A guide to retargeting for ecommerce businesses

A guide to retargeting for ecommerce businesses

Did you know that approximately 98% of shoppers fail to convert when they first visit an ecommerce website? When such a large percentage of potential customers leave your website without purchasing anything, you’re bound to wonder why and ask yourself “how can I fix this problem?”


Ad retargeting is the simplest solution for marketers. As the name suggests, retargeting is designed to help online companies present ads to consumers who have already visited their site. This proven marketing tactic places targeted ads in front of the 98% of potential customers who failed to convert on their previous site visit.


Returning visitors are more likely to convert, because they recognize your brand and if they come back, that’s a sign they liked what they saw the first time. Targeted ads can be placed on social media, other websites, and in search results. When consumers see the ads, they are encouraged to click through to the ecommerce site once again.

They can be reminded of a basket full of items that they never purchased – or can be tempted with a pair of shoes they already looked at. Retargeting is particularly effective for ecommerce businesses and can significantly increase conversions.

Why returning visitors are key to conversions

Retargeting is a powerful tactic to increase your website’s conversion rate and the reason it is so effective is simple: People who visit your website for a second or third time are much more likely to convert. These ads will have much more impact than presenting a generic ad to someone who has never engaged with your business before.

People like to do business with individuals and companies that they know. So as people come to recognize your brand and feel familiar with your business, they’ll be more likely to convert.

One of our team shared an example of how traffic on his website converted here. You can see that of the site’s first time visitors, less than 1% convert. While those who visit the site two or more times, have an opt-in rate of 9.6%.

The moral of the story is clear, in order to increase conversions you need to get people to come back to your site. Often this about building recognition and trust in your brand. Or sometimes it could simply that visitors to your website didn’t convert the first time round, because they are busy finishing up their lunch break or boarding the bus.


By retargeting these visitors with ads, you can remind them to make that purchase when they have spare time to spend browsing through their social media feed.

How to use retargeting to your advantage?

There are many advantages to retargeting for ecommerce businesses in particular. Not only can it help you connect with your intended audience, but it can also increase engagement levels and improve brand awareness.

As any sales person knows, one of the keys to improving your marketing sales funnel is to increase your brand’s recognition. In other words, you want to be the first brand that comes to mind when a potential customer needs to buy a particular product or service. Even if your target audience doesn’t click your ads, they will still see your business in their newsfeeds or when they are browsing the web. They will already be aware of your existence because of their initial visit to your website. But by presenting them with retargeted adverts, you’ll build up awareness so that when they need one of your products, its your brand’s name that will be on the tip of their tongue.

As you begin to think about retargeting possibilities, here are a few key tips that you should keep in mind:

Use burn codes

Burn codes can be used once a customer has converted. They are designed so that the customer is removed from a specific retargeting campaign. Instead of bombarding customers with a retargeting campaign that is meant for prospects, a burn code effectively removes the individual from the campaign and thus strengthens your customer relations, saves you money, and improves your sales funnel.

Personalized retargeting

According to Forbes, in 2018 retargeting will continue to be a priority for marketers. But the coming year will see a move to all-out personalization so it these ads will be even more impactful.

The more personalized your ads are, the more conversions they will drive. You can show users different ads based on the number of pages they viewed on your site, which pages they visited and what products they viewed. So if a visitor looked at the men’s clothing section of your site, you can target them with ads relevant to this part of your business.

This type of personalization can take a lot of time, but it will be worth it when you see the effect this has on your conversions and ROI.

Install frequency caps

Overexposure to retargeting ads can become annoying to potential customers and impact results negatively. Fortunately, frequency caps can help to create just the right level of exposure, so that your targeted users can convert when they see your ads, instead of wondering why your ecommerce company keeps popping up and surrounding them everywhere they go online.


Though, even with these caps in place, it’s a good idea to refresh your campaigns on a regular basis too.

Run A/B split tests

People become customers for different reasons, but an A/B split test can be used to help you determine the exact impact of your retargeting campaign ads. They can help you figure out which Call To Action performs best or which images draw your audience in. You can also work out if your ads need to be refreshed or if there is another underlying factor that is positively ,or negatively, impacting your campaign.

Retarget people who have never visited your website

If retargeting proves to be effective at attracting first time visitors back to your site, you may want to broaden your audience for retargeting and present adverts to any people who have shown an interest in your brand.

Did you know that retargeting can be used to attract people who have never even been to your website?


Through link retargeting, you can present ads to anyone who clicks on a link that you control. When creating a branded short link, you simply add a piece of retargeting pixel code to the end.

This is ideal for sharing media coverage about your company or a review of one of your products on social media. So people who show interest in your business by visiting a third party site can still be added to your retargeting funnel and presented with ads for your ecommerce site. This can significantly boost your retargeting audience and is ideal for any ecommerce marketers who have found success with retargeting.

The bottom line

Whether you want to stick to the traditional methods or want to try the added benefit of link retargeting, one thing is certain: if you want to expand brand awareness, increase conversion rates, and drive sales for your ecommerce site, a strong retargeting campaign is the best way to do this.


Bio: Louisa McGrath is a content manager at Rebrandly, the URL shortener empowering marketers to put their brand on their links. She can be seen blogging around Dublin city center, except on Sundays when she stays in to pore over the newspapers.


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