34 Retargeting Campaigns That Work—Broken Down By Network

Johnathan Dane
Johnathan Dane
Founder/CEO

If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving is not for you.

(Some things are one shot deals). 

But retargeting is about repetition. 

Think of retargeting as a second try to make a first impression. And a third try. And a fourth.

Done wrong, retargeting is annoying for the prospect, which makes your campaign unsuccessful, which results in money lost. 

But, done right, your company stays fresh in your prospects’ minds and those multiple touchpoints make them happy. Happy enough to go back and explore your stuff again.

Doing retargeting right makes you relatable—which has a way of removing doubt from the buy button.

What Is Retargeting & Why Should You Care?

Retargeting is a PPC ad strategy that drops a tracking pixel in a prospect’s pocket after they show some sort of interest in your brand. As they surf around, a display ad will appear to remind prospects how awesome you are (and that they should go back and look at your stuff again). 

It works (really well) because it plays by psychological rules, pressing a persuasive button in your prospect’s brain multiple times—ideally seven times—over a period of time. 

After a while, your product starts to feel familiar. At some point, you don’t look like a stranger anymore.

This helps conversions because, although Impulsive types buy sight-unseen, the majority of responsible consumers proceed with caution. 

They scooch toward their decision to buy.

Those rational second-guessers get little cozy nudges with retargeting campaigns (provided you don’t bungle the scooch execution). Every time an ad shows up, a tiny bit more consideration is given. 

The objections feel smaller and your value starts to shine brighter than the price tag.

Those potential customers decide to come back to your page where the odds that they will buy your product this time are fairly decent.

And that’s the goal. 

Retargeting increases the odds of conversion provided you don’t push prospects away by overdoing it.

How retargeting works
Retargeting goes like this – image source

That’s retargeting in a nutshell.

Quick note: Some call retargeting “remarketing.” But retargeting is one aspect of remarketing. Retargeting (PPC display advertising) is the biggest chunk of remarketing. But remarketing covers everything outside of online display ads too (email, phone, TV, sandwich boards, billboards etc.). That being said, Google calls retargeting “remarketing.” 

Now to the fun part:

The Benefits of Retargeting

It’s a closer

Retargeting makes sales that didn’t happen the first time by going out and asking those lost conversions to pretty please come back one more time and check out what they missed the first time.

Retargeting works smarter, not harder.

Retargeting outperforms other digital ad channels

  • Consumers are 70% more likely to convert with retargeting.
  • on Facebook, retargeted ads are 76% more likely to get clicks than regular display ads.
  • The click-through rate (CTR) of a retargeted ad is 10x higher than the CTR of a typical display ad.

Retargeting is cheap compared to other advertising

On average, companies pay $0.66 to $1.23 per click for remarketing. Compare that to the average cost-per-click (CPC) for Google search ads (in the mid-$2 range) and display ads (usually less than $1).

A ballpark Facebook ad cost for most industries is $0.97 per click and $7.19 per 1000 impressions. Unlike Google, Facebook charges advertisers based on a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) model. Because people you reach through retargeting are more familiar with you, they’re more likely to engage with your ads at a higher rate.

And that means cheaper CPCs.

It’s specific

You can target each visitor based on what they did (what actions they took) when they visited your site the first time. 

Did they land on your page, stay for less than 5 seconds, then bounce? Or did they scroll down a blog article fairly far and fill out a form to get the bonus content upgrade? 

That stuff matters. 

When they leave, you’ll send an appropriate tracking pixel with them (their very own tailgate skateboarder). 

Because if you show the right ad to the right person at the proper stage of their journey, you’ll win that conversion. And you know what that ad looks like for them because they showed you where they were in your funnel before they left the first time. 

It goes after 97% of your lost customers

Pretty much every single person (a full 97%) who lands on one of your pages, will leave without buying the first time. 

They don’t know you yet and they don’t trust you yet. 

Retargeting sends them off with a party favor (tracking pixel) that attempts to win their trust over time. This effort is worth it because friends buy more than strangers do.

A Quick Disclaimer

The stats all point out how well retargeting works. It’s a lot harder, though, to actually make it work.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Grouping all your visitors into one audience and hitting them with the same message can definitely get you conversions. In fact, that’s what many people do.

You don’t have to be perfect about retargeting, but if you are interested in taking your efforts to the next level, then keep reading.

Retargeting Campaign Goals

There are two basic goals you can set for your retargeting campaigns.

Awareness retargeting

These campaigns inform passersby as they surf around. Those surfers haven’t yet interacted with your business and they don’t know how you can solve their problem. 

They fit your buyer persona though, so you want them to see you. 

But you aren’t pushing a product on them with this top-of-funnel campaign. You’re aiming to stir up some interest in your company’s brand ethos—the reason your company exists—and educate them on some of the things you do with the products you have. 

Conversion retargeting

Conversion retargeting puts money in the pot. These campaigns target visitors who already know about your brand’s products/services (because they interacted with them in some way), but they left before buying. They were this close, but they didn’t convert. 

They weren’t ready to open their wallets and throw money at your face. 

For these prospects, your goal is to grab hold of their tailgate as they drive away so every time they look in their rearview mirror, there you are on your skateboard, smiling and waving.  

You want these visitors to click on any one of your display ads so they go back to your landing page. Once there, you let go of their tailgate, tuck your skateboard under your arm, and go for the handshake. Or a hug. Depends on your brand (and your moxy). Don’t be creepy.

But before you can go for the close, you need to get them back to your site. 

And that’s what these 35 different types of retargeting campaigns that we run for our own clients do

We’re going to show you how you can run them too, as early as today.

We’ll start with ad campaign examples by network:

Retargeting Ad Campaign Examples

Facebook Retargeting Ad Campaign Examples

Warm Up Visitors With Social Proof

Just because someone has made it to your site or even checked out a few products doesn’t mean they know every reason why they should choose you over a competitor.

This is a great opportunity to show off social proof and show your potential new customers what existing customers love about your brand.


Casper facebook retargeting
Ok, take my money. – image source

Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Someone visited your site. They browsed a few products. Maybe they even added a few things to their cart. But they still haven’t bought.

Here’s your chance to put some skin in the game. Follow up with a retargeting ad and offer them a discount. These are people who already know your product well—don’t be afraid to get to the point.

Olipop facebook retargeting
Bonus points for Olipop since they’re using a discount to incentivize multiple purchases. – image source


Convert Visitors to Leads

Your retargeting ads don’t always need to get an immediate transaction to be effective. Show relevant lead magnets to recent visitors if they didn’t convert on their first visit so that you can move them to the next stage of your funnel.

HubSpot retargeting ad example
Who doesn’t like a relevant, free offer? – image source


Google Retargeting Ad Campaign Examples

Follow Up With Visitors via Discovery Ads

Not every first-time visitor is a customer. Sometimes potential customers need more time to weigh a decision, sometimes they just get distracted.

Retarget these visitors through Discovery Ads to bring them back to your site. With Discovery ads, you can reach people on Gmail, while they browse YouTube, and through the Google Discovery feed.

Discovery ads
Remember to give reasons why it’ll be easy to buy from you.

Personalize Your Retargeting

Showing someone an ad for a product they don’t care about is a waste of time and money. Use dynamic remarketing to show your visitors ads for products they’ve shown interest in.

personalized retargeting
Fun fact: Dynamic retargeting is included in Smart Shopping.

Reach Customers Before They Go To Your Competitor

Bidding on competitor keywords has been a common PPC tactic for years. But experienced advertisers know that bidding on these keywords can be costly. People usually search for a specific brand for a reason, and this can translate to low conversion rates and high CPAs for the aggressive competitor keyword conquester. 

That’s where remarketing lists for Search ads (RLSA) comes in. With this feature, you can choose to target competitor keywords exclusively for people who’ve been to your website.

RLSA competitor retargeting
Someone who remembers you is more likely to be interested. Plus, humor wins. – image source

Rather than throwing hefty amounts of ad spend at everyone searching for your competitor, why not have a separate strategy for the people who’ve shown interest in you? The right offer might nudge them over the fence.

Twitter Retargeting Ad Campaign Examples

On Twitter, the use cases for retargeting can fit almost any type of business. With Twitter Custom Audiences, you can:

  • Target past website visitors
  • Target people who have engaged with your tweets
  • Target cart / checkout abandoners
  • Target newsletter subscribers / existing customers

Upgrade Trial Customers

If your business uses a freemium model, use retargeting ads to encourage free trial members to upgrade to a paid plan.

upgrade trial retargeting
Spotify sweetens the deal with a low intro price. – image source


You’ll likely be sending these customers emails about upgrading, too, but retargeting ads can be especially useful for reaching your subscribers who don’t check their inbox as often.

Build Momentum with Re-Engagement

Trends on Twitter move quickly, which can make it hard to sustain a message. To get around that hurdle, and sustain engagement for one of their campaigns, SiriusXM retargeted people who engaged with their #Quarantunes tweets:

build momentum with re-engagement
SiriusXM used timely messaging, and extended it with re-engagement. – image source


Show Existing Customers New Seasonal Offers

Yes, it’s fun to acquire new customers. But the best customers are the ones who’ve already bought from you. Make sure these customers are aware of new promotions you’re running.

seasonal offers
You’re not the only seasonal promo in the bunch—use extra value props to stand out!


Unique Retargeting Ad Campaign Types

1) Sequential Retargeting

Do you have a long sales cycle? Or do you have a complex buying process with multiple touchpoints? If so, then sequential retargeting could be huge for you.

Just like email nurturing pushes visitors down the conversion funnel, depending on what emails are opened and clicked through, sequential retargeting works the same way.

You group your audiences in different categories or lists and include/exclude them depending on the landing pages, durations, or downloads they’ve been taking action on.

A new set of ads with new messaging appears when those actions are taken. These ads get the visitor to take the next step in the conversion process while excluding them from the old set of ads.

sequential retargeting
First, you learn more. Then you buy – image source

Just like a regular Google Analytics goal funnel, you can use sequential retargeting to create more touchpoints. It also shows where your bottlenecks are in the conversion process so you can fix them.

To see what your different ads could look like, take a peek at this example from Pagewiz:

what is sequential retargeting
Incorporate a mix of different offers and messaging.

As you can see, the first ad is trying to get the sale as fast as possible. If that doesn’t happen within a certain amount of time, then the sequential ads are pushed live one by one.

Sequential retargeting recap:

Sequential retargeting is the practice of varying the ad copy and messaging depending on where the visitor is in the conversion process, with the end goal of pushing them along.

Your goal as the advertiser is to use education, features, and/or benefits to eventually get them to buy.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Google Display Network

2) Time Delayed Retargeting

If you run any type of cookie/pixel-based retargeting, then there’s a good chance that your audience eventually has an expiration date (Google has a max time of 540 days for example).

But in this case, time is your friend, not your enemy.

Similar to sequential retargeting, time-delayed retargeting basically works this way without the need for action from the visitors:

  • First Week: All visitors see ad #1
  • Second Week: All visitors see ad #2
  • Third Week: All visitors see ad #3
  • Fourth Week: All visitors see ad #4

Benefits Of Time Delayed Retargeting

The best thing about time delayed retargeting is that you don’t need accompanying landing pages or collateral to back up everything your ad says. Although it won’t hurt if you do.

If you only offer one service, like how our PPC agency offers PPC management, then you can use your different time delayed retargeting ads to showcase different perks and values of working with you.

In fact, if you already have an email nurture campaign, you can take the subjects of those emails and turn them into retargeting ads. Here’s an example of how we could do it since our #1 goal is to get people to request a free proposal from us.

  • First Week: Example proposal
  • Second Week: Screenshots of Google Ads improvements
  • Third Week: Types of packages we offer
  • Fourth Week: Resources of thought leadership
  • Fifth Week: Case studies
  • Sixth Week: Example proposal

For one of our clients, we decided to break up the audiences in monthly periods of 1-30 days and 31-60 days. Here are the results:

retargeting
Next step would be to break it out in smaller time chunks.

As you can see, the 1-30 day campaigns and image ads are performing the best. The interesting thing is that both 1-30 and 31-60 have different offers, but none that are different in threat levels or channel temperatures.

What I mean by this is that the lead magnets in these campaigns are identical since they’re both PDF guides. We could ask for a bigger conversion commitment in the 1-30 day campaigns since they have the highest performance so far.

Time-delayed retargeting recap:

The longer visitors have been part of your time delayed retargeting campaign, the bigger the offer/incentive they need to act.

You may find that for the first two weeks (depending on your conversion cycle) your ads are product/offer specific with your logo and unique value proposition.

For the next two weeks, you may offer a bonus or 10% discount to get them to act. A burn pixel can exclude past visitors who have already converted so they don’t see the discount ads and complain.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Google Display Network
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

3) Offer Change Retargeting

You’re in the unfortunate bucket of having 98% of your visitors not convert after the first visit. But don’t fret. You could be in luck.

What I mean by that is that it could be your initial landing page offer/call-to-action that’s holding you back.

There’s a reason people choose not to convert, especially in lead gen situations. Often it’s because the offer was too threatening, or you didn’t do a good enough job explaining the value of the offer.

In other words: They may not be ready for a free consultation or free proposal just yet.

Use your retargeting ads to drive more conversions when this happens. Retargeting serves as a research tool to find out if you should change your initial landing page offer.

Let’s say that your initial landing page offer from search network PPC traffic is a free consultation that has a 2% conversion rate (only 2 out of 100 visitors want your consultation).

To retarget to the other 98%, pick an idea from the list below as your educational lead magnet. Bring them back to eventually want a consultation.

offer change retargeting
Which retargeting bait will you try first? – image source

Offer change retargeting recap:

There’s a reason why most people don’t convert on your site or landing page.

It could be that you’re not explaining the value of your offer well enough, or, it could that a different offer will work much better for you.

Remember: Visitors have options, and you’re not the only one who offers that product or service. Take the time and effort to educate and nurture.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • Google Display Network
  • LinkedIn

4) Up-Selling Retargeting

Have you ever heard the saying “a buyer, is a buyer, is a buyer”?

It took me almost five years to understand what that means.

What it means is that if someone has already bought from you, then they’re much more likely to buy from you again.

Thirty percent of consumers would rather buy from a website they’ve bought from previously.

In 2021, the number of eCommerce shoppers is projected to rise to over 2.14 billion. There’s some money there if you can capture 30% of 2.14 billion.

And that’s not even the crazy part.

What’s The Crazy Part?

Thanks for asking.

According to Adobe, repeat buyers are likely to spend 5x more than first time shoppers.

Here’s an email retargeting example from Amazon showing which cameras you can upgrade to.

up-sell retargeting
Let’s be real, Amazon even knows what I had for breakfast – image source

But what if you’re not an eCommerce shop?

If you’re in the lead generation business, then repeat buyers could mean referrals in the form of leads as you often see for service-based businesses.

You can essentially create new retargeting audiences by targeting people who have visited your post conversion pages with new offers in the forms of upgrades or complimentary service add-ons.

Upsell Retargeting Recap:

When visitors buy from you, it’s because they trust you.

Don’t feel greedy or ashamed to ask them to convert again and to buy something at a higher price. If your products and services bring value, they’ll be upset if you keep them secret.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Google Display Network
  • Twitter

5) Search Retargeting

Ever wanted to target people who have never been on your site, but searched for keywords that are interesting for you to capture?

Search retargeting allows you to do just that with image and text ads. Here’s an overview of how it works from Bannersnack:

retargeting tip
Imagine the benefit for high CPC industries – image source

The search engine (Google, Bing, etc) is the platform that drops the retargeting cookie, which then communicates that data to the ad platform and campaigns you use to target the visitor.

Search Retargeting Recap:

If your business is plagued by high costing cost per clicks, then search retargeting can help you marry the keyword intent with the cheapness of a banner click.

Best used on these networks:

  • Google Ads
  • Microsoft Ads

6) Down-Sell/Cross-Sell Retargeting

Okay, maybe your visitors don’t want to buy more from you.

If that’s the case, then showcasing a different offer from their recent “No Thank You” on the up-sell offer could make a lot of sense for your retargeting campaigns.

Let’s say that we get you on board for our PPC services. Our next logical step as an agency would be to offer our landing page services as a cross-sell to you.

The beauty of this is that a true cross-sell is something that’s complementary to the original thing your visitor converted for, and it should help the performance of it too.

If we wanted to down-sell our landing page service, then we could potentially offer a free guide on it, with the goal of converting them in the future.

Down-sell/cross-sell recap:

If someone buys an orange, up-sell a juice presser.

If someone buys the juice presser, cross-sell a recipe book.

And if someone doesn’t buy the juice presser, down-sell them an orange peel artbook.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • Google Search (RLSA)

7) Layer Retargeting (Google Analytics Features)

Have you ever thought of using Google Analytics data to create unique remarketing audiences?

If not, then here’s something new to take advantage of.

In a recent case study from ThinkWithGoogle, Periscopix helped UK merchant Watchfinder create over 20 unique retargeting audiences. They were split between location, languages, and on-site behaviors like cart vs non-cart visitors and time on site.

They also found that certain internet service providers from the London financial district showed interest in their products. Watchfinder used that information to target visitors from banks like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs.

retargeting tips
They also created multiple ad variations – image source

After just six months, ROI from the retargeting campaigns proved to be around 1,300%. Average order values increased 13% as well, ultimately leading to a 34% reduction in cost per acquisition.

Layer retargeting recap:

Additional insight from Google Analytics, like time on site and geography, can create unique retargeting audiences to target.

The more data points you have on certain visitors, the easier it will be for you to determine how likely they are to convert from your ad messages.

Best used on these networks:

  • Google Search
  • YouTube
  • Google Display Network
  • Gmail

8) Page Value Retargeting

Each page on your website has a different value when it comes to retargeting ROI potential.

Picture a visitor who only visited your homepage and no other pages (like you’ll often find when you look inside Google Analytics). There’s a good chance that targeting them with retargeting is a waste of time, money, and impressions.

From single-page bounce visitors to people who have been on your site or landing page for say, 2 minutes plus, it’s important that you spend and bid proportionally with those thoughts in mind.

Paying an average of $1.00 a click for an audience that has been on-site for 2+ minutes will usually pay off quicker than paying an average of $0.50 for all visitors.

In addition to the value of these different audiences, you’ll also find that they are more likely to convert on different retargeting offers.

People who have bounced from the homepage are more likely to convert on a soft/less threatening offer like an eBook download, compared to 2+ minute visitors who might be okay to convert on a free proposal offer.

Page value retargeting recap:

Look inside your Google Analytics dashboard and find which pages on your website hold the most attention. Sometimes this is a demo page or the about page.

Once you’ve identified them, you can add layers like page URLs, time on site, and geography to help craft ads tailored to that audience.

Best used on these networks:

  • Google Search
  • YouTube
  • Google Display Network
  • Gmail

9) CRM Retargeting

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools keep a lot of companies’ leads and prospects in order.

This type of retargeting campaign doesn’t actually need cookies or pixels to retarget. It runs on email addresses.

By uploading your CRM email list, you can create custom audiences on Facebook and Customer Match Audiences on Google Ads. This lets you match the email addresses to social media accounts and other platforms like Gmail. These platforms already know when the email address owner is logged in.

retargeting 101
There’s no expiration needed on this type of retargeting – image source

In Retargeter’s case study with Total Wine, they used CRM emails to create unique audiences/segments for specific retargeting ad offers.

That resulted in:

  • 12.9% ROI
  • 38% conversion rate (for eCommerce, mind you)
  • 320% extended web reach.

But what if you don’t use a CRM?

You can export emails from providers like MailChimp, or even a list you already have. You can also rent email lists from publishers who have your target audience. (Many financial institutions do this already.)

CRM retargeting recap:

Your CRM potentially holds a motherlode of information about the behaviors of your visitors. Use that data to create unique audience groups to then retarget to.

Many times, you’ll find the best uplift in performance from targeting old users/visitors that were once hot. This could help reignite them.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • Gmail
  • Google Display Network
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

10) Bulk Email Retargeting

Staying on the topic of emails, you also have the option to target your email list directly through Google Ads, Facebook, or Twitter.

Google Ads has a feature called Customer Match. Facebook as a feature called Custom Audiences. And Twitter has a feature called Tailored Audience. All of these can help you reach your email list effectively.

bulk email retargeting
Here’s a look at how Facebook Custom Audiences works.

The biggest thing to keep in mind when it comes to bulk email retargeting is the “match rate” of emails to users on a given platform.

Match types between Google, Facebook, and Twitter typically break down like this:

  • Google = 50.4%
  • Facebook = 48.99%
  • Twitter = 10.2%

As you can see, the behemoths of the ad world (Google and Facebook) have such a strong match rate because of the usage of their platforms. Whereas not as many people are on Twitter (or use an email address that matches).

Once you’ve decided on which platform to use (maybe multiple), you can take advantage of the different types of ads and networks (especially on Google) to get your email list to convert.

Bulk email retargeting recap:

Just like any retargeting campaign, don’t forget the power of segmenting your audience into specific buckets. Targeting all emails with the same message won’t be as powerful as it could be if you split things up.

Best used on these networks:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

11) Similar/Lookalike Audience Retargeting

When you’re creating retargeting audiences from your landing page and site visitors, PPC networks like Google Ads and Facebook can create similar audiences that show the same intent and browsing behaviors as your own list.

Through hundreds of different factors, you can target these similar audiences as regular retargeting campaigns, even if those people being targeted have never been on your landing page or site.

Google Ads calls it similar audiences and Facebook calls it lookalike audiences.

Once you start creating your retargeting list from your own visitors, Google and Facebook will automatically create similar and lookalike audiences for you to take advantage of.

similar/lookalike audience retargeting
Notice the audiences at the top and bottom.

A lot of improvements have been made since Google first introduced similar audiences back in 2013, and today, you can expect around 40% increase in conversions using a feature like this.

Similar/Lookalike Audience Recap:

Sometimes a similar/lookalike audience is much bigger than your original retargeting list.

Take advantage of it, but tread lightly. Your specific industry can have varying performance when it comes to how accurate and similar the borrowed audience truly performs.

Best used on these networks:

  • Google
  • Facebook

12) Push-Along Retargeting

Do you have a conversion funnel with multiple touchpoints where visitors need help moving to the next step? If so, then push-along retargeting can be your new best friend.

Just like certain keywords can be tracked to show how far down the conversion funnel a visitor goes, you can do the same thing with your retargeting ads.

push-along retargeting
Looks like the top keyword is winning the funnel race – image source

The goal here is to craft ads that hint to the next step the audience should take to get further down your conversion funnel.

Like sequential retargeting, push-along retargeting focuses on actions taken by the visitor in relation to the next step in the conversion process. No time or other external factors are incorporated.

This is a stellar retargeting campaign tactic for SaaS onboarding issues.

Push along retargeting recap:

Make sure your audience sizes are big enough. If you have less than 1,000 visitors in each step of your conversion process, you may not get enough impressions, clicks, or conversions.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Gmail

13) Geographic Granularity Retargeting

You may be advertising nationwide or even internationally, but that doesn’t mean your retargeting ads should do the same.

If you look inside your PPC account, you should be able to see the geographic locations your visitors are coming from.

Pair that data with geographic specific retargeting ads, and you could see a 53% increase in conversion rates like Mazda did.

retargeting tips
Mazda combined geographies and car inventories together – image source

With a mix of offline and online insight, Mazda was able to use IntelliAds from the Merchenta retargeting platform to “drive” (pun intended) more people into local showrooms based off the car models they were looking at online.

The crazy thing is that the average car sale value traced back to ad impressions was 98% higher than the offline average.

Now, you might not be a car brand. But that shouldn’t stop you from taking advantage of this tactic.

You can create retargeting ads that are specific to the geography of your retargeting audience. Pair that with a landing page optimized to follow the message match and you could produce higher retargeting metrics.

Geographic granularity retargeting recap:

Pick the geographies that have the highest audience count first and start there. The more impressions you get, the higher your chances are for clicks that turn into conversions.

Once a success, repeat the process by creating unique retargeting ads and landing pages from the next highest visitor geography.

Best used on these networks:

  • Google Search
  • Google Display Network
  • Facebook

14) Redirect Link Retargeting

Ever wish you could retarget people that land on URLs or pages that you don’t control?

Well, you kinda can, and it’s called redirect link retargeting.

Redirect link retargeting allows you to add anyone who clicks a specific link to a specific retargeting audience.

configure your link and tag
Configure your link, and start tagging. – image source

This type of retargeting works great in a few different scenarios:

  1. Your site is a comparison site of multiple options where you’re potentially making money off referral conversions. Creating retargeting ads could help get you more conversions.
  2. If your company has uniform email signatures, then you can track clicks on certain links and create unique retargeting audiences that way.
  3. You can also do this within forums, blog comments, or author bio links in guest posts.

Tons of options. You can even use a secure SSL variation of it as well.

Redirect Link Retargeting Recap:

Redirect link retargeting is perfect when you want to cookie visitors who are going places they don’t control or own.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Google Display Network

15) RLSA Retargeting

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) is a Google feature for creating specific text ads exclusive to specific retargeting audiences.

RLSAs also allow you to set bid modifiers across search and shopping ads. With these, you can bid more aggressively or passively depending on searches from people who are on your audience list.

Let’s say you want to bid on competitor names, but you only want your ads to show if the visitor has been on your site before (shoutout to Bounteous for the idea).

Maybe the visitor comparison shopped in the past but never converted (on your site or your competitors’). A month later, they’re researching your competitors by typing in their names to Google.

RLSA audiences can be targeted broadly by keyword selections, among other advantages.

Long story short, RLSA works wonders for search network targeting.

RLSA Retargeting Recap:

To get your feet wet with RLSA, use regular bid modifiers by adding in your retargeting audience. Select “Bid only” from the “Target & Bid” option. This allows you to be a little more aggressive (or less aggressive) with people who have already been on your site.

Best used on these networks:

  • Google Search
  • Microsoft Ads Search

16) Anti-Bounce Retargeting

This point is more of a retargeting tactic and not a standalone retargeting campaign (but it could be if you’d like.)

If you take a look at your Google Analytics account, I’m sure there’s one metric you’re sort of obsessive about, and that’s bounce rate.

what is bounce rate?
Here’s how it’s defined – image source

Now consider your retargeting audience.

If you have a bounce rate between 60-80% or higher, then why would you put 60-80% of your retargeting budget toward people who aren’t’ even remotely interested in what you have to offer?

See where I’m going with this?

To make this happen, you’ll want to create a “cookie insertion delay” of a certain amount of time (like 60 seconds or higher).

It will then only cookie visitors who have been on the site or landing page for at least that amount of time.

Anti-bounce retargeting recap:

A bounce isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

This tactic is especially great if you have an isolated landing page (with no external links) where all exits are considered bounces.

Best used on these networks:

  • Google Search
  • Google Display Network
  • Gmail

17) Non-Cookie Retargeting

As marketing technologies continue to improve and make lives easier for us marketers and advertisers, you’ll find that the old methods of cookie/pixel based retargeting become obsolete.

Since more people are using mobile devices with browsers that are inherently “anti-advertising” (damn you, iOS 14!), it’s easy to see how regular cookies may expire or get deleted relatively quickly. And while still in its infancy, non-cookie based retargeting is becoming more and more popular.

If you find that your current retargeting cookies aren’t working the way they should, consider looking at these options:

Fingerprint retargeting is similar to device ID retargeting. Certain identifiable pieces of information are used to identify a visitor across different devices.

Without the need for cookies or pixels, advertisers can narrow down cross-device retargeting through data like browser types, installed software, time zones, IP addresses, and more.

Non-cookie retargeting recap:

Know why Google was so in love with the idea of a social network?

Because companies like Facebook are leading the pack for cross-device retargeting. They can do this because you’re most likely logged into your Facebook account on desktop and mobile devices.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • Google Ads* (*Targeting or exclusions based on mobile device IDs only works for searches made within the Google app )

18) Dynamic Retargeting

Dynamic retargeting creates image ads at scale so you don’t have to individually create hundreds or thousands of product/offer specific image and text ads.

In the diagram below, you can see the difference and depth of detail a dynamic retargeting ad could have.

Static vs dynamic retargeting
Dynamically created retargeting ads achieve better performance through personalization. – Image source

If you’re an online retailer with hundreds or thousands of products, then you can use ad templates from providers like Google Ads or AdRoll that grab info like product images, pricing, and availability from your shopping feeds.

dynamic retargeting
It usually works like this – image source

dynamic banners
Dynamic banners are customized in real-time, serving a specific ad to individual users—source.

The retargeting cookies take note of which product pages you’ve visited. Your dynamic retargeting ads only show products that you’ve shown interest in.

This type of retargeting works well in the travel or hospitality industry for showcasing dynamic ads based on travel routes or vacancies.

Dynamic Retargeting Recap:

Google Ads and other retargeting vendors like AdRoll allow you to create dynamic retargeting ads that instantly showcase ads on the Google Display Network and inside social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

You can then use time-delayed retargeting to showcase stronger offers/discounts depending on the length of the visitor being part of the retargeting audience.

Best used on these networks:

  • Google Display Network
  • Gmail
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter

19) Content Retargeting

Are you investing quite a bit of money into content marketing?

If so, then a content retargeting campaign could earn trust and gain conversions in the future.

Here’s how it works:

  • Create a retargeting audience to target people who have been reading a certain blog post or content piece on your site.
  • Retarget people who have shown interest in your offer or product.
  • Create image and text ads that showcase a complementary piece of content, a piece of content they might like, or, better yet, a soft sell/low threat offer like a free guide.

Here’s an example from Rubicon Project’s Dax Hamman on the AdExchanger blog:

“A consumer who is looking for information on picking the best mortgage visits citimortgage.com. They could be retargeted with a recommended link, “5 things to watch out for when deciding on a mortgage,” by Citibank on usatoday.com/money.”

In the example above, Citibank is sending visitors to a co-promoted piece of content on USAToday. This is something you can do with Forbes BrandVoice as well.

But if you’re not looking to shell out at least $50,000 to make that happen, then you can always bring the retargeted visitor back to content that’s hosted on your own properties.

Content retargeting recap:

Content retargeting is used to nurture and increase the trust between the visitor and the brand. It doesn’t necessarily go for a direct conversion like so many other retargeting campaigns do.

Content retargeting works well for industries and verticals that have long buying cycles (i.e. the conversion isn’t cheap to the visitor).

Having your brand front and center with the goal of educating the visitor instead of getting them to buy can make you come across much more trustworthy than your competitors.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • Google Display Network
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Search

20) Referral Retargeting

You got your visitor to buy, but the up-sell, cross-sell, or down-sell didn’t do so well.

What if your visitor knows another person who could benefit from your product or service? Wouldn’t you want them to tell their friends or network about you?

Of course you do.

When you get people to convert, you create a new audience from your post-conversion URL that groups the audience into a “referral bucket.”

Your image and text ads then showcase a message of what’s in it for the referrer (like, get 10% off every person that you invite who joins), and then you have a dedicated landing page—and this is vital—that makes it super easy for the person who has already converted to send the link to their network.

When it comes to referral retargeting, find inspiration from a lot of “coming soon” landing pages, or look at companies like Uber who crush it when it comes to referral marketing.

Referral retargeting recap:

Your business type determines the type of referral virality you can expect.

B2C companies usually have great reach and potential compared to B2B companies who deal with lower customer volumes.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Display Network

21) Social Retargeting

Although you can create specific retargeting audiences within social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, I tend to go with retargeting providers that allow me to target multiple networks within one dashboard.

AdRoll is one of the leaders of social retargeting, along with Shoelace, Criteo (and others), that allow you to retarget your visitors on Facebook, Twitter, and other publisher websites.

LinkedIn also has their own retargeting solution called Lead Accelerator that you can use for retargeting on their network.

LinkedIn's reach and nurture
Snapshot from LinkedIn’s data sheet – image source

Social Retargeting Recap:

Many traditional PPC channels like Google Ads and Bing Ads don’t have access to ad inventory on social networks.

Go directly to the social network or use 3rd party tools to keep as many of your campaigns under one dashboard.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

22) Competitor Retargeting

You read that right, and there’s a way to do it.

AdRoll, Facebook, and Google Ads all offer the ability to target audiences that have shown intent or browsing behavior that took them to competitor sites. (Almost like the “similar audiences” we’ve covered earlier in this post!)

On Facebook, for example, you can target competitor brands as Interests if their page has a large enough audience. (Pair this with some Us. vs. Them style creative, and then you’re really cookin’.)

In addition to what’s mentioned above, you can use these Google Ads tactics as well:

  • RLSA targeting by using competitor names as keywords
  • Using Custom Intent audiences to target competitor domains through Gmail, the Google Display Network, and YouTube
  • Google Search Network w/ Display Select campaigns – this helps you showcase display ads based on keywords that have been typed into Google as a prerequisite for your display ads to show.

Competitor Retargeting Recap:

No respectable ad platform will launch a competitor retargeting solution in its purest sense (placing your retargeting code on competitor sites).

But there are ways you can mix and match to get similar/desired results.

Best used on these networks:

  • Google Search
  • Google Display Network
  • YouTube
  • Facebook

23) Partner Retargeting

Also known as “let’s share each other’s retargeting pixels.” Partner retargeting is basically the partnership between two sites that allow use of each other’s pixels.

You may find that a website that only sells ketchup would be interested to retarget visitors from a site that only sells mustard, and vice versa.

As a better (and more realistic example) you could find partner retargeting between airlines and hotels. Both are separate companies but have complementary offers that go hand-in-hand.

SharpSpring Ads Connect do just this.

different types of retargeting
Find a retargeting partner that’s already there – image source

Oh, and did I mention that the costs of targeting visitors like these are on average 80% cheaper than regular Google Ads retargeting audiences?

Partner retargeting recap:

Like renting or buying email lists, partner retargeting lets you borrow other websites visitors for a fraction of your regular retargeting costs.

Best used on these networks:

  •  Google Search

24) Re-Engagement Retargeting

Do you have outdated and super-old visitors with no activity who are still cookied? Or maybe you still have their email address?

If so, then you may benefit from re-engaging many of your old visitors to learn why they became unengaged.

This tactic is borrowed from the email marketing world, but works just as well with retargeting ads too.

In a post of 15 email re-engagement examples, Impact shows us how well known brands try to get you to come back, like DuoLingo:

re-engagement retargeting
Hell yes I want to learn a new language (still) – image source

With this type of retargeting, you can decide to keep sending emails via email channels, OR, you could upload those unengaged email addresses into Google Ads or Facebook to serve up companion ads as well.

Re-engagement retargeting recap:

Your past visitors already know you. Remind them why they should love you again.

Use re-engagement retargeting to breathe new life into old subscribers and visitors with new offers.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

25) YouTube Retargeting (H3)

Being the second largest search engine in the world, YouTube is a hotbed for insanely cheap cost per views with their TrueView capabilities.

YouTube retargeting
A look inside our YouTube page from our proposal deck – image source

Just like you would create regular image and text ads for a traditional retargeting campaign, you can now create video ads and add in additional audience data to granulate your targeting.

While it’s not as quick or inexpensive to shoot an entire video as it is to write a text ad, you can still get creative in your approach to video ad testing. For example, most viewers will only see the first 5 seconds before they’re allowed to skip your ad. Rather than shooting multiple types of videos, or changing the ending, focus on editing the first 5 seconds of your video. By testing different opening sequences, you can make the biggest impact on view rates and other actions that happen further down the funnel.

In a United Airlines case study, they used YouTube remarketing to reach people who had already searched for flights and then encouraged them to buy. This led to an additional 17,000 booked flights and 52% of conversions attributed to YouTube were click-through conversions directly from the ad.

YouTube retargeting recap:

In addition to regular display and social retargeting, YouTube offers a 3rd channel where your audience may be hanging out.

If you’re curious about testing that channel, start with a low cost video that proves an ROI before investing further.

Best used on these networks:

  • YouTube

26) Browser Tab Switch Retargeting

For “on-page” retargeting without using cookies or fingerprints), Mention.com keeps their visitors engaged if they decide to leave for other open tabs.

browser retargeting

“Don’t forget about us!” stands out among the tabs.

As you can see in the screenshot above, Mention’s tab changes as soon as you try to leave their blog post.

How did they do that?

With browser tab notifications. 

Tab abandonment notifications

Tab notifications alert tab togglers to go back to that abandoned tab. You can code this functionality and some site builders, like Shopify, give you this option.

Browser Tab Switch Retargeting Recap:

As a classic example of thinking outside the box, Mention takes advantage of a feature to keep visitors engaged and to spend more time on their site.

Best used on these networks:

  • Google

27) Onsite Retargeting

I’m quite certain you’ve seen onsite retargeting before, maybe even while reading this blog post—that rectangular box that pops up while you’re scrolling down or even when you’re about to leave a page.

The goal of onsite retargeting is to get people to take advantage of an offer or a discount, or to subscribe to your blog. Here are two examples of different exit popups we’ve been testing:

Onsite retargeting
Go a little out there to grab visitors’ attention before they bounce.

onsite retarget
Here’s another popup we tested right before “CRO Day.”

We also created a post outlining the different types of onsite retargeting, methods, and tools you can use to get started.

Onsite retargeting recap:

When it comes to onsite retargeting, you have a lot of options to not only split test the message and offer of your popups, but also how you target:

Duration, frequency caps, scroll depth, exit intent, devices, and other factors will all perform differently.

Granulate your campaigns with these different criteria to see what performs the best.

Pop up ad makers:

  • Wisepops
  • Sumo
  • Sleeknote
  • Privy
  • Get Site Control
  • Aiva
  • Wheel of Popups

28) Push Notification Retargeting

You know those push notifications you get on your phone?

Now you can take advantage of that via visitor browsers like Chrome, Safari, and FireFox.

A tool named VWOEngage allows visitors to opt-in to getting push notifications from you. So no matter what site they’re on in the future, you can alert them that a new blog post is live (or other news you’d like to share).

push retargeting
Push notification results – image source

See that little notification in the right corner?

If you go there you’ll see quite a few case studies and the results that websites have been getting while using the tool.

push notification results
Push notification results – image source

With competition rising and attention spans declining, you have to start thinking of how you can get to your visitors beyond the inbox or ad space.

Push notification recap:

Even if your visitors’ browsers are completely closed, push notifications still come through.

29) Abandoned Cart Retargeting

If you’re an eCommerce store, then you probably have some abandoned carts. The stats are as high as 70%.

most people abandon their cart
70% of people abandon their cart—source

And like any business owner, your goal is to turn those abandoned carts into sales. One way to do that is to use email retargeting that takes visitors back to their saved carts.

Cart recovery retargeting can have a huge impact on your overall revenues, as shown in the chart with actual results from a Rejoiner campaign.

cart abandonment can be fixed
Cart abandonment can be fixed – source

Tools like Rejoiner and Klaviyo are out-of-the-box solutions you can implement in your shopping cart right away.

The email retargeting tools capture the email address people type in on your checkout page, but register whether or not the person actually went through with the purchase.

If they don’t finish the purchase, an automatic email will be sent to them with pictures of the shopping cart items, along with a call to action to bring them back to buy.

Abandoned Cart Retargeting Recap:

Shopping cart recovery is a huge deal in the eCommerce space. And without having to offer discounts or specials, you can recover quite a few lost sales by reminding people that they didn’t finish their purchase.

Split testing subject lines and email layouts should be one of your main focuses after you’re up and running.

Best used on these networks:

  • Rejoiner
  • Klaviyo

30) CPA Retargeting

Cost Per Acquisition Retargeting offers a mix of different bidding options.

You have the option to pay per click (CPC bidding), pay per thousand impressions (CPM bidding), or pay per conversion (CPA bidding).

While it’s not guaranteed, you can go the route of Google Ads and set CPA bidding targets. You could apply this tactic and pair your remarketing audiences with Search, Discovery, YouTube, or even Shopping campaigns.

On the other hand, you could also take advantage of one of Google’s newer bidding strategies: pay-per-conversions bidding. Right now, this feature is only available with Smart Display or Standard Display campaigns. But it’s exactly what it sounds like. Instead of paying per impression or per click, you only pay when you get a conversion. This can work especially well for upper-funnel lead generation.

CPA retargeting recap:

If you’d like to take advantage of pay-per-conversion bidding, note that it comes with a couple of caveats. First, Google requires your account to have tracked over 100 conversions in the last 30 days in order to be eligible. On top of that, 90% of those conversions need to have occurred within less than 7 days after someone clicks your ad. 

Last, pay-per-conversions follows looser rules for budgeting than most Google Ads campaigns. Pay-per-conversion campaigns will stick to your monthly budget, but could spend over 2x your daily budget on an individual day. Don’t let this catch you off guard!

Best used on these networks:

  • Google Display Network

31) Mobile App Retargeting

Most of what we’ve covered so far involves eCommerce and lead generating businesses.

But what if you’re trying to retarget people for app downloads, or instead, get people to take advantage of an offer within your app?

When it comes to user bases in the mobile app world, retargeting has proven to be the cheapest and most effective way to acquire new users.

mobile app retargeting
AppsFlyer has mobile app stats for days – image source

Someone may already have visited your app’s site or landing page but didn’t download. In this scenario, you’ll want to retarget them with ads that try to get them to download the app.

If someone has already downloaded the app, then your next retargeting goal may be to get them to make an in-app purchase or increase their overall engagement.

Regardless of your goals, mobile app retargeting can be taken advantage of via traditional ad platforms like Google Ads. These platforms provide more insight if you integrate them with your app’s SDK (for conversion tracking purposes).

Mobile app retargeting recap:

More and more companies are creating new mobile ad formats. iOS 14.5 will affect measurement and reporting, especially for users who opt out. To help personalize ads delivered to iOS 14 users, and continue to receive app conversion events reporting, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14 version 8.1.

Mobile deep linking is also possible if you want to take users to a specific place within your app.

Best used on these networks:

  • Google
  • Facebook

32) Smother Retargeting

The name almost gives this retargeting campaign away.

A lot of best practices tell you to use frequency caps (the number of times a single visitor will see your retargeting ad over a given period of time) to not annoy visitors.

But while that’s correct, who’s to say that you can’t break the rules and get a great ROI from it?

When it comes to smother retargeting, you only have one goal: hit your visitors as often as possible.

Use multiple retargeting networks like Google Ads, Shoelace, and Criteo to retarget your ads anywhere your visitor might go (third-party sites, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Then take that same approach with cart abandonment (if you’re an eCommerce shop) through email retargeting as well.

You can then take it one step further and create this type of audience around people who almost converted. Maybe they started filling out your lead gen form, or they were on the checkout page, but didn’t buy.

Smother retargeting recap:

You can fire off a BlitzKrieg for a short period to see if your “time to convert” drops when visitors are added to your retargeting audience.

Make sure you have an option to retarget to all the potential areas a visitor can go beyond your site and landing page.

Best used on these networks:

  • All

33) FOMO Retargeting

When it comes to urgency, there are so many ways you can use it to nudge viewers to click on an ad and convert.

And we all know what some of these ways look like…

FOMO retargeting
Skylux Travel does a great job of lighting a fire underneath us with this ad – image source

These ads will have labels and ad copy that will incite FOMO (fear of missing out) that a viewer will have a hard time ignoring, especially if they were previously interested in your brand.

Last minute deals, time-sensitive sales, scarcity reminders, count-down timers—all of these can play to the notion that you need to make a decision as quickly as possible.

After all, no one likes to be faced with the possibility of missing out.

*IMPORTANT NOTE* — Don’t be caught putting up fake FOMO ads or false countdowns that never move past the final week. That’s an easy and foolish way to shoot yourself in the foot and lose your credibility real fast…

FOMO retargeting recap:

Create ads that have a sense of urgency to their copy. It might be the deciding factor for someone who was on the fence earlier and needs a bit of a nudge (be it from a carrot or a stick) to make the final leap to conversion.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • Google Display Network

34) Product Reminder Retargeting

Obviously, retargeting is going to be used to increase and maintain awareness for users who have already shown a certain interest in your brand. But it doesn’t have to stop at general brand awareness and retention.

Why not remind someone of a previous interest in a specific product by showing it to them again?

product reminder retargeting
eBay hit their retargeting audiences with images of products they had previously viewed – image source

Displaying items—or categories of items—that a visitor has previously viewed is the best way to grab their attention and make the ad more personal.

And if there’s one thing you’ve learned thus far, it’s that the more personal your ads, the better.

Product reminder retargeting recap:

Try targeting visitors within a certain time-frame with ads of previously viewed items. Make them remember why they were interested in the product in the first place and you should see your end-goal conversions scale as well.

Best used on these networks:

  • Facebook
  • Google Display Network

Your Next Steps

The point of retargeting ads is to get ideal customers back to your website using display advertising—which builds brand awareness by being everywhere your potential customers are. 

That’s what we call a broad reach in the biz.

Psychologically, retargeting works by familiarity; users are more likely to engage with ads from brands they know and trust. 

Monetarily, retargeting works by transitive property (If A=B and B=C, then A=C); if conversions make your company money and retargeting increases conversions, then retargeting makes your company money. 

It’s math. 

We like to put money where our math is (and tuck it in with a cozy blanket).

Then we like to follow the same best practices as any online ad campaign.

Split test your ads and test new targeting criteria. That will always be at the forefront of successful retargeting growth.

In addition to that, here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Frequency caps: Limit people to your ad’s visibility so your message doesn’t dilute.
  • Burn pixels/URLs: Once people have converted, move them to a new audience. Don’t waste impressions on people who can’t convert again.
  • Audience diversification: Many of the tactics we talked about today involve unique audience segmentation. Take advantage of that.

Out of all the retargeting campaign examples I’ve given you today, which are you most excited to try out?