Retargeter Blog

Getting Started with Retargeting: A Crash Course for Startups


For startups that are just getting started with paid marketing, retargeting is often an attractive prospect. It’s a high-ROI tool that can help you look bigger than you are online, compete with established players in your space, and increase your conversion rates.

If you’re thinking about getting started with a retargeting campaign, here’s an overview of factors you should consider:

Choosing a Retargeting Platform

For a startup with a smaller advertising spend, you may largely be limited by your budget. There’s no shortage of retargeting providers, but many are full or managed solution providers with minimum spend requirements. (ReTargeter is one of those full-service providers and our minimum is $500/month.)

If your budget is small, I recommend getting started with Google remarketing. If that’s the right fit for you and your budget, here’s a great overview of Google’s remarking options.

The one significant downside to running with Google is that Google is only a small portion of the display-serving web. Though its display network is one of the largest, it only makes up around a fifth of the inventory ReTargeter has access to (check out a more extensive breakdown here). This point is crucial because with retargeting, you want to be able to reach your bounced traffic anywhere they go. As your marketing budget grows, you’ll probably want to leave Google remarketing behind.

Tips, Tricks, and Mistakes to Watch Out For

As powerful as retargeting is, campaigns don’t run themselves. You need to follow best practices in order to get the most out of your campaigns.

Make sure you have clearly defined goals so you can determine whether the campaign is working for you or not. If you don’t know what you’re hoping to accomplish, you’ll have no way of determining whether you get there.

Optimize your banner ads. Ad creative is hugely important for retargeting and bad creative kills campaigns. Secondly, make sure your landing pages are well-aligned with your ads.

Always use a frequency cap, which is to say, limit the number of ads each user sees. There are diminishing returns to increasing the number ads served and at a certain point, increasing your ad volume actually decreases ROI because it overwhelms your users.

And if your first campaign doesn’t work well, don’t give up on retargeting right away. Retargeting works, so if it isn’t working for you it’s likely that the cause is something fixable. For a more robust look at retargeting do’s and don’t, check out our roundup of common mistakes and their fixes: 7 Deadly Sins of Retargeting.

Measuring Success

Most retargeting providers will offer analytics, but make sure you’re tracking metrics that matter. It’s easy to get caught up with clicks, because it seems like such a clear indicator of campaign performance, but at the end of the day clicks rarely correlate to revenue earned and are not a good indicator of success.

Many providers will track view-through conversions for up to 30 days (that is to say, if someone converts 30 days after seeing an ad, but never clicks, they’ll be counted as a conversion.) At ReTargeter, we recommend 24-hour windows. Here‘s more on why.

If makes sense for your business, ask your provider about revenue tracking so you know how much money each retargeting conversion drives. If a conversion for you is a lead, make sure you have a strong sense of what a lead is worth to you in dollars so you can positively determine whether or not you’re ROI-positive.


Retargeting is a powerful tool for both enterprise companies and startups alike. No matter what your budget, getting started can help you get more out of your existing initiatives, break into bigger markets, and drive more conversions.


Leave a Comment


  • A very valuable test to run is to do an A/B test on the retargeting campaign: Show your ad to 50% of the users, and a blank or PSA ad to the other 50%. Then calculate the additional lift produced by your actual ad vs the placebo.

    I did a writeup on my results here:

    Is this something the retargeter offers to it’s customers? If not, it should — in fact, I strongly believe that you should require any new advertisers to run this test. I think it will work out with positive results for the both of you, as the customer will have confidence in the value of the VTCs and will be able to intelligently ratchet up his spend.

  • You mention that the minimum price offered for Retargeter campaign is $500; however, your website states it as $1,500/month. Do you still offer the $500 option?