Retargeting (also called remarketing) is online advertising in which targeted ads are displayed to specific consumers, based on their previous Internet actions. It is a critical component in many effective and profitable online marketing efforts.

Retargeting is made possible by an rapidly evolving array of powerful, and often misunderstood, online marketing technologies and services. Professionally planned, implemented and managed retargeting campaigns typically deliver an excellent, and easily measurable, return on investment.

A well-designed campaign quickly identifies and qualifies prospects. Typically, as part of our Magnetic PCC fully managed campaigns, retargeting helps further profile and segment your desired prospect audiences, allowing the ongoing delivery of highly selective, effective marketing messages.

Your marketing messages can be made to appear virtually everywhere – on the web, in mobile apps, and more. Because you are advertising to your now well-segmented prospects, this illusion of omnipresence can be achieved at a tiny fraction of the cost of any “mass marketing” campaign.

Careful management of both the content and frequency of your ads is essential to preserve the impact of your message.  Just as importantly, this ensures that your prospects don’t get ‘over-exposed’ or ‘desensitized’, or perhaps even feel as if they are being ‘stalked’ online by your company or brand.

The following is a quick summary of seven types of retargeting. We will be going into greater detail on several of them in future blog posts.

 1) Site Retargeting

Site Retargeting is one of the most widely-used retargeting tools. However, for best effect, it is very important to understand how to use this technology in the context of a larger marketing strategy. There are essentially three categories of Site Retargeting: Basic, Advanced, and Programmatic.

  • Basic Site Retargeting only indicates that someone was a previous visitor to your website.
  • Advanced Site Retargeting tracks visits to individual, specifically tagged, pages.
  • Programmatic Site Retargeting (PSR) is a considerably more advanced technology, that is rapidly evolving.

The distinction between PSR and other forms of Site Retargeting is in the variety and the quantity of information collected. A potentially huge amount of information, including but not limited to:

  • search keywords & referring sites
  • actual time spent on videos, pages and forms
  • mouse clicks, movements and ‘hovering time’
  • data from third party sources

This PSR data is used to calculate an over-all visitor ‘score’, based on specific criteria and objectives. This ranking is then used to help determine which specific ads to display, and also when and where to show them. The PSR data can also be integrated with a companies’ CRM/prospecting system, and used to collect automated activity/interest summaries for use by sales staff when following up on active leads.

2) Search Retargeting

When a user performs a Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask, or other search, the search terms they use can provide a limited understanding of the intent of the searcher. Using this information, it is possible to target potential customers who have not yet visited your site, but who have previously searched specific words or phrases possibly related to your product or service offerings.

  • This type of retargeting performs best when combined with other strategies to further qualify your prospects.
  • Remember that you are making some big assumptions about the searcher’s intent, just based on a few words. Just because they are searching a phrase that seems relevant to your business does not necessarily mean that they are ready to purchase, or will even be a suitable target for additional marketing efforts.

3) Social Retargeting

This type of retargeting is frequently either over-looked, or over-hyped, yet is quite effective when used correctly.

  • Social media allows a deeper understanding what users are reading, clicking on and sharing.
  • By connecting this information with your other efforts you can quickly build a better understanding of your prospects, and gain innovative new ways to reach them.

4) Email Retargeting

Email continues to be a cornerstone of online marketing. When used correctly, it is a remarkably effective way to reach out to prospects, and is great for maintaining visibility with existing customers.

  • It is very important to properly segment your lists, it makes it possible to then create relevant and engaging messages, with real value to the recipients.
  • There are many effective strategies which can be used to help properly qualify and build a receptive email list.

 5) CRM Retargeting

This tool allows advertisers to optimize engagement with their prospects and customers by utilizing their offline client data.

  • CRM Retargeting is also referred to as “Data Onboarding”.
  • Typical sources are existing in-house client and prospect databases.
  • The additional data is used to improve the segmentation and targeting of online campaigns.

 6) Contextual Retargeting

This form involves an exchange of tracking pixels/cookies between partner sites.

  • Good partner sites are typically companies targeting a very similar market demographic, but for a non-competing product or service.
  • Works best when focused on visitors interested in products or services that are frequently purchased together. For example, a hotel chain could retarget the visitors to an airline, or car rental site, and vice-versa.
  • This capability of the collective, shared identification of new prospects between partners is unique to this form of retargeting.

7) Engagement Retargeting

Engagement retargeting focuses on delivering enduring, relevant and engaging content, that users refer to time and time again. This content is usually provided for free, but there are many examples, specifically in the information marketing (IM) industry, where subscription-based online services are sold, and then used as a direct gateway for additional up-sell and or affiliate marketing efforts to the already paying members.

Engagement Retargeting tools can include:

  • Videos
  • Online references & training
  • Productivity tools
  • Novelties/games/widgets


With the help of retargeting, savvy advertisers are quickly discovering additional methods, and repeated opportunities, to segment and reach their target audiences. Combined with professional campaign planning, execution, and monitoring, advertisers can expect consistently significant boosts in click through rates, customer conversions, and improved return on investment from their advertising budgets.