Retargeting: The Secret Weapon for Maximizing Conversion Rates

7 June, 2023 13 min.

Conversion rates are an essential metric for any online business. The higher your conversion rates, the more successful your business will be. But what if you’re not getting enough conversions? You may have great content, a well-designed website, and a fantastic product, but you’re still not seeing the results you expect. 

So, what can you do to improve your conversions? The answer is retargeting.

What is Retargeting in Digital Marketing?

Retargeting is a marketing technique that allows you to show targeted ads to people who have visited your website but didn’t convert. The concept is pretty simple. It relies on tracking user behavior through the use of cookies or tag-based technology. You put a piece of code, known as a tag or pixel, on your website that tracks visitors. Using this data, you can create ads that specifically target these visitors and encourage them to return to your site to complete the conversion process.

The main benefit of using retargeting is optimizing advertising performance, and no wonder advertisers across the globe cite improving media efficiency as one of the top goals for 2023 media investments. Other goals include:

  • Optimize reach and frequency (26%)
  • Drive repeat purchases among existing customers (25%)
  • Leverage data to drive precision and effectiveness (22%)

Source: IAB 2023 Outlook Survey. Ad Spend, Opportunities, and Strategies for Growth

Retargeting as a strategy greatly contributes to all these goals. It  involves targeting ads at users who have previously interacted with a website or engaged with specific content but did not convert. This is perhaps the most succinct advertising retargeting definition. Retargeting aims to re-engage these users, remind them of their initial interest, and encourage them to take the desired action, such as making a purchase or completing a form.

Retargeting vs Remarketing: What’s the Difference?

Retargeting and remarketing are two terms often used interchangeably in the realm of digital marketing, but they have distinct meanings and strategies. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between retargeting vs. remarketing.

Retargeting works by displaying ads to the targeted users as they browse other websites or platforms that are part of the ad network. Retargeting aims to increase brand recall, nurture leads, and drive conversions by presenting relevant and personalized ads.

Remarketing, on the other hand, is a broader strategy encompassing a range of marketing activities aimed at re-engaging customers or prospects through various channels, not just online advertising. It involves reconnecting with individuals who have previously shown interest in a brand, product, or service and nurturing them toward conversion.

Remarketing efforts can include email marketing campaigns, personalized offers, abandoned cart reminders, or re-engagement on social media platforms. Unlike retargeting, remarketing is not solely focused on displaying ads but extends to multiple touchpoints and communication channels. It aims to build and maintain relationships with customers and prospects by delivering targeted and relevant messaging at different customer journey stages.

All in all, when thinking of what is retargeting in advertising, it specifically refers to delivering targeted ads to users based on their previous website interactions, intending to drive conversions. On the other hand, remarketing encompasses a broader range of activities that aim to re-engage and nurture prospects or customers across various channels beyond just online advertising. 

Both strategies are effective in their own right and can complement each other in a comprehensive marketing campaign.

Looking for help in setting up best-performing ad campaigns? Leverage the experience of MixDigital Agency experts. Send us your requirements today and let’s get started:

    Benefits of Retargeting

    Retargeting works because it addresses one of the biggest obstacles to conversions: indecision. Most people need to be persuaded multiple times before they make a purchase. Retargeting gives you the opportunity to show ads to people who have already shown an interest in your product or service. These ads can feature discounts, special offers, or just a reminder to complete their purchase.

    Another benefit of retargeting is that it’s cost-effective. Trying to attract new customers can be expensive, especially if you’re using paid advertising. With retargeting, you’re only targeting people who have already shown an interest in your product or service, so you’re more likely to get a higher conversion rate for a lower cost per click.

    Retargeting also allows you to stay top-of-mind with your potential customers. Even if they don’t convert right away, they’ll continue to see your ads as they browse the web, which helps build brand awareness and trust. This can also lead to increased lifetime value as these customers are more likely to return for repeat purchases.

    How Does Retargeting Work?

    As you can see, retargeting is a powerful strategy used in digital advertising to reconnect with potential customers who have previously shown interest in a brand, product, or service. It works by tracking user behavior and displaying targeted ads to individuals across various online platforms. Here’s a breakdown of how retargeting works.

    Initial Interaction

    The process begins when a user visits a website, interacts with specific pages, or performs certain actions such as adding items to a shopping cart, subscribing to a newsletter, or downloading content. This initial interaction is tracked using cookies, pixels, tags or other tracking technologies.

    Data Collection

    As users browse the website, their behavior and actions are recorded, creating a profile of their interests and preferences. This data includes:

    • The pages they visited
    • The products they viewed
    • The duration of their visit
    • Any other relevant actions they took

    Audience Segmentation

    Based on the collected data, the audience is segmented into different groups or segments. This segmentation allows advertisers to target specific subsets of users with tailored ads that align with their interests and past interactions.

    Ad Campaign Setup

    Advertisers create retargeting campaigns and define the parameters for displaying ads to the segmented audience. This includes selecting ad formats, determining the frequency and duration of ad display, and choosing the platforms where the ads will be shown.

    Ad Display

    When a user from the segmented audience visits other websites or platforms that are part of the ad network, the retargeting system recognizes the user through their cookies or other identifiers. It then triggers the display of relevant ads based on the user’s previous interactions with the advertiser’s website.

    Ad Personalization

    Retargeting ads are designed to be personalized and relevant to the user’s previous actions. This could include displaying the products they viewed, offering special discounts or promotions, or showcasing related items based on their interests.

    Conversion and Engagement

    The primary goal of retargeting is to encourage users to revisit the advertiser’s website, complete a desired action, or make a purchase. By presenting relevant ads to users who have already shown interest, retargeting aims to increase conversion rates and engagement.

    Campaign Optimization

    By collecting retargeting data, advertisers continuously monitor and optimize their retargeting campaigns. They analyze performance metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on ad spend (ROAS) to refine their targeting strategies, ad creatives, and campaign settings for better results.

    It’s important to note that retargeting campaigns adhere to privacy regulations and respect users’ preferences. Users can typically opt out of retargeting ads through cookie settings or adjusting their ad preferences on various platforms. Nevertheless, retargeting remains a very powerful and cost-effective tool for advertisers. Let’s take a closer look at how businesses apply this strategy.

    Real-Life Examples of Retargeting

    Successful retargeting campaigns have proven highly effective in driving conversions and maximizing the return on advertising investment. Here are a few examples of notable retargeting campaigns:


    Amazon is known for its robust retargeting strategy. When users browse products on Amazon but don’t make a purchase, they are retargeted with ads featuring the exact products they viewed. This personalized approach helps to remind users of their interests and encourages them to return and complete the purchase.


    Airbnb utilizes retargeting to engage potential travelers who have shown interest in specific destinations or accommodations. After visiting the Airbnb website and browsing listings, users may see retargeted ads showcasing properties or destinations they previously viewed. 

    This strategy helps to remind users of their travel aspirations and prompts them to book accommodations through Airbnb.


    Spotify employs retargeting to re-engage users who have signed up for a free trial but have not yet subscribed to a premium plan. These users may receive retargeted ads highlighting the benefits of a premium subscription, such as ad-free listening, offline access, and enhanced features. By targeting users who have already shown interest in the platform, Spotify aims to convert them into paying subscribers.


    Nike leverages retargeting to deliver personalized ads based on users’ interactions with their website and mobile app. For example, if a user views a specific pair of sneakers but doesn’t make a purchase, they may see retargeted ads featuring those exact sneakers or similar products. Nike’s retargeting campaigns aim to remind users of their desired products and encourage them to make a purchase.

    This popular travel booking platform utilizes retargeting to remind users of their searched accommodations and encourage them to complete the booking. For instance, if users search for hotels in a specific location but don’t proceed with a reservation, they may see retargeted ads displaying the same or similar accommodations with enticing offers or discounts. 

    This retargeting strategy helps to keep top-of-mind and prompts users to finalize their bookings.

    As shown above, these examples demonstrate the effectiveness of retargeting in reminding potential customers about their initial interest and nudging them toward conversion. By delivering personalized and relevant ads to users who have already shown intent, retargeting campaigns can significantly boost engagement and conversions—and ultimately drive business growth.

    Overcoming the Most Significant Retargeting Challenges

    Retargeting can be a powerful tool in a digital marketer’s arsenal, but it also comes with its own set of challenges and considerations. Here are some of the key challenges and considerations to keep in mind when implementing retargeting campaigns:

    Ad Fatigue

    Seeing the same retargeted ads repeatedly can lead to ad fatigue among users. Overexposure to ads can result in decreased engagement and even ad avoidance. 

    Сhoosing suitable ad placements and setting appropriate frequency caps prevent ad saturation and ensure a positive user experience. Balancing ad visibility with avoiding excessive ad exposure can help combat ad fatigue and maintain user engagement.

    Privacy Concerns

    Retargeting involves tracking user behavior and collecting data, which can raise privacy concerns. Advertisers must adhere to relevant data protection regulations and ensure user data is handled securely. Providing transparent information about data collection and allowing users to opt out of retargeting can help address privacy concerns.

    Audience Segmentation

    Effective retargeting requires proper audience segmentation. Segmenting users based on their behavior, interests, and intent is crucial to deliver relevant ads. Failure to segment the audience properly may result in ineffective targeting, leading to wasted ad spend and poor campaign performance.

    Ad Relevance

    Retargeting campaigns should focus on delivering relevant ads that align with users’ interests and intent. Showing ads that are unrelated or not aligned with users’ previous interactions can lead to poor engagement and low conversion rates. 

    Personalization and dynamic ad content can help improve ad relevance and increase the likelihood of conversion.

    Attribution Challenges

    Measuring the effectiveness of retargeting campaigns can be challenging due to attribution complexities. Users may interact with multiple touchpoints before converting, making it challenging to attribute conversions solely to retargeting efforts. 

    Implementing proper tracking and attribution models, such as multi-touch attribution or conversion tracking pixels, can help gain insights into retargeting efficiency and impact.

    Ad Blockers

    The use of ad blockers continues to rise, limiting the reach of retargeted ads. As an advertiser, you must consider the increasing prevalence of ad blockers and explore alternative strategies to reach users who actively block ads, such as email marketing or social media engagement.

    Creative and Messaging Optimization

    Continuous ad creative and messaging optimization is essential for retargeting success. Testing different ad copy variations, visuals, and calls to action can help identify what resonates best with the target audience and improves campaign performance.

    By being aware of these challenges and considering them in the planning and execution of retargeting campaigns, marketers can maximize the effectiveness of their efforts and drive better results.

    Final Thoughts: The Value of Retargeting Done Right

    If you’re not using retargeting in your marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a powerful tool for maximizing conversion rates. Retargeting allows you to target customers already familiar with your brand and interested in your product or service. By showing them targeted ads, you can encourage them to come back to your site and complete the conversion process. With a higher conversion rate and lower cost per click than traditional advertising methods, retargeting can help take your business to the next level. 

    Retargeting is a valuable marketing tool that should be incorporated into any online business. This technique is easy to use, and its benefit to your business can be significant. Its ability to target visitors who already showed interest in your product or service, cost-effectiveness, and its ability to build brand awareness all make it one of the most powerful strategies in digital marketing. 

    So, if you’re looking to optimize your conversion rates, start retargeting, and see the difference in your bottom line. Contact MixDigital Agency today to set up your retargeting campaigns!


      Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about retargeting:

      What is retargeting?

      Retargeting is a digital advertising strategy that aims to reach and engage users who have previously interacted with a brand or visited a website but have not yet converted. It involves displaying targeted ads to these users across various online platforms to remind and persuade them to take action.

      How does retargeting work?

      Retargeting works by placing a small piece of code on a website, often called a tag or pixel. This code tracks the site’s users and stores their information in a retargeting audience list. Advertisers then create ad campaigns explicitly targeted at these users, which are displayed to them as they browse other websites or social media platforms.

      What are the benefits of retargeting?

      Retargeting offers several benefits, including:

      • Increased brand recall: By repeatedly exposing users to your brand or products, retargeting helps reinforce your message and increases brand recall.
      • Higher conversion rates: Retargeted users are more likely to convert because they have already shown interest in your brand or visited your website.
      • Customized messaging: Retargeting allows you to create personalized and tailored ad campaigns based on user’s previous interactions, increasing their relevance and effectiveness.
      • Improved ROI: Since retargeting focuses on users who are already familiar with your brand, it can result in higher ROI compared to targeting a broader audience.

      What platforms support retargeting?

      Retargeting can be implemented on various online advertising platforms, including Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Criteo, Twitter Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and many more. These platforms provide retargeting capabilities and allow advertisers to reach their retargeting audience across different websites and social media channels.

      Are there any privacy concerns with retargeting?

      Retargeting relies on tracking user behavior to deliver personalized ads, which raises privacy concerns for some users. However, most retargeting practices comply with privacy regulations and use anonymous data. Still, advertisers should be transparent about their data collection practices and provide opt-out options to address privacy concerns.

      Share this post:
      • linkedin-black
      • facebook-black
      • twitter-black

      More cases

      Measuring and analysing campaign performance

      Measuring and Analyzing Campaign Performance for Beginners

      When you launch a marketing campaign, it’s natural to be excited about its potential success. You spend hours strategizing, planning,...

      29 May, 2023
      How data revolutionizes digital advertising

      Cracking the Code: How Data is Revolutionizing Digital Advertising

      It’s no secret that digital advertising has transformed how businesses reach and engage with customers. But did you know that...

      4 May, 2023
      Unlocking the power of Google Analytics GA4

      Understanding Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and How It Can Benefit Your App or Website

      Google Analytics is a powerful tool for app developers and website owners, providing detailed insights into their audience and how...

      9 May, 2023
      Digital advertising for businesses: What you need to know

      Why Digital Advertising is Critical for Your Business

      Digital advertising plays a vital role in any business growth strategy. Just consider these numbers: According to Deloitte, among the...

      18 May, 2023