From Pixel to Purchase: The Power of Retargeting Strategies

What Is Retargeting and Why Is It Important?

If you are part of an ecommerce business, you know the importance of marketing and harnessing customer engagement and brand loyalty. One conversion is excellent, but getting repeat customers to interact with your brand and products is paramount to the success of your business. This is where retargeting comes in. 

Retargeting is a powerful digital marketing strategy that displays targeted advertisements to users who have previously interacted with your brand’s website, mobile app, or other online content. Statistically, 95-99% of visitors leave a site without a purchase or application. That’s a large number of visitors you’re spending a lot of money to attract, but they leave the site without a purchase and may never return. The point of retargeting is to bring these users back to the site. In this article, we will explore the critical aspects of retargeting and the best way to use these strategies to boost conversions.

A graph showing the process of retargeting customers.

Why is it important?

If you’re new to retargeting, you may be unaware of its massive benefits to fostering long-term customer interaction. Let’s check out some of the most important benefits of retargeting for your marketing campaigns.

  • Increased Brand Recall: Retargeting keeps a brand at the forefront of a user’s mind. Seeing ads across different websites and platforms reinforces brand awareness and encourages users to recall the products or services they were previously interested in.
  • Precision in Targeting: Retargeting allows for precise targeting based on user behavior. Advertisers can tailor their messages to address the specific actions or products users engage with on the website, making the ads more relevant and personalized.
  • Boosting Conversion Rates: Since retargeted ads are displayed to users who have already expressed interest in a product or service, they are more likely to convert. Retargeting helps bridge the gap between interest and conversion, increasing the chances of turning potential customers into actual customers.
  • Comprehensive Customer Journey: Retargeting contributes to a holistic customer journey by providing touchpoints at different stages. It allows marketers to engage with users at various touchpoints, offering relevant information and incentives to guide them through the sales funnel.

How Retargeting Campaigns Work

There are two main types of retargeting: pixel-based and list-based. Both pixel-based and list-based retargeting serve the common goal of re-engaging users who have shown interest in a brand or its products.


Pixel-based retargeting relies on tracking pixels, which are small pieces of code embedded in a website. When a user visits the site, the pixel is triggered. Once triggered, the pixel captures information about the user’s behavior, such as the pages they view.

When the pixel captures this info, it creates a profile of the user’s interests and activities. Subsequently, targeted ads are displayed to these users as they navigate other websites or social media platforms.


On the other hand, list-based retargeting involves creating customized audiences based on specific lists of users or contacts that a business already possesses. These lists may be generated from email subscribers, app users, or customers who make a purchase. Advertisers upload these lists to advertising platforms, matching the provided information with user profiles on their platforms. 

List-based retargeting is effective for reconnecting with existing customers, nurturing leads, and delivering tailored messages to specific audience segments. It offers a more direct and personalized approach compared to pixel-based retargeting.

These two strategies can work in tandem to create a seamless marketing campaign. For example, you might use pixel-based retargeting to capture general site visitors and then employ list-based retargeting to deliver more personalized messages based on specific actions they took on your site. Check out the image below to see how to add a targeted list in Google Ads.

A screenshot of audience lists on Google Ads.

Retargeting vs. Remarketing Campaigns

Remarketing and retargeting are often used interchangeably, but they have subtle differences in their strategies and applications in digital marketing. Retargeting primarily focuses on displaying ads to users who have interacted with a website or online content but did not convert. 

This interaction may include visiting a product page, adding items to a shopping cart, or simply exploring specific sections of a site. Retargeting utilizes cookies to track users’ online behavior and serves targeted ads across various platforms. This strategy is ideal for nudging potential customers who have shown interest but have yet to convert.

Remarketing is a broader term that encompasses various strategies to reconnect with users. Remarketing extends beyond online advertising. It involves re-engaging users through multiple channels, such as email, social media, or personalized content on the website itself. 

Remarketing aims to build a more holistic relationship with the audience by considering their overall online journey and interactions, not just specific ad clicks. This strategy creates a cohesive brand experience across multiple channels.

When Should You Use Retargeting Campaigns?

Abandoned Carts and Incomplete Purchases

  • Scenario: A user visits your e-commerce website, adds products to their cart, but leaves without completing the purchase.
  • Effectiveness: Retargeting these users with personalized ads can remind them of their abandoned items and encourage them to finalize the transaction.

Website Visitors and Bounce Rates

  • Scenario: Users visit your website but leave quickly (high bounce rate).
  • Effectiveness: Retargeting helps re-engage these visitors by showing relevant content or offers, enticing them to explore further.

Product Page Views

  • Scenario: Users browse specific product pages without making a purchase.
  • Effectiveness: Retargeting can display ads featuring the exact products they viewed, reinforcing their interest and driving conversions.

Post-Purchase Upselling and Cross-Selling

  • Scenario: A customer completes a purchase.
  • Effectiveness: Retargeting can showcase complementary products or upsell options, maximizing customer lifetime value.

The Importance of Timing and Audience Segmentation

Effective remarketing hinges on the strategic synchronization of timely outreach and customer segmentation. This ensures that tailored messages reach the right audience at opportune moments, maximizing the chances of re-engagement and conversion.

A screenshot of the audience segmentation on Facebook business manager.


  • Strike While the Iron Is Hot: Retargeting works best promptly after the initial interaction. Set optimal time windows (e.g., 24 hours) to re-engage users while their interest is fresh.
  • Avoid Ad Fatigue: Overexposure can lead to ad fatigue. Adjust frequency caps to prevent annoyance.

Audience Segmentation

  • Segmentation Matters: Divide your audience based on behavior (e.g., cart abandoners, high-intent visitors, past purchasers).
  • Tailored Messaging: Customize ad content based on each segment’s specific actions. For example, show different ads to cart abandoners versus loyal customers.
  • Dynamic Retargeting: Use dynamic ads that automatically adjust content based on user behavior (e.g., offering the exact product viewed).

Is Retargeting Effective?

When used correctly, retargeting campaigns can be a highly effective digital marketing strategy. For example, the Baymard Institute found that approximately 70% of online shoppers fill their shopping cart with items but do not complete the checkout. This is a huge retargeting opportunity for brands.

With the help of banners on third-party resources, retargeting can bring some users back to the site and thus generate sales. Let’s check out some more studies and statistics that support the use of this strategy in strengthening brand loyalty and boosting conversions. 

Around 91% of marketers who have used retargeting find it more effective than other marketing methods, such as email, display ads, or search. Marketers vouch for the effectiveness of retargeting ads, and numerous case studies have shown a high probability of conversion.

Retargeting shows the highest increase (1046%) in branded search queries compared to other advertising tools. The study analyzed 103 campaigns from 39 advertisers across seven industries. Retargeting, among others, outperformed targeted advertising (514%), contextual advertising (130%), and advertising on premium sites (300%).

Along with this information, it is essential to note that the CTR (click-through rate) of retargeting ads is ten times higher than that of a typical media ad. While a standard media ad has a CTR of 0.07%, the average CTR of a retargeting ad is 0.7%. At the end of a retargeting campaign, the conversion rates are 70% higher than other employed strategies.

Retargeting Platforms and Tools

Let’s explore some popular retargeting platforms, pixel-based retargeting and touch upon emerging tools.

Google Display Network (GDN): Google’s Display Network is a stalwart in retargeting because it offers extensive reach across many websites and apps. GDN allows advertisers to display visually engaging ads to users who have previously visited their website, reinforcing brand presence and encouraging return visits. 

Facebook: Facebook’s retargeting capabilities extend across its vast user base. This enables advertisers to re-engage with users on both Facebook and Instagram. The platform leverages user data and behavior to serve highly targeted ads, fostering brand recall and driving conversions.

Twitter: Twitter’s tailored audience feature enables advertisers to retarget users based on their previous interactions with the brand. By delivering relevant content to users who have shown interest, Twitter facilitates effective engagement and conversion.

A screenshot of Twitter showing how to retarget Twitter for past customers.

Accessibility of Pixel-Based Retargeting

Pixel-based retargeting, a foundational element in many retargeting strategies, provides a dynamic and flexible approach to reconnecting with users based on their website interactions. Tools provided by major advertising platforms facilitate the accessibility of pixel-based retargeting:

  • Easy Integration: Platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads offer user-friendly interfaces for setting up retargeting pixels. The integration process often involves placing a small snippet of code on your website, enabling user behavior tracking.
  • Customization: Advertisers can customize pixel-based retargeting campaigns based on specific user actions, such as page views, product views, or abandoned carts. This level of granularity enhances the relevance of retargeted ads.

Emerging Tools and Technologies

Real-time marketing, coupled with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, transforms the landscape of retargeting strategies. In real-time marketing, the fusion of data and automation allows for the delivery of personalized content precisely when it matters most. This approach ensures timely interactions with users, optimizing the chances of engagement. 

AI compliments this idea with its machine learning algorithms and takes retargeting to the next level. AI not only predicts user behavior but also optimizes ad delivery and segments audiences more effectively. By harnessing the power of AI, retargeting campaigns become more dynamic and adaptive, responding to user actions in real time for a heightened level of personalization and engagement.

While exploring emerging technologies, marketers should strike a balance. Overinvesting in unproven tools can be risky. Remember, the key to successful retargeting lies in understanding user behavior, leveraging data, and adopting tools that align with your marketing goals.

Best Practices

Effective retargeting requires a thoughtful and strategic approach to maximize engagement and drive conversions. Here are key best practices to optimize your retargeting campaigns:

  • Optimize Ad Frequency: Find the right balance to avoid overwhelming users with excessive ad exposure.
  • Craft Compelling Creatives: Design visually appealing ads that highlight your value proposition and maintain brand consistency.
  • Implement A/B Testing: Regularly test variations in ad copy, visuals, and targeting to identify optimal combinations for performance.
  • Utilize Audience Segmentation: Tailor retargeting messages based on user behavior, demographics, or site interactions for increased relevance.
  • Dynamic Retargeting for Personalization: Implement dynamic ads to showcase personalized content based on a user’s previous interactions.
  • Optimize Landing Pages: Ensure a seamless transition from the ad to the landing page, optimizing for user-friendly experiences and clear calls to action.

By adhering to these key practices, you can enhance the effectiveness of your retargeting campaigns, fostering greater engagement and increasing the likelihood of conversions.

Use Adspace for your Retargeting Campaigns

In conclusion, the precision of ad placement, coupled with the ability to tailor messages to specific audience segments, enhances the effectiveness of your retargeting efforts. By utilizing Adspace, you can create a dynamic and engaging environment that reinforces brand recall and increases the likelihood of conversions for your business. 

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