5 Essential Retargeting Campaign Tips

graphic showing the journey down the conversion funnel, including retargeting events

Retargeting is a tried and true strategy for delivering those highly coveted conversions. This campaign strategy will help you meet your lower-funnel conversion goals, while also nurturing leads, improving customer engagement, strengthening awareness in the upper funnel, and building customer loyalty. Read on to learn what retargeting is, and essential retargeting campaign tips. 

What is Retargeting

An effective retargeting strategy enables you to deliver online ads to a user based on their previous intent-based actions on the web. It’s an important tactic for re-engaging a user who has seen one of your ads before, or shown interest in your brand or product. Retargeting will help move them down the funnel toward a conversion.

Conversions are a key metric to understanding the performance of your campaigns. It enables you to determine if an interested prospect decided to complete a desired action—whether that is submitting an email address, making a purchase or requesting more information. 

To create a retargeting strategy that leads to conversion, you first need to identify where in the funnel a user should be when they are served a follow-up ad. In some cases, it may be at the top of the funnel, when a user has just been introduced to your brand. Or, it may make sense to retarget when they are in the middle of the funnel, in the consideration stage, once they are familiar with the brand and continuing to explore your product or service. 

Once the correlation between a user’s action and their position in the funnel is assigned, you can set up retargeting to issue an ad that is relevant for the user to take the next step towards conversion. 

When to Use a Retargeting Campaign

Retargeting campaigns are a great tool for converting an already interested prospect because  retargeted ads will remind a person about your service, product, or brand. In today’s programmatic advertising landscape, most users need to encounter your marketing several times before they are converted.

Whether they’ve seen or clicked on one of your ads, or browsed your website, the audience that is retargeted is one that has shown an interest in your business or products. This means the effort needed to win their conversion is a little less than prospects who haven’t engaged with you. For example, you can use dynamic retargeting to serve an ad that shows a product a user has looked at before, to remind them about it. 

So when should you set up a retargeting campaign? It’s best to retarget users who have dropped off in the pre-sale, visited the conversion page, or visited pages with pre-conversion events. 

Essential Retargeting Campaign Tips

Let’s look at some key tips for setting up a successful retargeting campaign:

1. Use Different Messaging and Creatives To Re-Engage Your Audience

Serving an ad that a user has already seen or driving them to the same part of the website they’ve already visited can be ineffective. Instead, spend time tailoring the messaging with a strong call to action and engaging creatives that drive users directly to the point of conversion will make it easier for them to take that desired action. If the point of prospecting campaigns is to drive awareness and engagement, then retargeting should be focused on getting the user to take action.

2. Exclude Audiences Who Have Already Converted

It is strongly recommended to exclude users who have already converted on your campaigns to ensure you are truly connecting with those users who have not taken the primary action desired. It is okay, however, to retarget users who have converted against a secondary conversion point if they have not completed the primary action. Plus, excluding audiences who have already converted will help reduce your media cost waste.

3. Evaluate the Audience Lookback Window

Ensure you are targeting the most relevant users within your audience pool. This will depend on the product or service you are advertising. Keep in mind, once the lookback window expires, you will lose the tracking on all users that were collected during that time. It is always good to set the lookback window for retargeting a bit longer if the campaign is having issues with scale. 

4. Think About Bidding More on Retargeting

Remember that retargeting campaigns are the last point of contact. The user has seen your ad, and has maybe been to your website before. Therefore, we should place more value on trying to get these users to convert. Bidding higher in order to reach these users helps maximize your scale and creates better opportunities to deliver conversions. And a higher bid doesn’t mean you have to spend more—your pool is smaller and more defined so actual campaign spend decreases, while value per impression increases. 

5. Make Sure To Allocate Your Budget

It is recommended to start off with smaller budgets for retargeting and larger budgets for prospecting to help grow the cookied audience pool. Once the campaigns have had some time to deliver, it is good to consider slowly shifting more investment into retargeting the longer the campaigns are in-market.

Get Closer to Your Conversion Goals With Retargeting 

With retargeting you’re able to keep your brand, products, and services in front of your potential customers, which will help inch them closer to a sale. This is why retargeting is such an essential part of your conversion strategy.  

Uncovering the story behind every conversion gives you a picture of upper- and middle-funnel performance, enabling you to understand how your campaign is functioning. By tracking conversions, you can gain valuable insight into how you are acquiring customers, while building on your existing client base.

Want to run exceptional programmatic campaigns? Request a demo to learn more about StackAdapt.

Erin Hynes
Erin Hynes

Content Marketing Manager


Erin is a content marketer with experience crafting thought-provoking content that drives awareness and supports customer acquisition. She is also a travel writer and podcaster in the tourism space.