When retargeting first came out, direct-response advertisers rejoiced at the opportunity to get in front of users who had already demonstrated purchase intent. When FBX launched in 2012, it was icing on the cake; suddenly advertisers could retarget site visitors on a channel they visited 24/7!

Advertisers quickly learned that just because you can serve an ad doesn’t mean you should be serving just any ‘ol ad. In terms of serving of a low-quality ad, not only are advertisers spending money on wasted impressions, a poor ad can leave a bad impression (no pun intended!) on their potential customers.

Ad quality is undeniably one of the most important drivers of a high CTR, and arguably high conversion rate. The quality of a retargeting ad can be broken down with three simple questions:

-Does the ad feature a relevant product/service?
-Was the ad served within in a timely fashion?
-Is the ad compelling enough to drive a click – and the ultimate goal, the conversion?

Below you’ll find a handful of ads with the potential to be strong, relevant, personalized ads. We’ve identified areas for improvement along with recommendations that all FBX advertisers can learn from to make their own ads even stronger, and ultimately, to drive more revenue. (Note: Advertiser names have been censored.)

The Category Level Ad that Forgot the Link:

-Web page viewed: Gazebo product page
-Facebook retargeting ad shown: General patio furniture
-Timeliness: Shown within a day
-Landing page: A broken page


patio 2

What makes this a bad ad? The ad was shown in a timely manner, but the user was shown a generic patio furniture page after visiting a specific Gazebo product page. Additionally, the user was taken to a broken page, making the conversion very unlikely even if s/he had clicked on the ad.

Recommendation: Make the ad fully dynamic! Dynamic product ads are proven to drive up to 2X higher ROI than static ads, so why serve a generic, static ad like this when you could make more revenue with a dynamic ad showing the same gazebo, with dynamic components such as product name, product price, and user ratings?

The Ad Served Long After Purchase Intent Likely Dissipated

-Web page viewed: A specific workout equipment product page
-Facebook retargeting ad shown: General ad about product, no compelling call to action.
-Timeliness: Shown a full year after last visiting the site.

work out

What makes this a bad ad? The ad was shown a full year after our shopper had visited the site. Additionally, the ad does not feature any compelling details about the product viewed – product price, product attributes such as average calories burned – that would elicit a click and a conversion (that’s the whole point!).


-Unless you’re using old visitor data for an awareness campaign, the BEST time to retarget site visitors is within the first 24 hours post-visit, when the product is still salient.
-Use a compelling call to action to entice users to click and convert. In tests, Triggit’s seen that descriptions, price details, and relevant text in the ad copy yielded 50% better conversion rates vs. ads that didn’t have any of above.

The Completely Irrelevant Ad

-Web pages viewed: Handful of running shoes at specific brand’s site
-Facebook retargeting ad shown: Ad shown for customizable soccer cleats
-Timeliness: Shown within an hour


What makes this a bad ad? Despite the timeliness, our shopper was clearly interested in running shoes and had only viewed those that piqued his interest. This ad is very clearly for a completely different sport.


The ad should have instead featured one of the five shoes our shopper had browsed. Think about it – an in-store sales person would never show you soccer cleats after you ask to see running shoes, so why would you do that with your ads? Drive your potential customers back to the same products for which they’ve already shown purchase intent, and increase your CTR and ROI.

The “Unique” Generic Ad

-Web pages viewed: Two Hawaiian shirt product pages
-Facebook retargeting ad shown: A static ad for a different Hawaiian shirt
-Timeliness: shown a month late

What makes this a bad ad?

The ad is not dynamic! The title and description are both static making the ad incredibly generic and out of context. To top it off, the Hawaiian shirt in the photo isn’t even the one our shopper viewed.


-Make the ad fully dynamic! The beauty of dynamic retargeting is that it does all the work for you to get your potential customers back to the products in which they’ve shown interest, and ultimately, to make a purchase.
-Include relevant product details. If this ad included product details – a product description or price – both elements that can be added dynamically – we’ve seen it help boost CTR by about 25%.

At the end of the day, ad quality affects every type of advertising; DR marketing is no exception. Fully dynamic, personalized ads, shown while purchase intent is still high will not only increase the quality of the ads, but ensure that you leave a positive impression (pun intended!) both with your end customer and your company’s bottom line.

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Prachi Mishra
Prachi Mishra is a Marketing Manager at Triggit, where she explores her passion for data-driven marketing. She discovered the world of online advertising after working in Category Management for General Mills. Prachi graduated with a BSB from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, where she studied marketing.