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Retargeting 101

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Did you just recently create a store on Shopify, BigCommerce or WooCommerce? Are you struggling to make at least a few sales? Does the phrase “abandoned cart” cause a painful twitch on your face? Does your sales funnel look more like a tray? If you answered “Yes” to at least one of these questions, you could make use of retargeting.


What is retargeting?

Essentially, retargeting is an attempt of re-engaging your website visitors who decided to walk away by showing them ads with the products they will probably regret not buying. Retargeting serves as a friendly reminder to those customers who are forgetful or easily distracted. It may also be a decisive factor for the ones who had doubts about purchasing from you.

How retargeting ads work?

Once you set everything up, retargeting works in a few steps:

  • A user comes to your website
  • The user views at least one product and maybe even adds it to cart (this step is optional and depends on which type of retargeting you’d like to try)
  • The user then leaves the website
  • Then the user checks out a popular website, he/she will see an ad with products from your website
  • The user is thus urged to click on the ad and to complete the purchase. Or, maybe, not. At the very least, you will remind the user about the great opportunity he may be missing out on.

Example of a neatly made retargeting ad with dynamic tags and promo code from our awesome customer BarkForce

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Where can people be retargeted?

Out of all the retargeting ad placement options, you should probably opt for Facebook. Why?

  • Your clients are pretty much all registered there and check Facebook regularly.
  • Facebook ratargeting has neat placement options. No annoying banners and ugly pop-ups.
  • Ads are set up easily and have a variety of options to choose from.
  • You can actually see people’s feedback on your ads as well as have people comment on them.
  • There’s a special type of ad that enables you to display retargeting ads to each user that feature the very product he/she viewed on your website with a custom ad message in each ad. Magic? Nope. Dynamic Product Ads.

Why do I even need retargeting?

  • More clients. Only 2 to 3% of all your website visitors (at best) make a purchase on their first visit to your store. Retargeting helps you re-engage the rest. Ka-ching!
  • High ROAS. Retargeting is not free, but it’s relatively low cost — you can start at $5-$10/day — is nothing compared to the average 700–1000% return on advertising spend (ROAS).
  • More efficient ad spending. If you are already paying for regular programmatic ads, retargeting enhances the efficiency of the spending, as now you won’t lose the precious visitors attracted to your website through a regular ad campaign.
  • All the cool kids are doing it. Think of your favorite big online store, then try checking something out on it and leave without buying. Within the next 24 hours, you are very likely to see the ad of this store/brand — It’s one of the secrets behind every big retailer’s success. Why not become one of them?

Will retargeting work for me?

Now, let’s address the question that’s on most merchants’ minds: is retargeting effective? Just like in every endeavor, there are some exceptions. If you want your retargeting campaign to be successful, here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • you need to have some visitors already. If there’s no one to retarget to, the ad won’t make any sense, will it? So, if your store is new and gets less than 100 visitors daily, you may want to run regular advertising first.
  • your products need to be decent. Of course, you are free to sell anything as long as it’s legal, but many advertisers have standards (such as Facebook Advertising Policy) that won’t allow them to promote your products if they pose a threat to minors, promote drug and alcohol usage or display sexual content.
  • retargeting is a long-term investment. You cannot expect a huge return on it overnight, so you need to be patient. Work out your own programmatic advertising strategy, make dynamic retargeting a part of it and start!