Retargeting paid ads to maximise exposure

Using retargeted ads to engage with existing customers in a different way can optimise spend on paid advertisements.

Using retargeted ads to engage with existing customers in a different way can optimise spend on paid advertisements.

For companies in the business of advertising, few things are as important as the accurate targeting of your intended audience. After all, there’s no point trying to advertise your range of luxury shampoo to middle-aged bald men.

Of course, every company is in the business of advertising, when you get down to it, but, for the purposes of this article, let’s assume we’re talking about advertising agencies.

Now that we have OUR intended audience, let’s talk about retargeting.

If you’re in the business of online marketing, you’ll no doubt of heard the term ‘retargeting’ being bandied around. Perhaps you know what it means, but, for those who are less sure, this article is there to help.

Before we move on, we should explain one thing very quickly: ‘retargeting’ is the term used to describe online ad placements and display ads being shown to an audience who have already engaged with your website. Google’s retargeting tools are actually labelled as ‘remarketing’, which is slightly misleading, as remarketing usually refers to advertising where email is involved.

In truth, retargeting is no different from any other form of targeted advertising. What sets it apart, however, is the criteria with which the ads are targeted. As we mentioned already, retargeting is the practice of going after users that have previously visited your site, or had some kind of interaction with your brand. The thing that makes retargeting different is the fact that that is the only criteria with which your ads are targeted. This may be based on people who have bought a particular product, use a particular service, or just anyone who has ever visited your site. The key point is that you are only targeting your ads at people who have been to your website. Unlike ads targeted at new customers, retargeted ads do not have to worry about introducing you to potential customers, as those customers already know who you are.

Retargeting does not use any revolutionary methods with which to show ads to your customers, rather the simple activity of tracking visitors to your site – or sections of your site – thus making them part of your audience. When a member of your audience visits another site in that ad network, your ads will be shown to them. And, without the pressure of introducing your brand to the user, the ads can go straight for the call to action.

If a member of your audience then performs said action, whether it be buying a product, subscribing, etc, they can either be removed from the list, or shown different ads aimed at people who have already converted.

Just as with regular ad targeting, it is worth paying attention to the performance of sites on which your ads are displayed, and perhaps removing your ads from places where there are few conversions, or visitors.

Michael Scanlon, head of paid search at, says, ‘It’s a fact that a large percentage of traffic does not convert on the first visit to a website, we all like to browse and weigh up the options before we purchase something online. So it makes sense to have a strategy in place that keeps your brand or business visible and encourages people back to your site.’

Regardless of how complex you decide to go, you can be sure that retargeting will help you get the most from your paid advertisements.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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