Retargeting best practices for your ecommerce website

Posted by Joanne Camarce on 18 Jul, 2022
View comments Marketing
​Retargeting can generate a significant boost in ecommerce sales. Discover six retargeting best practices for ecommerce businesses to keep your customers coming back for more.


Are you sick of a high shopping cart abandonment rate?

Could you secure the sale if you had just one more chance to win them over?

Thankfully, there's a way to get a second chance.

Retargeting is an excellent marketing strategy that can help to boost brand awareness, increase customer engagement, and reduce your abandoned cart rate. But, like anything else, it needs prioritization and optimization.

If you focus on customer engagement instead of pre-designed ad campaigns, you can use retargeting to reach more people and score more conversions.

What is ​​retargeting?

Retargeting is a form of digital marketing that allows you to show ads to people who have visited your website. Also known as remarketing, it lets you follow up with those people by showing them relevant ads on other websites and apps, which will encourage them back to your site.

Retargeting ads.

Retargeting is a way for ecommerce business owners to stay top of mind with shoppers when they're browsing other sites and apps, increasing the chances of them making a purchase in the future.

How does retargeting work?

Retargeting displays ads to users based on their past actions, like visiting a product page or making a purchase.

The main types of retargeting include pixel-based retargeting and list-based retargeting.

Pixel-based retargeting

The key to retargeting success is finding relevant audiences and serving them the right ads based on their behavior. One of the most common ways is to install a retargeting pixel on your site.

A retargeting pixel is a piece of code that helps you identify visitors so they can see relevant ads later when they visit other websites or mobile apps. The best way to implement this code into your site is through Google Tag Manager — it allows for easy implementation, so anyone on your team can set it up without requiring technical skills.

Users have become more aware of tracking and privacy issues, and so are becoming more cautious about sharing their data online with companies for marketing purposes.

However, a successful retargeting campaign requires the collection of an extensive database of customer data. Therefore, it's crucial to build trust with your customers so they know their data is secure and that you're collecting only the necessary information to improve their overall customer experience.  

A retargeting pixel allows you to tailor-make ads specifically for an audience segment and drives more conversions by targeting precisely.

List-based retargeting

Retargeting is also possible through remarketing lists for search ads. It allows you to create specific audiences who'll see your ads when they search for relevant terms on Google and other sites within the Display Network.

AdWords lets you upload customer email addresses from your CRM to show ads in Gmail, YouTube videos, etc.

Retargeting shows people relevant messaging in the buyer's journey at the right time.

6 retargeting best practices for ecommerce

Retargeting is one of the most effective ways to re-engage with your customers.

It's also a great way to help them get the information they're looking for, which can be particularly helpful if you have a lot of products on your ecommerce site and a high shopping cart abandonment rate.

Globally, the online shopping cart abandonment rate stands at just under 70%, so that’s a lot of money to be leaving on the table.

Here are 6 retargeting best practices for ecommerce you can implement today.

1. Optimize your landing page for conversions

The landing page is where a user lands after clicking on your retargeting ad. This page must be relevant to the ad so that users don't immediately bounce.

Decide what you want your customers to do once they visit your site:

  • Buy something?
  • Sign up for a newsletter?
  • Learn about new product features?

Once you have your target action, create a clear call-to-action (CTA). The CTA should directly relate to what the retargeting ad promised and be placed prominently on a relevant page, as seen in this example for a 7-day free trial of Wordtracker Keywords Tool.

Wordtracker CTA.

Consider leveraging educational marketing on your landing pages to help attract more of your target niche and demographic. Relevant articles providing useful information for your target audience will help you become a trusted source.

2. Don't spam your audience

It’s best practice when using retargeting to limit the number of times your display ad appears in front of a prospect.  Seeing an ad too often will have a negative rather than a positive effect. It can result in a decreased campaign performance as users develop ad fatigue and a negative view of your website.

There's no hard and fast rule for the frequency of retargeting ads. You should determine what's best for your campaign with your retargeting provider.  Your visitors will not all be at the same stage in their buying journey, so be strategic in how often and when your ads are shown.

3. Exclude users who have already converted

There's nothing more annoying than seeing an ad for something you've already bought, so make sure your audience segmentation excludes converted users.

You can still retarget them with additional products, or upsell opportunities, just make sure they're not seeing ads for something already purchased.

4. Match the message to user intent

Successful targeting has a strong match between the messaging and the relevant stage of the buying funnel. Is your user just carrying out general research into a product, are they ready to buy, or something inbetween?

There are four main types of user intent:

  • Informational - researching a product
  • Navigational - seeing what you offer and whether it's right for them
  • Commercial - comparing features, prices
  • Transactional - ready to buy

Placing separate retargeting pixels on different pages on your site allows you to create tailored messaging suitable for your user's level of interest in your product.

For a visitor to your main page you'd show a creative that provides further brand awareness. For a detailed product spec, or an abandoned cart, you could provide something more specific or perhaps an offer such as free shipping. The point is, your messaging is relevant to the user's intent and level of engagement with your brand, and so has a greater chance of success.

5. Use eye-catching images

Once you've done your segmentation, worked out the frequency, worked on your landing pages, you still have to ensure your users click on your ad. So it's essential to use high-quality and eye-catching images to grab their attention and prompt them to click.

Perhaps more than anything, this can make or break your campaign, so ensure you devote sufficient resources to your creatives.

There are many free or paid tools availble online for creating or editing images and video. It's worth researching and trying out a few to see which is the best fit for you, and provides the features you need.

6. Run some tests

It's essential to run some tests before you start spending your money, to see which ads convert best. 

You can run A/B tests on all apects of your campaign including:

  • landing pages
  • retargeting platforms
  • ad copy and length (headline, body text)
  • audience segments
  • different creatives
  • frequency

Testing will give you the data you need to make informed decisions and run optimal high-performing campaigns which maximize your retargeting ROI.

Wrapping up

Retargeting is a valuable tool for marketers, and can help you give customers what they want by showing them relevant content, at the right time.

It's an opportunity to reach customers who have already expressed interest in your brand — those are your potential customers you're seeking to convert. It's also a good way to engage with existing customers, providing them with tailored offers they may be interested in.

It's a practice that can bring your ecommerce business a significant uptick in conversions.

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