Everyone wants more sales.

Regardless of your industry or company’s current situation, increased conversions will help your business grow and prosper.

But wanting higher sales conversions and actually getting them are two different things.

Sure, your advertising team probably has various content marketing strategies in place.

It’s important you have a proper grasp of the reasons behind these tactics.

Are the advertisements targeting an actionable audience?

That’s one of the major differences between retargeting strategies and other promotional methods.

Here’s the thing.

Not every customer takes a simple path to complete the purchase.

It’s not always as simple as someone viewing your website for the first time, becoming interested in your brand, and buying something during the same visit.

While that would be a great scenario, the reality is this process takes time.

Creating a customer journey map can help you better understand the buying process.

Here’s a visual representation of how consumers interact with a brand before, during, and after they make a purchase:

Infographic of the customer journey.

Take a look at all those touch-point examples in the awareness and consideration stages.

It shows that the buying process isn’t a straight line.

A consumer may stumble upon your website one day, browse it a bit, and leave.

Maybe a month or two later, they read one of your blog posts and subscribe to your email list.

They could even pick up the phone and contact a sales team member to ask some questions about your products and services.

Still, it may take this person another few weeks or so to buy something finally.

As a marketer, you need to anticipate this behavior and aid buyers through this unconventional process.

One of the best ways to do this is through retargeting ads.

We’ll explain everything you need to know about retargeting so you can increase sales conversions for your company.

Make sure your retargeting strategies have a goal

First, let’s cover the basics.

Retargeting ads are designed for people who have already visited your website.

You can also target customers who are in your database from a lead generation campaign.

These ads aren’t as simple as traditional banner ads that target everyone.

Understanding the buyer cycle/journey when considering a retargeting campaign:

Buffer infographic of the buyer journey for retargeting.

With so many different ways to approach this marketing tactic, it’s important you have a clear goal in mind.

If you’ve never done this before, we don’t recommend trying to implement all these strategies at the same time.

Pick one and go with it.

Start by targeting people who:

  • have Google searches relevant to your brand
  • consume content that’s the same as that of your current customers
  • had an impression from a custom advertisement on social media
  • visited your website but didn’t make a purchase
  • are on your email list

Knowing whom you’re going to target will make the rest easier.

Now you’ll better understand where these customers are coming from.

The goal of your retargeting strategy should be to create awareness and increase conversions.

As you saw earlier, people aren’t always ready to buy something the first time they visit your website.

In fact, 92% of consumers aren’t looking to make a purchase the first time they check out a website.

That’s why creating brand awareness needs to be one of your goals.

Even if the consumer has already heard of you and is familiar with your company, you should keep reminding them about what you can provide.

This will make it much easier to get conversions, which is your primary goal.

Your company may have some other goals as well.

It could be driving customers to specific products, subscriptions, or services.

Just make sure those goals are clearly defined before you start.

That way, everyone is on the same page, and measuring these campaigns’ success will be easier.

Use pixel-based and list-based retargeting

Pixel-based retargeting is one of the most common ways to execute your plan.

Here’s an example of how Dohop implements this method:

Example of how Dohop retargets their site visitors.

Once someone visits your website, a browser cookie is stored to retain that information.

This is how you can find people who have visited your website.

Now you need to get a retargeting platform.

The cookie will notify the platform and provide that consumer with your ads based on what pages they viewed on your website.

Pixel-based retargeting is great because of its timing.

People will start seeing your ads almost immediately after leaving your website.

This keeps your brand fresh in their minds.

But the pixel-based strategy isn’t foolproof.

It’s completely based on cookies from the people visiting your website.

If you’re not getting web traffic in the first place, you won’t have anyone to retarget.

List-based retargeting focuses on people who are already in your database.

It’s not as common as pixel-based, but it definitely has plenty of benefits.

You can even focus on your existing customers.

Segment these people into different groups to make your advertisements more relevant to them.

We’ll go into greater detail about your current customers and list segmentation shortly.

Pixel-based retargeting is effective, but you’ll need a platform to communicate with those web cookies you acquire after someone visits your site.

Some of the top options to consider are:

These are some of the features of ReTargeter:

ReTargeter features and benefits.

Check out these websites to see which fits your company’s needs best.

But for the most part, you’ll notice many similarities between different platforms.

Update your ads

One of the biggest mistakes we see companies make is repeatedly running the same retargeting ads.

Your campaigns aren’t going to convert 100% of the time.

It just won’t happen.

Here’s something else to keep in mind.

Consumers aren’t stupid. They don’t think seeing these ads right after visiting your website is a coincidence.

So, switch it up.

If your current ad isn’t getting someone to convert after they’ve been exposed to it for a few weeks, you’ll need to run another one.

Here’s an example.

Take a look at these retargeting ads from Freshdesk:

Example of two retarget ads from Freskdesk.

Retarget ad 1:

It’s simple and has a clear goal.

Look at the CTA button.

They are trying to entice the customer to download something they offer.

This could be targeted toward people who visited a specific landing page on their website.

This ad corresponds to a browsing cookie for that page.

But what happens after someone sees this ad for a few weeks without converting?

Will it eventually work if you keep showing it to them for another few weeks?

Probably not.

They’ve seen it. And for one reason or another, they’re not interested.

Freshdesk recognizes this, so they switch it up.

Retarget ad 2

There are major differences between this ad and the first one above.

Rather than getting the customer to download something, they are trying to encourage them to sign up for a free trial of their software.

Offering something different can potentially increase the chances of getting a conversion.

You should also A/B test your ads.

In the second example, Freshdesk could change its CTA button or color to test which version will deliver higher conversions.

But the key here is to make sure your ads don’t get stale.

A/B testing will also help ensure your conversion funnel is optimized.

Create customized landing pages

When a customer clicks on one of your ads, it shouldn’t bring them to the homepage of your website.

That’s ineffective.

Instead, make sure you send them to a landing page directly connected to the ad they clicked on.

Here’s an example of an ad from Facebook:

Lululemon retargeted Facebook advert.

It’s obvious this post is directed towards men.

The title of the page says men and the models are wearing men’s clothing.

But if you go to the Lululemon homepage, it’s primarily directed toward women.

Lululemon primary homepage before any interaction with retargeting ads.

Sending customers here would be ineffective for that Facebook campaign.

Lululemon recognizes this, so they don’t do it.

Instead, the Facebook ad goes to a customized landing page designed for men.

Here’s what happened when clicking on the retargeting ad:

Lululemon homepage after retargeting ads.

This page speaks to the desired target audience more than the home page.

It’s also directly related to the Facebook ad.

They are promoting discounted men’s clothing.

Apply this concept to your retargeting strategy.

If you pitch a specific product or service, ensure the landing page matches the ad.

When customers have to search your website to find what they are looking for, it will negatively impact your sales conversions.

Focus on your existing customers

Retargeting campaigns don’t need to draw attention to only new customers.

We’ve said it before: you can increase revenue without acquiring new customers.

This is the perfect opportunity for you to reach out to email subscribers who haven’t been active in a while.

As we hinted at earlier, that’s why you need to segment your email lists.

Segment your subscribers based on their interests and activity.

Send them retargeted emails based on their previous purchases or browsing history you’ve collected through their customer profile.

The benefit of retargeting your current or old customers is that they have another level of familiarity with your brand.

They know more about your company than those who have visited your website but never bought anything.

You can also try to cross-sell or upsell to these customers.

Here’s a great example of an ad from American Express:

American Express retargeting ad for existing customers.

In this example, the target person is already an Amex member and has one of their credit cards.

But they are trying to pitch a new card to me.

Rather than getting a new customer, it’s easy to retarget someone by offering a card they don’t have.

If this doesn’t work, the target person will likely see a different ad offering another card a month or so from now.


The audience and target market for your advertisements should be ready to act.

That’s why retargeting campaigns are so effective.

You focus on people already familiar with your brand and interested in buying something.

If you use pixel-based retargeting strategies, you’ll focus on website visitors who didn’t convert.

Increased website traffic doesn’t necessarily lead to sales conversions.

That’s why your retargeting campaigns shouldn’t be aimed at just anyone.

Have a clear goal for your campaign.

Ensure you find the right software and service to help your website utilize cookie information left by the visitors looking for a product or service.

If a retargeting ad doesn’t convert, don’t give up on that customer yet.

Just switch it up after a few weeks with a different offer.

When someone clicks on your ad, ensure it doesn’t bring them to your homepage.

Instead, have customized landing pages for each ad.

If you follow these tips, you can increase sales conversions through retargeting strategies.