How often do you find existing or prospective customers coming to your platform, but then not really taking any affirmative action? You see them poking around your landing pages, looking at your products or services, and then moving on, without presenting you with a new conversion. Since the customer does seem to have a purchasing-intent, given that they are on your platform in the first place, how do you ensure they come back and actually follow through with the action you expected them to take earlier?

You must have come across Facebook ads on your feed showcasing the footwear you almost ordered online the other day or a sponsored post on your Instagram of the residential buildings that you looked at three weeks ago. You’re looking at retargeting ads, that in a digital marketing context, are designed to reach out to people who’ve shown interest in the business by visiting their website or signing up for their newsletter.

After people visit one of your landing pages, there are two things that you can absolutely sure of: They’re either interested in a specific product or service that you’re offering, or they’re already aware of your business and are in the decision-making stage. So, instead of creating a generic offer or discount to targeting this audience, it makes more sense to design an extremely relevant landing page-specific Facebook ad that your prospective customers can resonate with. Depending on the platform and your back-end data gathering methods, you can choose to retarget buyers based on an extensive range of customer criteria, patterns and actions.

Facebook and Instagram:

The Facebook family, including Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network supports various advertising types, where every ad is divided into two separate components: The format (what will look like in the user feed) and the placement (where exactly will it be displayed). For remarketing, you can use Facebook and Instagram in the following ways:

  • Contact Database: Connect with your existing or potential buyers on Facebook and Instagram by using your CRM data or customer contact list.
  • Website/Landing page visitors: Install a Facebook Pixel on your website to create a custom audience of both frequent and first-time visitors. You can use this data to showcase relevant ads to your visitors on social media about the products or services they demonstrated a keen interest in, regardless of whether they’re on using a desktop or a mobile phone. Designed to help brands convert website visitors into repeat customers, the Facebook Pixel also comes in handy for tracking user behavior, conversions and micro-conversions,  no matter what the referral source.
  • App users: Target the existing or past users of your app using the Facebook Pixel, and encourage them to return to your eCommerce portal to see the latest apparel collection or complete the next levels of a game.

  • Dynamic ads: Upload your product catalog on Instagram or Facebook to launch a dynamic ad campaign that changes product recommendations based on the person viewing them. For example, if you checked out a certain toaster model on a website, then out of the entire product catalog, you will only be shown the ad for the toaster. On the other hand, the same ad might show a microwave to another person, if they visited the website to look at microwaves. Nifty, right?


Twitter introduced the ‘Tailored Audience’ functionality exclusively for businesses looking to invest in retargeting. You can choose between three types of ‘audience’ available:

  • Lists: Whether you’re looking to reach out to existing customers or relevant influencers, consider using their Twitter usernames or upload a list of their email addresses to target specific users.
  • Web: Twitter encourages conversion tracking by allowing you to create a ‘tag’ got your platform, so you can track if people click, retweet, like, or simply see your ad, so that you’re always aware of where your traffic comes from. You can also monitor their actions across multiple devices, so you can create segmented lists based on user behaviour for future marketing campaigns.
  • Mobile apps: Out of the 66% of weekly Twitter users, 42% use the app, so it’s only fair that your marketing strategy is inclusive of mobile users. Use ‘tags’ to keep a track of what mobile users are up to and how they interact with your website once redirected from an ad. Keep note of every conversion that can take place on a landing page, and document every possible customer path, as well. When you’re working on a mobile-only campaign, use this ‘tag’ to improve your ad reach.


After reaching 500 million users in 2017, LinkedIn announced the ‘Matched Audiences’ feature to enhance the retargeting process:

  • Website: Similar to the retargeting approach used by other social networking platforms, you can retarget customers on LinkedIn by creating audiences based on your website visitors.
  • Account: If you’re looking to target people in specific organizations, upload a list of the company names, which are then matched against the LinkedIn database to help you discover people from organizations of your choice and target them with your ads.
  • Contact: Use by e-mail addresses to target your existing audience on LinkedIn by either uploading your own database or directly connect using Marketo or LiveRamp to make the process more hassle-free.


Snapchat recently stepped up their game in the social ad space by providing their advertisers with industry-specific benchmark measurements, so they can get an additional insight into their competitors’ campaigns. With location targeting options and new engagement audience segments, you can reach out to customers who use Snapchat at a specific place, for example, the ‘fitness enthusiasts’ segment will help you target regular gym goers.


Youtube has introduced ‘video marketing’ tools that allow you to target in-market audiences, where you can not only reach out to existing and new viewers based on their past interactions with your videos or Youtube as a whole. You can also determine what kind of products people are in the market to optimize your Youtube remarketing strategy. For example, if you have an essential oils business, then you can choose to target people whose search results on Youtube are related to essential oils. Similarly, with affinity audiences, you can find people who are interested in food, travel, beauty and more.


Promoted Pins not only allow you to run advertising campaigns based on a Pinners’ search keywords, device, interests and location, but you can also use your own business data for a more detailed targeting. Here, you’re combining the information Pinterest has about their users with the information you have about your customer. For example, when someone buys a leather tote from you while browsing Pinterest, you can suggest them another bag from your collection.  Using Pinterest Ads Manager, you can easily create and target customers in the following ways:

  • Customer list: Upload your own database of emails or mobile ad IDs to Pinterest, if you’re looking to target existing customers.
  • Visitors: Launch a remarketing campaign for people who stopped by your platform.
  • Lookalike: If you’re looking to reach an audience beyond your existing customers, then lookalike helps you target a large group of people who have a pretty much the same background, geographical characteristics, interests, purchasing habits and other traits.

Remember to always put a frequency cap on all your remarketing ads to prevent them from appearing multiple times in a single user’s feed. Customers often mark ads they see often or are not interested in as spam, so make sure your advertising is relevant and monitored. You can also use burn code or burn pixel to leave out customers who’ve already made a purchase following the ad.

Customize your designs and content based on the audience segmentation lists you’ve developed, so that your ad acts as a strong conversion tool for customers in different stages of the sales funnel.

Perfecting remarketing ads that elevate your business is not a one-time job and requires considerable A/B testing before you can finally settle on an end result that resonates well with your customers.

Retargeting advertisements are also considered a bargain as they offer significantly lower cost less per click than other ad types. With a little experience and quality control, you can easily turn retargeting from a possible economic liability to a sustainable driver of revenue.