Digital Marketing

How Retargeting Ads Can Transform Your Online Advertising

By Just Digital Team
How Retargeting Ads Can Transform Your Online Advertising

If you run a small business online, you know how tough it is to get your products or services noticed. What’s even worse is that buyers nowadays can easily get distracted before they even make a purchase. They end up leaving your website before buying anything.

As crazy as it sounds, 97% of people who visit your site for the first time leave without buying anything.

But what if you have the chance to bring those people back?

Enter remarketing.

Remarketing/retargeting: A form of online marketing that helps you convert website visitors into customers after they leave your website.


Remarketing is a type of online advertising that only targets people who have visited your website or have previously bought from your site.

Have you ever been on Amazon looking at a coffee maker, and then after you leave Amazon you start seeing that coffee maker everywhere? It starts showing up on the side bar, on your Facebook feed, and you feel like someone’s been listening to your conversations?

You have just been retargeted. 

What does it mean to be retargeted? It’s quite simple. Remarketing or retargeting is when you visit a website and don’t take action, such as inquiring or purchasing that product. That website will then ‘pixel’ or track you so that it can start showing you ads across the internet.

How retargeting works infographic

Now, it sounds creepy but it actually has a great purpose. You don’t want to see ads that are not relevant to you. For example, I don’t want to see makeup ads if I’m shopping around for a car or a coffee maker. I want to see ads that are relevant to me that might be helpful. 

Remarketing/retargeting is a way that you can provide value to your leads and customers by showing them ads for things they are already interested in.

There are two types of retargeting ads:

  1. Pixel-based
  2. List-based

Pixel-Based Retargeting

Pixel-based retargeting is the most common type of retargeting. It’s when a pixel or a cookie (a piece of unobtrusive JavaScript code) is dropped on an anonymous visitor’s browser. When the code takes full effect and the visitor leaves your site, the cookie informs your retargeting provider when to show specific ads based on specific pages they have visited. Basically, the pixel-based method is reliant on the amount of web traffic you get.

H&M remarketing ad

Take H&M, for example. The image above is from their website home page. See the pop-up message informing the visitor of cookies? These cookies will most likely include one for their pixel-based retargeting.

H&M retargeting ads

The second picture is H&M’s Facebook ad. The ad immediately showed up on my Facebook feed after visiting their site.

The pros of pixel-based retargeting is that it works fast. Anyone who has previously visited your site can immediately be retargeted right after they leave your page. It’s also particular. It shows ads depending on the specific page the visitor opened. The pixel-based retargeting method can be behavior-based, adjusting to the visitor’s online behavior.

As mentioned above, the pixel-based method is reliant on the amount of web traffic you get. This fact is the only con of this method. The campaign will only work if you get a lot of web traffic. This means that you have to create a marketing strategy to get visitors to open your website (and then leave) for it to work.

If you’re interested in learning how to set up pixel-based retargeting on Facebook or Google, scroll to the bottom of this article for our how-to.

List-Based Retargeting

List-based retargeting is a type of retargeting that will only work if you have the visitor’s contact information in your database. This type of retargeting allows you to customize your criteria for your ads. You get to choose who goes in which list. The downside is that if a person’s email address is different from their social network, then they won’t be able to see your ads. You’ll also have to manually upload and maintain the list of email addresses. It takes up more of your time and is less automatic than pixel-based retargeting.

For example, check out Althea, an online shop that sells Korean skincare and makeup products.

Althea retargeting ads

The image above is their website homepage, where they ask you to sign up to be on their email list. After giving the site your information, you will be a part of their ads list as well.

althea remarketing ads

This is a picture taken from my Facebook feed, and it features Althea’s ad. The retargeting immediately happened the minute I gave the site my email and left their website to go to Facebook.

To set up a list-based retargeting campaign using Google Ads, head to this help page.

Pros of remarketing

1. Retargeting builds awareness

Scenario 1: Customer hears about your product once, goes to your website, and decides to wait to purchase. Customer forgets about you.

Scenario 2: Customer hears about your product, goes to your website, and leaves without purchasing. Customer is reminded of your product the next day and the next via retargeted ads. Customer remembers they want to buy and purchases on day 3.

The key is to reach the 97% who won’t buy the first time they’re on the site. Many of those people may still be interested in your product. You just need to build brand awareness and stay in front of their eyes.

2. Remarketing makes the most of your advertising budget

It’s so much simpler to target a hundred people who visited a specific page than it is to target millions of people.

Showing millions of people your ad will exhaust your advertising budget, but if you stick to that group of 100 or 500 people that you’re targeting, you will appear to be everywhere on Facebook, on Instagram, on their CNN or Fox News or whatever else they consume. It will make you appear to be omnipresent and drive those people who are already interested back to your site.

How to Set Up Pixel-Based Remarketing

There are two common platforms for retargeting ads, and those are Facebook and Google. Here’s how to add a tracking pixel to your website using Facebook and Google.


  1. Go to the Pixels tab in Events Manager.
  2. Click Set up Pixel.
  3. Choose whether to install the pixel using a platform you already have (such as Shopify or WooCommerce), email the instructions to your developer, or manually enter the code yourself. If you are choosing the latter, click Manually Install Pixel Code Yourself.
  4. Go to the back end of your website. Find the universal header for your site or look for the <head> tags in your code. Note: If you don’t use the universal header, you will have to add the code manually to every page of your website.
  5. Copy your unique snippet of code, which will look like this:

    facebook pixel code for retargeting or remarketing ads
    Facebook pixel code
  6. Paste it just above the </head> tag, like this:

    Insert your Facebook pixel code here, directly above the </head> tag. It can be added above or below existing tracking tags.
  7. Save or update the page.
  8. Back on Facebook, choose whether or not to use Automatic Advanced Matching.
  9. Click Send Test Traffic to ensure your pixel is working properly. If your status says “Active,” your code is working. Note that it can take several minutes to update.
  10. Follow Facebook’s onscreen instructions to set up events for your website using the Event Setup Tool.


  1. Sign in to your Google Analytics account.
  2. Click Admin (beside the gear icon) in the left hand corner of the page.
  3. Ensure the Account (left column) and Property (middle column) are correct.
  4. Under the Property column, click Tracking Info>Tracking Code. A new page with a snippet of code will appear, like this:

    Google pixel code for retargeting ads
    Google pixel code
  5. If you have a developer who takes care of your website, copy the entire snippet and send it to him/her to place in your website.
  6. If you are setting it up yourself, copy the snippet and find the universal header for your site. Note: If you don’t use the universal header, you will have to add the code manually to every page of your website.
  7. Paste the code directly above the </head> tag. (See Facebook pixel images.) Do this on every page if you are not using the universal header.
  8. Save or update the page.

You can test to make sure either of your pixels are working by visiting Type in your site’s URL and if you see Google Analytics and/or Facebook Pixel in the Analytics and Tracking section, you did it!

Congratulations, you’re now a programmer.

In conclusion…

The retargeting method is a smart way to get the most out of your marketing budget and website visitors. It will take care of all those customers who couldn’t pull the trigger the first time around but are still interested in your products or services. Don’t let them slip away!

Thinking about trying remarketing? Let us know in the comments below!

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