5 Retargeting Mistakes, And How to Avoid Them

Your creative is set, your messaging is locked, and your CTAs are ready to roll – that can only mean one thing: it’s time to launch your retargeting campaign.

Retargeting is a fantastic way to capture users who visited your site but failed to make a purchase.

But what about the common pitfalls that can sink a campaign before it ever has a chance to drive conversions and net you a solid ROI?

Don’t worry, we have you covered.

Here are some common mistakes marketers make when launching and managing their campaigns, and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1 | Underwhelming Creative – Retargeting is effective because it draws users back to your site. But if your potential customers never notice your ad or skip right past it without batting an eye, you’re never going to get anywhere. If your ads are boring, then people will find your brand boring, and they’ll never bother to revisit your site.

The Fix: Invest in the right assets that will grab consumers’ attention. Select images or video that have bold, striking colors and ensure your CTAs and copy are crisp and engaging.


Mistake #2 | Static Bidding – Your bidding should reflect the value of the consumer you’re after. Marketers will make the mistake of keeping a single, static bid in mind when going after potential customers, but this approach can keep the most valuable customers who are more likely to convert just out of reach.

The Fix: Effective retargeting requires segmenting your audience and bidding accordingly. It makes perfect sense to bid more for customers who are more likely to convert, because the potential to make that money back is higher. Spend your money wisely and bid more aggressively on users exhibiting a high potential for conversion, rather than on someone who only briefly visited a single page of your site.


Mistake #3 | Annoying Your Customers – This one can happen all too easily if you’re not careful. Running ads too frequently for the same user can result in banner blindness or downright resentment toward your brand – both of which you should avoid like the plague. Likewise, continuing to serve redundant ads to someone who already converted can lead to a disgruntling experience for someone who should be a loyal customer.

The Fix: The way to avoid this pitfall is to make use of the technology available to you – namely a fluid frequency cap and a burn pixel. Frequency caps ensure you don’t keep serving ads to consumers who are never going to convert, and with a fluid frequency cap, users who are considered valuable (i.e. more likely to convert) are served more impressions, while those who are less likely get served less. So when you enact a fluid frequency cap, you can limit how many ads are served to a particular user based on their value, thus using your budget more effectively. So the benefits are two-fold; you keep your ads from becoming annoying, and it saves you money on serving ads to someone who isn’t interested in the first place. As for the burn pixel, make sure you place it on any page where your customers convert. A user who is tagged with a burn pixel won’t be targeted by your campaign any longer, and you now have the opportunity to serve ads for products that will compliment their previous purchase.


Mistake #4 | Not Casting a Wide Net – By its very nature, retargeting campaigns involve a smaller slice of your overall customer base since they will only target customers who visited your site. Often times marketers forget to place a retargeting pixel on every page of their site, instead opting to only do so on the most popular pages. While this saves time, it also shrinks the pool of available customers which is going to limit your ability to scale.

The Fix: Place that retargeting pixel on every page! You can increase your reach significantly if you do so, which will allow you to get your ads in front of more customers.


Mistake #5 | Using Multiple Vendors – It’s generally good business sense to generate revenue from different sources, but that’s not the case with retargeting. Many marketers want to test the waters before jumping in by using multiple vendors to see who performs the strongest. Unfortunately, by using multiple vendors you are essentially bidding against yourself since those vendors will be competing with one another for limited ad space. This puts you in a self-created bidding war that drives the price up for ad placements and lowers your return on ad spend.

The Fix:  Stick to one vendor for your retargeting needs, and be sure they are capable of running all your digital marketing campaigns from one place. You’ll avoid spending extra money by ensuring that you are only placing one bid on a placement at a time.


Knowing the common mistakes marketers make can help you avoid falling into the traps so many marketers have found themselves in. Now that you know what steps to take to set yourself up for success, get out there and start retargeting those wayward customers.