Retargeting Campaigns – 5 Tips to Increase Click to Conversion

Having run many retargeting campaigns for large advertisers focused on performance-based, display advertising, we found that retargeting was one of the best tools to increase click to conversion rates on Internet display advertising. In our experience, retargeting campaigns usually had conversion rates with a minimum of 10x lift over non-retargeted display ads and sometimes as much as 100x times or more.

Retargeting is just one form of behavioral targeting utilized in Internet advertising that works really well to drive increased conversions, but generally to be effective, you need to have a fairly substantial audience (i.e. cookie pool) built up, otherwise ad and campaign delivery will be low to non-existent.

5 Tips to Increase Click to Conversion – inspired by SEOmoz Video – see below

  1. Create highly relevant audiences by building segments based on what content people consume and then target message to each audience based on the needs and wants of those segments. Utilize all of your web properties to build audience and segments as audience size is key to getting distribution of your ad on this party ad networks or sites with retargeting capabilities
  2. Build and utilize your conversion funnel by moving users from awareness to interest to Evaluation to Decision through to purchase phases during the retargeting campaign. Targeting messages and creative by segment at each phase of the conversion funnel. For example, we as marketers know that at the awareness phase, ads with logo and name can be used to build brand awareness. At the interest phase, showing ads with specific product or services content works best. At the evaluation phase, showing ads that address typical objections that prevent sales work well. During the decision phase of the funnel, display ads that offer promotions and discounts, then after purchase, showing ads for related products to promote up-sell opportunities can be beneficial to increasing sales and ROI.
  3. Avoid showing too many ads to the same user which can create the feeling that being stalled or followed around the Internet. In my experience, large online ecommerce sites are guilty of this as it can make a user feel creepy, almost liked they are being stalked. Advertisers never want to be viewed as stalkers or associated with stalking users. Best practices include limiting to 3 ads per day or 7-12 ads per month. This can be accomplished through frequency capping during campaign delivery. Rotating in different creative based on funnel phase can be effective in reducing banner fatigue while reinforcing different facets of your brand during the execution of the retargeting campaign.
  4. Optimize landing pages that speak directly to the viewers of the ad based on the segment and phase of the conversion funnel they are in. There is a wealth of data showing that conversion rates in retargeting campaigns are highly sensitive to the relevancy of the creative that someone clicks on to the page they land on from the click. Imagine going through a McDonald’s drive through and be offered a foot long sub! Relevancy between landing page and creative will boost your click your click to conversion rate on not only re-marketing campaigns, but any campaigns in search or display. Through strategic ad sequencing and segmentation, you can show creative that thanks visitors for returning to your site or requesting that they take a look at something they may have missed. Proceed with caution for the same reason as #3 above. It is a fine line between effective creative sequencing and perceived invasion of privacy, which can differ based on cultural context.
  5. Have patience and continually test and avoid the “knee-jerk” desire to pull the plug on your retargeting campaign before giving it a chance to succeed mad bear fruit (conversions). I know that Internet marketers enjoy the measure-ability and immediacy of Internet advertising campaigns as well as the next guy, but commit to a week as any retargeting campaign needs several days of testing to ensure that you have sufficient data to judge campaign performance. This is especially true when running a retargeting campaign as it takes time to move your audience through the conversion funnel. In my experience, retargeting campaigns are a great way to boost click to conversion rates on performance-focused campaigns. Be sure to test creative variations, landing pages, ad sequencing and other parameters to tweak and maximize the ROI of your retargeting campaign.

For more information, checkout the recent video from Justin Vanning of the SEOmoz marketing team, the person responsible for all of the SEOmoz Internet advertising, which includes paid search, retargeting, any other budget where SEOmoz acquires new customers through the Internet. In this video, Justin elaborates on each of the 5 points above. The video below was the inspiration of this blog post with Justin providing the 5 tips above and greatly elaborating with real world examples.

SEOmoz Video – 5 Tips for Running a Successful Retargeting Campaign – Whiteboard Friday

To ensure that your retargeting campaign is as efficient as possible, a “clear cookie” after a user converts can be used to filter ads to users on the device for which they or someone else converted on. If someone clears cookies often or configures their browser to not accept cookies (luckily few do), all bets are off as current retargeting technologies rely on cookies to track a users online site/page viewing history and target ads accordingly.

Search and retargeting are great compliments in an integrated online marketing strategy and Internet advertising plan. Large advertisers typically utilize a multi-channel marketing strategy, and look for display advertising to increase their distribution and reach, especially when targeting competitive keywords that are often overbid negatively impacts ROI on paid search. Retargeting can deliver click to conversion rates comparable to and in some case better than paid search.

Though some Internet advertisers dismiss display advertising in favor of search advertising, large, sophisticated advertisers know that both search and display, especially when leveraging behavioral targeting, including retargeting campaigns, can have huge positive impact on their Internet advertising ROI.

For more information about how retargeting can benefit your Internet advertising, contact eBiz ROI today.


Rick Noel is an experienced digital marketer enabling businesses and organizations to grow through the Internet, while maximizing marketing ROI (Return On Investment). Rick is the CEO and Co-Founder of eBiz ROI, Inc., a full-service digital marketing agency located in Ballston Lake, NY.

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