Programmatic Retargeting 101 – Guide For Beginners


Retargeting is a form of online advertising where marketers can make use of the data collected by the pixels in an effective way by retargeting the users who interacted with their ads or visited their website. It is a process of following the prospects who left your website without completing the desired action. 97% of the users visiting your site for the first time leave without completing the action. (1) However, they can be brought back if you apply the right tactics at the right time. And one such widely used tactic is retargeting.

Retargeting allows you to capture your audience when they visit your site which helps you to reach out to them via compelling visuals and text when they visit other sites. You can retarget your customers via Google ads, Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, and other programmatic media buying platforms. Since the formerly mentioned methods are well known to all, in this article, we will be exploring programmatic retargeting in depth. Retargeting is not only an ideal advertising tactic to reach your ideal prospects but also quite cost-effective.

Difference Between Retargeting & Remarketing

Although both retargeting and remarketing are similar, as both work towards the same motive, there are subtle differences in the strategy. Retargeting essentially uses cookies and paid ads to target your ideal prospects. On the other hand, remarketing is primarily done by emails using the user information to target.

How Does Retargeting Work?

Retargeting ads work on the basis of cookies. And the cookie data is collected with the help of java codes that you’ll be required to place on your sites, known as pixels. This code cannot be seen by your visitors and does not cause any sort of disturbance in their experience while they are on your website.

Every time a new user visits your page, an anonymous browser cookie is dropped by the code. Cookies usually store all the information like which ads were shown to the last user. This user gets added to your audience list and later upon browsing the web, the cookie serves its purpose by displaying ads to the users who visited your site in the past.

When To Use Retargeting Ads?


1. Boost Brand Awareness

Retargeting ads are ideal to boost brand awareness and recall. The majority of the audience needs to know you well before making any purchase from you. Retargeting ads keep your brand image on the top of the mind of your prospects who aren’t willing to purchase upon visiting your site for the first time.

2. Showcasing New Offer/Collection

The audience who has previously visited your website or interacted with your ad in one way or the other is an ideal audience to introduce your new offer or collection too. Retargeting ads will catch their attention whenever they browse online and they will relate to it because of the brand recall created in the past.

3. Market Your Bestsellers

Retargeting ads also serve as a great advertising tactic to promote the best-selling products that your users are already loving. Marketing the products or services that your customers already love can help you convert the visitors of your site into customers comparatively easily and hence boosting ROI on your ad spend.

4. Understanding Audience

Apart from the above-mentioned conditions, retargeting can well complement any sort of campaign and is helpful in understanding your audience by determining their journey and the pages they spend most of their time at. It can help you optimize those pages and work on other pages accordingly to boost conversions.

Best Practices For A Retargeting Campaign


1. Set Your Frequency Capping

One of the most common mistakes marketers can commit is bombarding their audience with too many ads. On the flip side, if they resort to limited ads, the audience might not have the desired brand recall. Too many ads can certainly annoy the ads, and very few can leave the job undone. The challenge is to find a mid-way and keep a decent balance between over and under-serving ads to your users. A frequency cap of about 16 to 21 may be ideal to keep your brand recall intact in your prospects’ minds.

2. Exclude Converted Users

Serving the same ads to the users who have already made a purchase will certainly annoy them. And you wouldn’t want to irritate your customers, would you? Although easy, this gets overlooked by most marketers. Remember to exclude the users who have already made a purchase and shift them to another list. If you do not want to exclude that audience from your list, do not urge them to repeat the same action over and over again. You can rather upsell, cross-sell, or introduce offers and discounts as we discussed above.

3. Segment Your Audience

Audience segmentation is a crucial step that helps you tailor the messages at each stage of the user journey. You can have different ads specific to the action that users perform. For example, if the user lands on your home page and leaves from there without exploring further, you can have a generic brand awareness ad shown to them, and if they end up exploring further about your product or service, you can have a more personalized and specific ad based on their action. It just requires you to place different retargeting pixels on different pages of your site.

4. Use Single Provider

When it comes to retarget, it’s ideal to run your campaigns with a single provider. If you run such campaigns with multiple providers, you may be at risk of exceeding your media costs and decreasing the chances of your ads being served as multiple providers may end up bidding for the same spot on the same website. This will also lead to challenges in setting up frequency capping because each provider will be functioning on their own. If you however want to try multiple platforms, you can run test campaigns in ensuing months with one provider at a time.

5. Make Compelling Creatives

Although the main motive of retargeting ads is to make sure that your brand stays at the top of the mind of your consumers, your creatives play a major role in aiding that motive. It needs to ignite connection in your consumers’ minds. Be it branding or neatly well-placed creatives, it’s really important to not overlook this aspect. Most of the time marketers feel the urge to stuff the creative with too much information, making it look cluttered and hurtful to the eyes. It’s important to have a proper creative strategy in place before setting up a retargeting campaign.


Retargeting can be an extremely powerful tool if used well. It not only aids in boosting brand awareness or brand recall but also supports many other motives like conversions, promotions, etc. However, no matter how beneficial it may be for your business, it’s important to take calculative decisions and a well-planned strategy goes a long way before setting up a retargeting campaign. At IngeniousPlex, we help our clients with expert counseling and suggestions as to how they can make the best of their ad spends by launching various campaigns. You may reach us at if you’re looking to launch a retargeting campaign for your business.

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