What Are Retargeting Ads?

If you run a small business online, you’d 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?

Let me introduce you to the Retargeting method. Retargeting is a form of online marketing that helps you convert website visitors into customers after they leave your website.

What is Retargeting?

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

How does it work?

There are two types of retargeting. The first one is called pixel-based and the second one is called list-based. Each one can be advantageous depending on your marketing campaign and goals.


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.

For example: H&M

Notice the two pictures above. The first picture is the homepage of H&M. Observe how there is a pop-up message informing the visitor of cookies. These cookies will most likely include one for their pixel-based retargeting. 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 the 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. It’s also behavior-based, this means the pixel-based retargeting method adjusts to the visitors 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 the site for it to work.

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: (Ph.Althea.Kr is an online shop that sells korean skincare and makeup.)

Look at the two pictures above. The first one is the homepage of Althea’s website and a link to sign-up your email. After giving the site your information, you will be a part of their ads list. The second picture is 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 open Facebook.

Pros of Retargeting

Retargeting is very beneficial for Awareness.


Retargeting is beneficial because it will be easier for you to re-engage with previous website visitors. You can bring awareness by informing them about relevant products, features, or announcements through your ads. But as stated above, you will need to have a great deal of website traffic in order to retarget your ads to more people. People will not be able to see your ads unless they visit your website or give you their email ads.

To conclude

The retargeting method has both its pros and cons. Do you want to try implementing this method to your marketing campaign? Do you think it’s an advantage to your marketing campaign? Comment your answer down below.