13 Advanced Retargeting Tips to Take Your ROI to the Next Level

Ehud Basis
Ehud Basis

Retargeting tips - Outbrain Blog

Across all industries, the average conversion rate hovers between 2 to 3%. Let’s face it – the vast majority of people are just not going to convert the first time they visit your site. That’s why retargeting is such a critical part of any online strategy.

As a performance marketer at Outbrain, I get pretty excited by new tools and features that can help maximize my retargeting activities. For example, 3rd party tags, such as those in Google and Facebook, make for extremely easy retargeting of third-party media that is promoted on Outbrain’s native platform.  You can find out about it in more detail here.

Outbrain 3rd party tags

With Outbrain Custom Audiences, retargeting visitors to your website throughout Outbrain’s premium network is another great way to round out your Google and Facebook retargeting strategies.

Make the most of the 3rd party tagging feature with the following 13 retargeting tips that will take your digital marketing ROI to the next level.

1. Retarget readers of amplified earned media

Great press coverage and positive third-party reviews are one of the best ways to help your business grow, but it can be very difficult to scale. With Outbrain, You can easily promote earned media across our publisher network.

However, it can still be difficult to reach the people who read this earned media content, unless you install a retargeting pixel that triggers when someone clicks on the content recommendation. This is exactly what you can do with the third-party tag feature. You’re not limited to retargeting people who visit your own content – you can even reach people who have read your great press coverage!

2. Retarget by your Google paid and organic search results

Your retargeting message is only effective if it’s customized for the specific audience. If someone visits your website via a particular search term, this shows a high level of intent. The next ad or content piece you show them on Facebook, Google Display Network or Outbrain should be related to the search term they used.

You can easily do this by creating a list of retargeted users per Ad Group subject by using the UTM parameter. Take an example of how we do it at Outbrain: those who search with the keywords “promote my YouTube video”, and then click on our ad, will land on this page:


Google search example

If they do not convert on that visit, we will serve them the following retargeting ad on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter:

Promoting Videos - Outbrain Blog

And we’ll also retarget them with the following YouTube how-to article on Outbrain’s content discovery network:

Cnn Widget - Outbrain

3. Retarget the people who spend more time on your site

By keeping an eye on your analytics, you should have a good understanding of how much time visitors spend on your site before they convert. For us at Outbrain, it’s about five minutes. So we’ve created a separate remarketing list for those who spend four minutes on our site during a single visit.

On the other hand, don’t bother retargeting people who spend less than 10 seconds on your site. They likely clicked by accident, or for another reason that isn’t worth following up with retargeting.

4. Retarget by the number of visits to a specific page within a certain period of time

At Outbrain, Customers who are reading our case studies or customer testimonials are clearly strongly interested in what we have to offer. So we’ve created a separate retargeting list for people who visit our case studies page more than once within a 10-day period.

5. Retarget those who leave the checkout page with a coupon

If someone makes it all the way to the checkout page, but then abandons their cart,  this may mean they might have an issue with the price, and their decision to leave is probably emotional in nature. A great way to entice them back is to serve them with a coupon or special offer via retargeting. Make sure to create a sense of urgency by putting a time limit on the offer (24 hours often works). But, even better – if you can tie the offer to a current event, the customer won’t necessarily connect the retargeting ad to their activity on your checkout page.

Here’s an example of one of our retargeting offers in a Facebook ad during March Madness 2018:

March Madness - Outbrain blog


6. Retarget by custom audience lists

One of the best things about retargeting technology is the ability to upload a list of email addresses to a platform of your choice and reach those specific people. For example, if you are building your email list via your registration funnel or newsletter signup, you’re not limited to reaching these people only through their inbox. Of course, depending on the type of business, different email lists will work better than others. For example, because at Outbrain we’re selling a B2B product, our lists that contain @workemail.com usually perform better than personal email lists.

7. Cap your retargeting frequency and exclude people by IP

Too much is never a good thing, and that includes retargeting. No one wants to be disrupted or annoyed by an overkill of retargeting ads. Make sure to put a cap on how many ads can be seen by each individual. My recommendation is not more than two to three a day. And of course, don’t forget to block your office’s IP address. Check often with your IT department, as it can sometimes change. At the moment, only Google allows you to set the frequency and block certain IPs, so be sure to do this for all your Google campaigns.

8. Bid less on homepages and non-converting page visitors

In most circumstances, if a user visits just your homepage or “About” page, they’re probably not as interested as customers who explore your website more deeply. So, make sure to bid less for these casual visitors than for those who are spending time on your product pages, for example.

9. Retarget with a story by number of days

It’s really important to map out the entire customer journey you want your site visitors to take – and it really helps with retargeting too. Here at Outbrain, we serve specific content and ads to people based on how long ago they visited our website. For example, we use a specific set of content between days zero to five. A new set is used for visitors from between six to 10 days ago. Finally, another set is used for people who visited 11 to 15 days ago. Be sure to continuously refresh your content funnel, so it doesn’t get stale and tiresome. This is especially critical for Facebook.

10. Retarget to converted customers for onboarding and upselling

Just because someone converts doesn’t mean you’re done with retargeting. You can still reach them with relevant onboarding messages to help them get more value from your product – or upsell to them with other products. For complex products or services, education is a great retargeting opportunity to deepen the customer connection. So, it’s important to work with your customer success team to secure budget and resources for this type of retargeting.

11. Retarget with content that solves problems

If a prospect or customer visits a particular page in your Help Center, then you know they are likely to be struggling with a specific issue. Retarget them with a helpful “how to” blog post to move them along in the funnel. Much like tip #10 above, educating your customers at exactly the right time is an extremely effective way of acquiring and retaining your audience – and retargeting is the ideal channel for it.

12. Retarget by the duration of a customer’s subscription

So you’ve got customers who purchased an annual license to your product. In the last month of their subscription, you can target them with a few key messages to encourage them to renew. Simply pause the list for 11 months, then flip the switch when the time comes.

13. Retarget to general users’ interests with the right messaging

Let’s say you have a general list of users who visited your homepage, but didn’t show high engagement. There’s a great hack that I like to use for these lists to generate the right intent: Cross their interest profile (on Facebook or Outbrain) with other interests demonstrated by their engagement on the network, then present them with the right content. For example, I retargeted a list of users on the Outbrain network who show an interest in the Gaming category. Here they are:

Gaming Targeting


And this is the current, trendy, gaming-themed content I served them:

themed content

Use this tactic to promote your brand to general audience lists via their other interests. It also does the job!

To sum up

Now that you’re armed with these expert tips, I hope you’ll start working to improve your retargeting strategy. If you’ve got questions, ask below and I’ll be happy to help! But first, let’s review the 13 tactics I just covered:

  1. Retarget readers of amplified earned media
  2. Retarget by search results
  3. Retarget by time on site
  4. Retarget by number of visits
  5. Retarget by checkout page visits with a coupon
  6. Retarget by custom audiences
  7. Cap by frequency and IP address
  8. Bid less for homepage visitors
  9. Retarget with a story by number of days
  10. Retarget for onboarding and upselling
  11. Retarget to solve problems
  12. Retarget by duration of customer subscription
  13. Retarget to users via their other interests

Now, to your questions…  head to the comments section!


P.S. We've got tons of great ideas for growth!

Stay ahead of your game with the latest digital marketing trends,
tips, hacks and more! Straight to your inbox, twice a month

Subscribe here
Ehud Basis

Ehud Basis

Ehud is an Online Acquisition Director at Outbrain. He previously led the PPC teams at Conduit and eTeacher, using his breadth of knowledge to analyze and optimize performance to achieve company goals. Ehud lives in Israel with his wife, 6-year-old son and 1-year-old baby girl. He loves following basketball from all around the globe.

Add A Comment

* Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

  • Penelope Jackson| September 20, 2017 at 3:03AM

    Thanks for such an educational article. Insightful and perspicacious. The 13 retargeting points are especially useful. I’ve used the services of Treepodia to great effect. Seen higher retention rates on site. Criteo and Adroll are useful options and I’ve also had some success with them. I’d be interested to hear other people’s opinions on this matter.

  • Sarah Silverstone| September 17, 2018 at 2:02AM

    Just wanted to add a comment quickly if I may. I was reading this post and a few things struck me. For starters the concept of retargeting is pervasive. Before we began our remarketing campaign with Treepodia, we also analysed the stats, particularly customer interest in our products and services. We didn’t want to simply get them to buy again, we wanted to develop a loyalty-style following by building our brand and offering added value to clients. I agree that it’s important to shave your budget wherever possible, and to avoid bids on HP’s that simply don’t add value to the buyer’s experience. There are several management gurus who we have worked with in the past, notably Russell Ruffino who speaks at length about target market segmentation and catering to specific demographics. Together with our loyalty videos, and retargeting campaigns, I believe that we are seeing the desired results.

    • Liraz Rahmin Postan
      Liraz Rahmin Postan| September 17, 2018 at 4:04AM

      Hey Sara
      That’s great! Thank you for sharing your knowledge!