Retargeting: How it Works

Ever get the feeling you’re being followed? How about online? Well if you have, then you’re right – you’ve been retargeted! Here’s an example that just happened to me:

I received an email today from an online shop where I have made purchases in the past saying they are having a 50% site-wide sale. What girl doesn’t love a good sale?! Almost instantly I was on the website shopping around, and soon thereafter closing the browser (because in the back of my mind I know I really don’t need a new fall sweater). After coming to terms with myself 10 minutes later and feeling good about my decision to not purchase anything, I see an ad for one of the items I was looking at on the side of a news article I was reading. Thanks for the reminder, retargeting banner ad.

Example of retargeting ads

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting, or “remarketing” in Google’s world, is a pay-per-click digital marketing method to target people who have previously visited your website. It’s a way to show them ads that can be specifically tailored to them. For example, an ad for a pair of shoes they recently viewed online on a different site. Basically, it’s a way to remind you how bad you want those new shoes that you really shouldn’t buy.

When Does Retargeting Happen?

Every day. Abandoned shopping carts, for instance, trigger remarketing ads. I’ve found that remarketing ads are mostly related to e-commerce… Unless that’s just because I have a shopping problem. Remarketing ads can be either products or services that a company offers.

Why Does Retargeting Exist?

The point of remarketing is to boost conversions. Everyone does business for one reason – to make money. When explaining pay-per-click (PPC) to someone I usually go with the phrase “you have to pay to play”. If you put some money into a PPC remarketing campaign, it increases your likelihood of getting leads and conversions out of it.

How Does Retargeting Work?

  1. Add the remarketing tag to your website
  2. Create remarketing lists
  3. Build remarketing campaigns that use your lists

Next time you’re checking what’s new on your Facebook News Feed or reading a news article online, take note of the ads that appear. I bet you’ve recently looked at one of those items or services.

This post was originally featured on G.1440. To find out how to get more leads from online marketing, contact us at