What is Retargeting? How can I use it?

Retargeting is a paid activity (SEM) where you follow a user who previously visited your website but didn’t complete an action (ie. purchase or registration). Once the user browses other websites, they will see a display Ad reminding your business or/and a product previously viewed. This is aimed to get the user back to your website and complete the desired action.


We use the term retargeting because once the user visits your website, they will get a cookie installed in their browser. From that moment we will be able to target them when they visit another website. This is why is called Retargeting.

How can you use Retargeting?

Common user behaviours to take into count when setting a retargeting strategy can be the following:

  • Cart Abandonment: User added one or more products in their basket but didn’t proceed to the check-out page (address and payment completion);
  • Check-out abandonment: User arrived at the payment page and left the website;
  • Form abandonment: User arrived at the “contact us” form page or registration page but didn’t complete the form and left the page;
  • Website abandonment: Users browsed 3 or more pages and/or spent more than 1o minutes on the website and then left.

It is very important to set a Remarketing strategy correctly as well as understand your users’ behaviour before applying it. This will save you time and budget, avoiding to show your Ads to the wrong users’ segment. An example would be to ignore (do not retarget) users who spent less than 3 minutes on your website or that didn’t browse more than one page. This means that they are not interested in your product/service. In terms of SEO it is always a good idea to check how many users are exiting your website without making any action (Bounce Rate). You can address this issue too.

Technical Aspects of Retargeting: What do I have to install on my website?

Once you decide to do retargeting, depending on the third party provider (example Criteo or AdRoll) you will have to install a tracking code (a small piece of script code) in all the pages of your website. This will be used by their remote application to analyse user behaviour and website statistics such as the number of unique visitors and order value purchased (in the case of an e-commerce). You have also to create a cookie disclaimer to inform your visitors that a cookie will be installed once they start visiting your website.

Another aspect to keep into count is the number of monthly unique visitors. This is very important if you can or not use retargeting. In fact, we recommend as starting point at least 5,000 unique monthly visitors. This will give you a more flexibility to create segments and more ROI. We have worked with less than 5,000 users but it is not cost-effective.

Where can I see my Ads?

Depending on what provider you will use, your ads can be displayed in Google Display Network (GDN), Facebook, Instagram.

Price structure: CPM or CPC?

Another thing to take into consideration (depending on the provider) is the fee structure. Some providers such as AdRoll works on CPM (Cost per Mille). This means that you pay x Euro every 1000 users that viewed your ads. So the fee you pay is not based on how many clicks an ad received but on the impressions.

On the other side, providers such as Criteo, apply a CPC fee structure. This case you are not billed based on impressions but on the number of clicks your Ad receive.


Retargeting is a useful tool to gain back users who left your website without completing your desired action. It is important to know that you require a minimum of unique visitor to start doing retargeting. Also, there is a price structured based on CPC or CPM. A correct strategy is fundamental as well the correct setting while doing retargeting. This to avoid the opposite effect from your segment (i.e. frequency cap too high or users who completed an action see again the ad).