28 Mar 2017

Simple Tips To Vastly Improve Your Retargeting Campaigns

Simple Tips To Vastly Improve Your Retargeting Campaigns

Virtually every business with an online presence has run retargeting ads at some point.

These are the ads that once you visit a site, they keep following you around the web, from Facebook to various other online sites.

What most businesses get wrong is that they are treating every visitor the same way. This means that regardless if you visited 1 page or 10, stayed on a page for 1 second or 5 minutes, purchased or not, you will be retargeted the same way and you will see the same ads as everyone else.

This is the main reason that retargeting ads don’t work out for most businesses (in terms of ROI). They lack sophistication and seeing the big picture.

But, what are retargeting ads really?

For the most part, they are a way to nudge people who are sitting on the fence to buy.

This is key and it’s very important to keep the above phrase in mind, as we learn ways to make our remarketing a bit more sophisticated.

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Delay Firing The Retargeting Pixel

As you probably know, when you drive traffic to your pages, you are bringing in all kinds of people:

I) People who are interested in learning more

II) People who misclicked

III) People who misunderstood what you were offering

IV) People who are 95% already sold

In the above categories, you are interested in people from the I and IV category. The other 2 won’t become your customers.

But, most businesses retarget all 4 of them wasting budget and annoying them.

One way to separate the interested ones from the non-interested ones is delaying firing the retargeting pixel by 3-5 seconds.

That way, visitors who are not interested in the slightest in what you are offering and leave instantly, won’t be retargeted. Reducing the pool of your retargeting audience will make your ads perform better and when ads perform better, the cost drops.

The easiest way to do this is by using Google Tag Manager. You will need to study Tag Manager’s fundamentals to do it, but it’s not hard and it shouldn’t take you more than 30-60 minutes to learn them.

Once you do, you simply add the “Timer” trigger and it’s easy to take it from there. I’d go for 3-5 seconds, 3 for slightly broader audiences and 5 for smaller ones.

In general, the longer the timer is the narrower and more focused the audience will be.

Alright, now that we took care of this, what about filtering out visitors who buy, from the ones who don’t?

Segment Customers From Non-Customers

You’d be surprised at the number of businesses, especially ecommerce stores, that retarget everyone, even those who already bought the product!

This issue is not only that this practice makes your costs surge while eating your budget, but it also annoys your customers. Working hard to get customers and then starting to lose them due to retargeting them with the product they already bought is hell on earth.

Countering this is pretty easy and straightforward. You simply need to add an exclusion rule to your remarketing campaign.

This rule will exclude visitors who successfully completed the purchase, either by making “successful purchase” an event or by excluding people who visited your thank you page.

With these 2 simple steps, you have already reduced your retargeting audience to those that are most interested and most likely to convert!

If you are worried about the reduced target audience just don’t, because from my experience these people won’t convert by clicking your retargeting ads or by viewing them.

But, let’s dive into something I mentioned before: annoying our visitors

Make Sure You Don’t Annoy Your Visitors

Remarketing can tread over a fine line of relevant ads and obsessive “they are everywhere” creepy ads.

There are millions of users who see a site/offer everywhere after they visit it (FB, YouTube, Websites) that is so constant and irritating that the users not only won’t buy the current offer, but they will also make sure they stay away from that site that follows them everywhere for days.

There are 2 key tabs for this in Facebook ads reporting: Frequency and Negative Feedback.

If you don’t cap your retargeting ads, the same person might be seeing your ad 10, 20 or even 50 times every day. This is the frequency metric – how many times a day your users see your ads.

If it’s over 3 you should do something about it (we will soon see what).

You will also notice, that the higher the frequency the more negative feedback you will get. And it makes sense because users are getting bombarded with the same ad over and over again.

A lot of negative feedback can get you into trouble: from rising costs to even getting your account banned.

The way to counter this in Facebook ads, YouTube ads and Google banner ads is the same and it’s very simple: cap the frequency at 3.

This means that any user that is being retargeted will see a remarketing ad a maximum of 3 times per day. After that, it stops for that day.

If you want to play extra safe, you can also stop retargeting ads after 7 days since the last visit. If you analyze your data and you see that most of your customers convert the first 7 days, it doesn’t make sense retargeting your visitors for 30 days.

These will help you avoid the negative effects of remarketing while keeping the benefits!

Retarget People With Exactly What They Were Looking At

This is mostly applicable to ecommerce stores, but you can adapt it to your product or service.

An eshop has many products, so remarketing visitors with something generic won’t work in most cases.

What you can do is add a code to your pages for Dynamic Product Ads and Google will automatically take the products that your visitors saw and create banners with your products and show them to those who didn’t buy them.

Combine this with tip #1 delaying firing the pixel and your chances of success go way up!


To sum it up, the first thing every business needs to do is to see the big picture and how retargeting fits into that.

Our visitors are not mere numbers, they are people to whom we must serve relevant and timely ads for them to convert.

Follow the tips in this short guide to ensure that your retargeting campaigns are a success and please do let me know of your results!

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