Retargeting campaigns are a crucial component of a well-run website. Thus, creating a successful retargeting campaign is needed for sales and engagement success.

Very few – in some cases less than 5 percent – of visitors take action the first time they visit a site. Many do not return after that first experience. This makes a retargeting campaign important. It makes the decision for them to buy your product a little bit easier by placing an ad on their screen.

For those who don’t know: a retargeting campaign involves serving a cookie to someone who visits your site. This allows you to show advertisements for your product or service to them, even when they are on another site. That cookie makes it happen because they visited your site and can programmatically be targeted.

You’ve probably noticed this yourself while on the Internet. A great example is when you look at a new car and then find advertisements for that car when you visit other sites.

Steps for a Successful Retargeting Campaign

A good retargeting campaign involves careful planning and execution. Here are some thing to keep in mind for your campaign, culled from this “whiteboard Friday” at, as well as other sources.

Reaching Your Audience

Reach a relevant audience. Make sure that once users on your site have been served a cookie, they are segmented into the audience you want to target with a particular product. Sticking with the automobile example, you don’t want to show an ad for a compact car to someone who has been looking at pickup trucks. Make sure you are segmenting out the users to specific categories and retargeting them appropriately.

You also want to make sure you use all your properties in a retargeting campaign to reach the widest possible audience. And set concrete goals. Decide what your goal is – lead generation or list building? What type of conversion are you searching for? Make sure you set firm goals, which is the only way you will not what success looks like.

Conversion Funnel

Make sure that each piece of content and every ad is geared toward a phase in the conversion funnel – awareness, consideration and decision. An awareness ad, for example, would be for someone who just visited your homepage and left. A consideration ad would target someone who looked at a specific product. Lastly, decision ads are targeted to those who are on the verge of buying the product but need one last nudge. This nudge could perhaps be a discount or deal of some type, or an added benefit to their purchase.

Know When to Say When

People complain about retargeting ads because they see them too often (which is often the case in the car example). It’s wise to limit the amount of times you ad is seen to about 7 to 12 a month, maximum. Otherwise it starts to feel to the user like they are getting stalked.

Keep a fresh look to your retargeting advertisements. Seeing the same thing (even just 12 times a month) gets old pretty fast.

Optimize and Test

A successful retargeting campaign isn’t implemented overnight. Testing is critical to your success.

You want to make sure your landing pages are moving people to the right place for where they are in the conversion funnel. That means not sending the person who is already in the decision phase back to a home page or awareness-level content. And to make sure you are optimized, make the effort to test and test again. This helps in finding out what is working and where improvements can be made.

There are numerous other things to remember as well. You want to consider using different channels to reach your audience.  Don’t stick only to websites for your retargeting campaign. Think also of social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook.

And don’t forget that retargeting also offers the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell. These are two areas you don’t want to neglect.

Like much of internet marketing, retargeting requires patience and a plan that maximizes your return on investment. But putting one into place is a must for those who want to truly get the most out of their website.