Social Media Retargeting| 6 Best Strategies & Tools

Social Media Retargeting

Social Media Retargeting Tools –

A company advertises a product in mass media, many readers see it, some go to the nearest store to inquire and many forget about it. And subsequent ads in TV or hoardings may prompt the prospective buyer to search the product or recall the brand at a department store or a shopping mall.

In print advertisements, it is difficult to contact the prospective customer again as there are no means to know who they are. In online advertisements, getting back to a prospective consumer is possible through retargeting tools  In simple terms, retargeting tools refers to serving banner ads to visitors who already visited your site through a Cost-Per-Click campaign (CPC). retargeting tools is not restricted to serving visitors to the site with banner ads but it can also happen through social media-Twitter, Pinterest, FaceBook, LinkedIn and other platforms.

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Here are 6 strategies to be adopted for successful online, social media retargeting tools :

  1. Use CPC campaign in association with retargeting tools

One of the most frequently used online ads is CPC  (Pay-per-Click) of Google which brings the target audience to your landing page or website. Buying or conversion does not happen in a linear way. Many visitors bounce off the site or still, others register to get product information but don’t become customers. Such prospective consumers can be served a display Ad’s when they again search for the keyword on the web. It is enabled through cookies or pixels.

There are two types of retargeting tools available: One is cookies based and the other list based. In retargeting strategy, pixels or cookies are installed through a programmed Javascript placed on the visitor’s browser. The cookies enable tracking of the visitor’s moves across various sites and retargeting platforms to serve display ads. The advantage of pixel-based targeting is that it can be done instantaneously.

The other option creates a list of email id’s based on responses received from PPC campaign and retargets them through an email campaign, or through social media- Twitter, FaceBook, Linkedin when the visitors sign in with the particular email id.

Both pixel-based and list of retargeting strategy have advantages and disadvantages. In retargeting strategy, the volume of people retargeted at any point of time may be low and it has to be installed in all pages. The list targeting may not happen if more people use different email ids for various social media platforms.

If a company produces health, cosmetics and wellness products, each product may correspond to a set of keywords and their related CPC campaigns. In such cases, it is better to have separate landing pages with different cookies so that retargeting tools is effective. For eg., someone who has searched for nutritional products will be served with display ads related to it while someone who has searched for cosmetics may see banner ads served through retargeting strategy.

  1. Use retargeting tools with SMS

You have a website which is performing well on organic search for certain keywords and also runs paid campaigns (CPC). If you have captured the mobile numbers by way of registration form in landing pages, the visitors can be served discount offers, new product launches, festival greetings or any news relevant to the customer. This enables the company to keep in touch with the prospect of multiple platforms and make the customer feel wanted. The advantage of SMS campaigns is that they are cheaper, enable more reach at affordable costs.

  1. Retargeting tools with social media

One advantage of online advertising is the facility it affords to use multiple platforms to engage the audience. A CPC campaign can bring potential customers to your landing page who can then be targeted through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and other platforms. This is because buying or sales conversion doesn’t happen in a linear way as mentioned at the beginning of this article. So your brand has to be visible across platforms to the targeting audience influencing them to convert to your brand. Presently, retargeting tools is possible only on websites that have more than 10,000 visitors daily, as Twitter feels the retargeting audience will be smaller for low traffic websites. Similarly, Instagram has now tied up with retargeting companies to offer this facility.

  1. Retargeting tools with email

Just as cookies are installed on each landing page of a campaign, when we start sending email campaigns a cookie can be installed which helps us know the anonymous reader who opened our mail and thereafter help us place display ads or text messages when he continues to search for topics or keywords related to our business.

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  1. Static vs dynamic retargeting tools

Most often the audiences in retargeting are served static ads which means all the visitors see the same ads. In dynamic retargeting tools, product images, prices, messages can be varied. This means there will be a set of creativeness that can be chosen by the retargeting tools to deliver according to a particular keyword, browsing behavior or search criteria. Someone who comes to the company homepage can be served ads that generate brand awareness and those who go to product pages can be served ads that promote products and offers.

  1. Mobile retargeting tools

These days consumers may be using a desktop at the office to search for data or information. Then while traveling, they may search related information on the laptop and at home on mobile. Some retargeting tools such as Perfect Audience use a tracking tag generated by Marin Identity Graph so that retargeting is possible even if they switch back and forth with the three devices for browsing.

Banner ads for mobile are possible in 320 x 50 pixels, Interstitial Ads (320 x 480, 480 x 320). All ads have to be in gif, jpg or png with the file size of less than 70 kb. The animation is also possible.

The 3 Objectives of retargeting tools

  1. Increasing awareness

The first level of awareness has been generated by the CPC campaign and the description on the landing page or through your website. However, this initial awareness can be heightened by communicating to the customer through different platforms. The repeated campaigns help leave an imprint of your logo, trademarks, company information, products and brands among the target audience. One disadvantage is that heavy targeting is done even on prospects who may be weak, having only visited the landing page once.

  1. Sales conversions

The obvious result that a company investing in retargeting tools expects is sales conversion. When a visitor comes to a landing page and registers, his awareness of the company and products are limited. If you are in a competitive industry such as sports goods, innerwear or kitchen appliances, further promotional messages by way of incentives- discounts, limited period offers can induce potential consumers to act. Sales conversion can also happen due to brand familiarity through multiple channels. Or retargeting strategy can also convert some consumers to apply for free-trial. Thus qualified leads can move one step closer down the buying funnel.

  1. Increasing market size of the industry

Sustained retargeting strategy by major players in the vertical can help increase the market size of the industry through increased awareness. This can work especially in new technologies such as dishwashers, home-cleaning robots, new clothing products, inverter A/c and so on. Even if enlarging the market size or turnover could mean entry of more players, each player stands to gain from such expansion. It will also lead to innovation on existing products to retain market share.

How to implement retargeting tools?

Retargeting tools work better for companies whose websites have a daily visitor base of 10,000 and above.  Pixels or cookies have to be installed on browsers used by the visitors. Landing pages should have a good design and text content that is appealing to the visitor and prompts them to register or sign up.

Considering the diversity of work (retargeting across platforms) and intensity of it, companies need to use a targeting platform or tool to handle the task. There are several retargeting tools available but the popular ones are Perfect Audience, Bizo, Adroll, and Retargeter. They are also possible through Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

The first step in the social media retargeting tools involves creating a list of the landing pages and other sources and export the file to Facebook’s custom audience manager.

In Facebook Manage Your Ads page, It is possible to segregate the audiences based on email, phone or user ids. Adopt appropriate naming conventions so that it is easy to find it later and track the results.

In the Create Ad section, it is possible to define the objective of retargeting strategy campaigns such as more visits to the website, or sales conversions. The retargeting tools URL should have a UTM tracking code, a few words of text relevant to the campaign.

The ideal size of an FB Ad should be 1200 x 628 pixels and text matter should not occupy more than 20% of the ad. It is possible to check it using an FB tool itself. It is possible to give a description to your ad with a limit of 200 characters.

The main advantage of FB ads is that it is easier to create than banner ads, and sidebar impression rates are up to 60% lower compared to CPM (Cost per Impression) promotions on search engines.

To make Instagram retargeting work, a Facebook Pixel has to be put on your website that can be done using the FB Power Editor. For Instagram Retargeting, a custom audience has to be created using the Facebook Pixel tab. One criterion could be to target people who have visited the site in last 15 days. Then the creative for Instagram can be created using the Ad Set.

According to reports, there is going to be more integration of Facebook and Instagram ads in the coming years. Mercedes was the first to use it in 2014 for the launch of GLA model. An FB campaign was followed up by Instagram visual branding. This helped the company to drive 54% more visitors to Mercedes website. Further, follow up with a direct response ad resulted in 580% growth in site visits. Instagram is innovating with call-to-action buttons such as Sign Up, Register, Buy now etc.


The retargeting strategy is a recent phenomenon in digital marketing and still undergoing a lot of changes. Experts warn that retargeting strategy has its limitations and may not help bring a large number of visitors back to your website despite some successes reported.  According to Retargeter, companies should adhere to some principles while retargeting. Not all visitors should be targeted as overexposure can backfire. This can result in banner blindness. Negative feelings generated by frequent exposure can harm the brand.

Instead, there should be a cap on a frequency of ads the tagged or cookied visitor will be exposed to. The second major problem associated with retargeting strategy is bombarding an existing customer with more ads which could annoy them. This can be avoided by implementing a burn code in retargeting so that converted customers are not exposed to the further promotional material. They should be served with ads only for products not bought by them or on the new launch of products by the company.

It is important to set the goals for retargeting strategy and have budgets allocated at the outset. Some companies have reported lesser click rate on retargeting compared to CPC on Google. But if the goal of retargeting is increased brand awareness, then click ratio alone doesn’t matter. It is better to work with a single tool or service provider for retargeting as working with multiple teams could result in each of the biddings for the same banners or slots in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. This will also drive up campaign costs. Creatives should be changed every few months as running the same ones for months could lead to decreased clicks. Just as in print ads, sufficient effort and resources should be devoted to having good creative for banners as it is more suited for brand awareness.

the retargeting strategy should be specific as the visitors already are aware of the company and the product rather than generic. Websites and social media have low, medium and high traffic seasons and appropriate calendar for retargeting just as preparing an editorial calendar will help in better return on investment (ROI).

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