9 Tools to Enhance Your Retargeting
by Brittani Hunsaker • March 15, 2021
When it comes to retargeting, the platform or service you choose to use can have a huge impact on the performance of your campaigns. After all, good retargeting is all about getting in front of the right people with the right message in the right place.
Finding the right messaging is ultimately up to you, but with the right retargeting tools, getting in front of the right people in the right place can be a breeze.
However, there are a lot of retargeting platforms and services out there, so it can be hard to figure out which options are right for your business and market. To help with that, let’s take a look at some of the most important retargeting tools you have to choose from.
Now that we’ve talked about what retargeting is, let’s take a look at some of the different retargeting platforms you can use to reach potential customers:
Retargeting on the Google Display Network
I’ll make this simple: if you have a Google Ads account, you should be running retargeting ads on the Google Display Network.
The Google Display Network covers more than 2,000,000 websites and apps. In addition, you can also run retargeting video ads on YouTube. Put all that together and you’ve got the ability to advertise to over 10% of the internet.
To set up a retargeting campaign on the GDN, all you have to do is add the Google retargeting tag (aka, pixel) to your site, create some ads and set up your campaign.
If you’re also running text ads on AdWords, you can also use remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs) to customize your keywords, bids and ad copy for people who have already visited your site.
RLSAs fall a bit outside of the scope of this article, but we’ve used RLSA campaigns to increase sales by 129%, so if you’re running paid search ads, they’re well worth looking into. For more information on how to get the most out of RLSAs, check out this article.
Setting up a retargeting campaign on Google Ads is so simple and straightforward that it would be a shame not to run retargeting ads on the GDN. It might not provide the maximum possible reach, but it will certainly drive good results.
Retargeting on Facebook
Similar to Google, Facebook is another massive retargeting platform you should strongly consider using. With around 1.8 billion active daily users, advertising on Facebook can be an incredible way to get in front of almost any audience.
To make things even better, Facebook owns Instagram, so you can also use Facebook’s platform to run ads on Instagram as well.
As with the GDN, setting up a retargeting campaign on Facebook is as simple as adding a pixel to your site, building a few ads and creating a campaign.
This video should help get you started:
Unfortunately, in our experience, retargeting on Facebook isn’t always quite as effective as the GDN. On Facebook, your ads are competing with a lot of distractions. And, now that Apple has declared war on Facebook, if most of your traffic comes through the Facebook or Instagram mobile apps (which it probably does), your ability to track and retarget to those visitors is going to be a lot more limited.
That being said, if you’re trying to build brand awareness and simply stay on someone’s radar (rather than trying to get them to “buy now”), Facebook is a great retargetting tool. Just don’t expect your clicks (and even conversions) to be quite as relevant as the clicks you get from other platforms.
Retargeting on Twitter
Twitter also offers a retargeting platform that functions much like Facebook’s retargeting platform. Here’s a quick guide to installing Twitter’s retargeting pixel:
Unfortunately, retarageting ads on Twitter are typically much less effective than retargeting ads on either Google or Facebook. Facebook’s feed might be distracting, but Twitter’s feed is much worse.
In general, it’s a good idea to add the Twitter pixel to your site and start building your audience, but I would limit your retargeting efforts on Twitter to really important campaigns where you need to maximize exposure, not ROI.
Retargeting on Pinterest
Depending on your business, you may also want to consider retargeting on Pinterest. Here’s a quick guide to setting up retargeting campaigns on Pinterest:
With Pinterest, however, you face many of the same challenges as you do with retargeting on Twitter.
People tend to either spend a ton of time on Pinterest or almost never use the platform. The problem is, the more people use Pinterest, the more pins and ideas they have competing with your ad for their attention.
For this reason, Pinterest itself describes their ad platform as a discovery platform, not a conversion platform. Since the goal of most retargeting is to turn awareness into sales, that makes Pinterest a challenging platform for retargeting.
However, for certain businesses with a strong presence on Pinterest and a compelling, highly visual product with a prolonged consideration period (like home decor or furniture), remarketing on Pinterest can be an effective way to stay on their customers’ minds in the exact place where they go to plan and dream.
You can go ahead and set up retargeting directly on any of these “big three” platforms fairly easily, but if you want to get even more out of your retargeting efforts, you may want to consider using an actual retargeting service. These services can give you access to more sites and allow you to streamline your retargeting campaigns inside of a single system.
AdRoll is one of the biggest names in the retargeting space. They might not be the cheapest option, but they’re used by some of the biggest names in the business.
Between all their partners (Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc), AdRoll gives you access to 98% of the sites on the Internet. They also give you a lot of segmentation and targeting options you can use to focus your targeting (and ads) on specific potential customers.
AdRoll can a bit pricey, but their service is pretty easy to use and (according to their site) their clients typically make $10 for every $1 they spend on AdRoll, so it’s no wonder that they are one of the biggest players in display advertising.
Like AdRoll, Criteo has a massive inventory of websites you can target. Their service is straightforward, easy to set up and offers solid templates.
All-in-all, Criteo is a solid remarketing service. However, it’s also a fairly unexciting remarketing service.
Criteo’s marketing makes it look like they help you craft remarketing journeys, but in practicality, their approach basically amounts to a recency algorithm. The more recently someone visited your site, the lower they are in your funnel.
As we’ll discuss in a bit, this may work for some types of businesses, but many remarketing journeys are actually quite a bit more complex than that. If people need time to think about your product or service before they buy, your hottest potential customers may not have visited your site in a while.
Finally, Criteo has their own tracking pixel, which makes set-up and implementation easy…but can cause some real issues with tracking and attribution.
None of these problems are deal-breakers, but when compared to some of the other options listed here, Criteo doesn’t really stand out as a “must use” option.
Steelhouse is a relative newcomer to the remarketing space, but it is built on The Trade Desk platform, which allows you to use some innovative bidding strategies you won’t find on Google-based platforms like AdRoll.
In addition, because they are built on The Trade Desk platform, Steelhouse has some really powerful audience-building tools that you won’t find with some of the other services on this list. Depending on your business, these audience options may be gold or garbage, but if you’re looking for new ways to refine your targeting, Steelhouse is probably worth a look.
Finally, Steelhouse offers a lot of beautiful creative templates you can use to build ads (especially dynamic ads) directly on their platform. These templates can make it easy to set up eye-catching, specific ads—which can save you a ton of time and work if your remarketing strategy has a lot of moving parts.
If you want to keep things simple, Perfect Audience may be right up your alley. All you have to do is add one piece of code to your site, create a few lists of visitor types you want to target, add some ads and Perfect Audience will take care of the rest.
With no setup or maintenance fees, Perfect Audience is great for small businesses (their main target market).
Unfortunately, if you actually want more than basic control over where and how your ads are displayed, Perfect Audience may not be the service for you. However, if you want to try retargeting without investing too much time or money, Perfect Audience is a good way to go.
ReTargeter is a fairly new retargeting service, but it offers a ton of options ranging from Facebook retargeting to search retargeting and beyond. However, if your site doesn’t get a ton of traffic, ReTargeter may not be the best solution for you. The service is primarily designed for sites with 30,000+ unique users per month.
But, if you’ve got the site volume (and can afford the minimum $1,500/month fee), ReTargeter can be a great way to go. ReTargeter gives you access to a huge number of sites and customization options, especially if you want to retarget people on search or using their email address.
As with the retargeting platforms we discussed, there are several other retargeting services available as well, but one of these companies should be a good fit for your business. With retargeting services, you typically get what you pay for, so choosing a service is mostly a question of balancing what you can afford with getting the options you need.
As you can see, there are a lot of tools out there that can help you make the most of your retargeting. And for good reason.
Every business is unique and has a different audience that they need to reach in different ways and in different places. For many small businesses, retargeting on Facebook and the Google Display Network may be plenty for their needs. For mid-to-large businesses, a service like AdRoll or Steelhouse may give them the added versatility and reach that they’re looking for.
Regardless of your business’s needs, this article has hopefully helped point you in the right direction. If you’d like some more specific recommendations, however, feel free to reach out to us here or in the comments. We’d love to help!
What are your favorite retargeting tools? Did we miss something on our list? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.