Digital Marketing

Retargeting Ads: 7 Best Practices to Supercharge Performance

As a marketer, it's troubling to know that only a small percentage of your total visitors will convert from online advertising – especially with tight budgets. Retargeting can be one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising to help increase your conversion rates.

For those new to retargeting, below is a diagram of how it works.


retargeting Source:


Retargeting is simply an advertising technique used by marketers to display ads to people who have previously visited their website. To ensure your retargeting ads are primed to drive results, we have put together a list of best practices to boost performance.

Retargeting Ads: 7 Best Practices to Boost Performance


  1. Test Different Ad Sizes
  2. Segment Your Audience
  3. Select Relevant Creative
  4. Personalize Landing Pages
  5. Watch Your Impressions and Frequency
  6. Block Poor-Performing Sites
  7. Try Dynamic Creatives

1. Test Different Ad Sizes

Not all websites and ad sizes will convert at the same rate. Some websites only support a select number of different ad sizes; while others will place ads in different locations on the website.

It’s important to create multiple ad sizes. This will help you:

  • Understand which ad sizes perform the best with your audience.
  • Receive the maximum reach for your ads. Your advertising will not be limited to a small pool of websites that support a select number of ad sizes.

As a general rule of thumb, larger ad sizes typically perform better. However, this is not always the case. It’s best to test multiple variations and determine the performance yourself.

Here are the top performing sizes, reported by Google AdSense:

  • 336x280 Large Rectangle
  • 300x250 Medium Rectangle
  • 728x90 Leaderboard
  • 160x600 Wide Skyscraper

You can find the full list of supported ad sizes on Google’s Guide to Ad Sizes.

2. Segment Your Audience

With one retargeting pixel, you can segment the audience you would like to retarget to into separate, distinct campaigns or ad groups.

Let’s say you’re are an HVAC (air conditioning) company. You may want to advertise differently to someone who visited your new installation page versus your unit repair page. Each of these audience types will have a different motive for visiting your website.

Segment your audiences into buckets based on which page or piece of content they visited on your website. This allows you to display more relevant ads that cater to their unique needs and emotional triggers.

3. Select Relevant Creative

Once your audience is separated into segments, serve those visitors a relevant ad based on their website behavior.

Reverting back to our example of the HVAC company -- for visitors to the new installation page, you might want to include a picture of your new energy efficient unit with accompanying copy that mentions your outstanding 10-year warranty. While the ad for visitors to the repair page might reveal a broken unit with copy that includes a sense of urgency, “emergency 24/7 service, call for help now.”

Your ad should:

  • Include your branding so the audience knows who the ad is for.
  • Have a clear call-to-action to prompt action.
  • Contain personalized copy catered to the viewer's needs or wants.

4. Personalize Landing Pages

Having your ad destination set as your homepage can be sometimes too broad and lead to a poor user experience. This causes repeat visitors to leave your site quickly.

Create personalized landing pages on your website that:

  • Mention the same product or service content as the page the visitor was previously browsing.
  • Include a clear call-to-action.
  • Are crafted with the intent to convert.

5. Watch Your Impressions and Frequency

Retargeting can become a nuisance, if not downright creepy, to someone who sees a barrage of your ads continually within a given day. Luckily, there is an option known as frequency caps. This limits the number of impressions (times) a unique user might see your ad in a given day. 3-4 impressions is perfectly acceptable; when a user sees your ad 8-10+ times, you might seem a bit clingy :).

Learn how to battle ad fatigue with ad rotation.

6. Block Poor-Performing Sites

Not every site is going to perform the same. Once you have a sizable data set on a website, you may notice that visitors are not clicking or converting. Add this website as a negative target so your ads will no longer show here. By cleaning up these sites at least once a month, you will lower your overall cost per conversion.

7. Try Dynamic Creatives

This really only applies to e-commerce types of businesses. There is an option with most major retargeting platforms to take your product feed and sync it with your retargeting campaign. This allows you to show the exact product(s) a shopper viewed or placed in their shopping cart, but didn't complete the purchase process. For compulsive buyers (such as myself), this ad type works far too well.

Wrap Up

Retargeting is a great way to re-engage your website visitors and nudge them back into the sales funnel. When done right, it serves as a friendly reminder to those who have shown interest in your products or services. Use these techniques to continually refine your retargeting campaigns and increase overall conversion rates.

AdStage Team