SES NY | Is Retargeting/Remarketing Right for You?

By Lauren Kade | Mar 24, 2011
More Articles by Lauren

It’s my last session at the 2011 SES New York, and I’m very excited to leave on a high note with the “Is Retargeting/Remarketing Right for You?” session.  After writing a blog post on Remarketing 101 a few weeks ago, I’m extremely interested to learn more about the potentials for Remarketing from speakers:

  • Dax Hamman, Chief Revenue Officer, Chango
  • David Szetela, CEO, Clix Marketing
  • James Colborn, Director, Microsoft Advertising

In it’s most basic form, remarketing is a way for marketers to target their ads to users who have already visited their website.  The most exciting aspect is the ability to target users on the content network who have visited your site but did not convert.


  • people who visit your site see your ads on the display network
  • ads (and landing pages) can be targeted specifically to these users

Doing it Right:

  • user left on homepage – send them a brand message promotional offer
  • abandoned shopping cart – send a reminder coupon
  • someone who actually transacted on the site – repeat or exclude

The Concept of a Cookie Pool

Target cookies towards:

  • homepage visitors
  • product browsers
  • shopping cart users

Avoid targeting cookies towards:

  • secure customer area
  • searching for jobs

Search Retargeting

These users have searched for a keyword that you’ve targeted, but they have never actually visited your site.  You can retarget these users too – highly effective!

Make sure you’re not talking to people too often, though, since you don’t want to come off as a “creepy digital stalker.”

How Does It Work?

  1. define visitor subset (who has come to your site through any means but not converted)
  2. create the corresponding Remarketing List (similar to an email list, the set of visitors you will show ads too)
  3. paste remarketing code onto appropriate pages ( basically paste on every page except your conversion pages)
  4. create an ad group targeting the entire display network

Customize ads and landing pages with language asking the user to return to the site, either generic, or use the information you know about them.  Did they leave on the custom backpacks page?  Did they abandon a shopping cart?  Use that in the ad copy.

How To Set It Up:

  1. add Audiences tab into your AdWords account
  2. choose an empty ad group in a display campaign
  3. create a Remarketing List; choose “custom combination” to add more than one page to the list
  4. add the chunk of JavaScript onto relevant pages

Note that a Remarketing List is only fully functional after it reaches 500 users

Top Tips:

  • no keywords or placements needed (you want ads to appear on all display network sites, since it will only be showing to people who have already been on your site)
  • no need to weed out “poorly performing sites”
  • you can use category exclusions for inappropriate sites (in special cases, but don’t limit yourself)
  • target the top spot in Gmail
  • target mobile with click-to-call ads
  • frequency capping (after a user has seen it 5, 10 times, it’s unlikely they will ever convert – so stop showing your ads!)

So Is Retargeting Right For You?

Yes!  Most people will see at least some benefit from using a retargeting strategy.

Additional Resources

Clix Marketing Blog on Remarketing

David Szetela’s Book on Content Based Internet Advertising (Free PDF Download)


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