How To Extend & Improve Your Retargeting Efforts

Invariably, when people get a taste of a good thing, they want more of it.

This is definitely the case with online advertisers and their use of first party data in site retargeting. Site retargeting has been one of the hottest sectors in the online advertising space over the last couple of years, as advertisers with Web properties have experienced high return on their advertising spend (ROAS) by targeting ads to users who have already visited their site. Add to Cart

Because of the excellent performance of site retargeting, networks, advertisers, and their agencies often ask us how they can extend their efforts with first party data, and access more display campaigns that deliver superior performance.

Here are some ways to do so:

Reach More Users

One of the factors that limits the delivery of retargeting campaigns is the number of unique users in the pool.

Advertisers can increase the reach of the targeted pool by:

  • Drive more traffic to your site. By ramping up SEO, SEM, search retargeting, or other efforts that economically drive traffic to your site, advertisers increase the size of their site retargeting pool. Once to the site, these users are automatically opted in to the site retargeting pool, and can be opted out of the search retargeting or other traffic generating campaign.
  • Retargeting off-line users. Advertisers can increase the size of their retargeting pool by bringing offline CRM data online. In addition to retargeting online visitors, advertisers can also target store visitors when those users are online. This is done by matching anonymous data from store purchases with anonymous cookies, enabling advertisers to deliver banners to users who have purchased specific products at specific times.
  • Adding search retargeting to the mix. In addition to targeting users who have visited an advertiser’s site or store, advertisers can also target users who have searched on their brand terms, competitive terms, and other terms that are highly indicative of a potential buyer. Search retargeting is often used to expand the pool of potential buyers in the lower part of the funnel and has proven to be highly effective.

Reach Users More Often

Once the size of the audience pool is maximized, the next step is to ensure that those users are being messaged to often enough to ensure the effectiveness of the campaign.

Here are some ways advertisers increase the frequency of campaigns:

  • Increase the opportunities to serve. Ensure that your retargeting campaigns are being run so that they have the opportunity to serve the maximum number of impressions to your audience. This is driven not only by the number of impressions that your DSP/network sees from various exchanges, but also the match rate with those impressions. Your campaign will only have the opportunity to serve on ads where the impression is recognized as being from your target audience, so increasing both the reach and the match rate are key.
  • Increase win rates. For advertisers using real time bidding, the level of the bid will determine the percentage of impressions that are won. Many site retargeting campaigns that we see achieve win rates in the 25% to 35% range. A quick way to way to increase delivery on these campaigns is to increase the bid to the point that will maximize win rates while still delivering a positive ROI.

Reach Users More Effectively

There are many to increase the effectiveness of site retargeting campaigns.

These include:

  • Micro-segmentation. Segregate site visitors into micro segments, and ensure that you can bid, report, and optimize at the micro-segment, or data element, level. Many site retargeting programs lump all visitors to a site as a single monolithic segment, and applies a single bid and creative to all users within that segment. Significant improvements in campaign effectiveness can be achieved by targeting site visitors based on their incoming (referring) search terms, by the pages on the site that they have visited, by the product/SKU pages that they have viewed, or other parameters. With more granular segmentation, higher bids can be placed on the most effective segments, while budget can be moved from poorly performing segments.
  • Dynamic ads. Dynamic ads can be tailored to the search terms used, the product pages visited, the items in abandoned shopping carts can be more effective in many cases than a static ad.
  • Automated optimization. While manual optimization of bid rates, black lists, day parting, and other parameters can improve campaign performance, automated optimization algorithms typically can deliver the best performance. This is because most manual optimization is “single dimensional” and does not consider how combinations of campaign parameters impact performance.

For example, automated optimization algorithms can determine the effectiveness of an impression shown on a particular site, at a particular time of day, in a particular creative size, with a particular ad creative, and then determine how much to bid on that impression. Doing so delivers campaign performance far superior than can be achieved by manual optimization.

Site retargeting, search retargeting, CRM data targeting, look-alike targeting and other forms of display advertising are evolving at an incredibly rapid pace, as advertisers continually push vendors to increase reach while maintaining or improving performance. The good news for advertisers is that there are plenty of options to do just that.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Display | Search & Display


About The Author: is a seasoned online advertising executive, specializing in targeting, optimization, and technology. Frost is CEO and co-founder of You can follow him on Twitter @phrossed.

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  • carolyn.henderson

    Hi, thanks for posting such a good article! I have a query about ‘retargeting offline users’ though. Exactly how does this work? How is the CRM data matched with anonymous cookies?


  • AdMedia

    Excellent tips, Frost. Retargeting is definitely one of the most popular ad solutions right now, and a lot of our clients are asking about how they can improve their campaigns. Your post is a great article to refer to, so thanks!

  • AdMedia

    Excellent tips, Frost. Retargeting is definitely one of the most popular ad solutions right now, and a lot of our clients are asking about how they can improve their campaigns. Your post is a great article to refer to, so thanks!


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