What Is Retargeting And How Does It Work?

Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a form of online advertising that can help you keep your brand in front of bounced traffic after they leave your website.

For most websites, only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit. Retargeting is a tool designed to help companies reach the 98% of users who don’t convert right away.

How Does Retargeting Work?

Retargeting is a cookie-based technology that uses simple a Javascript code to anonymously ‘follow’ your audience all over the web.

Here’s how it works: you place a small, unobtrusive piece of code on your website (this code is sometimes referred to as a pixel). The code, or pixel, is unnoticeable to your site visitors and won’t affect your site’s performance. Every time a new visitor comes to your site, the code drops an anonymous browser cookie. Later, when your cookied visitors browse the web, the cookie will let your retargeting provider know when to serve ads, ensuring that your ads are served to only to people who have previously visited your site.

What Is Retargeting and How Does It Work?

Retargeting is so effective because it focuses your advertising spend on people who are already familiar with your brand and have recently demonstrated interest. That’s why most marketers who use it see a higher ROI than from most other digital channels.

When Does Retargeting Work?

Retargeting is a powerful branding and conversion optimization tool, but it works best if it’s part of a larger digital strategy.

Retargeting works best in conjunction with inbound and outbound marketing or demand generation. Strategies involving content marketing, AdWords and targeted display are great for driving traffic, but they don’t help with conversion optimization. Conversely, retargeting can help increase conversions, but it can’t drive people to your site. Your best chance of success is using one or more tools to drive traffic and retargeting to get the most out of that traffic.


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Want to learn more? Check out these additional resources:

For a more detailed introduction to how retargeting works: A Brief Introduction to Retargeting

When it comes to choosing a retargeting provider, it’s not always obvious which service model is right for you: Should You Go With a Self-Serve Retargeter?

Not all retargeting campaigns are created equal. Here are the top pitfalls to avoid: 7 Deadly Sins of Retargeting

And don’t forget to check out our blog section on retargeting for new updates.

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