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Retargeting Campaigns: What Is It & How Does It Benefit Businesses? 

Goodluck Idowu

Retargeting Campaigns What Is It & How Does It Benefit Businesses

Goodluck Idowu

Retargeting campaigns is a dynamic digital marketing strategy designed to engage potential customers who have shown interest in your brand but haven’t purchased or taken the desired action.. 

It is a powerful technique that can significantly help businesses increase brand awareness, drive conversions, complete the buyer’s journey, improve customer lifetime value, reduce cart abandonment, and introduce new products to their audience.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the fundamentals of retargeting, including how it works, the different types of retargeting, and the goals you can achieve with retargeting campaigns. We will also discuss various retargeting platforms and tools that can help you implement your campaigns effectively. 

Finally, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to retarget on Facebook, one of the most popular platforms for retargeting.

What is retargeting? 


Retargeting is a digital advertising strategy that targets past visitors to your website or app by displaying ads or sending emails. It presents an opportunity to re-engage potential leads or customers who may have left your site without completing a desired action or conversion goal.

For instance, if a potential customer abandons their shopping cart without making a purchase, retargeting enables you to display an ad for the product they were interested in on other websites they visit. By reintroducing your ads to these individuals, you increase the likelihood of achieving improved conversion rates and meeting your marketing objectives.

How Retargeting Campaigns Work


There are two primary methodologies behind retargeting: pixel-based retargeting and list-based retargeting. Both approaches have unique advantages and can be used effectively, depending on your campaign goals.

Pixel-Based Retargeting

Pixel-based retargeting is a popular method that reconnects you with anonymous website visitors. It involves embedding a small JavaScript code, commonly known as a pixel, in the visitor’s browser. This pixel “cookies” the visitor, allowing retargeting platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads to serve tailored ads based on their site activity.

The advantages of pixel-based retargeting include immediacy, relevance, and behavioral insights. It allows you to reconnect with visitors almost instantly after they leave your website and deliver ads that reflect specific pages or products they browsed.

By leveraging user behavior, pixel-based retargeting ensures that your ads are more targeted and personalized.

However, there are some downsides to pixel-based retargeting. Since it relies on website visits and site activity, the volume of people in the campaign can be lower compared to other methods. Implementing JavaScript on multiple website pages can also be complex and time-consuming.

List-Based Retargeting

List-based retargeting, on the other hand, activates once you’ve gathered the users’ contact details. It involves uploading a list of email addresses to a retargeting platform like Facebook or Twitter, etc. The platform then matches the email addresses with user profiles and serves them specific ads.

List-based retargeting empowers you to customize your ads based on a variety of criteria, extending beyond user behavior. You control the placement of individuals on specific lists, enabling precise targeting.

 This approach proves advantageous when aiming to connect with leads or customers who have previously demonstrated interest in your brand.

However, list-based retargeting has its limitations. If a person on your list provides a different email address on a social network, they may not see your ads. 

Additionally, maintaining the list and keeping it up to date can be more manual and time-consuming compared to pixel-based retargeting.

Benefits Of Businesses Using Retargeting Campaign Strategy

Retargeting campaigns can be used to achieve various marketing goals, depending on your business objectives and the stage of the customer journey. Let’s explore some of the common goals you can accomplish with retargeting.

Generate Awareness

Awareness campaigns are helpful when you want to re-engage website visitors and inform them about relevant products, features, or announcements. These ads typically target individuals who have already demonstrated some level of interest in your brand, serving them through pixel-based lists.

Awareness campaigns may have lower expected click-through rates compared to other types of campaigns, but they can still be effective in making prospects aware of your business. Impressions and engagement are acceptable metrics to track in these campaigns, as they can lay the groundwork for more effective conversion-focused campaigns.

Drive Conversions

Conversion goals focus on getting people to click on your ad and take a specific action, such as filling out a form or making a purchase. 

Conversion campaigns excel when you possess a clear next step in the buyer’s journey and aim to align a specific list with that step.

Pixel-based ads can generate leads and direct people to landing pages where they can provide their information. List-based ads, on the other hand, can better qualify those leads by targeting individuals who have already shown interest in your products or services.

Complete the Buyer’s Journey

Retargeting also empowers marketers to guide qualified leads through the entire buyer’s journey cycle. For example, if someone has downloaded an ebook from your website, you can retarget them with ads inviting them to sign up for a free trial of your product.

By showcasing how your tool can help them achieve their goals, you can inspire them to become paying customers.

Increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)

Customer lifetime value refers to the amount of money you can expect to earn from a single customer throughout their entire relationship with your business. Retargeting plays a crucial role in increasing CLTV by reminding customers of your brand and encouraging them to continue making purchases.

By consistently serving ads to existing customers, you can keep your brand top of mind and incentivize repeat purchases. The more purchases they make, the higher their CLTV, leading to increased revenue and profitability for your business.

Reduce Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment occurs when a customer places items in their shopping cart but leaves your website without completing the purchase. Retargeting can help you recover these potential customers by serving them ads that remind them of the items they were interested in and encourage them to complete the purchase.

By reminding customers that the items they intend to buy are still available and ready for purchase, you can significantly reduce cart abandonment rates and increase sales.

Introduce New Products

Retargeting is a fantastic strategy for introducing new products to your audience. By leveraging the data you have on customers who have visited your website, made a purchase, or shown a general interest in your business, you can serve them ads showcasing new products that align with their interests.

When customers see your ads, you can lead them directly back to your site to explore the new product and entice them to make a purchase. Retargeting allows you to leverage your existing customer base to drive sales for new products.

Regardless of your goal, it is essential to align the positioning, creativity, and next step in the conversion process with your audience list. List-based retargeting can have low match rates, so make sure to fuel your retargeting activities with inbound content.

Effective Strategies for Executing Retargeting Campaigns

Retargeting is a powerful tool for growth marketing, but it’s important to use best practices to ensure that campaigns are effective and efficient. Here are some best practices for retargeting in growth marketing:

  1. Set clear goals: Before launching a retargeting campaign, businesses should set clear goals for what they hope to achieve. Whether it’s increased conversions, improved brand recognition, or higher revenue, having clear goals will help guide the campaign and measure its success.
  1. Use segmentation: Rather than targeting all individuals who have visited a website, businesses should use segmentation to target specific audiences. This can include targeting individuals who have viewed a specific product or category, abandoned a cart, or made a purchase in the past.
  1. Use frequency caps: While retargeting can be effective, bombarding individuals with too many ads can be annoying and counterproductive. To avoid this, businesses should use frequency caps to limit the number of times an individual sees an ad within a specific timeframe.
  1. Use A/B testing: A/B testing is a valuable tool for determining which ads and messaging are most effective. By creating different variations of ads and testing them against each other, businesses can optimize their campaigns for maximum effectiveness.
  1. Optimize for mobile: With more and more individuals browsing the internet on their mobile devices, it’s important to ensure that retargeting campaigns are optimized for mobile. This can include using mobile-specific ad formats and ensuring that landing pages are mobile-friendly.
  1. Measure and optimize: Finally, businesses should regularly measure the success of their campaigns and optimize them for maximum effectiveness. This can include adjusting targeting and messaging, as well as monitoring metrics such as click-through rates and conversion rates.

Overall, by using these best practices, businesses can ensure that their retargeting campaigns are effective and efficient, leading to increased growth and revenue in the long term.

Retargeting vs. Remarketing

People often misinterpret “retargeting” and “remarketing,” but they do have distinct differences. 

While both strategies aim to re-engage potential customers, they differ in their approach and the stage of the customer journey they target.

Retargeting focuses on using ads to recapture the attention of previous visitors who did not complete their journey – which could be making a purchase, downloading an app, or subscribing to a service.

This approach personalizes the message to resonate with the viewer, emphasizing products or services relevant to their interests. Retargeting is effective for introducing your brand to new leads and making the message more personal.

Remarketing, on the other hand, is about rekindling relationships with past or inactive customers through targeted content, often through email marketing.

It aims to remind customers of the perks of shopping with your brand, such as exclusive offers or personalized recommendations. Remarketing is effective for re-engaging lost customers and encouraging repeat purchases.

Both retargeting and remarketing strategies have their merits, and the choice between the two depends on your specific goals and target audience. It’s essential to align your messaging and campaign objectives with the stage of the customer journey you’re targeting.

How to Setup Retarget Campaigns on Facebook


Facebook is one of the most popular platforms for retargeting, thanks to its vast audience and comprehensive targeting capabilities. To run a retargeting campaign on Facebook, follow these steps:

  1. Create a List of Existing Contacts: Start by creating a list of existing contacts in your marketing software. Segment the list based on lifecycle stage and interests to ensure you’re retargeting the right audience. If your list needs to be sufficiently large, you may need to revisit your segmentation properties or consider other retargeting methods.
  2. Upload the List to Facebook’s Audience Manager: Export the list as a .CSV file and import it into Facebook’s Audience Manager. It allows Facebook to match email addresses with user profiles and serve them specific ads. Give your list an appropriate name to easily find it later, and allow some time for it to populate before creating your ads.
  3. Determine Your Destination URL: Before creating your campaign on Facebook, determine the destination URL you want to use. Include a UTM tracking code in the URL to help you track success and attribute clicks and conversions to your retargeting campaigns. For example, you can create a URL like.
  4. Segment Your Ads: Dive into your custom audience on Facebook and pinpoint the exact geographic region you want to target. Consider factors like interests, behaviors, age, and other demographic nuances to hone in on your audience. Keep in mind that the location functions as an “AND” criteria, so be strategic in your segmentation.
  5. Set Your Budget: Allocate a lifetime budget for your retargeting campaign, spanning the entire duration of the campaign. Monitor the performance of your ads and make necessary tweaks as you go. Start with modest daily budgets for each audience segment and adjust them based on the insights provided by the Facebook Ads Manager.
  6. Create Your Ad: Create your ad on Facebook by associating up to six images with it. Test different photos to see which ones perform the best. Be clear and concise with your positioning, and include relevant call-to-action buttons like “Shop Now,” “Learn More,” or “Download” to encourage users to take action.
  7. Track Your Progress: Monitor the performance of your Facebook retargeting campaigns regularly. Use the Facebook Ads Manager to get insights into metrics like website clicks, reach, click-through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC), and total spend. Analyze the data to measure the success of your campaigns and make adjustments as needed.


Retargeting is a powerful strategy that allows you to reconnect with potential customers who have shown interest in your brand but have yet to convert. By leveraging pixel-based and list-based retargeting methods, you can deliver highly personalized ads that resonate with your audience.

Set clear goals for your retargeting campaigns, whether it’s generating awareness, driving conversions, completing the buyer’s journey, increasing customer lifetime value, reducing cart abandonment, or introducing new products.

Remember, it is all about engaging with your audience and delivering relevant messaging at the right time. By implementing retargeting strategies effectively, you can improve brand awareness, drive conversions, and ultimately grow your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is retargeting campaign suitable for all businesses?

It can be beneficial for many businesses, but its effectiveness may vary depending on factors such as industry, target audience, and marketing objectives. Generally, businesses with an online presence and a need to drive conversions or engagement can benefit from retargeting.

Can retargeting campaigns be used for lead generation?

Yes, it can be an effective tool for lead generation. By targeting users who have shown interest in your products or services but haven’t completed a desired action, such as signing up for a newsletter or filling out a contact form, you can encourage them to take the next step.

How can I measure the effectiveness of my retargeting campaigns?

Key metrics for measuring retargeting campaign effectiveness include click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, cost per acquisition (CPA), return on ad spend (ROAS), and overall sales attributed to retargeting efforts.

What platforms support retargeting?

Retargeting can be implemented on various digital advertising platforms, including Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram, Twitter Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and more. Each platform offers its own retargeting solutions and targeting options.

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Oti is a vastly experienced digital media and marketing professional with over 10 years of industry experience. He has worked across Agency, Brand, Publisher and Marketing Technology sides of the industry in various capacities.

Driven by a strong commitment to continuous innovation, Oti has managed so many successful digital projects across Africa and Europe for brands like Coca-Cola, Nestle, Guinness, Kellogg’s, EA Games, Sony Entertainment, etc., and advises senior management of global brands on data-driven marketing and digital transformation.

Consumer insights in marketing: Oti

Oti currently heads Product at Terragon Group, Africa’s leading data aggregation, enrichment, and activation company, where he is responsible for developing innovative data-driven marketing solutions for SMBs and Enterprises across Africa.

Oti is the current President of Association of Digital Marketing Professionals (ADMARP), the foremost professional body for digital marketing practitioners in Nigeria. He is also a communications consultant to the African Union in areas of youth engagement and digital interactions. A known public speaker, teacher and trainer, Oti has facilitated several conferences and digital events, and was recognized by Marketing Edge Magazine as an Outstanding Digital Marketing Personality of the year 2021.