Retargeting; An Internet Marketing Tactic to Increase Conversions Rates & Leads


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Let’s talk retargeting. For lead generation, conversion optimization, and lead nurturing strategies, retargeting may be the overlooked child, but there’s no question it can be very effective and an efficient tactic to bring prospects back to your website or content. For the most part, a typical landing pages averages between 2-5% conversion; the submission of an email address in exchange for purchase, quote, demo, trial, webinar, or content. The other 95% did get to your website through some marketing channel, and were intrigued by the advertised message, but were not ready to convert on your site. The reason for this may be a number of reasons:

  1. The prospect’s buying phase was just in the interest stage, and was not ready to commit to contact submission (and follow up emails and calls).
  2. The advertised content did not align with the content on the landing page, or the landing page was not persuasive enough to convince the prospect to download or sign-up.
  3. The web form or conversion funnel may have been too long or complicated, meaning prospects abandon the funnel before completion.

Retargeting via digital advertising (banners and search) allows you the opportunity to show advertisements across websites, networks, and ad exchanges, targeting audiences who’ve been to your website, landing page or even blog, but did not perform a desired conversion. The idea here is to bring them back with an offer or alternative content.

Regular display ads typically target audiences in early buying funnel stages with the goal to entice them to click, or build brand/awareness so that other lead generation tactics can receive a lift (studies show display ads give paid search a conversion lift). Retargeting then reaches audiences further into the funnel, and thus increased opportunity for conversion.

Tracking Retargeting

Retargeting pixels are placed on key pages of a website. When prospects visit these pages, they are sent cookies. Bear in mind that audiences will start out small, but if you’re marketing your site properly, audiences will build, and retargeting impressions will begin occurring. If website visitors perform a conversion, the conversion page (“Thank you for submitting”) fires a “burn pixel” to the prospect’s computer, taking him out of the retargeting audience. These pixels are generated from the ad network or DSP (demand side platform) you’re doing retargeting with. Those firms will display your retargeting ads throughout the thousands of websites they represent (whether it is Google’s display network or the myriad of ad networks and exchanges). For clarity, DSPs are technology platforms that provide access to multiple auction-based yield optimization platforms, publishers, or ad exchanges. They let users buy, manage, report on, and optimize display media.

Time for a visual on how retargeting works:

Retargeting Examples

Company A: Website

  • Conversion tactic: Sign up for a free demo
  • Unique pixel placement: Home page, industry pages- medical devices, chemical engineering, clean rooms
  • User navigation: Visits home page, visits medical device page, fails to sign up for demo. Cookies fired for home page and medical device page.
  • User web surfing: Visits various websites; sees banner ad for company A with persuasive message
  • Banner ad message options: Limited time offer (2 months free), unique white paper for the medical device industry. If the prospect had visited the chemical engineering page, relevant content to that industry would be promoted only to those audiences who had visited the home page AND visited the chemical engineering page, but did not visit the demo “thank you” page. Get it?
  • Prospect intrigued: Clicks on ad; arrives at unique landing page, prospect converts

Company B: Landing Page

  • Conversion tactic: Sign up for a free white paper
  • Unique pixel placement: Landing page that includes web form
  • User navigation: Prospect visits landing page; fails to download content
  • User web surfing: Visits various websites; sees banner ad for company B with persuasive message
  • Banner ad message: Download alternate content covering related but different topic, or, offer a free consultation or trial.
  • Prospect intrigued: Clicks on ad; arrives at unique landing page, prospect converts

Company C: Lead Nurturing. Here’s a strategy that can retarget audiences AFTER they become leads; but before they become sales.

  • Conversion tactic: Sign up for webinar or download additional content
  • Unique pixel placement: Website or landing page that includes a web form. This time we WILL target prospects that submitted web forms for content.
  • User navigation: Prospect visits landing page; downloads early stage content.
  • User web surfing: Visits various websites; sees banner ad for company C with persuasive message.
  • Banner ad message: Sign up for webinar or download next stage content
  • Prospect intrigued: Clicks on ad; arrives at unique landing page, prospect converts again.
  • Lead management process. Rather than sending a nurturing email via marketing automation or an advanced email platform, banner ads do the nurturing, leads are still scored and qualified, and can be a step closer to an opportunity. Think about that one!

How Retargeting is Measured

As long as conversion codes and tracking pixels are codes properly into your website, campaigns can be measured.

Below is an example of a retargeting campaign with the Google Display Network, called “remarketing” and compared with standard pay-per-click campaigns (click to enlarge):

For this example, the retargeting cost-per-conversion is much more efficient as compared to the other campaigns. In addition, retargeting has generated 10 more “view through conversions.” A view-through conversion is a conversion not occurring due to a banner ad click, but another channel. The view-through shows the effect the banner ad had; also called an assisted conversion. In other words, retargeting generated 11 conversions directly, and assisted on 10 other conversions from other channels. This is Google’s method of proving an attribution effect.

Here’s another dashboard, from a campaign I am running on Adroll, a retargeting DSP.

Like with Google, I am tracking direct conversions along with the view-thru conversions, plus a target CPA.

Need more proof? Here are three recent studies on the effects of retargeting. First, is a study from comScore showing how retargeting ads increase lift for branded search terms for PPC campaigns versus other targeting tactics.

This is a Google study showing the high click-through rates (CTR) a few days after seeing retargeting ads. The shorter the days after visiting a website, the higher the CTR. Lesson-get them while they’re fishing.

Finally, a study from DSP and retargeting vendor, Adroll, on the effect of retargeting CTR versus standard demand generation banner ads.

Retargeting Costs

Various DSPs and networks have their own pricing models. Some have $5,000 minimal spends or more; some have no minimal spends. Bizo has a self-serve program with no minimums, and of course Google is based on pay-per-click. With other networks and DSPs you can negotiate target CPC and CPA, based on dynamic CPM. DSPs optimize the retargeting campaigns in order to achieve the target CPC and CPA.

Major Vendors.

Here’s a rundown of some of the major DSPs I have engaged with.


Basic services free; offers email retargeting as well as Facebook retargeting


High minimal spend; also offers email and social retargeting; known for customer service


Self-serve program has no minimal spend; focused on B2B clients and B2B websites


A newer player, also offers the concept of search retargeting, as does Magnetic and Chango. More on search retargeting in the future…

Getting Started.

As I always say, strategy before tactics. That means if you’d like to explore this strategy to increase conversion rates, feel free to contact me, and we’ll discuss your conversion goals and what offers we could promote that can engage audiences and get those prospects to become leads or further entice them into sales.

What do you think of site retargeting?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Paul Mosenson
Owner of NuSpark Marketing Helps B2B and B2C companies market themselves through integrated tactics, (traditional advertising, internet advertising, SEO, social media), conversions, and sales through lead nurturing/marketing automation.


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