Retargeting Ads: A Beginner’s Guide for Marketers

Marketers are in a consistent hunt of driving more conversions. Reaching out to the new audience and acquiring more users is a key part of that process. However, your marketing efforts remain unsettled unless you are converting those users into customers. That’s why retargeting ads becomes a crucial part of a marketer’s toolbox.

Retargeting is a digital marketing technique that lets you target users, who have previously visited or shown interest in products on your website or app, with ads on display networks across the internet. In other words, users who left your site or app without converting (i.e. without performing the intended action) are targeted through these ads.

It allows you to convert users into customers. Only 2% of users convert on their first visit to an eCommerce store. Retargeting helps you to bring a big chunk of people back to your website or app and then attract them into making transactions. 

The principle of retargeting revolves around reminding users about your product by displaying it across websites and apps they visit.

Why Retargeting Ads Make Sense?

Let's assume Sophie checks out a smartphone on your ecommerce app and leaves without placing the order because notification from her social media app distracted her. Thus, the sale got shelved off. The effort and cost of the entire marketing campaign that brought her to the app (i.e. User Acquisition investments) go in vain.

Retargeting can save the sale here. While Sophie is browsing through her social media app, the (retargeting) ads of the same smartphone can be shown to her. A timely and persuasive message present on the ad can bring her back to your app and entice her into buying the phone. By inspiring Sophie to complete the purchase, your retargeting ad pushes a sale and hence, improving your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

Retargeting ads - customer journey

Key Benefits of Retargeting Ads-

Increase in LTV:

Depending on the nature of the product that the user left without buying, you can push retargeting ads displaying additional features or complementary products, which can help users in making an informed purchase without missing any items that they might need. This, in turn, helps you by increasing the cart size of the customer.

Convert Faster: Marketers aim to drive faster conversions across the sales funnel, and retargeting ads help you with that. By aligning your retargeting ads for different stages of the funnel, you can guide the users down the funnel and drive faster conversions.

Improve Brand Recall: Retargeting ads can be shown across devices, channels, and formats to someone who visited your website or app and left the cart abandoned. Your consistent and cohesive retargeting can impact the user and enhance brand recall for you.

Cross-sell and Upsell: Retargeting ads are highly focused as you have already identified the products of the user’s interest. This information gives you the chance to propose products of higher value and better quality to close a better deal.

RevX platform helps you do all this, keeping the user’s privacy under consideration. The platform is GDPR compliant and also always ready to respond to the changing landscape of privacy laws. We are fully committed to the user’s privacy and take all necessary steps to make sure that it is upheld.

How Do Retargeting Ads Work?

Retargeting was traditionally a cookie-based technology. Over time, it has evolved and now leverages various data points to identify the user on factors, such as intent, value, and so on. Along with RFM (Recency, Frequency, and Monetary value) analysis, retargeting uses an unobtrusive code, or pixel, to follow your users according to their online activities without jeopardizing their privacy or reducing their user experience. 

How retargeting works

When a new user visits your website or opens your mobile app, the code is dropped if RevX is integrated with your website/app. Now when the user drifts off onto other forums on the internet, we are informed (with the user's consent). The user on other forums of the internet, where we buy ad space via RTB methodology, gets served advertisements for your website/app/product by us.

Right practices for retargeting ads

How many types of Retargeting are there?

Generally, three types of retargeting are widely known among marketers. Here's a brief overview.

1. Search Retargeting :

This is a form of 'behavioral targeting' where search engine users are targeted with display ads using the keyword or their search queries. The users don't need to visit the advertiser's site previously here.

2. Email Retargeting :

Emails are used to create retargeting communications and to target users. Let's consider that a registered user has abandoned the shopping cart on your app. You can send an email to the user, asking them to return and complete the purchase. 

3. Contextual Retargeting Ads:

Contextual retargeting follows the principle of websites and apps partnering up to share similar user points. Therefore, if users leave your app and visit the partner app/site, you can show them ads of your products. You don't have to bear the expenses of the highly targeted ads, as you can partner with RevX to serve ads on the apps and sites that serve the audience with similar interests.

3.1 Affiliate

Just like there are billboards and hoarding spaces available on the highway to gain the attention of road traffic, there is ad space available for internet traffic as well. The publisher (a website or app with high traffic) charges advertisers by offering their ad space to run retargeting ads. Since it is a tiresome effort for an advertiser to connect with different publishers, affiliate networks come to the picture.

Affiliate network buys space from different publishers (of different traffic quality and niche) and sells it to advertisers to run ads. Now an advertiser may be using different affiliate networks. To track its performance, the affiliate network uses redirection of audiences with the redirect links or through website plugins to the advertiser’s app/website.

3.2 Programmatic 

While affiliate involves buying and selling of online ads from one party to the other manually by reaching out to each other, programmatic automates the buying and selling of online media ads. Over a programmatic ad platform, the advertiser can choose from the inventory using various filters. Not only it saves the manual effort but it also brings in better transparency and control for the advertisers to choose the publishers on which you want to display your app retargeting ads.

RevX DSP Retargeting Flowchart

RevX acts as a Demand Side Platform (DSP) in the programmatic ad ecosystem. Advertisers can partner with us to make use of our RevX platform in order to serve their ads to the intended users for retargeting as well as user acquisition.  

Types of Ads

Banner -Banner ads are the form of display advertisements, which are delivered by an ad server on the publisher’s space. These are usually image-based ads that are embedded in a host website to redirect traffic to an advertiser’s website via a clickable link. Banner ads are quite helpful in bringing more users, increase brand recognition, and display your products. However, a few factors such as placement of the banner, color theme, or presence of too many banners can reduce the user experience and cause brand fatigue.

Native - Natives ads are another form of advertisement that the users might see on an app or a webpage. It is designed in a way to match the media format in terms of look, feel and function in a non-disruptive manner. The native ads are created in a form to look similar to the editorial flow of the webpage on which it is hosted.

Interstitial - These are the ads that are displayed between the website content, and are placed at natural transition on the host site or app. Interstitial ads differ from other forms of ads due to their visual appeal with full-screen interactive ads that cover the entire interface of the app or website. However, since interstitials cover the complete website interface, Google has now imposed penalties on using it explicitly.

Video- Although video ads have gained huge traction in recent times, the concrete definition of video ads is yet to be found. However, according to marketers and market leaders, video ads are considered to be displaying advertisements in any digital format such as video, in-text or in-banner in any kind of video stream. Overlay ads are also considered among the video ads. Although quite high-intent, the increasing use of ad-blockers in browsers is turning out to be a serious threat to the display of video ads.

All the advertisement types are supported by RevX platform. Also, we support both static and dynamic ads in all the formats. Static ads are those which are the same for everyone in a campaign. Dynamic ads are those, in which, depending on the user profile and history the ad served may differ.

What are the best practices in Retargeting?

Through years of research, Affle has put together some of the best practices in retargeting that help ecommerce marketers to grow conversions:

1. You must have a clear call-to-action (CTA) button in your ad. It should utilize deep-linking so that it takes users to the relevant product in the app.

2. Combine offers and promotions like free trials to target users and convert them successfully.

3. Always keep your audience size in mind and adjust your retargeting strategies accordingly.

4. Constantly reorganize and update your lists by supplemented with new data to minimize spam and optimize your ad budget. Combining the process of lead generation with retargeting is especially useful.

5. Tracking the performance of retargeting campaigns is essential. Make sure to place the relevant pixels in all manner of event/cases necessary for achieving your objectives.

6. Automate your remarketing campaign to organize and precisely target your audience. You can deploy advanced segmentation to maximize the "value-per-spend" by linking your CRM and user lists from multiple sources faster than conventional methods.

7. All of your ads should be well-branded and recognizable. Optimize the display aspects keeping the design elements simple but effective. Use bold colors, concise content, and clear call-to-actions' with visible, clickable buttons.

Maximizing Potential of Your Retargeting Ads

If you are looking to make the best of your retargeting potential, here are some more features and strategies:

1. Plan your user acquisition and retargeting together

User acquisition is a daunting task in terms of efforts as well as expenses, while retargeting is your way of converting a user as a customer. It boosts your conversion rate, customer value, and various other metrics that can reduce your overall customer acquisition cost.

By keeping user acquisition and retargeting in sync with platforms like RevX, you empower your ad campaigns to perform better as you target the users throughout their buying cycle. By utilizing the available user data point more precisely at every stage, your ads are able to guide the users towards making transactions faster.

2. Use of historical data to show relevant products and create segments based on user behavior

Any user who has seen the products on your website and spent time researching them is more likely to buy during a sale period. Retargeting acts as a trigger to this action and provides the final nudge for the decision-making process by showcasing customized ads based on the browsing history.

Affle’s programmatic platform RevX creates customer segments based on multiple user-behavior attributes and focuses on users with the highest probability to buy, thus maximizing the ROI for you. For instance: One of the crucial attributes could be the Average order value (AOV), where Affle prioritizes users who have abandoned the cart and have a high basket value. 

3. Push Products

By definition, these are the list of products, which you would like to promote aggressively. These are usually highly discounted or introductory products, for which the buying intentions are higher than the standard products.

Let's say that you recommend some products, which contribute to more than 45% of your ecommerce website sales during the holiday season. Naturally, you would want to assign a maximum ad spend on the marketing activities of these products.

RevX's push product algorithm ensures that such products (based on their category) are prioritized over other products and are shown more often in ads. We also target users visiting these products aggressively.

4. Category Analysis

You can create the distribution of sales by category, based on the users' association of your website to products of a particular group. For e.g., Website A has the highest discount on products of category B. The top-selling categories on the site generally have the highest sale during any event. RevX’s AI-based algorithms prioritize top-selling products for the user's needs over others in combination with focusing on categories.

5. Target wider population

The intent to purchase on the website varies inversely with the time since the user drops off. However, during the sale period, it is sensible to target and bring back the customers who have not visited the website recently. The efficiency of targeting these customers increases by showing the push products in the ads.

6. Use of Social Channel

Social media has proved to be an effective channel for reaching your users. Channels, like Facebook Remarketing, help in engaging customers for a more extended period than other marketing channels. Social media has a significant influence on the buying behavior of potential customers. 

The CVR on social media is significantly higher than many of the conventional marketing channels. Social media has shot up the overall unique reach by 20-30% in most campaigns run by Affle. Therefore, leveraging social media for showing your retargeting ads is an efficient way to maximize the returns.

7. Communication about the website offers through customized banners

Affle helps in showing personalized offer messages in ads, which in turn, increases the CTR. Since the banner theme matches the overall website theme during the sale period, it ensures higher brand recall, and consequently, more conversions.


Retargeting ads are one of the fastest ways to generate more conversions for your brand as these are highly-targeted and relevant to your users. It targets your users unobtrusively over display networks by showing high-intent ads of the products they are interested in. Since your users are already interested but haven’t yet converted due to some reason, reminding them of these products is an efficient way to nudge them for the final purchase.

In the next blog, we will discuss how you can use video retargeting ads to boost your campaigns. You can follow us on social media or subscribe to our blog to receive the update when the blog goes live.

Affle offers end-to-end mobile advertising platforms and RevX is its programmatic advertising platform that works across audiences, campaigns, strategies, and creatives to provide branding, user acquisition and retargeting solutions for advertisers.

For more information about retargeting ads or other mobile advertising solutions, please write to us at

Nishant kadian

Nishant Kadian takes care of content marketing for Affle. With RevX, he likes sharing his learning on the programmatic ad technologies that enable advertisers with branding, user acquisition and retargeting.