How to raise your average retargeting conversion rate: Top tips

A photo of Paul Egan, our interviewee on How to raise your average retargeting conversion rateWant to know how to raise your average retargeting conversion rate? Here are some top tips from Paul Egan, Director at online marketing agency atom42.

Re: Retargeting

“​Retargeting gives you a second bite of the cherry,” explains Egan. “We generally consider conversion rates of 5-10% to be fantastic for ecommerce stores but what about the 90-95% who aren’t converting?” The simple fact is that “most users won’t buy from you first time around. Perhaps they’re unsure, unexcited or just browsing. Retargeting is one way you can stay visible to these users after they’ve left your site.”

It’s possible to get it wrong in fundamental ways though: “Marketers often jump into retargeting without putting enough thought into the potential mindset of the user. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been retargeted by an ecommerce site trying to sell me something I’ve just bought.”

In other words, if you want dough, don’t D’oh!
The Simpsons' Homer ponders How to raise your average retargeting conversion rate

To retarget or not to retarget?

Egan advises that if you’re on the fence about whether retargeting is the right strategy, you might follow these steps:

  • Read some case studies (ConversionXL has a roundup; HubSpot also has some retargeting tips). See how different organisations have applied retargeting – find out what their strategy was and think about how it might work in your case.
  • Think about the resources you have available – do you need design support?
  • What about video (if you’re using YouTube remarketing)?
  • Decide how much budget you’re willing to use to test it out and thrash out a scientifically valid test – something that will either validate or falsify your hypothesis about your campaign.
  • Then launch, test, measure, learn, improve.

He insists: “There’s no point doing a test if you’re not going to learn anything concrete. You’ll soon find out if it has a chance of working for you. You can then either explore it further, or have a well-formed rationale as to why it isn’t for you.​”

3 tips for boosting your retargeting conversion rate

A dart in a dart board, suggesting How to raise your average retargeting conversion rate

Egan says to focus on three things: Targeting, creative and volume.

1. Targeting

“Targeting is really important. Who do you want to remarket to and what do you want to say to them?

“Do you think there’s an opportunity to target users who have been to your site, added items to their shopping carts but not converted, serving them an ad that gives them a time-limited discount code (perhaps 10% off if you buy today)?

“Or perhaps you want to target users who have converted, cross-selling a complementary product?

“Getting this right is the most powerful thing you can do.”

2. Creative

“Once you’ve thought more carefully about your targeting, you need to ensure that your ads and landing page are compelling.” It’s just as well that eCommerce Insights rounded up the top landing page trends in 2016, whilst BannerSnack has collected some real world retargeting ad examples.

Questions to ask of your creative work include:

  • Do your images look good?
  • Are you communicating the offer clearly and succinctly?
  • Can you cut your word count by 50% to make it clearer?
  • Do your ads stand out?
  • Do the landing pages match the ads?
  • Is the messaging on the landing page aligned with the messaging in the ad?
  • Can the user get all the information they need to feel compelled to make a purchase just from the landing page itself?
  • Is it then easy for them to add the item to the shopping cart and check out?

Or phone-in a friend: “You can learn a lot by just sitting someone down in front of the computer and ask them to think out loud as they navigate and attempt to buy your product.”

3. Volume

“You can generally find user segments that will convert much more readily than others. If you focus on these, pausing other activity, your conversion rate will go up,” says Egan, adding a “But…”

It will be at the cost of sales volume, he adds: “It is therefore worth remembering that a high conversion rate is not necessarily your primary KPI. It is often ROI, or even net profit generated by the activity. Sometimes it is worth trading conversion rate for additional volume if it means the business receives greater benefit overall.​”

“​You could boost your conversion rate by pausing all activity that has a below-average conversion rate, but if that paused activity was profitable, you’ll make less overall.”

Are retargeting conversion rates higher than others?

Depending on how good your strategy is, Egan doesn’t think that your retargeting conversion will exceed your general conversion rate – at first: “Your initial aim is to prove that some elements of your retargeting campaign produce, or have the potential to produce, a positive ROI.”

When you’re at that stage, “it’s highly likely that you’ll be able to improve your retargeting conversion rate to be higher than its non-retargeting equivalent. For example, display retargeting should ultimately have a higher conversion rate than non-retargeted display ads.”

Paul Egan is Director at atom42 –

Thomas Quillfeldt

Thomas Quillfeldt

Editor, eCommerce Insights

March 24, 2016

Get the eCommerce Insights newsletter

The latest e-commerce technology Insights


Fast Impressions Count: Growing Your Ecommerce Website [Download]