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What Is Retargeting

We’re still getting the question “What Is Retargeting? on a regular basis so we’re going to take a couple of minutes to see if we can clarify this “channel”. We’ll start by covering:

Retargeting advertising is targeted advertising where people that have visited your website, or are a member of your contact list, are shown your ads. In fact, you’ve probably seen ads from a retargeting campaign, in your day-to-day website visits.

How Does Retargeting Work

There are two ways that a company can use a retargeting campaign to deliver highly targeted ads to both prospective customers and current customers. The first and most common method is to “flag” a computer, with a piece of javascript code (cookie), as having visited your website. Then as this person visits other websites, sites that are part of a network that delivers retargeted ads, they will very likely see one of your ads that will now be highly relevant to them.

The second method of retargeting is generally used on social media platforms where the platform has a user’s email address in their database. With this method, you will upload a list of contacts, with an email address, and when they visit that platform (i.e. Facebook) they will see your ads.

The beauty to retargeting ads is that you’re showing ads to people that have already demonstrated an interest in your company, your products, or your services.

Depending on how granular you want to get with your campaigns, you can show a generic, brand building ad to anyone that views any page on your site, or you can show an ad that is very specific based on a specific page that they viewed.

As an example, if someone viewed the page on your website that had information on blue widgets that you manufacture, those people would see ads for your blue widgets. If they looked at red widgets, on your site, then they would see ads for your red widgets.


There are a lot of benefits to using retargeting campaigns as part of your marketing mix. Increased conversions being one of them. It’s important to realize that people have a lot going on in their lives, both personally and professionally, and they’re not going to convert on their first visit to your website. A retargeting campaing will keep your brand in front of them and remind them of you.

Some Examples

A couple of examples that would make great sense if you’re running an e-commerce site:

It’s not just commerce sites that benefit from retargeting campaigns. If your website is used to generate leads, as opposed to direct sales, you’ll benefit from a retargeting campaign. Here’s a couple of benefits of retargeting for increasing lead generation:

The Creepy Factor

There is a downside to retargeting that has to be addressed. We’ve heard a number of people claim ads that “follow them” after they leave a website are “creepy”. There have been a number of reports that dispel this, but even if you have one person that feels that way, it’s important to your brand to do whatever you can to not appear “creepy”.

Here’s how you can get all of the benefits of retargeting without being creepy.

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