How Does Retargeting Work? How to Get Started in 2024

about retargeting

We’ve all done it at some point. You’re browsing through your favorite online shop and throw a few things into your cart, but before you get to the point where you can check out, something interrupts you. You hit the wrong button on your phone. You get called to an important meeting. There are nearly infinite reasons why you might not complete a web purchase.

This is where a retargeting strategy can applied from the business point of view. Are curious to learn more? Browse the next paragraphs to learn more about this concept.

About Retargeting

Not placing an order isn’t a problem. We all get interrupted. The problem comes when, several days later, you’ve completely lost track of what you were going to buy and why. Once the “Place Order” button is no longer staring you in the face, it’s very likely that you’ll completely forget you were about to enrich your life with a new purchase.

From a customer’s standpoint, this is annoying, but probably a part of everyday life. Most people are far too overstimulated to keep track of all of the details. 

From a business owner’s standpoint, this is more than annoying. That abandoned cart (learn some tips to reduce it, here) just sits there, waiting to become profitable.

In this image: an artistic representation of shopping cart that symbolizes retargeting

But what can you do?

Through the act of retargeting, business owners can kindly and gently reach out to their customers to remind them of their earlier interest. It might seem a little creepy, but read on to find out how retargeting can be exactly the nudge your customers need.

How Does Retargeting Work?

The secret ingredient is cookies. Not the warm, gooey chocolate chip kind, but that tiny pixel of data that helps browsers store information about who has visited what webpage and when.

When a person visits your page, they’ll generally click ok on your “accept cookies” pop up, then start browsing. Whether or not they sign up for your mailing list or interact any other way with your site, retargeting software will work with cookies to make note of this visit.

What happens next is internet magic. That person may click off of your page without making a purchase, but soon, they’ll see your brand and products everywhere. When browsing the internet, or listening to music through an online service, your ads will appear.

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This doesn’t mean they’ll see a bright flashing banner at the top of the screen that says “HEY! Come back and buy!” Instead, they’ll see normal ads in spots where ads typically appear, only many of those ads will be your business, gently suggesting to them that they head back to your website to learn more, ask questions, or tap that “Buy Now” button. 

You can learn more about retargeting opportunities and programs through sites such as:

  • Taboola
  • Facebook Ads
  • Google AdWords
  • LinkedIn Ads
  • And outreach suites such as MailChimp

In any case, you will need to use a program with a retargeting campaign option in order to take advantage of the process.

You essentially have the ability to place an ad for your business directly in the face of someone who has already expressed interest in your product or services. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

Read also: The Interest Stage of the Sales Funnel: A Deep Dive

What This Is Not

Unfortunately, retargeting does not have a guaranteed ROI. Your ads will still need to be compelling, and your website needs to be clean and easy to navigate. After all, this particular viewer might have found the website too cumbersome to negotiate their way to the check out.

Retargeting puts your ad in front of people who have already visited your website. Given the marketing “rule” that people need to see something 7 times before they’ll act on it, they may not immediately react to your ad, if ever.

Retargeting is also not to be confused with remarketing. Remarketing involves directly reaching out to individuals who have done business with you before, typically via email.

In retargeting, you do not interact with your customers: you simply have the ability to place an ad in front of someone who has visited your site before. Whether or not they’ll click on your ad remains to be seen.

Benefits for Your Business

So what does retargeting do? 

First, it’s a very cost-effective way to hone in on your target audience. While it’s a good idea to avoid assumptions in general, expecting someone who has interacted with your brand once to visit your site a second time isn’t too much of a leap of faith.

Additionally, retargeting isn’t just for the people who visited your site last night. Have a new ad? Share it with an already appreciative market. Retargeting is a great way to:

  • Announce new products
  • Promote huge sales
  • Propose amazing one-time offers

To people who have recently interacted with your site and might be looking for a very good reason to return.

Retargeting can also help to establish your brand identity. E-Commerce has inherent dangers. Many people are reluctant to hand over their financial information to brands they haven’t heard of before.

The more frequently they see your ads on websites they know and trust, the more they’ll be inclined to learn more about you and your products or services.

It can also be handy when testing out new products in new niches. If you have a very exciting new offer, letting people who are already familiar with your brand know about it first can go a long way towards engaging your target audience.

Outsourcing Retargeting Services

None of us has an absolutely perfect memory, and sometimes we lose track of a brand or product that previously intrigued us. Retargeting gives business owners the opportunity to keep their brand in the mind of those who have visited your site, and who may have left prematurely.

Though a method of guaranteeing a purchase hasn’t been invented yet, retargeting can go a long way towards encouraging a one-time visitor to become a returning customer. Ads placed through retargeting can jog the memory, encourage brand familiarity, and even entice viewers to check out new updates to your inventory.

You can outsource your retargeting strategy for a reasonable price to some external marketing experts, like the ones we have selected here below:



Teachingbiz provides internet marketing services and education to digital entrepreneurs and marketers who want to learn how to build and scale their businesses.

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