Advertising 7 mins read

What is Retargeting and Why is it Important?

Picture this: a customer walks into a store and picks up a product, looks at the price, scratches their chin, and tells the salesperson they need to “think about it” before buying. Then, they leave the store and drive home. In this scenario, it would be strange for the salesperson to call the would-be customer at a later time and say, “Hey, are you still thinking about that product? Just wanted to remind you that you came into the store.” 

However, with digital stores and lead generation, following up with a non-buying customer is a breeze with retargeting. Retargeting is a digital way to remind visitors of your products and services after they’ve left your site. Retargeting allows you to remind prospective customers of your brand, encourage another website visit, and hopefully get them to convert (purchase or submit an inquiry). 

Retargeting (verb), Targeting online ads to customers based on their previous internet behavior using tracking pixels and cookies.

Why is Retargeting Important?

Baymard Institute reports almost 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned. Retargeting should be an integral component of your marketing strategy if your brand sells products online or relies on online conversions to lead to sales

The traditional sales funnel statistics say that customers require seven touch points with a brand or product before purchasing or converting.  This number is thought to be even higher in the digital marketing and sales world

The reason? Digital sales funnels are highly-saturated. Here’s an example:

Try searching for ‘reusable water bottle’ on Google. Google’s search results serve product ads from several companies, text ads from some of the big brands like Brita, organic listicles such as ‘12 Best Water Bottles of 2022,’ and a link to Amazon that would show all products matching that query on its site. At the time of writing, there are 60 million results! 

Try doing the same thing for your brand’s product or service (with specific/branded and general search terms) and see what comes up. We think you will discover the results are similarly overwhelming. 

Retargeting helps set your brand’s product and services apart from the masses by “following” prospective customers along their digital journey.


How Do Retargeting Campaigns Work?

Retargeting campaigns are activated by invisible “pixels” or “cookies” ingrained into a website. Let’s jump into what that means and how it works.

Tracking Pixels

Tracking pixels work as a tool to categorize all visitors to a website. Usually, a pixel is a piece of code implanted into the website’s design. The code can be developed by a web team or through digital tools such as AdRoll.

Tracking pixels gather information from digital users, such as the web pages they visited, ads they’ve clicked on, and the type of device they’ve used. These pixels can follow customers as they change devices, meaning your retargeting ads will appear on both their computer’s web browser and mobile Instagram ads on their phone. 


Cookies are why almost every web page you navigate has an immediate pop-up. You know the ones–they usually say something like ‘By clicking Accept All Cookies, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts’. You may click “Accept All Cookies,” or you may close the window not to allow cookie tracking.

While pixels bounce between devices, cookies are saved on a user’s browser, i.e., Chrome or Safari, and allow users to access sites they frequent easily without being prompted to log in each time.

Which Tracking Method is Best?

While both pixels and cookies benefit marketers, pixels are less easy to disable. If you are using a digital marketing tool for retargeting, you may be limited to cookie tracking. If your web development is internal, adding tracking pixels should be an option for your team.



When to Use Retargeting

According to MailChimp, the best time to use retargeting strategies is when your website receives 100 or more visitors each month. Retargeting should be implemented as a long-term marketing strategy that is most effective when used on users who are at least somewhat familiar with the brand and just need that added nudge to come back and finish what they started.

using retargeting advertising

4 Ways to Use Retargeting Campaigns

Building Brand Awareness

Like we said before, customers–especially digital customers–require several touchpoints before they make a purchase decision. Retargeting ads will keep your brand top of mind and give users a ‘go-to’ website when they’re ready to push ‘purchase.’

Promote Best-Selling Products

What better way to draw in new customers than by showing them products you already know people love? And if you mention that the product is a bestseller, it will provide the social proof and/or credibility that retargeted users need to feel confident enough to purchase.

Introduce New Products

Retargeting is a great way to reach customers who are already familiar with your brand. When launching a new product, retargeting campaigns to reach customers who have previously converted on your website may bring them back to see what’s new. These campaigns are best implemented using Google Display Ads or Facebook Ads.

Move Excess Inventory

Retargeting ads provide an easy way to bring slow-moving items to the attention of potential or existing customers and reduce your excess inventory. Showcase surplus products–especially if there’s a sale involved–to see results with retargeting.

Ready to Retarget?

Your brand can expect effective results with the added sales opportunities retargeting creates. Because of the precision allowed by retargeting customers based on their traits and behaviors, your ads will be relevant and should lead to low-cost conversions. 


Contact our team today to learn more about turning online window-shoppers into converting customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the types of retargeting ads available?

Retargeting ads can be created using both tracking pixels and cookies.

What is B2B retargeting?

B2B retargeting involves the use of tracking pixels or cookies on a website that sells products or services to other businesses.

Are retargeting ads effective for nurturing leads?

Retargeting ads are effective because it increases the amount of times a prospective customer is exposed to your brand or product which may lead to an increase in leads.

Photo of Alexa Parker
About the author

Alexa Parker launched Crimson Park Digital in 2018 with an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for digital marketing. With nearly ten years in the industry, she's been fortunate to learn from the best mentors, work on inspiring campaigns, and fine-tune her craft. Now, along with my team, she provides expertise to clients across the country and enjoys every day of it.