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How to Setup Ad Retargeting Campaigns

How to Setup Ad Retargeting Campaigns

Creating great customer journeys is what a lot of ecommerce stores want to do.

….but what’s a customer journey?

Try to view your potential customers as people who are going through a funnel. For starters, a funnel is the usual step that every customer through before they make a purchase. These steps could include landing on a homepage, choosing a product category, looking at the product, adding it to a cart and buying it. This is not a liminal set of steps—but a funnel.

It’s a funnel because most people aren’t going to buy from you. A lot of customers will look at your website… but only a select few will actually buy your product.

How few?

About 0 to 4% of your visitors!

So… how do you get people to complete the customer journey and make a purchase?

The answer lies in retargeting.

We discussed retargeting with Reza Khadjavi—Founder and CEO of Shoelace, a retargeting expert that proactively creates and manages retargeting campaigns for ecommerce merchants. In this blog post, we’ll summarize what he said and what you need to know about retargeting campaigns.

Listen to our discussion about how to setup ad retargeting campaigns with Reza:


Let’s start with answering this simple question:

What is retargeting?

Retargeting is the idea that people who leave your website without buying anything through Facebook and other app platforms—can be enticed to visit your website again through retargeting ads. This is valuable because people who leave your website haven’t left an email address. There’s no way to get in touch with them, unless they sign-up and become your subscribers.

What retargeting does is that through ads they see on social media, visitors who already visited your site are targeted. Since they already know your brand, its easier to convince them to  come back to the site, start the customer journey and make a purchase.

What are the types of retargeting?

Reza discussed that there are three types of retargeting: 1.) generic retargeting, 2.) segmented retargeting and 3.) sequential retargeting.

Generic retargeting is the concept of sending or showing the same ad to all potential customers—that haven’t bought from you. It doesn’t matter if they visited your website for the first time or placed an item in a shopping cart. You’ll treat them the same way and show them the same ads.

Meanwhile, segmented retargeting is treating your customers differently. You’ll show a different ad to first-time customers and a different ad to people who placed an item in the shopping cart and left.

There’s also segmented retargeting which sends messages based on a user’s previous actions of interacting with the brand. Here, the message is tailored according to the customer’s location in the buying cycle.

Which type of retargeting gets conversions?

Generic retargeting campaigns are easy to run, but they’re not exactly the best campaigns.

Let’s say, you’ve visited a homepage of the ecommerce store—Mandy’s graphic tees.  For the past week, you’ve seen the same ad of Mandy on your social media at least once a day?

Would you visit Mandy’s website and buy rom her? Reza thinks this isn’t such a bright idea.

“There’s a very powerful concept called ad fatigue that consumers these days are very, very quick to get. They may just block out ads even if they don’t hit that ad button on Facebook. Through their minds, they’re just going to mentally block it. In the end, you’re spending money to advertise to people that have consciously blocked your ads from their minds.” He said in the podcast.

With sequential retargeting, this mishap can be avoided. Instead of showing the same boring ad—show a different ad for day 1, day 2 and day 3. You could send a generic ad on day 1, an ad to a free ebook on day 2 and post an offering or a discount on first purchases on day 3. This combined with segmented retargeting—sending different ads to customers at different stages in the buying cycle—is the best strategy.

Reza illustrates the benefits of segmented retargeting and sequential retargeting in a pretty good example:

Let’s say, you want to start a segmented retargeting campaign. You then opt to target people who abandoned their shopping cart and start to run sequential retargeting ads.

“On the 1st day you send a discount with an ad that says, Hey! You abandoned something on the cart! On the 2nd day you can show them an add you can them an ad, which is a link to your return policy. Maybe they’re not buying because they’re not sure… but if you show them your return policy is very flexible… they might think: why not buy? In day 3, if nothing worked, then show them reviews. Maybe they’re not buying because they’re not sure about the product. So, show them reviews and increase your social proof.” Reza explains.

This is how you make a sale.

To put it simply, the goal of retargeting is to get people to the next stage of the funnel—not to immediately convert them. You’ll eventually want them to buy, but there’s no pressure. You want to build their trust with your brand a little bit more, so that you can encourage people to come back to your site, learn about the brand and look at the product.

Ready to Get Started?

When it comes to retargeting, targeting the right audience is key. If you’re not targeting people within your niche, then you’re wasting money. So realise what your audience is in terms of geography, demographic, age group or interest.  Invest heavily in optimising the funnel. And experiment on ways to drive more traffic.

If you want to learn more about retargeting then check out our podcast and view our slides.

Raúl Galera

Raúl is ReferralCandy's partner manager.