For most e-commerce websites, only 1.82% of visitors convert on the first visit. For the other 98% of users who don’t convert, there’s retargeting.
Retargeting utilizes user intent data from previous interactions to serve relevant ads and messages, driving further engagement and conversions.
This guide will review retargeting and how it works amidst the upcoming Third-Party cookie deprecation.
Retargeting identifies users who have visited your online store and displays targeted ads across various websites and social platforms, encouraging them to revisit and convert.
🆚 What’s the difference between retargeting and remarketing? 🆚
Retargeting campaigns utilize cookies to place ads in front of your prospects, while remarketing campaigns have a broader scope and collect and send email addresses to re-engage customers.
There are two main types of retargeting: pixel-based and list-based.
Pixel-based retargeting is the most common method to re-engage anonymous site visitors.
When someone visits your website, the code is placed on their browser, making it effectively “cookied.” As they navigate the web after leaving your site, this cookie triggers retargeting platforms to display tailored ads based on the specific pages they previously viewed on your website.
⭐ The advantages of pixel-based retargeting ⭐
List-based retargeting involves serving ads to individuals based on their contact information stored in your database or through lists of existing contacts.
Typically, you’ll upload a list of email addresses for a retargeting campaign and users with those email addresses are identified and will be served retargeting ads.
⭐ The advantages of list-based retargeting ⭐
In most ad campaigns, retargeting can be achieved through various methods like:
Ad click retargeting is a common method used in advertising campaigns. At KORTX, with Axon Audience Manager, we can tag specific website sections to track user interactions and create retargeting pools based on user actions.
Example: When a user visits the fitness section of a sporting goods website, we can create a retargeting pool exclusively for those who have interacted with that section. This allows us to deliver retargeting ads with creative messaging aligned with fitness-related content, making it more relevant to the user’s interests and actions.
Axon can catch all of these user interactions and site events.
With Axon Audience Manager, you can ensure an airtight tag implementation structure that enables personalized messaging and helps you track site events and measure campaign success.
Don’t let site tagging hold back your retargeting strategy!
For the sake of this guide, we will focus on pixel-based retargeting based on ad clicks, which is the most common method.
Like other types of advertising campaigns, with retargeting campaigns, you’ll set parameters such as flight dates, budget, geography, target audience, and overall campaign goals. Once you launch a campaign,
As we serve these retargeting ads, some users may continue to engage and click on them, while others will fall off. For continued engagement, we would serve more ads to get them to take the desired action, such as converting or revisiting the website.
Users will not be entirely removed from the retargeting pool, but they may receive fewer impressions compared to more active users. The campaign still considers them, aiming to prioritize users with higher interaction levels who are more likely to engage.
🤔 What role does retargeting play in an advertising campaign?
“Retargeting and understanding your First-Party audience strategy allows advertisers to interact with users who’ve already shown initial interest in their brand. If done correctly, it’s the most effective and efficient way to capitalize on a consumer’s interest in a product or service.
We use Axon’s Custom Audience Builder to customize a client’s First-Party targeting parameters beyond just retargeting users who have visited the site. It’s a key component of many of our client campaigns.”
–Maria Barnd, Senior Account Manager, KORTX
Retargeting is typically part of a broader and long-term campaign strategy. Once you set up your campaign, retargeting runs in the background, targeting more customers to earn more conversions. Brands aim to be the first ones to come to mind when a consumer is ready to buy a product or try a service.
There are many benefits to retargeting including:
Retargeting ads repeatedly expose users who have previously engaged with your brand, reinforcing your brand messaging and increasing brand recall.
Example: Let’s say you own an online outfitting store. A user visits your website and explores different products but doesn’t make a purchase. Later, while browsing a news website or using a social media platform, they see ads showcasing the same or similar outdoor products they previously viewed on your website.
These retargeting ads remind you of your brand and products, keeping your brand top of mind and increasing the chances of that user revisiting your website to make a purchase.
With retargeting, there are multiple ways to increase your ROI. One way is to upsell and cross-sell to existing customers who already enjoy your product.
Another is through abandoned cart retargeting. For indecisive customers, you can use retargeting to send them an email promotion, a reminder to complete the purchase, or serve ads on websites they visit.
Example: A women’s shoe retailer retargeted its cart abandoners with search ads and saw a 39.8% return on ad spend (ROAS) versus non-life cycle audiences.
This same retailer also retargeted individuals as “high-value buyers” on social media, resulting in a 75% higher ROAS than the social account average.
 Source: eMarketer, 2023
Like increasing your ROI, retargeting ads target users who already know and have shown interest in your brand by providing relevant reminders and incentives to revisit, increasing the likelihood of conversions.
❓ What’s one of the biggest benefits of retargeting in advertising campaigns?
“Retargeting can be likened to approaching someone with the highest probability of accepting your invitation for a date. The people in the retargeting pool are the warmest audience and have a higher likelihood of taking the desired action (like making a purchase). This group may have a narrower reach, but they have already shown intent towards your business, making them a great audience for lower-funnel campaigns focused on driving conversions.”
–Josh Pheneger, Account Strategist, KORTX
But it’s not just for new customers. Retargeting ads also work on loyal customers, who are a brand’s most engaged audience.
Example: A men’s health retailer used its loyalty members and those who engaged with emails in the last 90 days to drive traffic to the site. This retargeting campaign resulted in a 1,060% purchase increase and a 5% higher conversion rate than its account average.
This section will show three compelling and effective retargeting campaigns that drove impressive results.
Our lottery client wanted to understand how users interacted with their website and online games to capture the right user at the optimal stage of their customer journey.
We used Axon Audience Manager and the client’s own CRM data to build several First-Party segments based on on-site interactions. We also targeted based on where they sit in the funnel, like lapsed users with no purchase, any users who purchased in the last 30 days, and so on.
We had success across the board, driving a 220X return on ad spend (ROAS) for one segment. We also drove a ROAS increase for lapsed and engaged users, resulting in over $23 million in revenue.
Watchfinder wanted to increase sales just like any e-commerce business.
Using Google Ads, they created 20 specific audience lists that showed intent but didn’t make a purchase. Then, they defined the audiences by funnel stage, location, on-site behavior, and Internet service provider (ISP).
In just six months, they achieved an ROI of 1,300%, average order value increased by 13%, and they achieved CPAs that were 34% cheaper than non-brand search campaigns.
One of our clients wanted to improve its online cost-per-booking for kids’ birthday parties. As online party booking takes several steps, the brand needed to decrease customer drop-offs while recalibrating its retargeting strategy.
Through Axon Audience Manager, we built First-Party segments to isolate users meeting specific criteria (i.e., drop-offs). By creating these segments, our client allocated their budget more effectively by tailoring ad delivery to different stages in the online booking process.
Using this funnel prioritization approach to retargeting, we helped our client achieve and exceed their cost-per-booking goal of $50, resulting in an average revenue per party booking of $265. We also delivered a $4.04 cost-per-booking while balancing CTR and viewability performance.
Only a small fraction of website visitors convert on their first visit, so retargeting is a great strategy to re-engage them.
Successful retargeting campaigns are a component of your overall campaign strategy, sending ads to users who previously interacted with your website in hopes they’ll convert.
Retargeting capitalizes on user intent and delivers relevant ads to keep your brands at the forefront of your customers’ minds, leading to increased engagement, conversions, and marketing success.
Don’t let potential customers slip away! Through our advanced retargeting strategies, KORTX can help you maximize your ROAS and conversions.
Through Axon Audience Manager, we offer precise targeting, personalized messaging, and comprehensive tracking abilities to help you catch the other 98% of website visitors who haven’t yet converted.
Drew Pytel is a Senior Account Strategist at KORTX. He enjoys golf, bourbon, and being active with his wife and 3 kids.
Here’s what we've been up to recently.