Retargeting - A consistent way of getting qualified leads and increase brand awarness

Retargeting is by far the most powerful digital marketing technique of 2021. In this article, we address, the how, why, and when to use retargeting.

How to ensure your marketing is shown to the correct audience? How to convert that audience into customers?



Digital marketing guru Gary Vee, briefly explains the power of retargeting, but what is it? How does it work? How to leverage retargeting to generate qualified leads?


Why is it so powerful?

Retargeting works so great because it leverages the "marketing rule of 7";

"The Marketing Rule of 7 states that a prospect needs to β€œhear” the advertiser's message at least 7 times before they'll take action to buy that product or service."

Thanks to retargeting, we can ensure that a prospect keeps seeing, reading, and hearing our message. When the prospect interacts with the marketing message the 7th time, the magic happens. A potential lead is created.


How does retargeting work?

The ad platform (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Google...) will track users that perform a specific action. The platforms then show users more ads, until they become customers.

In its most basic form, retargeting can be configured to show ads, to users that have visited a site within a certain timeframe.
Note: You need to own the site, to use retargeting.

An example of this is Trip Advisor. If you visited their site within the past 30 days, chances are, your social is bombarded with their ads.

Another common example of retargeting is; If a user abandons their cart, show the user ads related to their abandoned cart contents.

An example of this is Amazon. If you have recently abandoned your cart, you're probably seeing ads related to products that are sitting in your cart.


How to set up retargeting?

1. Build an audience

Before using retargeting, an audience has to be created. Think of this as a well-curated list. This list will contain all the potential customers we'd like to attract.

When creating an audience, it's important to be very specific.

  • What is the target age group?
  • What are some of their interests? (shoes, jewellery, ...)
  • Does the target audience follow a specific brand? (Nike, Adidas...)
  • ...


2. Create an amazing ad

Gary says to use video, but realistically any type of ad will work. The important part is that the ad delivers on your brand message, and what you're selling.


  • Use original content
  • Make the ad visually pleasing
  • Make the ad super engaging and shareable
  • Make the ad in various formats (so it can be used on multiple platforms)
  • Drill deep into your brand message



  • Use clickbaity images or text - Don't be shallow, you're trying to build trust.
  • Be condescending or pushy - This is the first time people see you. You wouldn't propose to someone on day 1.
  • Copy content - We've seen cat videos all over the internet. They are cute, but probably have nothing to do with your brand.


3. Broadcast the Ad

Use the audience created in step 1: Build an audience, and show them the ad created in step 2: Creating an amazing ad. The key here is to show this ad to as many people as possible.

Pro tip: Aim for Unique Impressions to extract the list of potential buyers.


4. Add retargeting code & events

This can be done in many ways, in this article we'll address the most common ones;

Facebook Pixel

  • Go to Facebook Business
  • Go to Data Sources > Pixels
  • Create a Pixel
  • Follow the steps to install it on your site


Google Analytics

  • Go to Google Analytics
  • Create / Log in to your account
  • Create Property
  • Follow the steps provided to install the code on your site

Note: To use this data in Google Ads, Google Analytics needs to be connected to Google Ads. Once connected data will be available automatically.

Optional: Set up Events

If you want, you can also set up additional events on both platforms to capture specific events on your site. These could be; Add Payment Info, Time Spent on Page, etc...

In this article, we won't address how to do this. Plenty of resources are available online.


5. Test Capturing of leads

Visit your site, and test the events to confirm the ad platforms are receiving data.


6. Create a few Ad variations

Showing the same ad over and over gets tiring, so make a few variations. This will also allow the ad platforms to refine Ad delivery (show the best ad per individual).

We suggest having both image and video ads. This ensures better coverage across multiple media.


7. Keep showing the ads to the new audience

By now, the curated audience collected in step 4: Add retargeting code & events should contain some users. These might be users that visited your site, performed some interaction you defined. The secret here is that the retargeting list contains only users that you deem as potential buyers.

Next, create multiple ads specifically for this new audience.

Facebook Ads: Facebook/Instagram

  • Whilst creating the Ads select to create a new audience.
  • The new audience should use data from the pixel
  • Select an action the user has performed (if applicable)
Facebook how to set up retargeting audience 1
Facebook how to set up retargeting audience 2


Google Ads: Google/Youtube

  1. Go to: ads.google.com
  2. Click on Tools > Audience Manager
  3. Create the audience
  4. Create a new campaign
  5. In Audiences, select the audience you just created

Bonus: The goal is to have the retargeting audience seeing your ad at least once every 2 days. So make sure the ad isn't limited by budget.


8. Repeat and Refine

Keep track of how the retargeting ads are performing. Remove the low performing ones, and create new variants of the ones performing best. After a few days or weeks (depending on budget), you'll see more and more buzz created around your brand.


Things to consider when doing retargeting

This is a long-term strategy

Even though retargeting may be used for a quick turnaround, it works best on long-term campaigns as it leverages branding.


Your seed ad needs to be AMAZING

The seed ad (step 2: Creating an Amazing Ad) needs to be unlike anyone has seen before. Retargeting only works if you can populate a curated list of potential leads.


Privacy can be a concern

Retargeting has been given a bad reputation because many believe it breaks privacy laws such as GDPR. This is only true if data collection has been set up incorrectly. All ad platforms can perform retargeting without having any personal information about users. They only need to match a unique id (pseudonymous - an id that only the ad platform understands).


The data in the room

Will you be retargeted after reading this article? Yes, you will. You'll probably see more ads about Lifeboat on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and maybe more platforms. We wouldn't be deeming this the most powerful marketing technique of 2021 if we didn't believe in it ourselves. But don't worry you'll remain completely anonymous to us until you decide to trust us with creating an account.

If you found this article helpful, you could save us a bit of marketing money and create an account right away πŸ˜…
Click here to create a Lifeboat account


What kind of ROAS should be expected from retargeting?

It's impossible to give an exact answer to this, as it will depend on; competition, reach, product, and many other factors. However, average retargeting campaigns typically have a ROAS (return on ad spend) of about 2x - 3x. Great retargeting campaigns have seen ROAS of 100x but that's not common.


What if retargeting is not working?

There are a few things that could "go wrong" when doing a retargeting campaign;


The seed ad is not bringing in enough leads

This is by far the most common problem and could be for a range of reasons. Most commonly;

  • The target audience is too broad/narrow
  • The ad is not good enough - It's not enticing people to click through


The product/service is not a winner

Sometimes we as entrepreneurs get so absorbed in our products/services that we forget others might see it differently. A good way to validate is to have some family, and friends do a "blind test". Give them your product/service alongside a few competitor options, and let them give you honest feedback.

If the product/service is the problem it might be time to pivot. Your next idea will probably be more successful.


Budget Limitations

Retargeting is very cost-effective but that doesn't mean it's free. If your ads are running into budget limitations, the leads might feel confused and become unlikely to commit.



Retargeting is by far the most powerful and efficient way to do digital marketing in 2021. In this article, we covered how to set up a retargeting campaign, some common pitfalls and provided pointers on how to get the most out of your Ad budget.

If you found this article helpful, please do help us in helping more entrepreneurs by sharing it with your family and friends. Your share means we can help more business owners succeed online. πŸ™

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