, and decision-making stages. For example:

  • Awareness stage: Users who have visited your website but haven’t taken any action yet.
  • Consideration stage: Users who have viewed specific product pages or engaged with content related to those products.
  • Decision-making stage: Users who have added items to their cart but didn’t complete the purchase process.

This approach enables you to create retargeting ads that speak directly to users’ needs at each point in their journey with your brand. You can learn more about segmenting audiences by visiting this comprehensive guide on customer segmentation strategies.

Maintaining an Optimal Ad Frequency Cap

To ensure that your retargeting ads are impactful without irritating users, consider setting a frequency cap of 15-20 ads per month. To achieve this equilibrium, consider setting a frequency cap between 15-20 ads per month. By doing so, you can ensure that your retargeting ads remain effective without causing annoyance or ad fatigue among your audience.

By segmenting audiences based on their sales funnel stages, you can ensure that your retargeting campaigns are tailored to the specific needs of each audience. It is imperative to contemplate the consequences of third-party cookie expiration and determine how first-party data acquisition can be maximized for fruitful retargeting plans.

Impact of Third-party Cookie Deprecation on Retargeting

The recent developments surrounding third-party cookie deprecation may affect future retargeting efforts, mainly because these technologies rely heavily upon browser-based tracking mechanisms which are gradually being phased out. This change poses challenges for businesses that depend on third-party cookies to track user behavior and deliver personalized ads.

Challenges Posed by Third-party Cookie Deprecation

  • Limited ability to collect data about users’ browsing habits and preferences.
  • Potential decrease in ad targeting accuracy, leading to less effective retargeting campaigns.
  • Increase in the reliance on first-party data collection methods, such as email sign-ups or account creation.

Strategies to Overcome Potential Limitations with First-party Data Collection

To adapt to the changing landscape of digital advertising and maintain successful retargeting campaigns, businesses must focus on securing first-party data right from the beginning of their user journey. Some strategies include:

  1. Focusing on Content Marketing: Create valuable content that encourages users to share their information willingly through gated resources like whitepapers or webinars.
  2. Email Marketing Optimization: Encourage visitors who have shown interest in your product/service via previous behavior (such as downloading a resource) to subscribe for newsletters or updates. Use this opportunity for nurturing leads and driving brand awareness. Discover the advantages of email marketing optimization for your business.
  3. Leveraging Social Media Platforms: Utilize Facebook retargeting and other platform-specific ad tools to reach users who have interacted with your brand on social media channels. This approach helps in creating a seamless user experience across multiple touchpoints.

The consequences of phasing out third-party cookies on retargeting are noteworthy, so it is imperative for companies to contemplate substitute approaches in order to keep capitalizing on the efficacy of retargeting. Partnering with agencies that specialize in campaign management can help ensure a successful strategy by integrating agency-led campaigns into your overall marketing plan.

Partnering with Agencies for Retargeting Campaign Management

As retargeting campaigns become more complex and the digital marketing landscape evolves, partnering with specialized agencies can help businesses harness the full potential of this strategy. One such agency is WebFX, which offers comprehensive retargeting campaign management services alongside advanced remarketing tactics aimed at maximizing revenue generation through paid channels.

Benefits of Working with Specialized Agencies like WebFX

  • Expertise: These agencies have a deep understanding of how retargeting works and can create customized strategies to meet your business goals.
  • Data-driven approach: By leveraging data from previous behavior, they optimize ad delivery and improve conversion rates while minimizing ad fatigue.
  • Cross-platform integration: They ensure seamless integration between platforms like Facebook retargeting, Google Ads, and other advertising networks for maximum reach.
  • Ongoing optimization: Continuous monitoring and tweaking of campaigns ensure that you get the best return on investment (ROI).

Integrating Agency-led Campaigns into Your Overall Marketing Strategy

To achieve sustainable growth objectives, it’s essential to integrate agency-led retargeting efforts into your broader marketing plan. This includes aligning your inbound marketing initiatives – such as content creation or social media engagement – with targeted ads designed specifically for segmented audiences based on their position in the sales funnel. Additionally, outbound marketing activities like email outreach or event sponsorship should be supported by strategic remarketing efforts that remind prospects about your offerings when they’re most likely to convert.

Incorporating expertly managed retargeted ads into your marketing mix can significantly boost your brand’s visibility and help you achieve long-term growth. By partnering with agencies like WebFX, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the ever-changing digital landscape and drive tangible results for your business.

How Does Retargeting Work?

How Does Retargeting Work?

Retargeting is a powerful marketing strategy that helps businesses reach potential customers who have previously interacted with their brand. By serving targeted ads to users who have shown interest in your products or services, retargeting can increase conversions and brand awareness. Here’s how it works:

How Well Does Retargeting Work?

Retargeting works effectively in driving conversions and increasing brand awareness. On average, website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert on the advertiser’s site (source). However, success depends on factors like proper audience segmentation, tailored messaging, and choosing suitable platforms for ad delivery.

How Does TikTok Retargeting Work?

TikTok retargeting works by using the platform’s Ads Manager to create custom audiences based on user interactions with your content or website. You can then serve targeted ads to these users within their TikTok feed. This requires implementing a TikTok Pixel on your website for tracking user behavior and conversions.

How Does Retargeting Work on Social?

Social media retargeting involves serving personalized ads to users who have previously interacted with your brand or visited your website while they browse social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. To implement this strategy, you need to install tracking pixels from each platform onto your site and set up custom audience segments within their respective ad managers.

How Do You Do Retargeting?

  1. Create a clear goal for the campaign (e.g., increase sales).
  2. Add tracking pixels/tags from desired advertising platforms onto your site.
  3. Analyze customer behaviors and segment them accordingly.
  4. Select appropriate platforms for ad delivery based on target audience.
  5. Design tailored ad creatives and messaging for each segment.
  6. Monitor campaign performance, adjust frequency caps, and optimize as needed.


Retargeting is a powerful tool for businesses looking to grow and scale at relatively low cost.

Join us at the Growth Marketing Conference to learn from industry experts and network with like-minded professionals. We will be discussing the latest trends in digital marketing, including how retargeting works.

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John Hill has many years experience growing and scaling businesses. As well as a growth marketer he is an active investor a number of businesses. John has written extensively on about growing and scaling businesses. John is Chief Growth Officer at Growth Marketing Conference.