Better email marketing campaigns: Introducing Inbox Stories

Learn more



Share This Article

What is retargeting? How retargeting works?

Team Storyly
March 16, 2023
min read

What is retargeting?

Businesses often lose customers to website bounce. When a visitor leaves a website without buying, it doesn't mean they'll never make a purchase. The key to making a sale for that visitor is to keep your brand fresh in their mind. Retargeting tracks visitors who have engaged with your brand and shows them ads. This increases the chances they return to you when they're ready to spend.

How retargeting campaigns work

There are three major steps to a successful retargeting campaign. By carefully planning all three steps listed below, businesses can maximize their ad remarketing ROI.

  • Tagging - The first step is to track the visitor. This often involves the use of a tracking cookie. The cookie then provides advertising providers with the information they need to serve ads to people who have engaged with your brand. 
  • Segmenting - Customer segmentation improves your chances of success. Which page did the customer bounce from? How far into the funnel did they get? What are the demographics of the visitor? All of these segments help you better retarget your ads.
  • Messaging - The final step is to craft a message that appeals to the customer segments you've created. This helps to further increase targeting precision and ensures that the right message gets to the right person. Strategies such as A/B testing and retargeting monitoring will help to refine your messaging.

Benefits of retargeting

The use of retargeting ads has exploded since Google first introduced the concept. Businesses have found that retargeting in marketing provides advantages over traditional advertising. These include:

  • Improves targeting precision - Even the most highly targeted traditional ads only reach people who might be interested in your product. Retargeting advertising ensures that your ads only appear in front of people who have already expressed an interest in your brand. 
  • Increases conversions - A website bounce doesn't have to mean a lost sale, but without advertising retargeting, it might. When you retarget the people who bounced, you increase the chances they'll return and make a purchase. Increased conversions mean even the ROI on the traditional marketing that first brought the visitor to your site increases.
  • Boosts engagement - The likelihood that someone will eventually spend money on your site is increased relative to the amount of time they spend on the site. Retargeting marketing helps to bring people back to your site to browse again. They may not buy that time either, but every time re-marketing reminds them of their interest in your company and brings them back, your engagement numbers are improving.
  • Grows brand awareness - Building brand awareness is a secondary goal of marketing; for some campaigns, it's the primary goal. When someone engages with your brand once, it won't stay in their mind forever. Retargeted marketing continually reminds them of your product. Even when sales aren't made, brand awareness grows. 

Types of retargeting

There are several types of retargeting campaigns. This selection allows businesses to perfectly tailor their retargeting marketing to their buyer personas. When launching a retargeting campaign, it's important to retarget your visitors in the places where they are most likely to engage. A/B testing can help find the perfect type of retargeting for your audience. 

Search engine retargeting

This was the first type of retargeting, introduced by Google. It works by retargeting users of the search engine who have previously made a search that's relevant to your brand. For example, someone who recently searched for 'new ovens' may be shown ads by an appliance manufacturer that has launched a retargeting campaign. Like all forms of retargeting, this happens even when the user isn't searching for appliances.

Site retargeting

This type of retargeting improves the targeting precision of search engine retargeting. Instead of retargeting people who have merely used search terms relevant to you, site retargeting specifically shows your ads to people who have visited your site. Customer segmentation is a powerful tool here to deliver precise messaging depending on where the visitor is in your sales funnel. 

Social media retargeting

Social media remains an important way for brands to connect with customers. Building social media engagement is a great way to build brand awareness. That effort is increased by sending your ads to social media followers who have recently engaged with your company's social media feeds.

Retargeting platforms and tools

Many platforms now offer retargeting campaigns. Some of these are traditional digital advertisers that have added retargeting as an extra option; others have built their brands around the newer form of advertising. Most of them allow you to blend traditional digital advertising to drive traffic to your site with retargeted ads to increase conversions from that traffic.

Below is a list of some of the most popular platforms marketers use to launch their retargeting efforts.

Google Ads 

Google Ads have been a dominant force in the digital ad space for a long time. As the first company to introduce retargeting, it's no surprise that they remain a top choice for marketers. Google offers a comprehensive set of tools for segmenting your audience based on data from a number of sources. 

Facebook Ads

When the importance of a social media presence first became apparent to businesses, Facebook was the social media platform driving that change. It's still a huge platform, as the company has acquired other large sites such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Masquerade. Owning several of the largest social media platforms allows Facebook parent company, Meta, to provide highly targeted ads for both traditional and retargeted campaigns. 

Twitter Ads

Another social media site that brands rely on to reach customers is Twitter. Twitter ads allow for several types of remarketing efforts, including targeting Twitter users who have visited your site and those who have interacted with one of your tweets in some specific way. 


So far, we've listed standalone platforms. Companies that want to run a campaign on multiple search engines, social media sites, and display ad networks can use tools like Adroll. The company provides marketers with a single dashboard that allows them to launch and run campaigns across a wide range of advertising platforms in one place. This convenience comes with a small monthly charge, but a limited free tier is available to test the waters.


This company originally started as purely an email list management service but has grown to offer a full range of marketing solutions for its customers. Mailchimp makes use of Google's display network to provide its remarketing services.


As the popularity of retargeting grew, some companies were formed specifically to handle that type of marketing. SharpSpring is one such company. They have partnerships with many ad networks to provide retargeting opportunities across a diverse range of platforms. The company was originally known as Perfect Audience.

Retargeting vs Remarketing

The two words sound similar, and the concept is nearly the same. When it comes to retargeting vs remarketing, the primary difference is who the target audience is. Retargeting is about reaching out to people who have previously responded to a targeted ad in some way. Perhaps they've searched for keywords you're targeting, or they've clicked on a display ad and visited your site. Tracking those users and sending them more ads is retargeting them.

Remarketing focuses on reaching existing customers. For example, if a customer has purchased from you before, then you have access to both their email address and their shopping cart contents. Sending them an email when they leave items unpurchased in their cart is an example of remarketing.


Team Storyly

Group of experts from Storyly's team who writes about their proficiency.


Share This Article