3 Simple Ways to Make Your Retargeting Campaign Stronger

By Alex Chaidaroglou, December 15, 2016

Marketers know the importance of leveraging retargeting. Retargeting is a great tool for nudging people off the proverbial fence and getting them to complete a purchase. But while most marketers use retargeting ads, not every brand is using them to their full potential or correctly.  

Treating every visitor the same is a common mistake marketers make. So is flooding visitors with reminders 24/7. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are a few tips to strengthen your retargeting.

1. Delay Firing the Retargeting Pixel

Retargeting drives traffic to your pages by dropping a cookie tag when a visitor goes to your site. Here’s how it works: 

Retargeter Example.png

Source: Retargeter

It’s a great tool for drawing consumers back to your site to complete a purchase. But when marketers run a retargeting campaign that’s unoptimized, they put themselves at risk for capturing all sorts of consumers, and not everyone wants to buy. 

Typically they’ll get four types of visitors: 

  • Ones who want to learn more.
  • Those who accidentally clicked.
  • Some who misunderstood the offer.
  • Individuals who are ready to buy.

Broad retargeting will only waste your budget and annoy customers. One way to filter consumers is to delay the retargeting pixel by three to five seconds. By employing a delay, consumers who aren’t interested will have already bounced and won’t be retargeted, saving you time and money.

Related Post: 7 Design Tips for a Better Bounce Rate

Google Tag Manager is a simple way to manage your tags. By adding the “Timer” trigger, you can adjust the retargeting pixel fire time. Try three to five seconds, three for broader audience and five for smaller ones.

2. Use an Exclusion Rule

Too often businesses retarget customers who have already bought their product. There’s nothing more annoying than repeatedly seeing an ad for something you already have. Not to mention it eats up an advertiser’s budget. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix: an exclusion rule.

Related Post: How Marketers Use Behavioral Advertising to Stalk You

Here, you can make the rule excludes visitors who successfully completed the purchase, either by making "successful purchase" an event, or by excluding people who’ve visited your thank you page.

Exclusion resize.png

Source: AdRoll Blog

Let’s say you sell snow tires. Your customer bought a set in September, prior to the winter season. Yet, they’re still being retargeted with the same tires in March. Not only do they already own the product, it’s past the winter season. Exclusion rules are great way of fixing problems like these.

3. Set a Frequency Cap

Retargeting walks the fine line of delivering gentle reminders and being creepy. To steer clear of extreme double-dip retargeting, set a frequency cap.

A frequency cap will limit how often tagged consumers see your ads. The number of times a potential customer should view your ad depends. For daily frequency capping, typically it’s one exposure per day.  But on average a visitor should see 17 to 20 ads per month.

Related Post: 4 Fantastic Ways to Avoid Annoying Retargeting

Let’s say a user goes to your site and leaves a snow blower behind in their cart. With frequency capping, you can determine how many times they see an ad per day. By setting your frequency cap at one, they’ll only be retargeted with an ad on Facebook, once per day.

Hopefully, when they see your display ad pop up in their newsfeed, they’ll finish the buying process.


It’s understandable you want to inundate your consumers with reminders to complete their purchase, but don’t. Remember to delay the firing pixel, use an exclusion rule, and set a frequency cap to prevent users from becoming bored and annoyed.

By carefully balancing where and how often you remind a potential consumer of your product, you’ll increase your chances of them buying and coming back for more. 

Alex Chaidaroglou

Alex Chaidaroglou

Alex Chaidaroglou is the CEO and cofounder of Altosight.com, a price intelligence software for medium and big brands. He also shares his marketing insights on his blog, WeeklyGrowth.com. More Articles by Alex Chaidaroglou