When does Retargeting NOT work?

There is no question that ads that follow you from one site to another are extremely common; however, with this rush for more custom advertising, marketers may be losing out on age-old wisdom.

Utilizing Modern Technology

As the webs evolves, the ads presented to consumers are becoming more personal and more customized. Through cookies, they access your browsing history, which allows them to know what you look at. But, are these types of ads really effective? The fact is that the answer to this question may not be as simple as many digital marketers think it is.


Is Retargeting Really Effective?

Short answer – yes.  However, there are things that many marketers are not taking into consideration when they retarget.  First and foremost – what did the customer do on your site?  Did they click your page and bounce after 8 seconds?  Often times visitors like these are retargeted simply because the site owner hasn’t set up any sort of retargeting rules.


Too often a marketer sets a policy of – if they came to the site at all: retarget them.  This is ineffective because the likelihood of that person becoming re-interested in your product is extremely low.  In many cases, a short visit might even mean an accidental click.  You don’t want to be wasting ad spend on that.

It is essential that retargeting as are used “smartly.”  So set up rules.  Determine how many pages you’d like a visitor to have seen before you retarget them.  Most definitely you’ll want to set a minimum time on the site.  Usually 20 seconds or more shows interest.  It shows that there is likely something that a visitor was focusing on, and they very well might come back to it if retargeted.  Companies like BigEngage have implemented the ability to do this, and it works wonders.

retargeting-no-nosHere’s where Retargeting does work

Where retargeting thrives is cart abandonment.  If someone came to your site, added an item to their cart and left, they should absolutely be retargeted.  You might want to consider offering a discount, as in most cases people abandon shopping carts to go look for a better deal.


You’ll increase your return even more if you show a customized ad for an item.  If they added shoes to their cart, show them an ad for that.  Additionally, browsing history tells you a ton about what a visitor is seeking, so retarget them based on where they went.  Your CPC will drop significantly.

Another option is to use information regarding how long ago a person visited a site. Travel websites are particularly effective at this. For example, a person visiting an online flower shop should not send retargeted ads two weeks after a Valentine’s Day visit– one or two days is the max for this type of business. A travel company can remind you of past trips.  However, a car company will have more time to influence their potential shoppers.

Creating Campaigns that Work

The technologies that are tracking the performance of these ads are becoming more accurate, which means that they can provide better data to marketers to plan and execute retargeting programs. One option for this type of tracking is C3metrics, which has perfected tracking people across various devices and determine how far they scrolled on a page.

With the large amount of money that is involved with retargeting ads, marketers need to feel confident their ads are effective. This will help them to continue making smarter predictions. This also ensure consumers receive ads reflecting items they are actually interested in purchasing in the near future, rather than items they may no longer be interested in, or have already purchased.