You’re Doing It Wrong: Remarketing Causes Poor Conversion Rates

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In a crowded online market place where consumers are inundated with an array of options, remarketing seems like an excellent strategy to nudge potential customers further down the funnel with the ultimate conversion goal being a sale.

When implemented correctly, remarketing can indeed serve its purpose as part of your overall marketing strategy. One study found that up to 70% of retargeted visitors are likely to convert!

However, for the inexperienced, there are very high chances of crossing the line and actually putting visitors off with retargeting campaigns. According to Mike Michalowicz, author of Profit First what you may not see with remarketing, in spite of an initial spike in sales, is the “long-term effect of the customers you’ve alienated—the ones you’ve lost forever.”

How can a technique so innovative potentially cause you to lose customers?


One of the biggest mistakes marketers make with remarketing is not undertaking deep segmentation.

Retargeting all visitors who come to your website may bring in short term gains but it will harm long-term conversions because not everyone who comes to your site will be keen on buying. In fact, just 2 to 4 % of the leads you remarket to will convert into actual sales.

To get the best return on investment, you want to conduct deep segmentation so you can go beyond basic demographics and separate leads using categories such as the actions they take whilst on your website, the pages they visit, purchase history and interests etc.

Deep segmentation allows you to really narrow down your efforts and resources to the 2 to 4% of leads that have a higher likelihood of purchasing.


Are you getting smart about your ad creative or are you killing customer engagement by showing the same ad continuously.

Ad fatigue has been shown to be a major conversion killer. The logic for some marketers is that by showing someone the same ad over and over, the more it sticks and the more they will be compelled to buy.

On the contrary, visitors feel annoyed when they see the same ad following them to every website they go.

According to Ryan Bonnici, HubSpot director of marketing for Asia Pacific, “brand control is absolutely in the hands of the consumer…and most troubling to the ad industry, blocking online ads.”

Getting creative with your ad is one way to keep your brand top of mind without impacting negatively on customer engagement. So, create more than one ad to convey the same message whilst building good will among your retargeting pool.

Without a doubt, consistency is key – even as you create multiple ads, you want customers to be sure that the ads they see are part of a single brand.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Inconsistent ad creative may seem trivial but it can have a poor bearing on #conversions.”]


Frequency i.e. the number of times a visitor from your ad sees an ad also ties in to ad fatigue.

When setting frequency caps, balance is utterly important because you do not want to set the bar too high so that visitors become overwhelmed with seeing your ads too much. The frequency should also not be too low as to undermine the visibility of your ads.

Given that you have conversions as a primary goal for your retargeting campaign, an important question to ask is how best can I meet my visitors’ needs? In other words, what ad frequency will generate the best response from your leads?

The answer to this would depend on the customers you are serving. For example, customers in the B2B space demand professionalism more than anything so a lower ad frequency over a longer period may be appropriate for this type of audience. This group of consumers also generally has a longer buying cycle and thus a longer and moderated marketing campaign may be more impactful.

On the other hand, B2C consumers who may require immediate and greater engagement may do well with a higher ad frequency shown over a shorter period.


Automation can save you plenty of time but a laissez faire approach to your retargeting campaign could spell bad news for conversions.

When running your campaign on AdWords your ads will be distributed to a variety of sites across the Google Display Network.

If you do not keep track of the sites you want your ad to appear, they could appear on undesirable sites that might lower customer trust and diminish brand value.

AdWords does allow you to choose the sites you want your ad to appear under its Site Category options where you can choose your desired ad group.

This again comes down to choosing whom to show your ads to. Having your ads distributed to as many sites as possible may seem like an excellent strategy but what would be the implications for your brand?

Remarketing – the right way

A primary goal of marketing is keeping your brand visible front, back and centre and indeed remarketing has innovatively facilitated this goal. Great results in terms of engagement and conversion can be achieved by prioritising the needs of your site visitors when you retarget them with ads. A balance must be stricken between maintaining brand visibility and fostering user engagement.

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