How Do You Retarget A Website Visitor?

Updated: March 20, 2023
How Do You Retarget A Website Visitor?
Retargeting Website Users

Want to re-engage lost leads or reconnect with existing customers who haven’t seen in awhile? That’s where retargeting ads come into play. Designed to recapture the interest and attention of lost leads, website visitors who didn’t click through to paying customers, or reconnect with and engage customers who haven’t interacted with your brand in some time, a retargeting ad campaign can help you warm up cold leads. (A definitely leg up on targeting new customers unfamiliar with your brand altogether.)

To make things simple, we’ll first look at the importance of including retargeting efforts in your digital marketing campaigns. Second to that, we’ll cover the fundamentals of designing successful retargeting campaigns and then features and best practices you can consider to drive the effectiveness of your campaign and ROI.

Sounds good? Read on.

Why You Should Create Retargeting Ads

Retargeting ads don’t have to be complex–but they can be extremely effective at reconnecting lost leads, distracted site visitors, or existing customers who haven’t heard from in awhile. 

Among the top reasons we include retargeting campaigns in the digital strategy work for our top clients, we like that retargeting ads can:

  1. Re-engage lost leads:

Find that you’re able to drive in new traffic from search engines but they’re not engaging or converting to customers on your site? No problem. Retargeting campaigns are an incredibly effective strategy at finding your lost leads online and ‘following’ them around with targeted ads designed to attract and re-engage their interest. We’ll dive into this more below but for now know that this digital market strategy was created to let you ‘set and forget’ finding your lost leads and revive their interest while you focus your attention elsewhere.

  1. Convert leads to customers:

If there are contents in their shopping carts but the final click through that converts a lead to a customer isn’t happening, retargeting ads can help prompt your ‘almost’ customers to complete their purchase.

One of the most common retargeting tactics in this domain is ‘Forgotten Items’ where potential customers leave behind an eCommerce cart that they haven’t purchased. The right campaign can follow these customers back to their inboxes with prompts, reminders, and special discounts that lure them back into the fold.

  1. Re-engage existing customers:

Haven’t heard  from someone in awhile? Retargeting ads aren’t specific to warm/cold leads and forgotten shopping carts alone–existing customers who have long stretches in between purchases can also be re-engaged using the right retargeting campaign tactics.

From special discounts, personalise offers based on previous purchase history, and retargeted ads that show upon the Google Display Network reminding them of your brand’s existence, you can easily pull existing customers back into your aura with retargeting ads–especially effective when they’re anchored and created based on previous, real-user data.

If that sounds like something your brand or business needs, read on. We’ll discuss how to start creating and designing a retargeting ad and then leave you with a few actionable best practices that can boost your ROI online.

How to Retarget Website Visitors

You’re hooked (looks like we did our job well) by the thought of re-engaging lost leads and past customers. To get started designing your first retargeting campaign, here is a step-by-step guide you can follow to get up and running today.

How to Design Retargeting Campaigns

First things first–the basics of retargeting campaigns.

  1. Consider Your Audience

Are you interested in reconnecting with lost leads who failed to meaningfully engage with your websites or do you want to reconnect with past customers? Much like all good digital marketing campaigns, retargeting campaigns should be specific to your target audience.

Among the most common user markets (at a top-level) you can consider, there are:

  • Website visitors who didn’t convert to followers, customers, or return visits;
  • Website shoppers who don’t complete the purchase (or CTA) process. (Think about the ‘forgotten shopping cart’ analogy); and,
  • Existing customers who haven’t purchased from or engaged with your brand in some time.

Each of these three user markets can be further segmented down–we recommend designing a dynamic remarketing campaign to do this. (Unsure of the differences between remarketing, retargeting ads, and static versus dynamic remarketing campaigns? We recently published a blog examining exactly this which you can find on the EDGE Marketing blog.)

  1. Consider the CTA or Call-to-action you would like:

In the ideal scenario, you retargeted leads and customers will all follow through on your decided on CTA–which may be influenced by the user market to decide to target. Common CTA examples for each of the above three users groups could include:

  • Lost website visitors:

Here you want to re-engage the customer enough to come back and more meaningfully engage with your website or brand. A good CTA in this retargeting campaign could be prompting the viewer to visit your website again or a specific landing page that is highly relevant to their interests or needs.

  • Abandoned shopping carts:

This one’s easy–if you have the eCommerce data to do it. A common CTA here would be showing the lost almost-customer the products they had included in their cart but didn’t finish purchasing. Further, you could show the lost products on relevant or competitor sites that show similar products and interests in a Display Ad or slide into their inbox with a special offer, discount, or reminder about the same.

  • Past customers: Another easy one–re-engaging customers with past purchase history can be as simple as offering a promotional discount, offer, or limited time special that’s informed by their previous purchases. A CTA might be to follow through to a personalised product discount code or to connect with your product team who want to learn more about their product feedback and review.
  • Pick a Retargeting Ads platform and medium.

This seems simple–but will affect the final outcome and results of your retargeting campaign. (Also–which medium you choose will also be dependent on which information you have readily available about your lost leads and customers to retarget them online.)

A few examples of common retargeting ads include:

  • Email Campaigns (EDMs):

Naturally, having the ability to send our targeted EDMs to re-engage your lukewarm audience will require you having access to their email address. A highly effective medium, it’s often best left for abandoned shopping carts (where you have the needed customer information) and existing customers who haven’t engaged in a while.

(Personalised EDMs–a form of dynamic remarketing–are a great way to directly offer a past customer a discount, promotion, or limited-time offer to reconnect with your brand.)

  • Display Ads, Google Ads, and the Google Display Network

If you’ve ever visited a website and see a top-page or side-bar ad that is showing a brand, company website, or page you’ve recently visited–you’re being shown a retargeting ad. Google Analytics and Google Ads drive the Google Display Network and have a unique algorithm that decides when, where, and how these are shown to your identified target audiences.

We’ll explore the Google Display Network more deeply another day but a few examples of retargeting ad types that can be shown across Google include:

  • Video Ads (YouTube)
  • Online Display Ads (side-bar, top menu–can be static, dynamic, or interactive)
  • ‘Top Search Result’ / ‘Sponsored’ result on search engine result pages
  • Social Media

While social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are operated by Meta (and not Google) they are an effective place for Facebook retargeting campaigns, paid ads, and awareness campaigns. You’ll have to use a Facebook Ads Manager account to create and publish an Instagram or Facebook retargeting campaign, but if either social media platform is heavily used by your target people, it can definitely be worth your while.

How to Boost Your Retargeting Campaign

Now that you know how to move through the basics of creating your first retargeting campaign, let’s review some of the best practices that will boost your ROI.

  1. Audience Segmentation

Just when you thought we couldn’t take segmentation further–we always can. While you’ve decided on which of the three most common user groups you’ll target with your first retargeting campaign, the most effective campaigns will be segmented even further into categories such as:

  • Geographic location
  • Related or complementary products based on purchase history
  • Previous engagement actions taken 
  • Be Site (or Action) Page Specific

With the right CRM, eCommerce page setup, or retargeting software, you can design retargeting campaigns and deliver them to custom audience segments based on which website page/s they previously visited on your site (or took action on).

As always, Google tries to deliver and show highly relevant website content based on a user’s perceived interests, actions, and behaviours taken online–and retargeting campaigns shown on Google search pages and websites on the Google Network are no different.

  1. Use Multiple Mediums or Creative Designs

Even if you’ve segmented your audience to a niche group and decided on 1-2 retargeting platforms to execute your retargeting campaign, we recommend having multiple creative designs to hit viewers with unique ad copy, offers, and vantage points that highlight the advantages (and CTAs) of your brand.

Among the benefits of including multiple design assets or ad types in your retargeting campaign, there is:

  • Avoid any one ad getting stale. You may have to show your viewer the message more than once before the interaction–keep the message fresh by having more than one design ready to use.
  • Different people will act based on different messages. Not all viewers will respond to one set of copy or one CTA. Having multiple messages that are reflective of your audience’s preferences means having more opportunity to hit them with one that connects.

Like any good digital marketing strategy, retargeting is one that proves its worth in ROI most times–however, best practices and following the Google algorithm guidelines are recommended.

If you’re interested in catapulting your growth online, connect with our team and we can discuss your marketing and business goals and map out a retargeting strategy for you. Planning to undertake campaign creation in-house? No problem–we recommend deep diving into the EDGE Marketing blog to find more articles like this one that can show you the ropes.

Learn More Retargeting Best Practices with the EDGE Marketing Team

Trying to reach next level growth this year? Even small businesses and brands optimising their growth strategy without an in-house marketing team can take advantage of retargeting strategies for their audience and campaigns. From connecting with lost leads to re-engaging existing customers, digital marketing strategies like retargeting are just one of the many that can help boost your bottom line and brand.

If you’re interested in the digital marketing strategies, best practices, and tangible tools you can leverage to reach the next stage of growth, follow along with the EDGE Marketing team. Each week we publish blogs that examine leading industry trends and practices to help upskill and inform our community online.


Mira -

Head of Paid Media

1300 558 659 -

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