Retargeter Blog

Where does retargeting fit in the funnel?

You’re probably familiar with the sales process, the studied approach to selling a product or service, which has been depicted over the years with a sales funnel diagram. The funnel quickly takes a potential buyer from awareness to conversion and back again, providing salespeople with a means to understand where in the process their prospects lie, or at what stage of the funnel.

We marketers use the sales funnel when discussing our various campaigns. This campaign will, “nurture prospects down the funnel,” or, “we’re a ‘top of funnel’ solution.” But, why am I talking to you about the sales funnel? Because with today’s variety of retargeting solutions, I’d like to illustrate how retargeting fits into the picture.

Here’s an updated sales funnel with retargeting solutions at each stage:

Where Retargeting Fits in the Funnel



At the top of the funnel, we are at the awareness stage. This means we want to build awareness among prospective buyers. Though retargeting is often considered a solution to be used after people are already aware of your brand or site (and then you retarget them), there are top-of-funnel retargeting solutions. Specifically, search retargeting and audience targeting can be used to drive awareness.

Audience targeting is the practice of using demographic, geographic, behavioral, contextual, interest, and intent-based data to target your ideal audience all over the web. You know what your ideal customer looks like, correct? Audience targeting helps you make an educated guess as to where your customer lives online, and then you can serve them display ads. You have the ability to capture the attention of your identified target market, rather than limiting yourself to the people who have visited your site. This technique gets you in front of a larger, but still qualified, audience, expanding your reach and reinforcing your brand in front of defined segments. Furthermore, by leveraging user browsing activity and behavioral history, you can apply your budget to groups as specific as, “Female, 18-25, California,” which is a highly beneficial practice for building brand awareness and driving interest among the right users.

Search retargeting is the practice of serving display ads to people who search for one of your keywords while browsing the web. This not only enables your brand to reach those who are already seeking out a product or service similar to what you offer, but you can even set your parameters to serve ads to users researching the competition. Search retargeting is a highly effective solution to reach in-market users who are already demonstrating interest in what you have to offer, but perhaps simply didn’t know about you yet.

Interest and Evaluation

There are a few retargeting solutions that can help take your prospects through the Interest and Evaluation stages of the funnel. They are:

  • Site Retargeting – The practice of serving ads to people who visit your website after they leave.
  • Email Retargeting – The practice of serving ads to people who open your emails.
  • CRM Retargeting – The practice of serving ads to people with nothing but an email or mailing list.
  • Dynamic Retargeting –  The practice of serving ads for specific items based on browsing behavior.

With site retargeting, you don’t have to let your hard-earned traffic slip through your fingers. Particularly with about 90-98% of site visitors simply not converting, there is a huge opportunity to bring those users back to your site, get them to sign up for your newsletter, or browse your products and services more thoroughly.

Email retargeting can help you get the most out of your email by supplementing email marketing campaigns with display. Here’s how it works: everyone who opens your emails is tagged with a retargeting cookie that allows you to serve them ads all over the web. With email retargeting implemented any and all email opens can create second chances for engagement all around the web, even in the absence of clicks.

CRM retargeting can help to reach a segment of your audience that you’re unable to reach by either retargeting or email marketing, namely people who made a purchase or signed up for updates but have effectively fallen off your marketing map. CRM retargeting can get you back in front of those users.

While shoppers are still evaluating their options, dynamic retargeting helps digital marketers execute their marketing objectives with greater precision and efficiency. Your ads allow users to better understand their options because you’re able to serve them display that illustrates the diversity of your offerings, while still aligning yourself with a shopper’s original intent.


You’re doing everything right and people are converting, but this doesn’t mean your job as a marketer is done. Once you have gained a new customer, retargeting provides you with an opportunity to stay in touch and establish a committed relationship! In fact, past purchasers are a highly qualified audience—they’ve previously engaged with you and you know there’s a strong possibility they will again. Retargeting isn’t restricted to new business. For example, did a user buy your basic package? Now, you can email them with product updates or special offers and serve them display ads that remind them you’re still around and always improving. Did someone buy shoes on your site? You can serve them display for a deal on socks. There is always an opportunity stay in front of your customers and if you’re not retargeting your existing clients, you’re missing out on valuable conversions.


As you can see, retargeting fits in every stage of the funnel, as long as you’re strategic about how and when you use the technology. Know that retargeting provides you with the marketing touch points that can both attract new buyers and establish a relationship with past purchasers.

Download our new eBook: A Comprehensive Guide to Retargeting for more tips on how you can best incorporate retargeting into your existing marketings strategy.

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