Retargeting Ads for Social Media

You have probably heard about retargeting ads, but maybe you aren’t totally sure what they are or how they can work for you. Let’s give a little background. Retargeting first started with Google in 2010. It was quickly followed by Facebook in 2012 and then Twitter in 2014. Now, it’s the baseline for how most publishers prefer to distribute your ad content. Retargeting ads became necessary with the migration to mobile digital devices and are pretty much mainstream in digital marketing now.

You’ve probably experienced retargeting without even realizing it. Maybe you were shopping for lamps online, and when you went to Facebook, there were suddenly ads for lamps all over your page. You don’t really think about it, but it has a great conversion rate for companies who use it. In a study by, retargeting can boost ad response by up to 400%.

Retargeting, in its broadest sense, involves showing ads to people who have visited your site but didn’t convert during that visit. You use these ads to bring your visitor back to your site to have another chance at converting them to a sale or for brand awareness. What was discovered is that the average user sees a display ad 3.2 times before they convert. In many cases, traditional display advertising doesn’t serve that frequency without a hefty advertising spend. Social media is a great place to use this technology.

Retargeting ads have changed social marketing, many would say for the better. Before them, you would put your ad out there and hope the right person found it. It was similar to advertising in the newspaper or on TV. Now, you are able to target to your specific audience right there in their news feed, raising your conversion rate and gaining a better return on your investment. With social being a dominant force on the web, it has changed and redefined how your message reaches your intended audience.

If you’ve purchased traditional banner ads on a local website, you were probably charged by the impression, or possibly by the click (pay-per-click; PPC). Retargeting is changing what success looks like in digital advertising. One million impressions mean nothing if no one converts on your site. Retargeting is less about spreading your message to the masses and more about targeting the highly engaged user which means fewer eyeballs, but higher conversions. That means conversion rates and cost-per-acquisition are the most important key performance indicators which close the loop in reporting and tells marketers and business owners precisely their return on their advertising investment.