Simplifying Retargeting Creative Best Practices

March 13, 2024

Nitin is the CEO of with 20+ years of experience in the field of marketing and advertising. Previously, he was a partner at McKinsey & Co and MD at Accenture, where he has led 20+ marketing transformations.

Retargeting is a powerful strategy to re-engage visitors who've shown interest in your products but haven't made a purchase. This guide simplifies retargeting creative best practices into easy steps, ensuring any small business owner can effectively draw visitors back and boost sales. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Understanding Retargeting: It's about reminding visitors to return and complete their purchases.
  • Why Retargeting Matters: It increases sales, brings people back, is cost-effective, and persistence pays off.
  • Simplifying Creative Best Practices: From segmenting your audience and crafting engaging ad copy to utilizing urgency and designing for visibility.
  • Implementing Retargeting Creatively: Personalization techniques, dynamic and static ad variants, and avoiding common pitfalls.
  • Measuring Success: Key metrics like Click-Through Rate (CTR), Conversion Rates, Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), and Lifetime Value (LTV).

Retargeting, when done right, can significantly improve your sales by keeping your brand top of mind for interested customers. This guide breaks down the process into manageable steps, making it accessible for anyone eager to improve their marketing strategies.

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting, also called remarketing, is like reminding people who visited your website to come back and check out what they missed. Imagine someone comes to your website, looks around but doesn’t buy anything. With retargeting, you can show them your ads on other websites they visit later, nudging them to return and maybe make a purchase this time.

Here’s a simple breakdown:

  • Someone visits your site through an ad or a Google search.
  • They leave without buying anything.
  • A special tool on your site keeps track of these visitors.
  • Later, as they surf the web, they see your ads.
  • These ads remind them of what they saw on your site, encouraging them to return and buy.

Retargeting is a smart way to stay in touch with people who are almost ready to buy but just need a little reminder.

Why Retargeting Matters

Retargeting is super useful for a couple of big reasons:

  • It boosts sales: People who see retargeted ads are way more likely to come back and buy something. They’re familiar with your brand, so they’re closer to making a purchase.
  • It brings people back: Most people don’t buy anything on their first visit to a website. Retargeting gives you another chance to reach out to these visitors.
  • It’s cost-effective: You’re only spending money to show ads to folks who have already shown interest in your products. This means you’re likely to see better results for your money.
  • Keep trying pays off: Sometimes, people need to see something a few times before they decide to buy. Retargeting lets you keep showing your ads without breaking the bank, until they’re ready to make a move.

In short, retargeting is a great tool for turning more of your ad views into actual sales. It keeps your brand in the minds of people who are already interested, helping you seal the deal.

Simplifying Creative Best Practices

Segmenting Your Audience

When making ads to bring people back to your site, it's smart to make different ads for different groups of people. Here's how to do it:

  • Site visitors vs buyers: Make one kind of ad for people who just looked around and another for those who actually bought something. Maybe offer a special deal to first-time buyers.
  • Abandoned cart viewers: If someone put items in their cart but didn't buy, send them a reminder ad. Maybe offer a small discount to encourage them to finish buying.
  • Product category viewers: If your site sells different things, show ads related to what each person looked at. This makes the ad more relevant to them.
  • New subscribers: Say hello to new email subscribers with a personalized ad. Maybe include a special offer just for them.

This approach helps you connect better with your audience by showing them ads that match their interests.

Crafting Engaging Ad Copy

You don't need to be a pro writer to make good ad text. Here are some tips:

  • Speak to their intent: Talk about what they were looking at on your site.
  • Pose questions: Asking questions can make people think and remember why they visited your site.
  • Use urgency: Mention if a sale is ending soon or if there's limited stock.
  • Keep it short: Make your point quickly. Bullet points are great for listing things like sales or new products.
  • Test different messages: Try different types of ads to see what works best.

A little trial and error will show you how to make ads that people want to click on.

Utilizing Urgency and Offers

Making people feel like they need to act fast can help you sell more. Here are some ideas:

  • Countdown timer: A timer showing time running out can make people buy sooner.

  • Limited-time discounts: Offer a special price for a short time to encourage quick buys.

  • Exclusive early access: Let people see new products before anyone else. This makes them feel special.

  • Free gift promotions: Offer a free gift with purchase for a little extra push.

  • Buy one get one free: Deals like this can be very tempting and encourage more sales.

These strategies can help you get more people to come back and buy.

Designing for Visibility

Your ads need to stand out. Here are some simple design tips:

  • Contrasting colors: Use bright colors against a plain background to catch the eye.
  • Bold text: Make important info stand out with bold text.
  • More white space: Don't crowd your ad. Space things out.
  • Eye-catching visuals: Use nice pictures or graphics that show off your products.
  • Repetition: Keep using your brand's colors and logo so people start to recognize them.

These tips can make your ads more noticeable without needing fancy design skills.

Leveraging Automation Tools

Here are some tools that can make making ads easier:

  • AI copywriting: Use AI tools to write your ads. This saves you time and effort.
  • AI product images: AI can also create great product images, no photographer needed.

These tools help you make professional-looking ads quickly and easily, letting you focus on other important things.

Implementing Retargeting Creatively

Personalization Techniques

To make your ads more interesting and relevant for each group of people, try these personalization tips:

  • Dynamic product recommendations: Show them products they looked at before or similar items. This helps remind them what they were interested in.
  • Customized messaging: Change your ad messages and deals based on the products they liked. For example, talk about specific features or discounts.
  • Segmented follow-up sequences: Send different emails to different types of visitors like those who just browsed, left items in their cart, or signed up for emails. Make sure these emails are timely and relevant.
  • Behavioral targeting: Place your ads on websites they're likely to visit based on what they've looked at before. This keeps your brand in their thoughts.
  • Geo-targeting: Adjust your ads to show local prices, shipping info, and even use the local language based on where they are.

Personalizing your ads shows you see your customers as real people, which makes your brand more friendly.

Dynamic and Static Ad Variants

Use dynamic ads when:

  • You have lots of products and want to show the most relevant ones to each person
  • You want to automatically update your ads with the newest items
  • You're trying to save time on making ads

Use static ads when:

  • You're promoting a sale or a special deal
  • You're testing different ad designs or messages
  • You're targeting people who bought something specific before
  • You're trying to make people remember your brand

Mixing dynamic and static ads keeps things interesting and helps people remember your brand.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Here are some mistakes to avoid in retargeting:

  • Over-targeting: Don't annoy people with too many ads. Limit how often they see them.
  • Poor tracking: Make sure you're using the right tools to track who sees your ads.
  • Weak calls-to-action: Be clear about what you want them to do - like buying something on sale or getting an offer.
  • Cluttered messaging: Focus on one main benefit and keep your message simple.
  • Poor optimization: Always try new ad designs and places to show them to improve results.

Remember, it's all about making the customer's experience good. Focus on what's relevant and valuable to them, and don't go overboard with your ads.


Measuring Success

To really get if your retargeting ads are hitting the mark, you need to keep an eye on a few key numbers:

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

This is all about how many people see your ad and then decide to click on it. You're aiming for at least 1-2% of people to do this. If not many are clicking, try changing up your ad's picture, title, or special offer.

Conversion Rates

This looks at how many visitors do what you hoped they would, like buy something or sign up to your email list. Watch this number to see if your ads are really convincing people to take action.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

This tells you how much you're spending to get each new customer from your ads. You want this number to be low. If it starts to climb, you might need to adjust who you're targeting or how much you're spending on bids.

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

This one measures how much money you make for every dollar you spend on ads. To improve your ROAS, try using better-converting landing pages or sending better follow-up emails.

Lifetime Value (LTV)

This is an estimate of how much money each new customer will bring in over time. You'll want to compare this to your CPA to make sure you're making more than you're spending on getting new customers.

Keeping track of these numbers helps you spot problems early and keep tweaking your strategy. Trying new things with your ads, like targeting different groups of people, changing where your ads show up, or testing new ad designs, can help you find what works best for your audience.


Retargeting can really help you get more people to buy stuff if you do it the right way. This guide showed you some simple steps to make your retargeting ads work better, even if you're not a tech expert.

Here are the main points to remember:

  • Know your audience so you can show them ads that make sense for what they're interested in. Talk to them like you know what they want.
  • Make your ads easy to look at with clear colors, space, and direct messages. If your ad catches their eye, they're more likely to pay attention.
  • Use special deals and countdowns to encourage people to buy now rather than later. Offers like "limited time only" can make people want to act fast.
  • Use tools to help you out. There are AI programs that can write your ad copy or make images for you, saving you time to think more about your overall plan.
  • Make it personal by showing ads that match what people have looked at before, using their actions to guide what ads they see next.
  • Keep an eye on your numbers like how many people click on your ads, how many actually buy something, and how much you're spending to get those sales. Try different things to see what gets the best results.

Starting with just one or two of these tips can make a big difference. The more you try and see what works, the better you'll get at getting people to come back and buy.

What's the first thing you'll try to improve your retargeting ads?

What is the best practice for a retargeting campaign?

When you're running a retargeting campaign, here are some smart moves:

  • Really get to know who's visiting your site and make ads just for them based on what they did there
  • Use dynamic ads to show people the exact products they looked at before
  • Focus on getting people who've visited your site to come back, instead of trying to pull in new folks
  • Make your ads interesting and specific to different types of visitors
  • Don't bombard people with too many ads
  • Try using Facebook to reach out to people who showed interest in your page

Personalizing your ads and making sure your deals grab attention can help you turn those revisits into sales.

What is creative retargeting?

Creative retargeting is about the visuals you use in your ads to remind people about their last visit to your site. This could be through pictures on banners, social media ads, and more. The idea is to catch their eye and make them want to return to your site.

Examples include:

  • Showing them pictures of products they looked at
  • Giving them special deals
  • Using cool graphics that match their interests
  • Offering promotions for a short time to get them to buy

Making your ads directly relevant to each person helps your ads do better.

How do I optimize my retargeting ads?

To make your retargeting ads work better, try these tips:

  • Don't annoy people with too many ads
  • Make sure your ads talk about things they're actually interested in
  • Keep reminding them about their last visit in a friendly way
  • Try different deals and visuals for different people
  • Start with one platform for your ads before trying others
  • Update your ads now and then to keep things interesting
  • Keep your ads simple and your messages clear and to the point

Experimenting with your ads helps you find out what catches people's attention the most.

What is the minimum audience size for retargeting?

You usually need at least 100 people in your audience to start retargeting. This number helps make sure you have enough people to show your ads to and get useful info on how well they're working.

But, the number of times your ads are shown depends on your campaign settings. So, focus on making good groups of people to target, then watch how your ads perform with different sizes of audiences to find what works best.

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