Actionable tips, community conversations, and marketing inspiration.

6 Tips on How to Launch a Successful Retargeting Campaign

Evi Katsoulieri

Product Manager @ AdRoll

Topics Covered:

Shopping cart abandonment happens to all e-commerce retailers, no matter how small or large. Shoppers can be fickle: They may browse for other deals, get distracted, or perhaps never had any intention of checking out in the first place (and simply enjoy the thrill of the chase). No wonder the average cart abandonment rate hovers around 77%.

Still, seeing marketing efforts fail to guide conversions successfully can be a massive headache for brands. It’s up to savvy marketers to win them back — luckily, digital marketing tools like retargeting ads make this challenge much easier to conquer. Here are six tips on how to launch a successful retargeting campaign that boosts cart recovery rates:

Define Your Goals

Every retailer has different goals and metrics of success. Before you install your Facebook pixel, make sure you have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve in your retargeting campaign. Is it boosting check out numbers? Is it driving lead form submissions? Or perhaps you want to improve brand awareness and keep your company name top of mind for potential customers in the future. 

Retargeting ads can be used to achieve any of the above, but be sure to state these goals clearly — they’ll define how your retargeting campaign is structured. 

For more on marketing KPIs:

Find Your Creative Juices

Online shoppers are exposed to hundreds of ads every day. To stand out from the noise, your retargeting ads must be creative, clear, and compelling — but that’s not easy to achieve. Here are some general best practices:

  • Create different versions of ad creative that you can rotate, but be sure they adhere to the guidelines of each platform. (For example, Facebook limits how much text is in an ad image.) You’ll also want to resize your creatives in case you experiment with different dimensions, which we recommend. Finally, your copy and creative should uniquely target customers at various spots in the conversion funnel. 

  • Use high-res product images whenever possible.

  • Write short and snappy copy, rather than go for long-winded storytelling. In today’s digital age, people’s attention spans are considerably shorter. 

  • Make sure the text you place over images is legible.

  • Try out different CTAs and remember that your CTAs must set clear expectations for users. 

  • Triple check that your landing pages are mobile-friendly and support quick and easy conversions. 

  • Don’t provide false promises. If your offer has hidden costs that are only revealed on the landing page, users will close out. Remember: Transparency in advertising goes a long way.  

Ultimately, remember that the shopper abandoned their cart for a reason. Put yourself in their shoes — what would convince you to return and check out? Consider speaking directly to shoppers’ pain points, with enticing messaging that succinctly conveys your brand’s value proposition. (Discounts also always help!)  

Choose Your Timing and Frequency Wisely

Deciding on when to start retargeting to shoppers can be tricky. If you start delivering ads right after they abandon their carts or make a purchase, you risk coming off as annoying or pushy. Comparatively, waiting too long may lead them to forget about your brand and support your competitors instead. To find the perfect balance, you’ll want to review the historical data you have collected on your customers — are there correlations between demographics, behaviors, product type, and purchase frequency? Use that as a starting point to tweak the timing of your retargeting ads. 

Additionally, your ads may follow shoppers from site to site — if they see the same visual and message over and over again, they may suffer from banner fatigue and become turned off by your brand. Some experts recommend limiting ad frequencies to 17 and 20 times a month. 

Ultimately, you don’t want to bombard shoppers with ads, which can have a negative effect. Be respectful of their online space without compromising on your own goals. 

Segment Shoppers

Before you launch your campaign, you’ll need to define who exactly you’re retargeting. With AdRoll, you can easily segment and filter your users based on their behaviors. For example, maybe you’re only targeting potential customers who have abandoned their carts after visiting specific pages or added particular products. Here are some more ideas on how you can segment your shoppers:

  • Product. Create a unique retargeting campaign with dynamic ads based on each product, highlighting its value and attributes. 

  • Repeat sale. It’s nice to acknowledge loyal buyers — your retargeting campaign can celebrate them as valued customers and include an incentive, such as a discount. 

  • Location in the funnel. Adapt your advertising message in relation to your customer journey. In other words, for shoppers who have extensively explored your site, you can offer them personalized product recommendations based on what they’ve shown an interest in. Comparatively, for shoppers who’ve only scrolled through your homepage, consider implementing retargeting ads that feature the whole range of products that you have to offer. 

For more information on best practices for creating dynamic retargeting ads:

Create a Burn Pixel 

Ever browse and purchase a product online to then be served dozens of ads from competing retailers? To prevent wasting marketing resources on unlikely shoppers, you’ll want to set up a burn pixel that stops the ad once a shopper has already purchased the item. Similarly, make sure you set up your campaign to exclude shoppers who end up checking out — they’re unlikely to make a repeat purchase anytime soon. Not filtering out these audiences could curtail your campaign’s performance.

Be Patient and Keep Testing

Just like building a digital following from scratch on social media, retargeting is a time-consuming process. You won’t see results instantly — but know that behind the scenes, your brand is being reinforced in the minds of thousands of shoppers, prompting them to reopen your e-commerce site and hit the checkout button. The longer your retargeting campaign runs, the more likely you’ll see conversion and cart recovery rates improve. 

Remember: Automating your retargeting ads doesn’t mean you can set it up and leave it running in the background. To ensure its success, you must continuously A/B test your copy, offers, frequency, timing, creative, CTAs, and segmenting. Even better, expand your efforts to more platforms, sizes, and audiences. Pinpoint which elements impact the KPIs you had defined earlier and never stop optimizing. 

What’s Next?

There are many factors that contribute to a successful retargeting campaign. Fine-tuning and strategizing your targeting can take time and resources, and if you’re still not seeing the results you want, it may be time to call in an expert. 

Here at AdRoll, we’ve built a robust marketing platform leveraging trillions of data points so you can nurture relationships with potential customers across channels and devices. It’s the easiest way to achieve the cart recovery numbers you want. Get started now. 

Explore Next

Topics Covered: