Advertisements, Guest Post, The Technical Side

Hitting the Mark: Our Start-Up Guide to Retargeted Ads: Post on

[Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes can change your life. Guest posts are proof that someone has read what I’ve written.]

This Just In: another one of my posts on This time, on retargeted ads.

I’ll admit, before I became a content marketer, I knew a little about retargeted ads — I wanted to understand why Facebook always seemed to know I was looking at that website just yesterday

But I’d never been too interested in the technical side of retargeted ads. But now I know, and I’m eager to share with everyone. (Literally everyone. I bored my mother-in-law to tears with this at Grandpa’s 80th birthday).

In this post, I talk about: what retargeted ads aim to accomplish, the tech behind how the work, the logic behind how they work, and the reasons why companies may consider investing marketing spend in display ads.

This post originally appeared on as “Hitting the Mark: Our Start-up Guide to Retargeted Ads.” Cleriti is a full-service digital marketing agency located in Cincinnati, OH, and I work there as a content strategist.


Maybe you’re making the leap towards purchasing digital ads, and you’re not sure what the jargon is about. Maybe you’ve been using display ads for a long time, and you’re looking for a new angle. Maybe you want to know why Facebook ads always know what you’ve been looking at on Amazon recently.

Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.

Today we’re talking about retargeted ads, which are a sub-type of digital display ad. Cleriti supports retargeted ads, and it’s an option we offer our clients.

Wait, What Are Retargeted Ads?

Retargeted ads are a powerful way to help potential customers return to your site and buy your product. The ads target users who have already visited your website but didn’t take the action you wanted them to take — they didn’t sign up for more information, they didn’t submit contact information, or they didn’t complete a purchase.

Retargeting essentially customizes the display ads these users see as they continue to browse other websites. The customization is based on the pages and information they looked at on your website, and brings attention to your brand and products even after they’ve left your corner of the internet.

How Do They Work?

On the technical side, retargeted ads work by installing a small piece of code in your website that anonymously tags visitors to your site using cookie technology. When those now-cookied visitors browse other websites, the cookie tells the retargeting provider that the visitor has been to your website.

Those visitors are then shown relevant display ads that point them back to your website — the length of time those ads are shown after the visitor leaves your website can vary. You can also segment visitors and choose aggression levels, which allows you to tailor your marking efforts to your buyer persona’s media habits.

On the less technical, more logical side, retargeted ads just make sense: you already got the potential customer to your website — most likely because of your excellent and helpful content, your great social media interaction, or your SEO optimization — but for some reason, the prospect left without signing up or buying. So, you need to get them back to your site.

Retargeted ads display your company’s brand and products on other websites the prospect visits. By displaying your ads after the prospect has left your website, retargeted ads keep your brand and products at the front of the prospect’s mind.

Bonus: because the retargeted ad essentially follows the prospect, they don’t need to re-find your website — one click, and they’re back to your content, your lead generation forms, and your point-of-sale pages.

Your potential customers may have left your website for any reason — they may not be ready to purchase, they may be comparing your products to a competitors’, or they may still be looking for a solution to their problem — but retargeted ads act as a constant reminder to return to your site.

Why Do I Need Them?

According to Forrester, 96% of website visitors leave before completing a desired action— they don’t sign up for more information, they don’t submit contact information, and they don’t complete a purchase.

That stat isn’t comforting.

But, because the prospect has already been to your website, retargeted ads are like the “warm calling” of sales — the prospect is somewhat familiar with your brand because they’ve already looked at your site.

This translates to measurable results: retargeted ads have some of the highest click-thru and conversion rates of any type of online advertising.

Click-thru, conversion rates, and ROI may vary from company to company, but here are some more comforting stats:

Beyond the digital ROI, retargeted ads help increase your brand recognition, encourage repeat site visits, boost engagement with your lead generation practices, and increase the effectiveness of your SEO tactics.

Bottom Line

In short, retargeted ads help you reconnect with the right customers at the right time. They offer great ROI, and retargeting customers provides an easy way to focus on your buyer persona and encourage your ideal customers to recognize your brand.



Background for Featured Image courtesy of Nick Sherman and used under Creative Commons Non-Commercial and ShareAlike licenses. The image has been altered. 

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