Retargeting ads are a vital component of any advertising strategy. In this blog, we’ll dive into what retargeting ads are and when to use them. We also feature a few of the strategic retargeting ads we loved in 2020 that you can use as inspiration when tailoring your 2021 strategy.

Online customers are continually pulled in countless directions. As marketers, we’re lucky when we can effectively pique their initial interest. What happens, though, if they get distracted and leave your webpage without buying?

Are they lost forever? Not necessarily.

You can employ several advertising techniques designed to reach your target audience. Among the most effective of these powerful techniques is “retargeting.” Retargeting gently reminds customers of your products and brand, and it often triggers action on their part.

Displaying retargeting ads on the screen while customers browse elsewhere can help bring back the feelings and intent that prompted them to look at your product or service in the first place. Not surprisingly, Facebook and Google are the most common places for retargeting ads given their immense popularity.

No matter your company’s size or the products or services you’re selling, retargeting ads are dollars well spent. They tend to create a return on investment up to 10 times better than email follow-up or print ads. Few customers actually buy on their first visit to a website, but retargeting ads lure them back. Customers who do return are 70% more likely to purchase on their second visit.

Retargeting ads work well with repeat customers, too, drawing them back if they have had a great buying experience.

What Are Retargeting Ads?

Have you ever noticed the shoes you were looking at on a website yesterday suddenly show up in an advertisement on a random page you’re browsing today? That’s no accident – it’s retargeting.

Retargeting ads are designed to target specific segments of people – those who demonstrated an interest by visiting your website. Retargeting serves as a reminder of your brand and the products the customers were recently perusing.

The more they see the ad, the more the brand sticks in their memory. Even if they don’t buy your product immediately, they now associate the product or service with your brand.

Behind the scenes, retargeting uses “cookies” gathered from the browsing experience. These cookies contain information that marketing teams employ to target a particular user. This can be done in several ways, such as showing people ads of the exact product or service they were reviewing or presenting the brand in a new way.

Retargeting ads can be timed immediately or shortly after an initial visit to a website, and they should be a critical part of your marketing automation plan.

There are many strategies to keep in mind when designing retargeting ads, but the best ones offer discounts or freebies.

Here are a few strategic retargeting ads we loved in 2020:

Target the Ads to Your Audience

Personalized messages like “We think you’ll love this” or “This will look great on you” foster a relationship with the customer. The word “you” is crucial in creating a direct appeal.

Keep the message short with a crisp picture and a clear call to action. Copy can include a line speaking directly to the customer or a short testimonial that gives the product credibility.

This post addresses the reader directly by mentioning “Your business.”

Retargeting Ad for Your Specific Audience

Create a Sense of Urgency

Offering a discount is enticing and cultivates trust. Even better, make the discount personal.

For example, use messages that say “Just for you, today we are offering 20% off,” or “Don’t delay as these are selling fast.” Giving your customers a deadline or letting them know the supply is limited or the sale price “won’t last long” encourages them to act quickly.

Expedia uses this strategy well with its “Time is ticking…” headline.

Retargeting Ad Sense of Urgency

Give Your Customers New Information

If your customers have bought something on a previous visit, highlight new or complementary product lines.

For those who have browsed multiple times without buying, use retargeting ads to offer new products that will keep your brand fresh in their mind.

Again, make the ads personal and attractive to create a relationship with your customer.

This ad shows what’s new and appeals to the customer’s great taste.

Retargeting Ad to Give Your Customers New Information

Reminder to Check Out

Many customers browse sites and even hit “Add to cart,” but they do not actually complete the purchase. Maybe they got distracted or had second thoughts. A retargeting ad provides a gentle nudge toward checkout.

Retargeting Ad Reminder to Check Out

Solve a Problem

Aim to show how buying your product or service can solve a customer’s problem. Effective copy includes suggestions like “This shirt will go with everything,” or “These shoes will solve your foot problems.” Customers will likely buy if they can see a benefit.

This ad perfectly illustrates the strategy.

Retargeting Ad to Solve a Problem

Use Holidays and Occasions

Take advantage of hot shopping times such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Mother’s Day with special messages, shipping options, or discounts. Use copy that appeals to gift-giving or quick delivery for last-minute shoppers.

Here’s a sample gift guide:

Retargeting Ad Using Holidays and Occasions

Use Other Appeals

Other approaches worth trying include money-back guarantees, free returns, or replacement offers. If customers think they have nothing to lose and the option to back out if they are waffling, these strategies can push them to buy.

This ad offers a free download, an incentive to try it before you buy it.

Retargeting Ads Using Other Appeals

Ready to Create Retargeting Ads?

Look back on 2020 and see what ads and strategies worked best for you. If you were thorough, you tested several ads and kept statistics on the ones that resulted in sales. Retool the retargeting ads that worked in 2020 with updated messages. And when you’re ready to start creating a retargeting ad strategy, here’s a great place to start.

Rebecca Wentworth