The 5 Most Common Retargeting Mistakes

February 26, 2023

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.

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