If you’ve been surfing the Internet for about five minutes – you’ve probably been retargeted.

Have you ever been to a website, then gone to Facebook and seen an ad for the exact website you just left? That’s retargeting.

Or, have you gone to one website and then seen ads on other websites for that one website you just left? Again, that’s retargeting.

What Is Retargeting?

Retargeting, sometimes referred to as remarketing (Google Adword's name for it), is a type of advertising that helps a business keep its potential customers in arm's reach.

For example, you have a potential lead land on your website – and, unfortunately, they bounce (they leave after seeing the first page, they don’t commit any action, and they're gone forever!)

Instead of letting that potential lead get away, you can use retargeting to advertise to them again and again across different platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, other websites, etc). Each time, approaching from a different angle (maybe they didn’t like the first page they saw, but the second page you show them they may really like).

For example, if a potential lead lands on THIS exact page, and bounces – I can retarget them to introduce other articles they may find beneficial and/or I can advertise lead magnets like our Top Converting Email Series.

How Does Retargeting Work?

Retargeting is “normally” a combination of a cookie and JavaScript that allows people to be “followed” anonymously as they surf the Internet.

When a person who’s being “followed” with a retargeting cookie arrives on a website that’s part of the retargeting ad network, the JavaScript code is executed. The JavaScript code sends a signal to the retargeting advertising network which then performs a bunch of fancy calculations where they figure out which retargeting ad to display. Then, an ad is displayed.

One of the downsides with this is that if the user clears their cookies – you’ll lose them. Or, if they use another browser – you’ll use them. Or, if they’re on their phone at first, and then switch to a computer – you’ll lose them.

When retargeting on social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, retargeting works a little bit differently. A cookie may or may not be involved at first, but eventually, the users, themselves, are added to a retargeting list. This allows you to retarget individuals no matter what computer or device they’re on – as long as they’re logged in under the same user profile on the social network.

I know, this might be getting a little too “in-depth” for an intro to retargeting article; but, it’s an important concept!

Ideally, you’ll want to retarget across the web and social networks. The combination of the two will allow you to retarget across all devices and browsers – making your business ever present, no matter where the individual is browsing.

Where To Buy Retargeting

Retargeting Companies

There are various services to help you retarget your customers. Some of them are companies whose sole purpose is retargeting. Two of the top companies are AdRoll and Perfect Audience.

The great part about going through one of these companies is that they cover a wide range of retargeting options – they're essentially a one-stop-shop. They allow you to advertise on the web, on social media, and more … all from within their service.

Of course, these retargeting services cost a little more because they'll need to take their cut as well; however, it's a pretty low cost compared to the amount of convenience they provide.

Social Media

Pretty much all social media networks, that have advertising, have some form of retargeting available.

For example, Facebook has Custom Audiences. In simple terms, this allows you to place some code on your site that will “collect” your site's visitors and add them to your Custom Audience. You can then create an ad to be displayed to that Custom Audience, which, in essence, is retargeting.

Twitter has Tailored Audiences, which works in a similar fashion to Facebook's Custom Audiences.

Google Adwords (remarketing)

Of course Google offers their own retargeting service, which they've decided to call remarketing.

Their service allows you to display ads across their ad network – allowing you to display your ads on millions of websites.

It's a “beast” of a system because it also integrates with Google Analytics and can assist you in developing some crazy lists. Learning how to retarget with Google Adwords can easily become a full time job – it can be that intense.

Here's a little more information on it.

Retargeting Your Sales Funnel

Retargeting can be a powerful tool to help pull people through your sales funnel.

It’s true, emails are normally the first wave of sales funnel systems; however, emails can have abysmal open rates with even worse click-through rates.

Some of the best autoresponse emails only have a 20% click-through rate – meaning, out of 100 people that receive an email from your business, only 20 will actually click any of the links inside of it.

So, how do you stay in front of the other 80 people?


Retargeting allows you to help “pull” and/or re-engage an individual in your sales funnel.

For example, when a user enters your sales funnel, you can begin retargeting them. Start showing them ads in the same fashion that you send them emails: value and action.

When they look at a particular page that’s full of valuable information, start showing them ads on where to buy the complementary product that that valuable information spoke about.

Continue following the Value/Action series with your ads, just like with your emails.


Have you tried retargeting for your business? What were your results? Comment below!