Ad Serving Targeting

Retargeting, the missing piece of the Conversion Puzzle

Posted by Osman Bangura on September 9th, 2010 at 8:19 am

Article Highlights.
When will marketers start thinking beyond the click?
• No retargeting strategy = Impressions-waste, and Impressions-waste = Budget wasted
• How remarketing brings back lost prospects to convert
• Traditional campaigns drive traffic to your website, and retargeting fill in the missing piece of the conversion puzzle
• Cost effective, fewer impressions = higher response rates, that is the secret about retargeting

In today’s marketing world where an increment in advertising ROI has become even more indisputable, an online campaign without a retargeting strategy is ‘advertising spend wasted’, because of the costs incurred to attract and get valuable traffic to a website. Retargeting is the ultimate marketing technology to fill in the ‘missing piece on the conversion puzzle’. Using a retargeting strategy increases the performance of online campaigns as budget wastes are tremendously cut down through effective targeting. It also has the ability to lower acquisition costs, and double return conversion. Despite its proven effectiveness, most online marketers still lack a retargeting strategy.

It is an indispensable marketing technology that perfectly compliment display and search campaigns.


Marketers continue to spend lots of money on getting qualified traffic to their websites, acquiring relevant leads, or specifically targeting a potential prospect through ad networks or in a RTB market place. All these are efforts geared towards increasing marketers advertising ROI. However, on visiting a website, the possibility that these visitors will immediately convert to customers is only 2%, for an average website. Meaning, 98% of them will end up leaving without completing any of the website owner’s desired action. What is more effective than increasing your conversion rates through specifically targeting those customers that are familiar with your products/services and have already shown some amount of interest by clicking on your ads? This makes retargeting a ‘must have’ marketing strategy to increase campaign efficiency and uplift conversion rates for all online advertising campaigns.

Retargeting has the capability to increase conversion from a repeat visit by more than 100%.

Retargeting in detail

Retargeting is the act of tagging web pages with special codes that enables cookie placement on a visitor’s browser. When the visitor leave the website without converting, they can be targeted afterwards while surfing elsewhere on the web with special text or display ads that relates to the areas they previously showed interest in while on the marketers website. Retargeting technology and services to help drive advertising ROI are already out there. With dynamic ads, real world campaigns can be created, personalized, and optimized on the fly, based on the target audience’s area of interest. This is a highly effective means to eventually increase the performance of online campaigns.

Think beyond the click to solve the ‘conversion puzzle’

I assume we are familiar with the AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action) buying process framework. The entire customer purchase lifecycle is a process, which has become more evident especially in today’s competitive marketing environment. Research has proven that it can take up to seven interactions with a prospect before they actually become a customer. After the first interaction, retargeting can help reinforce your message, arouse the interest of the individual, and move them to take action during their purchase consideration phase. The process begins from the moment the customer gets acquainted with your brand and end up on one of your pages. If they fail to convert, retargeting will help keep your brand on their minds every time they see your ad; this increases the chances of solving the conversion puzzle. Marketers pay to get visitors to their websites during a display or search campaign. Most of these visitors (98%) fail to perform any of the desired transaction (filling out a contact form, signing up for newsletter, or purchase a product or service). For products with a longer purchase lifecycle, it’s highly recommended to remarket your message to those visitors that do not immediately complete your desired action as they continue surfing beyond the walls of your website.

Bringing back lost prospects

How do you ensure that after showing some interest in your offerings, potential customers won’t just walk away and end up becoming a customer of your competitor? You may employ all other marketing strategies that are geared towards bringing in new traffic to your website, but that doesn’t mean your campaign work is accomplished. You will need a retargeting strategy to compliment all of these efforts you have invested your marketing budgets in. For ROI based marketers that are experiencing low conversion rates, if retargeting is still not part of your campaign strategy, then a big portion of your online marketing budget that seeks to drive traffic to your website is ‘budget wasted’

As marketers move to take advantage of the opportunities online, in many cases their efforts lead to an increase in traffic to their websites but failed to achieve desired results for them. In spite of its dramatic effect on advertising ROI, retargeting technology remains to be the most underutilized online marketing technology, according to 46% of marketers in a survey conducted by and Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization. Nevertheless, today’s marketers are still failing to realize the power of this efficient tool. Retargeting is the powerful and most effective means to improve conversion rates for marketers. On average, about 98% of website visitors leave without converting, compare that to a brick and mortar retail store with conversion rate of over 30% of people who walked in, no impression or click costs incurred.

With world internet users close 2 billion and increasing, average time spend online growing, and more and more consumers continue to use the internet to orientate about products and shop online, could there be a better time for marketers to earn more from their advertising than now? Why are marketers still slow to capitalize on this huge marketing opportunity? Is an online advertising campaign without retargeting a waste of resources for ROI based marketers?

7 Responses to “Retargeting, the missing piece of the Conversion Puzzle”

  1. Kathryn says:

    Hi Osman,
    Kathryn here- marketing associate at Thank you for such a thorough and insightful discussion of retargeting. I totally agree that it's necessary for the future of successful advertising and ROI. I also think the intuitive technology is an exciting opportunity for consumers. I hate being served ads about products and services I will never need, and I am not of the opinion that by being served ads, I might develop a need. I want to see ads about stuff I care about. Previous to coming to work at AdRoll, I would have never considered seeing useful ads anymore than a happy coincidence! I love hearing everyone's thoughts since the idea of retargeting is becoming more well-known. If you're interested, check out our blog- We love hearing your thoughts!

  2. Osman Bangura says:

    Hi Kathryn,

    Thank you for your comment. As i mentioned in my article, retargeting is the ultimate machine and the future of online advertising. Consider the size of the online population and its endless fragmentation of internet users. Breaking down all those barriers in order to be able to communicate directly to only those potential customers who have already showed interest in your product is the key to higher conversion rates and lower campaign costs. I think retargeting is here to stay and it should be a 'must' for all marketers including ROI-conscious marketers.

  3. Jeff Cannon says:

    Great thought generator on bringing back otherwise lost prospects and/or customers. The only element I would add is consistent relevancy. This means ensuring your brand's message is refined throughout the conversation to ensure your customers remain interested in who you are and what you are selling.

    That of course means constantly thinking, constantly tweaking, and constantly refining who you are and what you are doing.


    Think Cannon

  4. Osman Bangura says:

    Thank you for your comment Jeff. I agree. Adding 'consistence relevancy' to the total package will further improve the chances to conversion for marketers, as the message will become more personalized with every step of the customer lifecycle.

  5. Shachar says:

    Hi Osman,

    I enjoyed reading your post. My name is Shachar and I’m the VP Marketing at myThings, a provider of personalised retargeting solutions. We’re seeing the very results you talk about in your article for our e-tailing clients, who are experiencing increases in return conversions greater than 200%.

    Beyond the value of retargeting, it’s important that we as an industry respect users' right to opt out of personalised retargeting campaigns, as well as cap and optimize the number and types of ads served. Because myThings works on a CPA basis, we have an incentive to optimise the number of ads served because unhappy users don’t convert, and users who don’t convert don’t generate revenue for anyone.

  6. Osman Bangura says:

    Hi Shacher,

    Thank you for your comment. I agree, the industry should respect users right to opt out for personalised retargeting campaigns. A personalised retargeting campaign that considers the right of the user to opt out have a better chance to convert if the customer is not annoyed by the frequency of ads displayed.

  7. David says:

    Hi Osman,

    Great piece to get the attention of Marketeers! You mention retargeting based on banner placement after thae visitor leaves the site. What are your thoughts on using email campaigns to retargert? Better/ worse? Depends?

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