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If you’ve been hearing about “behavioral retargeting”, it’s actually another (longer!) way of saying “retargeting”. Behavioral retargeting is when you target online customers based on their past behavior online, such as which web pages they visited, how long they spent on each page, and which links they clicked on. Retargeting is much the same, as it involves remarketing to people who have visited a certain page or clicked a certain link, or any other action you define.

Why Are Remarketing Campaigns Important?

The strategic value of remarketing is rooted in human psychology . Humans need repeat exposure for a message to stick; in the same way, your customers typically need to encounter your brand multiple times before they convert. To interrupt and capture your customers’ attention, you first need to learn their interests and behaviors. They have to be compelled to keep taking the next logical step, and that requires building a case for strong relevance. These days, consumers expect nothing less.

You may have heard remarketing referred to as “retargeting.” These terms are interchangeable, with the only real difference being that retargeting focuses on driving web traffic through display ads, and remarketing mostly involves reaching visitors through email.

Remarketing vs Retargeting

Most marketers simply refer to them as remarketing campaigns because Google describes retargeting display ads and email remarketing as “remarketing.” Both terms encompass reaching out to users who have interacted with your brand in the past.

How Does the Remarketing Process Work?

The remarketing process helps keep your brand in front of your potential customers’ eyes even after they navigate away from your website — persuading them to revisit your offer when they need it. Here’s how it works.

Your ad network will give you a small snippet of code called a pixel tag to add to your website so that when a visitor arrives on your site, their cookie ID is added to your remarketing list. Then, you can create an outbound campaign that shows ads to your list of potential customers to remind visitors of your products and convince them to take the desired action.

How Does Remarketing Work?

How Remarketing Works?

When you create a campaign with a particular ad network, the network will provide you with a small piece of code (called a pixel tag) to add to your website. Every time a new user visits your site, the code will drop an anonymous browser cookie and the user will be added to your retargeting list. When the same user visits another site that hosts display or native ads from your ad network provider, the system will serve your ad to this particular user. This will occur as long as you have an active campaign running.

Google’s move to shut down the use of third-party cookies will impact the ability of marketers to remarket. That’s why it is important to advertise on platforms based on the use of first-party data that allows tracking. Although the move to a cookieless world has been somewhat delayed, it is still important to start planning now for tools and tactics that will allow you to remarket in the future.

What are remarketing pixel tags?

Pixel tags are those small pieces of code on a webpage that enable websites to place cookies. Cookies are ‘crumbs’ left by website visitors. Every visitor has a unique yet anonymous ID, so their website activity can be tracked by their trail of cookies. In remarketing, the ad server can access the visitor’s ID and save it to the relevant remarketing lists.

What is a remarketing list?

A remarketing list is a list of website visitors who perform a certain action or on your site. For example, a “Homepage” remarketing list comprises all the visitors to your homepage over a specified period. As the visitor lands on your homepage, their cookie is added to the remarketing list.

How remarketing works

We recommend that you use both methods so you’ll have more opportunities for targeting and you’ll be able to create audiences in both systems. For example, Google Analytics allows you to use all the data it has to determine the audience:

Method 1. Using only Google Ads

To perform remarketing with Google Ads, the first thing to do is install a remarketing tag on your website. To do this, go to Google Ads, then navigate to Tools –> Shared Library –> Audience Manager –> Audience Lists and click the Configure Audience Source button:

setting up regular remarketing

three ways to install the code

Done. The system will automatically create the first audience for you – all visitors. To create your own list of users for remarketing campaigns, go to the Tools –> Shared Library –> Audience Manager –> Audience Lists section and click on the + icon.

creating your own list of users

And don’t forget to indicate the term of participation – that is, the time during which users who fall into the audience will see your advertisement. By default, the system offers 30 days, but the maximum is 540 days.

the term of participation

Once you’ve created an audience, you can start setting up and launching a remarketing campaign. It’s configured almost the same way as a regular campaign. We’ll discuss this in more detail in the next section.

Method 2: Set up remarketing in Google Ads using Google Analytics

In Google Analytics, the first thing you need to do is activate data collection for remarketing. To do this, go to the admin panel and in the resource settings select Tracking –> Data Collection, then switch the slider to turn on Remarketing and click Save.

remarketing via Google Analytics

If your Google Analytics tracking code is installed through Google Tag Manager, you don’t need to do anything else. If it’s installed manually on each page of the site, then it must be replaced by copying the new code in the tracking code section:

google ads linking

creating audience for remarketing

Here you can choose from the suggested options according to the criteria by which the list will be created, or you can import any segments already configured in Google Analytics. For example, we’ll create an audience of users who have completed a transaction on the site:

changing the criteria for audience

remarketing campaign in Google Ads

Then configure all the standard settings for the display campaign. Select the Sales target, type – Display Network – Standard Display Campaign. Then specify the location and languages and set the bids and budget. Finally, indicate the timing of the ad.


Retargeting (display ads) are for people who have expressed interest in our stuff by viewing our site. Retargeting is about keeping our brand in the minds of people who have already bought it. Repetition of messaging. It has a positive return on investment from a click-through perspective. When someone comes and checks out our site, they click, they browse, we want to periodically remind them that we exist. When that person finally says they’re ready to buy a DSLR and re-trigger their initial need, we want to be top of mind. Retargeting has also created an increase in media review requests. Not necessarily from the biggest of players, but a general uptick in people saying, “I saw your product and have a blog and would like to review it.” People feel like once they’ve seen a few remarketing ads, it feels like they’re hearing about Peak Design an awful lot lately. It makes the customer feel like it’s more than a one-time experience.”

Remarketing vs Retargeting

There are two main terms you hear when talking about this approach; Remarketing and Retargeting. Since they pretty much sound the same, let’s explore the differences between the two, the various tools that are available to execute these campaigns, and talk about the use cases in which each tactic is useful.

Retargeting is most often used to describe online ad placements and display ads, served based on a user’s activity on your site. A user comes to your site, a cookie’s set and you can now target ads to them on other sites they visit, hence the term retargeting. What makes retargeting so appealing is that it’s done through third party networks like AdBrite and the Google display network, giving you the opportunity to reach users wherever they are, on millions of sites.

Within the realm of retargeting, marketers can choose from a variety of different channels/targeting strategies as well. This great infographic from Chango summarizes the 7 different types of effective retargeting available:

Compared to non-retargeted display campaigns, retargeting campaigns can have significantly higher engagement. A recent MarketLand article explained, “It’s not uncommon to see amazing CTRs with retargeting, anywhere from 0.30-0.95% – which is 3-10x higher than the industry average.” As a frame of reference, the chart below shows some regionalized click-through rates for different kinds of banner ads:

Marketers just starting out with retargeting should also be aware of some common pitfalls. Mainly, the possibility that your retargeting efforts could annoy or create feelings of mistrust with some customers.

The last point is important, as it emphasizes the notion that display retargeting is a great way to support the research phase of the buying process. Early in the buying cycle, the intent may not be as high, and the marketer is really just trying to stay top of mind, as evidenced by the data below:

In terms of measuring ROI, retargeting presents some challenges there too. A recent study by Marin Software reported that 43% of marketers say understanding and attributing performance across different channels is one of their top challenges with retargeting.

This is largely due to the fact that it’s impossible to measure the true impact of a display campaign if the user doesn’t click on anything. You could argue that the these campaigns will generate “view-through” traffic and conversion, but its tough to quantify.

Its an important part of the marketing toolkit, but we need to pay special attention to the frequency, context and recency at which ads are served to our customers. If done well, retargeting will have a positive ROI and will keep your brand top of mind with customers in the early stages of the buying cycle. There are some great tools out there to help you do just that including AdRoll, Retargeter, Perfect Audience and Google Adwords “remarketing”.

How do you get started with Google remarketing?

To start with a Google remarketing campaign, you need to have a Google Ads account. You can also use Google AdWords, but the steps are slightly different. (Google AdWords remarketing is just the older version of the remarketing that now happens on Google Ads, the engine’s new marketing tool.)

You can direct your Google remarketing tag to collect data on a particular user action to target audiences (also known as remarketing audiences), such as a mailing list signup or search for a particular product. You can then use this information to create lists for particular remarketing campaigns.

It’s important to set your remarketing goals to align with your marketing strategy. If you want to send free shipping offers to everyone who bounces out with items in their cart, for example, you can create an audience for that segment. You can then design an ad to highlight your offer, and Google will display it to the specified audience.

5 tactics to power up your Google remarketing campaigns

1. Experiment with RSLAs

Once someone has visited your website, you can add them to an audience list in your account. When a person on that list does a new search on Google, you can show them a search ad and convince them to revisit your site. For those of you interested in experimenting with RSLAs, here are two RSLA strategies that Google recommends:

You can increase your bid by 25% for those who previously visited your website in the last 30 days. Or, you could show a different ad with a discount code to site visitors who have placed items in a shopping cart but have not bought it yet.

However, if someone has previously visited your website, you could bid on keywords that are less specific. Their previous browsing behavior shows that they may be interested in your products because they’ve visited your website before, even if they didn’t use the exact keywords in their search.

2. Use dynamic remarketing for your products or services

With standard remarketing ads, you’d serve the same generic image to anyone who sees your ads. When you use dynamic remarketing ads, your ads’ image changes based on the specific product that your website visitor was browsing on your store.

Pro-tip: it’s also possible to schedule your feed to upload automatically, but this requires some technical expertise. The more well-known E-commerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce or Magento have many plugins that take care of this for you.

3. Remarket to website visitors on YouTube

At the same time, Google also offers you the option of reaching out to consumers who have viewed a particular video (on your channel on a competitor’s channel), subscribed to a channel, commented on a video, and more.

4. Use Customer Match to show ads to your email subscribers

Use Google Customer Match to show ads to your existing customer lists or find people who are similar to your customers.
Image source

Customer Match lets you upload your email list to serve remarketing ads to your customers across Search, Shopping, Gmail, and YouTube. For instance, once you upload your customers’ emails to your Google Ads account, you can then create Gmail ads like these to retarget your existing customers:

If you meet the above requirements, then I suggest you try out this strategy — it’s a great way of remarketing to your existing customers and find audiences very similar to your existing customers. If not, fingers crossed that the feature will be available to other advertisers again in the future!

5. Segment website visitors based on the action they took on your site

BONUS: Target website visitors by time period

As an eCommerce store targeting cart abandoners, you’ll want to split your membership duration into smaller segments (because the longer it is, the lower the chances that a consumer will revisit your site, and complete their purchase).

For those dealing with longer sales cycles, however, such as SaaS or B2B service businesses, it makes sense to increase your membership duration and serve your ads to consumers over a longer period of time.

BONUS: Another way to segment website visitors by time period

Now, the first category of customers (those who abandoned their cart one day ago) have the biggest potential to convert, so you might choose to serve them a straightforward dynamic remarketing ad featuring the product they were browsing.

As for those who abandoned their cart a week ago, chances are there’s something standing between them and their purchase, so consider serving them remarketing ads that feature social proof. You could use product ratings, customer reviews or testimonials to give them that extra nudge.

Finally, those who abandoned their cart 21 days ago are the least likely to still be interested, so if you want to entice them to complete their purchase, you have to come up with a really compelling offer. For instance, serve them an ad that contains a discount code. To increase urgency, make the discount code valid for a limited time.


How remarketing works is when someone visits your website, a few lines of code from your retargeting partner drops an anonymous cookie in the user’s browser. This cookie—a small file that stores various bits of information—tracks the site visit without storing any sensitive personal info like name and address. Then, when this cookied user leaves your site to browse the web, the cookie tells your ad platform when that user visits another site.

Google Remarketing: How to Get More Out of Your Advertising

Google Remarketing is a way for businesses to display ads to people who have already visited their website. It’s an excellent marketing strategy because it allows companies to re-engage with potential customers and generate new sales by creating highly targeted advertising campaigns. In this blog post, we will discuss the following: what is Google Remarketing? What are the benefits of remarketing? What are best practices for remarketing optimization? How can you use the downsides of Google remarketing as your advantage and tips on how to optimize your campaign.

Remarketing in Google Ads consists of static and animated images, video ads, responsive ads that are all placed on the Google Display Network. What makes remarketing different from standard search advertising is how it targets people who visit your website. To use this feature you must have a special tracking code to place cookies on each visitor’s browser so they can be targeted later with these specific types of ad formats across both the Search and Display networks when searching for relevant keywords related to their previous behaviour. It has been shown as an effective tool especially combined with other components such as SEO or PPC campaigns overall.

Thanks to remarketing, marketers are able to reach people who have visited their website before and may be interested in whatever activity they’re considering a conversion. Because these visitors were already familiar with the company’s products or services, they tend to convert more often than those that haven’t been on the site yet.

The Benefits of Remarketing

Remarketing Increases Visibility and Top of Mind Awareness for Qualified Visitors

the top remarketing companies and remarketing agency in 2018 use remarketing platforms because customers who see retargeted ads are 70% more likely to convert

The cell phone theory from Duke University claims that even when people online are busy or distracted, they subliminally take in images and surroundings around them. Later, those surroundings and images seem to already be familiar. What that means for you is that it’s highly likely people will remember your company simply by remarketing to them.

Remarketing Increases Conversions

how remarkeitng works to increase conversions



Yes, in some cases, it might be a Lexus, or a Ford or a pickup truck, because maybe your best friend has one and you had the best camping trip ever in it, but I like BMW’s chances. It’s likely that you’ll want a BMW, just like your dad.


The flyers contained RFID chips that tracked people’s location as they were walking. A dog started following them from billboard to billboard , until eventually asking them to check out the flyer they were handed earlier.


I think we must’ve seen 10 billboards on that short drive. It’s a straight north to south highway and there’s nothing to stop and see along the way, so they must have figured out that most people would get hungry along the way.












Social Media






Another great remarketing example is the Instagram account, Unprocess Your Food , run by Ms. Dash. She sells cooking appliances to her 300,000+ followers and posts lots of healthy and natural recipes, in short videos, on Instagram.




However, I’d like to make a distinction between two categories, because you can retarget, in some cases, not only traffic that’s been to your site, but also traffic from a competitor’s site through custom audiences.

User has been on your site before











This needs to go on all pages that you want to track visitors from. You can get really specific and only track traffic from certain pages. But, for starters, it’s best to drop the code in your header.



There are plenty of retargeting guides for beginners and advanced users, each ready to help you segment your audience even further and advertise specific products only to certain people. Here’s a list that I compiled for you:

Been on competitor site

For example, if I was Pepsi, advertising on Facebook and I wanted to try and convert some Coca Cola lovers to my brand, I’d set the audience to target everyone who has liked some, or all of their brands.


Once you’ve developed some conversion tracking data with your own visitors, using retargeting pixels, you could also advertise for certain keywords on Google Adwords, while excluding all of the people who already visited your site .

I’ve also heard of people who pay to put their retargeting pixel on other sites . In the Pepsi case, they could pay Coca Cola to put the Pepsi retargeting pixel on their website, letting Pepsi target their traffic with ads.


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