Retargeting: a Second (Third, Fourth…) Shot at Your Target Market

Google and social media help recapture bouncers and skittish shoppers


Grumble as we do about the unpredictability of social engagement and attaining a page 1 search position, search and social media have brought the gift of data that has provided wisdom around trends in how and what people are looking for and the types of “stories” they like to consume and share.

Marketing rule of thumb says it takes about seven impressions before a new prospect is willing to make a purchase. They need to know, like and trust a product or service provider before spending their hard earned money.

But in this fast-paced, instant-gratification world, do you really want (or need) to wait for another six impressions before generating a sale?

This is where retargeting comes in.

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is simply the act of reminding prospects who leave your site without making a purchase that you have the product or service they want. It’s using hyper- targeted advertising to place personalized ads online to keep your brand top of mind.

Generally speaking, only about 2% of shoppers convert on the first visit to an online store, which leaves 98% of your audience exiting your website with the distinct possibility of never coming back.

How Retargeting Works 

Retargeting implements some simple JavaScript that is installed in the footer of your website. The code creates a list of site visitors whose IP address are tagged with cookies, enabling you to “follow” them to other websites where your personalized ads magically appear.

Whether that potential customer is reading the news or connecting with friends on Facebook, YOUR ad will show up on their browser page or in their newsfeed, reminding them about your product and brand. Ideally, that customer will come back to your site and make a purchase.

According to, personalized ads can increase your click through rates and conversion rates by over 100%. These personalized ads are impactful because they feature photos of the product(s) or services that the visitor was looking at before exiting your site.

A Retargeting Example

Recently I was searching Babies R Us for a gift. I looked at a couple of different baby products, but then exited the site because I wasn’t exactly sure if my friend needed any of these items. When I logged on to Facebook an hour later, lo and behold, I see ads along the side and staggered within my newsfeed from Babies R Us featuring the precise products I had browsed earlier in the day!

Yes, Big Brother IS watching, but it was not off-putting. This perfect example of retargeting demonstrates how, after I left Babies R Us without completing my purchase, they tracked me down to gently remind me to keep shopping – with them.

Next page: Top 3 Retargeting Companies