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You’re Retargeting The Wrong Way And It’s Killing Your Marketing Budget

June 1, 2015 | Marketing Strategies, Remarketing

Retargeting prospects is a great way to convert lost leads who didn’t buy first time round. The idea of retargeting is amazing – sadly the execution is something many businesses fail at miserably.

In this article, I will discuss the biggest errors businesses make when retargeting prospects and solutions to fix them.


1. Don’t retarget everyone!

The average bounce rate for a website is between 50-70%. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who visit a website and leave before viewing more pages. A large portion of your bounced traffic are people who have no interest in your business, remarketing to them will just be a waste of money.

Solution: Set your retargeting tracking cookie to only tag prospects who stay on your website for longer than 40 seconds. There are two types of visitors who bounce from your website:

  1. Visitors who aren’t interested
  2. Visitors who read everything on your page, received value and leave as you have answered their question

By delaying your traffic cookie you avoid retargeting visitors who don’t want what you’re selling.

2. Start burning all your customers’ cookies

Visitors who land on your website and purchase, don’t need to be retargeted. They bought your product, you have their email and they don’t need to be convinced to buy something they’ve already bought.

However, many businesses continue to retarget customer who already bought the item they are retargeting – crazy right? As well as burning a hole in your marketing budget, this will only annoy your customers.

Solution: Place a burn code pixel on your thank you or order conformation page. A burn pixel simply removes any cookies on the customer’s computer, ensuring they will not be retargeted. Customers can still be part of your retargeting campaign, but there’s no sense in asking them to buy the same product twice.

Instead, aim to up-sell, cross-sell or provide affiliate discounts for bringing in new customers.

3. Stop showing the same ads

Segmentation is the process of breaking up a group of prospects into different categories. For example, if you manage an online retail store and sell to men, women and children, that’s three different groups.

Marketing teams who fail understand the importance of audience segmentation display their retargeting ads to everyone. What use would showing a woman’s skirt be to men? None.

Solution: Create a number of retargeting campaigns based around individual products or categories. You do this by placing targeting pixels on individual product pages. For example, if a visitor has landed on several women’s clothing products, retargeting adverts will only show women’s clothes.

Setting up several campaigns may be time consuming, but prospects will be more engaged and results yield a greater ROI.

4. Stop showing your ads 723 a day!

Is there anything more annoying than visiting a business’s website only to be remarketed to several times a day for the next six months? You start to build a negative attitude towards the brand and may even boycott from ever using them again.

If a prospect fails to engage on the 20th, 30th, or 50th time they see your ad, they are telling you something. They are not INTERESTED!

Showing them the same offer another 50 times is not going to change their mind, only cement it further.

Solution: Set frequency caps on all retargeting campaigns. I suggest not showing your ad more than 20 times a month. That’s just a ballpark figure, test out a number of caps to find the best frequency for your campaign and audience.

Marketing Zeus found that 20% of consumers will boycott a brand if they are shown excessive ads:
ad fatigue

5. Don’t stick to a single ad

Each campaign should have a number of different ads. ReTargeter found click-through rates dropped greatly after 2.5 months of showing the same ads:

retargeting prospects

Over time prospects get used to your ads and they lose their impact.

Solution: Create a number of ads for each campaign and rotate them every month to avoid these dips in clicks.

5. Poorly created images won’t be clicked

The average banner ad has a click-through rate of 0.1%. Overloading them with text, poor images or static content is one way to burn a marketing budget very quickly.

Here’s one banner ad, while it’s sticks out brilliantly, there’s no context to what it’s about:


This is an eBay retargeting banner, you’d never would have guessed it. Compare that to the New Look banner which is interactive (shows prices when you hover over each item), displays their brand name and clearly labels the value proposition:



Solution: Learn the psychology behind different colors, images and text to drive click-throughs. Furthermore, match them with your brand’s image to really make the most of these campaigns.

Canva is a great place to create your own awesome designs.


Retargeting is an effective tool in winning over prospects who were not ready to buy on their first attempt. However, if you make all the mistakes above, it’s also an effective tool in killing your marketing budget.

Are you making any of these mistakes? If so, use the solutions offered to swing your retargeting ROI from red to green.

James Dickerson

Founder of CrushCampaigns

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