Why Should I Care About Retargeting?


Brandon Andersen, Chief Strategist, ceralytics

Less than 2% of site visitors convert on their first visit to a site. In our own research at Ceralytics, the topics that bring people into a site are rarely the same topics that get people to convert to a buying action on that site.

The hard truth is people don’t come to your site out of the blue and buy your stuff. Are you taking this into consideration with your content marketing?

If 98% of your audience is coming to your site and then leaving without doing the action you want them to, you shouldn’t just give up and hope they come back some other time. You need to get them back!

That’s where retargeting comes in.

What is retargeting?

Retargeting keeps your brand in front of an audience that visited your site, and draws them back to convert at a later date.

Like the sketch above details, retargeting utilizes a cookie put on your visitor’s browser when they visit your website to target ads to that specific person when they visit other sites. The goal of those ads is to get the person to re-engage with your brand and (hopefully) convert on your site.

Retargeting is used heavily by ecommerce brands. Have you ever been browsing the Web for something to buy and then noticed ads following you around on other sites for that item? That’s retargeting.

Is retargeting effective?


Retargeting lets you target the audiences that do specific actions on your site and give them a call to action tailored to their needs. If a person added a pair of sunglasses to your site’s shopping cart and then abandoned the purchase, you can target that person with ads for those sunglasses, or even offer them a discount code in the ad to get them back to your site.

Because you’re targeting someone who is familiar with your site, and you know the actions they’ve taken, you can customize the messaging to them and drive higher engagement rates than you would with generic advertising.

How is retargeting used in content marketing?

While ecommerce heavily utilizes retargeting, content marketers can utilize retargeting to bring one-time visitors back to new content, or to subscribe to a newsletter.

Content marketers can also retarget engaged content browsers with advertising to drive them further down the marketing funnel, such as downloading a report on a topic in which they’ve shown interest, or offering them a personalized ad that addresses their needs based on the content they’ve consumed on your site.

At Ceralytics, we utilize retargeting in two ways in our marketing.

First, anyone who visits a product page but doesn’t request a demo will be retargeted with a message to get them to come back to the site and request a demo. This retargeting engages prospects at a rate of about ½ the cost of going out and getting new leads via other channels.

The other retargeting we utilize is to get people who view our thought leadership content – but not our product pages – to sign up for this newsletter. It’s an effective way to reach an audience who is somewhat familiar with our brand and get them to take the next step with us.

Are retargeting and remarketing the same?

Retargeting and remarketing are similar, and are sometimes used interchangeably. However, remarketing is typically used in reference to email campaigns. But Google refers to “retargeting” as “remarketing.”

So who is actually right? It just depends on who you ask.

Implementing retargeting: Next steps

If you have a demand generation team, talk to them about the retargeting they’re currently implementing and see if utilizing it for your content marketing strategy makes sense.

Retargeting should be part of a strategy and not just a tactic. You need to know what you’re trying to accomplish before you start throwing resources at it. Understand who you are targeting, where they are in the buyer’s journey, what messaging will resonate with them at that stage, and what outcome you want from that audience.

If you don’t have a team that does retargeting already, one of the most well known ways of doing retargeting yourself is through Google Adwords. If you connect your Google Adwords and Google Analytics accounts together, you can create custom audiences of users on your site who take specific actions and retarget to them. Google has a guide on how to get started here.

You will need to create ads for every audience you’re targeting. These ads drive your audience to an action you want them to take. And you need to make these ads in many sizes. Here are the most common display ad sizes in Adwords:

  • 200 x 200 – Small Square
  • 250 x 250 – Square
  • 300 x 250 – Inline Rectangle
  • 336 x 280 – Large Rectangle
  • 468 x 60 – Banner
  • 728 x 90 – Leaderboard
  • 970 x 90 – Large Leaderboard
  • 120 x 600 – Skyscraper
  • 160 x 600 – Wide Skyscraper
  • 300 x 600 – Half-Page Ad

You DON’T have to create ads in all of these sizes, but if you choose only to make ads in a few of these sizes it will limit where your retargeting ads will show up on other sites.

Retargeting is a big step, but is becoming more essential as content marketers work overtime to engage, and re-engage audiences.

When combined with a solid content strategy and an understanding of how it moves an audience down the marketing funnel, retargeting can be a cost-effective means of engaging and converting audiences that would otherwise be lost.