The Retargeting technology is pretty straight-forward and everybody sees the big benefits in increasing the number of returned visitors to the website. The more the visitor is exposed to your brand and offer the more likely he will take action and hand over the money.

However, simple mistakes can generate useless ad impressions and cost your business thousands of dollars. Here is a list of 5 mistakes commonly made in retargeting.

Not Having A Clear Retargeting Campaign Goal

Do not jump blindly into retargeting without first having the end goal in mind. Do you want the visitor to sign up for your newsletter or make a sale?

Take a good look at your funnel. Start from the end and work your way back to the beginning. Create a clear path for visitors who click your retargeting ads and land back on your site.

Let’s say your current funnel looks like this:

Home Page -> Product Page -> Shopping Cart -> Checkout -> Thank You.

With this funnel you can run several campaigns, but the first campaign should always be the closest to the sale. In this example it would wise to target visitors who have a product in the shopping cart and left the site right at the checkout page.

That shows us that the person is a red hot lead who is interested in your product and very close to clicking the “Make Payment” button.

When you know that, then just target these visitors and create ads around the checkout process.

There’s no limit to the number of campaigns that you can run, each with it’s own end goal.

Lack of Visitors Segmentation

Using the retargeting lists, which collect cookies based on the site path or action, allows you to segment visitors and create your ideal campaign targeting.

It’s false to think that if you just create one retargeting list (All Visitors) that sets a cookie on all visitors browsers and start displaying your ads will work.

Yes, it can work, but it’s not the most effective strategy to go after.

Not every visitor is in the buying mode when he hits your site. That’s why it’s important to segment visitors based on what pages they visited and action they have (not) taken.

Not Tracking Conversions

The biggest mistake by far is not tracking your conversions (sales or registrations). The retargeting networks will not be able to calculate the right stats for your campaign. I’m talking about numbers like CPA (Cost per Acquisition), CTC (Click Conversions) and VTC (View Conversions).

Without these numbers you will not know if your campaigns are profitable or not.

Even better when the revenue numbers are attached to each conversion.

Thinking That One Ad Will Do The Job

The designer just delivered the ad image that you both like. Guess what? That doesn’t mean people will click on it and even if they do, there’s always room for improvement.

Each campaign should always have at least 3 to 5 different ad variations and I’m not talking about having different ad dimensions.

Having different border colors is more than enough for the beginning.

After 2 – 3 days stop the ads that perform less (you are now saving money). You should have 1 or 2 ads that are delivering a good amount of clicks.

Now just repeat the process with new variations (e.g. new Call-To-Action) and again leave 1 – 3 ads that perform the most.

At some point the ad blindness will kick-in and you will need to change the ad anyways. Using the steps above keeps your ads fresh delivering clicks.

Ads Failing To Reach Maximum Exposure

Your ad is approved and running, but the impressions number is low, which leads to a low number of clicks and the campaign cost is on the rise.

The retargeting networks allow you to have your ads in many different dimensions. The mistake here is to go only after the popular ad dimensions like 300×250, 728×90 and 250×250.

Remember that your ads are delivered all over the web and webmasters use different ad dimensions and that is why it’s important to have your ad in all supported dimensions.

After running the campaign for several days you will see exactly which ad dimension works the best for your campaigns. Know that you can remove the ad dimension and save some more money.

There you go. The 5 most common mistakes that you can avoid and save time, money and a lot of frustration as you learn from the mistakes of others. Now you’re free to launch profitable retargeting campaigns and learn from mistakes of your own (it’s a good thing!).

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.

Today I want to reveal the other side of the coin, that is costing businesses money, when they run Retargeting ads and most likely they don’t even know that.

Retargeting service providers need access to as much advertising space as possible to make sure that your ad gets the maximum exposure. To accomplish that the providers connect with popular and less popular ad networks that serve ads on millions of web sites.

The more web sites can serve retargeting ads the higher the chance that the visitor who has your cookie will see your ad. Sounds pretty good.

The problem is that not all ad networks are as strict as let’s say Google Adsense. That means some of the networks will display your ads on web sites that pay people to watch and click ads and nothing more.

Paid To Click / View / Promote

These sites are called Paid To Click (PTC), Paid To View (PTV) or Paid To Promote (PTP).

The “business model” is targeting clueless people who hope to earn money from home. The advertiser (YOU!) pays for displaying ads on the PTC website, and a part of this payment goes to the viewer when he views or clicks the advertisement.


Do you think the viewers are interested in what you have to offer? Not at all… and you still pay as the retargeting service providers are using the Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) model, which means you pay every time your ad is displayed on a website, even when the ad is not clicked.

Our favorite retargeting service provider Perfect Audience has 2 features that helps to identify the bad PTC websites and block them.

The Domain Report


When you access your Perfect Audience dashboard you will see the “Domain Report” tab. Inside the tab you will see the top 100 domains that served your ads during the chosen time period.

The “Site” column shows the exact domains and that’s where you need to look after the bad apples.


Look for domains that include words like: cash, ptc, ptv, ptp, broker or other strange combinations.

Make a list of suspicious domains, open each domain in a new browser tab and check if they offer payments for viewing or clicking ads.


When you identify any of the PTC websites leave them on your list. This will be a list of domains that you want to block.

Block The Bad Guys

After you have created a list of PTC websites it’s time to block them. To do that move your mouse over the “Settings” menu in Perfect Audience and click on “Domain Blacklist“.


Now just copy and paste your list of domains that you want to block inside the “Manage Your Global Domain Blacklist” text area and click “Update Domain Blacklist“.

As you cut out the PTC websites your campaign Click-through Rate (CTR) and the Conversion rate (CTC / VTC) will increase and the campaign cost go down.

The whole process should take you around 5 – 10 minutes and you have to do it only once. You can always check your Domain Report once per month for new PTC websites.

Last week the Tesco’s mobile experience director Luke Vinogradov said: “Ad retargeters do brands a disservice every time they bug me about something I already own“.

Also he added that if you over market to customers they pull back. Yes, he is right.

Over marketing a product or service that the customer already bought or owns is a nightmare and probably many brands don’t even know that they are doing that.

I call this lazy retargeting. Don’t be lazy…

Here is how you can avoid retargeting to customers who already bought your product or service online.

Retargeting Lists

To run a retargeting campaign you need to create lists for your funnel. For example an online store could have lists like:

By including and/or excluding the lists in your campaign targeting you can make sure that the right audience sees your ads based on your campaign goals.

Let’s say you want to show ads to visitors who clicked the Checkout button.

You woud create a new list called “Checkout“.

You might be asking: What about the customers? I don’t want to show ads to my customers who already bought the product or service.

To accomplish that you need to create another list that is called “Customers“. The list pixel has to be installed on the “Thank You” page that customers only can access after the purchase.

Based on the previous targeting example you would include the “Checkout” list and exclude the “Customers” list. This way you can make sure that your customers don’t see any ads after the purchase.

Lists Duration

Another important part of any campaign is list duration. Basically that’s the number of days to keep a visitor in the list.

For example if you set the duration to 10 days, then your retargeting cookie will be alive for 10 days. After that period the browser erases the cookie and the visitor will be removed from your list.

Also that doesn’t mean that the cookie can’t be erased earlier. Modern web browsers have private browsing options, where the cookies are deleted after the browser is closed.

If you set the “Checkout” list duration to 7 days that means you would show your ads only for 7 days and most likely visitors who don’t finish the checkout process within 7 days will not purchase at all.

Campaign Timeline

It’s a pretty clever idea to have a campaign timeline. Use the timeline to plan 30 days ahead. Here is a quick example:

After 30 days the visitor is removed from the retargeting list, so that you don’t waste more money on somebody who probably isn’t interested in your product, service or brand at all.

Using Retargeting lists, lists duration and a campaign timeline you can avoid over marketing.

As you can see retargeting campaigns have many moving parts and one small missing part could harm your whole campaign. Let the professionals run the campaigns for you.


Discover the power of retargeting campaigns and increase your revenue and leads. Let our expert team guide you through the process and unlock the potential of your incoming traffic.