17 Tips to Increase Your Retargeting Efforts to Boost Your eCommerce Store

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

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Retailers spend a lot of time trying to reach new customers. After all, building a customer base is vital to online success.

That said, 92 percent of first-time website visitors aren’t even there to buy. This troubling statistic undoubtedly leaves many wondering how they are supposed to generate enough sales to thrive if the majority of first-time site visitors aren’t going to convert.

While this was surely a greater conundrum in the past, the technological innovations available today provide merchants with the ability to reconnect with non-buyers after they have left the site.

With the ability to employ retargeting and remarketing tactics, online merchants now have a wealth of opportunities to engage potential customers and earn sales.

Retargeting is one of the most widely used ad types in the eCommerce space. However, with all sorts of engagement tactics at retailer’s disposal, one must wonder what makes these ads so effective.

Let’s take a look.


What Is the Draw of Retargeting?

Retargeting in order to engage a customer that has already made contact with your brand in some way can boost ad response by up to 400%. It’s that effective because customers are more attracted to something they’re familiar with—especially if they just recently saw it. Approximately three out of five online buyers admit to noticing ads for products they searched for on other websites.

Better yet, only 11% felt negative about those retargeting ads. 59% of online consumers were indifferent, and 30% stated they had a positive (or very positive) reaction to those ads.

Customer comfort with this type of marketing makes these types of ads see a 10x higher conversion of traditional display ads (.7% vs .07%). CPG company Kimberly Clark sees upward of 60% higher conversion rates among consumers that have been retargeted.

If you want to improve your own ad campaign to step up conversion rates, here are 17 tips you can start testing today.


1. Promote More Than Your Products

Most eCommerce brands use retargeting to promote products in their store to customers who interacted in some way with those product pages. However, you can do a lot more than just target products.

Content marketing in eCommerce is growing as an effective tool for generating inbound traffic. So, why not use retargeting to drive traffic toward your content? If you have a blog post, case study, or other downloadable that has done exceptionally well, run retargeting ads to attract customers to that top-of-funnel content.

Just be sure to exclude those who have already read that content. I don’t recommend using new content. Instead, check your analytics and use something that has proven to be popular.

2. Set Up Exclusions Based On Time-on-Site Data

Your pixel data will contain everyone that hits your site within your segments that you specify. However, even if you’re targeting a segment, you don’t want to target everyone in that segment.

Make sure you filter out the people who spend a short amount of time on your site—10 seconds or less.

Avoid spending your retargeting budget on people that contribute heavily to your bounce rate without spending any great length of time on site. Those people are the least likely to convert when they see your ad.

It takes a little time to set this up with your Google Analytics, but managing audiences in this manner will greatly improve your ROI. Google has a great guide here on how to set this up.

3. Target Content Marketing To Specific Site Activities

Retargeting should always be done based on segmentation. Rather than target everyone that came to your site, break it down and get granular.

For example, split your visitors off into activities, such as customers who:

  • Landed on specific category pages
  • Added targeted products to a cart (or wishlist)
  • Read your about page
  • Visited your contact or customer service pages

Deliver ads that are highly targeted with content relevant to those segments so you’re getting products and content in front of the right people. 


retargeting infographic


4. Target The Customers Who Open Specific Email

Studies have shown that every dollar spent on email marketing brings an average return of $38— that’s huge for eCommerce! But not every customer sees your email. Open rates vary by industry but, on average, it’s around a 24% open rate with just a 4% click through.

That’s a lot of people missing your promotion. Use retargeting to deliver the same message through other channels.

You might have missed the click in email but you can upload that segment list of email opens to hit them again with a promotion and capture their attention.

5. Target The Customers Who Don’t Open Emails

Along the same vein as the above item, you can take the same approach with people who didn’t open your emails at all. That’s probably a good chunk of your list for any given campaign where the average open rate is around 24%.

Even with a good open rate of 43%, like the image below, that’s still more than half the subscribers who don’t see your promotion.

Upload the list of people who never opened your emails to remove that email-open barrier. Get the message right in front of them.


6. Double Up On Recapturing Abandonment 

Some of the latest data from Forrester shows that as many as 88% of consumers admit to abandoning a transaction before they complete a purchase. On average, across eCommerce, cart abandonment rates hang at roughly 68%.

That’s a hefty loss of a customer who was just about ready to check out.

If you’ve got automated cart abandonment emails in place, you’re already a step ahead in recovering some of those carts. You won’t catch them all, though. That’s where retargeting can help.

Take that list of abandoned carts and customers who bailed, upload it, and hit them with a special offer they can’t refuse, to get them to come back and finish checking out.



7. Exclude Customers Who Have Already Made a Purchase

A lot can happen between the time you pull customer data and when your ads start rolling. More than likely, a few of your customers (hopefully, more) have come back to make a purchase. You don’t want to serve “come back for a discount” ads to someone who just finished. You risk frustrating the customers and wasting your ad budget.

Instead, before you run an ad, scrub your retargeting data to eliminate customers who just made a purchase.


8. Build Trust Through Faces—Even Familiar Ones

If you’ve been following the data, images with faces and real people get far more engagement in social channels like Facebook and Instagram. Capitalize on that when creating your ad.

Show happy customers. If you can’t easily get those images, then turn to your team.

If you have a customer service rep, agent, partner, or manager the customers are familiar with, then consider including them in your retargeting ads. That familiar face and/or familiar name generates a lot of extra trust around advertisements.


9. Focus on Crafting Better Copy

There is no doubt that the visual elements utilized in a retargeting campaign, as these are what will initial get a consumer to stop scrolling.

However, even the best of images are completely useless if they are accompanied by drab, uninspired copy.

The fact is that retargeting ads are only a good investment if they make an impact and drive conversions. Employing an epic copywriter is crucial to realizing this goal as these individuals will help earn ads more clicks through giving shoppers the direction and motivation required to purchase. For this reason, ad copy is one of the most important elements in a retargeting campaign.

Excellent ad copy that drives conversions does three things:

  • Captivates
  • Entices
  • Excites

When these three factors are present in a retargeting ad’s copy, it is more likely that a brand will successfully reconnect with a buyer and get them back on-site to purchase as they are given the precise information and inspiration they need to take action.


10. Retarget Based on Price Sensitivity

The top reasons for shopping cart abandonment in eCommerce are high shipping costs and finding better prices through a competitor.

Millennials are especially careful about spending on non-essentials and are spending less than previous generations. So, with price-sensitive customers in mind, you can win them back by targeting customers based on loss.

Go after those who left at a specific point in the checkout, like right after selecting shipping options. Promote discounts and/or free shipping to get them to come back.


11. Target Your Best Customers and Brand Advocates

Your eCommerce platform should provide a wealth of reporting, including customer and merchandising reports and other analytics. Query your customer data regularly to track your customers who spend the most money or spend with you on a regular basis.

A simple retargeting campaign for these customers can have the same impact of a loyalty program but without the effort of accruing points. Simply offer them a discount on a repeat purchase or an exclusive promotion.


12. Cross-Sell New and Existing Products

Depending on the products you sell, there’s a good chance you have products that complement one another.

Use your customer and sales data to create a list targeting specific product purchases—then show that audience ads relating to a different product that complements their purchase. Just be sure to make the value clear in the ad. Show them how the purchases can work together.

Consider this same tactic for a product launch. If a new product has substantial relevance to a product you’ve been selling, use retargeting to promote that new product.


13. Use Dynamic Retargeting To Show Them What They Love

One of the great things about retargeting is the dynamic use of it. This dynamic retargeting is such a terrific way to capture customers who love you and your products, but are just browsing—which also happens to be one of the top reasons for cart abandonment.

If you’ve got someone actively engaging with your product pages, don’t let them forget about you. Use retargeting to show them the products they liked enough to visit. If they liked it but were on the fence about a purchase, then they’re more likely to convert after you show it to them again.


14. Embrace Emotionality

While it is a nice thought that people are rational creatures who make rational decisions, the truth is that we are highly emotional beings and often make our selection based on those feelings.

This is true of personal and business relationship, as well as buying behaviors.

It is for this reason that retailers should embrace the tenets of emotional marketing to help increase retargeting campaign performance.

The credence of emotional marketing can be seen in how retailers write product descriptions, listing out the benefits received as opposed to an item’s features. The reason this tactic is successful is because of the emotional triggers associated with the personal benefits.

When it comes to ad retargeting, merchants should utilize emotionally charged language that gets consumers to act.

One great strategy for achieving this aim is to leverage the FOMO phenomenon.


15. Use FOMO In Your Retargeting To Bump Last Minute Sales

Retargeting ads already have spectacular conversion rates when set up properly. There’s always room to grow, though. One way to build on your conversation rates is to incite FOMO (fear of missing out).

This tactic is often seen with countdown timers, last minute deals, and limited time offers. If your audience sees something they were interested in (dynamic retargeting) mixed with a last-minute deal, it’s more likely to spur them to make the purchase.

You can even customize your ads with things like countdown timers to heighten the sense of urgency.


16. Adjust The Frequency of Your Retargeting Ads

People are generally receptive to retargeting ads … as long as you don’t overdo it. If your ads are popping up too frequently, it can negatively impact the relationship between your brand and the customer—even to the point where customers get frustrated or feel like you’re intruding into their lives in a creepy manner.


17. Keep Your Retargeting Ads Fresh

The fastest way to kill the effectiveness of your retargeting campaign is to run the same ad copy and images on repeat. If your customers see the ad pop up everywhere, it won’t take long for them to put blinders on. If the ad doesn’t capture them right away, the same ad isn’t going to do it again later.

They’ll develop advertising blindness (banner blindness), the same way many of us ignore things like speed limit signs and the same billboards we pass on the way to the office. With more than 80% of consumers suffering banner blindness, it pays to run different variations of your ads and regularly change things up to keep your audience engaged. 


Final Thoughts

A well-tuned eCommerce retargeting strategy has a ton of value to offer eCommerce retailers who are seeking to promote their products and store to relevant audiences who are likely to convert. With this ad type, merchants are capable of reaching those who are most probable to open up their wallets and make a purchase.

That said, there is a lot that goes into developing a stellar campaign that achieves the desired results. Retargeting ads are not a “set it and forget it” type of technique, but require close oversight, frequent tweaks and constant optimization to continually increase conversions.

While the tactics listed here can help merchants to develop an effective eCommerce retargeting strategy, it often takes a considerable amount of experience to master the technique. For that reason, retailers who are looking to produce optimal results sooner than later should reach out to Visiture’s eCommerce retargeting professionals as we can aid in crafting a retargeting campaign that is optimized to reach the right consumers with the message so as to produce peak retargeting performance.

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