Retargeting is extremely effective at boomerang-ing lost visitors to your website to renew their interest in your products or services. But not every interested visitor who comes back is clamoring for the same kind of product, service, or information. Most companies change the information on their website, introduce new offers and promotions, and add or remove new products or services. Websites are not just comprised of static html pages but now include more dynamic and interactive experiences.

Most advertisers know to tailor their ad copy. Before you can think about your creatives, you should start thinking about tailoring your audiences and segmenting your website visitors. This makes sense for every type of company: e-commerce, financial, home repair and hvac, etc.

Let’s say I own a financial services company. Part of my website is dedicated to retirement plans like IRAs, another part of my website is dedicated to investing like mutual funds and stocks, and another part of my website is dedicated to college savings plans. I also have a section on my website dedicated to resources, a page dedicated to a lead generation form, and another page dedicated to a history of the company.


Before I start retargeting I need to ask myself some questions: what kinds of visitors do I want to target? Am I promoting any special offers on my website now? How do I capture visitors who engage with the interactive elements of my site?

We recommend building a comprehensive audience segmentation strategy by creating multiple retargeting lists, ranging from general to specific. For my financial services company, I would create a general list for everyone who visits your website, create individual lists for the “Retirement,” section, the “Investing” section and the “College Savings” section and also create a list for the “Contact Us Now” page.

Contact us now

In my general Facebook Sidebar and/or News Feed campaigns, I would target the general list. I would then create an individual Retirement campaign and target just the Retirement list or both the Retirement and the All Visitors list for that campaignMy ad copy would be tailored to Retirement products and services. I would then repeat this for the College Savings Plan and the Investing sections.

But that’s only the base layer of retargeting. It’s critical for you to cookie users who interact with other elements of your site, not just the pages they visit.


Let’s say someone visits the IRA page of my financial services company and watches the video. We can probably all agree that someone who watches the video is more interested than someone who just visits the page. Another visitor who watches the video and then hovers over the “Contact Us” button is even more interested in your company and your products. Create a segmentation list for these valuable audiences by writing javascript code to capture those actions and events. Then show tailored ads to this audience based on how they interacted with your site.

By now you’ve heard that you should create a list for your converted audience and exclude that audience from your retargeting campaigns. That advice still stands, but it’s too simplistic. Consumers may interact with a website multiple times at different time periods. Ask yourself the following questions: does my website sell multiple products? If so, can I sell accessories or similar products to those who have made a purchase?

Let’s take our financial site. Let’s say that somebody did convert by filling out the “Contact Us Now” form. The friendly financial services advisor regularly contacted this individual, but he or she was unresponsive. That visitor may still create an IRA through my company later, so I will want to retarget him/her in the future. I am going to create an exclusion list for converters, but I will put a targeting window of 45 on this list so that this audience is fair game again after the 45 days.

lead form

There are more ways to segment your website’s visitors, but this is a good start to building a comprehensive strategy. Think about how you can target visitors based on what they view on your site and how they interact with your site, now and later.

Good luck!

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Anita Avram
Anita Avram works on strategic partnerships at Marin Software. She has a wealth of experience in partner acquisition and management, and digital advertising. Anita previously led the partnerships team at Perfect Audience, and before that, spent 5+ years on the Enterprise and AdWords Channel Sales organizations at Google. In her free time, Anita enjoys running with her dog, cooking and hosting events for the Young Professionals of San Francisco. You can follow her on Twitter at @anitaavram.