One common and understandable confusion point on retargeting is that it’s in the PPC family. But, retargeting can be about paying for impressions, with clicks being the benefit but not the price model.

If you’re gauging by impressions, you know that they are a little harder to pinpoint in terms of effectiveness and therefore need a very fine-tuned approach. Trial and error can be minimized in favor of successful testing if you keep in mind a few key tips:

Check the Settings of the Campaign

It’s certain that you’re paying close attention to the settings of your retargeting, but some marketers rely too heavily on the default settings that the majority of retargeting vendors use in their system. This can result in you targeting the wrong people. When programming your campaign settings, remember:

-Your audience’s geography: Many vendors will use the default setting to display their ads internationally or in one specific country depending on where you are. If you are not operating internationally, then you need to ensure that the same-country parameters are entered. If you have an international campaign, pay close attention to where your ads are going.  Avoid countries that have low click-through rates.

-Duration of cookies: It is essential that you align the buying cycle with the cookie duration for your users. The majority of vendors will set the cookie duration for 30 to 90 days. If you have an average buying cycle that only lasts five days, you will be paying for ads longer than they will be effective. Set your duration with precision timing. If it’s a Christmas sale, you obviously don’t want to waste a single impression past December 26th, so make sure your campaign’s life time is set accordingly. Manual pausing can result in wasted impressions. We’re all human; sometimes we forget to turn the light off.

-Rotation of offers: It is also important to tune the settings so that they rotate what ad is shown to a user during the duration of the cookies.

Create Areas of Interest on Your Site

In order to get extremely targeted with your retargeted ad, you will have to show different visitors ads based on the pages they actually view on your website.

Some retargeting campaigns will simply bring a customer back to their homepage. Well, they already left once, so don’t make them start over. Drop them right back into their interest point. In order to segment your actual audience, you will first have to divide the existing website into different areas of interest.

One of the logical ways to do this is by organizing your website by industry or product type. Or build be the segment based on specific products that are offered.  Either option will help you build a profile of different visitors when you track the URLs they actually visit.

Use a Disciplined Method to Test Your Ads

Once you have created an audience segmentation framework, it’s time to begin tweaking and testing the ads you have. Some of the aspects of your ads that you can and should change and iterate for testing:


-Ad copy

-Colors and images


-Call to action

Keep in mind that if you really want to know what ads are effective, you will have to allow them to run long enough to generate statistical data. Taking some time to work on your retargeting campaign can pay off big in the long run. Failure to do this may result in ineffective ads that are essential just a drain on your marketing dollars. No one wants to deal with this, so be sure to create quality ads that will get quality results.

Last but maybe most importantly – test them. Always.

Good luck!

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Bill Cleere
Bill Cleere is a Customer Success Specialist at; he specializes in Customer Lifecycle managing. You can find his blog here.