Getting new traffic to your site is one thing, but creating customers out of that traffic is an entirely new chal-lenge. In fact, only about 2% of traffic that visit a website will actually become a customer or take some sort of action (conversion). The goal of retargeting is to take advantage of these visitors and attempt to entice that re-maining 98% into becoming a customer at a later point.

What retargeting does is that it takes anyone that has ever visited your website and gives them an unnoticeable 'cookie' that based on a line of code that you can add to your site. This cookie is basically a tracking code that will continue with them after they've exited out of the website. That way when you have your ads set up to re-targeting and those same individuals go to shop online somewhere else, you can set it up so that your ads ap-pear to those customers.

Just like anything else in life, there is a right and a wrong way to perform this marketing strategy known as retar-geting so that it benefits your company. Have a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of retargeting.

The Good

Retargeting makes it possible for you to advertise only to those individuals with some type of past experience with your brand. If those same customers ever do change their mind or realize that they actually needed the ser-vice, your ad will help to bring them back to the site and make that conversion.

Repeatedly showing off your brand and advertisements starts to create brand recognition. Even if those cus-tomers remain adamant that they aren't interested in becoming one of your customers, eventually after seeing your ad enough times they may start to change their mind or rethink their initial assumptions.

In order to retarget effectively, you should have an idea of how to tailor your ads based on what people were looking for. For example, if you own a website selling headphones and chocolate bars and someone stops by the website looking for a new set of headphones, you want to create ads advertising headphones, not your favorite candy bar.

The Bad

Retargeting should never be used as a tool to find new customers. It should only be used to find people that have come across your website at one point or another so it's important not to invest your entire advertising budget into this practice.

Another mistake that many marketers make is that they use retargeting as a method to compensate for a poor initial design. Sometimes marketing campaigns just aren't powerful and need to be thrown away so you can start again. A poor marketing campaign or ineffective landing page may lead to continue the style over and over again until you finally realize that neither your ad or your website is making any progress.

The Ugly

Where retargeting really gets ugly is when you start tracking the wrong type of customers. There are two types of "wrong customers" that you could encounter. The first example would be someone that had a bad experience with your service, and now your ad continue to pop up on their webpages reminding them of how much they despise you and your company.

The other type of 'wrong customer' is the holiday shopper. There have been horror stories of parents going to buy Christmas presents for their kids and spouses online, but ads later coming up for the product that they had purchased. Retargeting not only gave away the surprise, but it was advertised to someone that no longer need-ed the product.

Author's Bio: 

Pamela Wigglesworth, CSP, is an entrepreneurship and marketing consultant, international speaker and the author of three business books. A resident of Asia for over 20 years, she is the CEO of Experiential Hands-on Learning. She works with organizations across multiple industries to help them increase brand awareness, increase leads and ultimately increase sales.

To learn more about Pamela, visit the Experiential website at or email her at