The Ultimate Guide to Retargeting Ads

Marketing is no longer about who has the biggest budget, the most billboards, or the catchiest TV commercials. Digital marketing rewards the creative minds that use the right tools to spread the right messages. Sure, having fat pockets is nice, but a loaded toolbox is far more valuable.

I’m here to add a powerful marketing tool to your arsenal.  Prepare to master the art of retargeting.

My company manages retargeting campaigns for multi-million dollar companies. These are the main takeaways we’ve had over the past couple of years.

Fancy introduction: over. Let’s get to the good stuff.

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting is very simple. As implied by its name, retargeting is when you continue to market to people after they leave your site. Think of it as your second chance to achieve your marketing goals.


The process of building a retargeting list is similar to building a mailing list, however, no opt-in is necessary. When a person opts in to your email list, they become a valuable prospect because they have already shown an interest in your business. The same rationale holds true for retargeting. Building a retargeting list allows you to create a highly targeted niche audience to be used for future marketing efforts.

What is The Best Retargeting Company?

There are plenty of services out there that simplify the process of setting up a retargeting campaign. Some of the larger ones include AdRoll, Retargeter, and Perfect Audience. We almost exclusively use Perfect Audience, however, we also use AdRoll from time to time. Feel free to choose any of the retargeting companies that meets your needs, as they all accomplish the same goal and provide similar features.

For the sake of this post, this will be a Perfect Audience tutorial. We use Perfect Audience because it is simple, versatile, convenient, and effective. The Perfect Audience system is easy to setup, integrates with WordPress, provides all of the necessary features, and allows for effective campaign maintenance and optimization. Many services offer similar features, however, we have always used Perfect Audience and haven’t been given a reason to switch.

We’ve organized a free $120 trial to Perfect Audience for new users.

How does Retargeting Work?

When visitors come to your website, a retargeting cookie is placed on their computers. This cookie allows you to target a visitor through a variety of advertising channels including Facebook, Google AdWords, and Twitter (discussed later in the article).

The cookie is placed on a visitor’s computer through a simple script that you add to your website. Intimidated? Don’t be. Modern tools make the process incredibly simple.


Humanizing the Retargeting Process

Before we dive into the actionable stuff, I want to demystify the process of retargeting by focusing on the “human” element.  It’s easy to get consumed by marketing metrics and forget that we are dealing with humans. By humanizing the process, you can improve user experience and make the most out of your campaign.

Don’t worry; you’ll get your meat and potatoes soon, but first let’s focus on some basic concepts.

I mentioned above that retargeting provides you with a second chance to achieve your marketing goals. It’s crucial that you make the most of this second chance or else you will be wasting hard-earned dollars on a campaign that doesn’t convert.

Self employed woman or student working in a restaurant

Focus on Why Customers Left in the First Place

Retargeting is just one ingredient in your proprietary blend of marketing magic. Its effectiveness is relative to the rest of your marketing mix. You need to be aware of why your visitors are leaving the site without converting. If your website is below par, you can spend as much money as you want on retargeting but your efforts will be futile.

Think of it like this:

If I go to a restaurant and the food is terrible, I will leave. The restaurant can attempt to get me to come back as much as they’d like, however, I won’t be coming back until I’m confident they have improved their offerings. If I return to the restaurant and the food is still bad, my negative opinions will become even stronger. In this case, the restaurant has a critical issue with their product, not their advertising.

Make sure there is not some underlying problem with your business before sending users back to your site. How can you pinpoint the problem?

Take advantage of the data you have available. Here are a few things we do before launching a retargeting campaign:

Check Google Analytics

  • How much time does the average user spend on the site?
  • How many pages do they visit?
  • What devices do your visitors use and is your site responsive?
  • Where is your current traffic coming from, and is the quality high enough to justify retargeting?

Know your competition

  • Do your competitors have a better product?
  • Do your competitors offer better pricing?

Focus on Customer Feedback

  • What do customers tell you about your business?
  • What do reviews from third party sites tell you?

I don’t want to stray too far from the concept of retargeting, so I won’t go into too much depth on this topic, but the main idea is simple. Before you start a retargeting campaign, make sure you have an audience worth targeting a second time.

Creepy, Annoying, and Flat Out Ridiculous

Retargeting is incredibly powerful when done right. That being said, it can have adverse effects when done improperly.

Most people start to become aware of retargeting when they are exposed to shockingly specific advertisements. You know when you look up that nifty gadget on Amazon, return to Facebook, and bam! There’s an ad for that gadget is in your newsfeed.  Maybe you’ve made the mistake of visiting a site that later bombards you with tons of ads on a daily basis.

Remember, retargeting is just a tool, and, like all tools, it must be used properly.

Let’s discuss some retargeting etiquette.


More is not always better. You want to increase your brand’s exposure, but you do not want to offend your prospective clients. Not only is overexposure annoying, but it can also lead to ad blindness, which is counterproductive to your marketing efforts.

We like to retarget each user roughly 15-20 times each month. This ensures adequate exposure in an unobtrusive manner. Of course, this number is not written in stone, but we use it as a general rule of thumb.

Content and Flow

Delivering appropriate content allows you to facilitate “win-win” situations with your customers. It’s important to think about your customer’s needs and focus on both the short term and long term.

For example, if you run a consulting business and a visitor leaves your site, it would be easy to bombard them with advertising messages like “We’re the best consultants out there!” “Try our consulting services – you won’t regret it” “Seriously, you should work with us. We’re the best.” When you do this, are you really giving the visitors something they couldn’t find on their first visit to your website? Rhetorical question.

A better approach would be to retarget visitors by offering a free PDF guide with “the top 10 easiest ways to double your revenue.” Instead of being a loud mouth brand, you are now providing value to a prospective customer, and hopefully, laying the foundation for a mutually gratifying relationship.

This leads to the importance of having a sensible flow of content. Think of it like this. If someone is trying to get you to invest a large sum of money in their hedge fund, they won’t just say, “Hey, give me your money to invest.” Instead, they may take you to a casual business dinner, then arrange a short meeting to discuss details, then start with a small investment, and then finally ask for a larger investment. Could you imagine how poorly things would go if they flat out asked for a multi-million dollar investment? The same rationale holds true for retargeting.

Focus on the value you are bringing to your customer’s during your second chance at marketing. We all want to drive sales right away, but the process can take time. Focus on a user’s experience and provide them with everything they need to feel comfortable working with your company.


This one should be obvious, but that isn’t always the case. Respect your customers’ privacy!

If someone is browsing Amazon for products to eliminate toe fungus, do they really want those ads showing up when they browse Facebook with their friends? Probably not. Focus on achieving your goals whilst also respecting your customer as a person.

This also ties back to frequency. If a customer visits your site, you don’t need to overwhelm them with Facebook retargeting banner ads and sponsored Tweets. Be subtle. Be respectful. Market intelligently.

You’re not trying to force your customer into buying your product. You are trying to lead them into making the decisions themselves.

Getting Started

Now that we have a basic foundation, we’re ready for the good stuff.

I hope you’re feeling ambitious today, because I’m about to give you everything you need to setup a retargeting campaign with Perfect Audience.

We’ve got a lot to cover so let’s get started.

Step 1: Placing a Retargeting Pixel

First things first, you will need to setup your retargeting pixel. This is what drops the cookie on your visitor’s computers and allows you to build a retargeting list.

Go to Manage > Site Tracking Tag


If you use WordPress or Drupal, there is a simple plugin you can install. Otherwise, you just need to place the small bit of code on your site before the “</body>” tag. If you need further instruction, here is a walk through provided by Perfect Audience.

Congratulations, you’re ready for Step 2

Step 2: Segmenting Your Lists

Go to Manage > Create Lists


You can create lists with a variety of different criteria, however, we mostly segment lists by URL Path and Email.

We always leave the “Duration” field blank in order to keep visitors on the lists indefinitely. You can choose targeting windows at a later point when you setup your campaigns.

When creating lists, think about the different kinds of customers you have. There is no magic number of lists you should have but each list should serve a purpose and be differentiable from the rest. For example, if you run an E-Commerce website with a blog, you will want to treat blog readers differently than people who browse your products. You will also want to create lists that you will exclude from your retargeting campaigns (such as users who have already converted). Exclusion lists are just as important as inclusion lists. Not all customers are the same, so you don’t treat them as if they are.

Here are a few of the ways we segment lists:

Method How to Do It
Converted users vs. not converted users Achieved by placing a tracking pixel on a checkout confirmation page
Mailing list subscribers vs. non-subscribers Achieved by placing a tracking pixel in emails
Users who have shown purchase intent vs. those who have not Achieved by determining which pages on your site show purchase intent, and segmenting accordingly
By Interest (ex: customers interested in SEO vs. PPC) Achieved by segmenting lists based on which pages a prospect visits
By marketing channel (ex: visitors from LinkedIn vs. visitors from Facebook) Achieved through the use of query strings

The possibilities are endless, but every retargeting list should serve a purpose. You will be marketing to each list using different tactics. Creating more lists gives you more options when setting up campaigns, but you don’t want to overwhelm yourself.

You are now officially setup to build retargeting lists! Perfect Audience requires that your lists have 1000 visitors before you start a campaign, which should give you more than enough time to plan an effective strategy.

Creating a Campaign

Step 1: Leverage Historical Data

Chances are, you already have a lot of valuable data at your disposal. This data can be collected from Google Analytics, previous marketing campaigns, or elsewhere. Analyze this data in order to make the most of your retargeting campaign.

Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Find Top Pages in Google Analytics – Make sure you are giving customers the best content you have. The best way to discover this content is by seeing what visitors have enjoyed in the past.
  • Gather Geographic Data in Google Analytics – See which countries most of your traffic comes from. More importantly, see which countries your highest quality traffic comes from. This will help with the geo targeting settings for your campaign.
  • Analyze Conversion Rates by Day of the Week – You can get data in Google Analytics as well as advertising platforms such as Facebook Ads and Google AdWords about which days you get the most conversions. We rarely use dayparting, but it can come in handy every now and then.
  • Analyze your previous ad campaigns – You can gain insights from previous advertising campaigns that will help you with retargeting. Focus on what kind of content resonates with your audience. This includes marketing channels, ad headlines, images, offers, and ad copy.

Once you’ve gained some insights from the data you already have, it’s time to start setting up your campaign.

Step 2: Choose a Campaign Type
Perfect Audience has 5 different campaign types


Web Retargeting – Banner ads across the web
Facebook Newsfeed Retargeting – Facebook Newsfeed posts
Facebook Sidebar Retargeting – Facebook sidebar ads
Dynamic Retargeting – Used for e-commerce sites with many products
Twitter Retargeting – Sponsored Tweets on Twitter

For the sake of this post, we will be focusing on Facebook Newsfeed/Sidebar Retargeting as well as Web Retargeting. Dynamic retargeting is more complex, and we always find that Twitter advertising is more expensive than the other options. Plus, we want to keep this simple and actionable.

Let’s look at the benefits of each ad type

Facebook Newsfeed Retargeting – This is one of my favorite forms of native advertising. If done right, it is unobtrusive and highly effective. You can expect higher CPMs, however, you should also expect higher CTRs. This can also be great for increasing your page likes. (Note: You must grant Perfect Audience “Advertiser” access to your Facebook Page in order to run ads)


Facebook Sidebar Advertising – This is a great complement or alternative to Newsfeed advertising. The benefit is that it is cheaper, however, CTRs can also be lower as well.


Web Retargeting – This allows you to place banner ads on tons of different popular sites. This is great for brand awareness as well as diversifying your advertising channels and driving more conversions. CPMs will vary significantly by niche, and future optimization is crucial.


So, how do you decide which channels are right for you?

  1. Leverage historical data – If you’ve had success with Facebook Ads in the past but no luck with banner ads, then Facebook may be the right choice for you. Build on your strengths.
  1. Budget and time restraints – If you have a limited budget, it may be better to put all of your focus into one channel instead of diluting your marketing power and budget by overwhelming yourself with too many channels. You can always add more later.
  1. Marketing Materials – Do you have solid banner ads prepared? Are you good at writing ad copy for Facebook? Once again, you will want to choose channels that allow you to build on your strengths and utilize your current resources.
  1. Follow the customers – If none of your customers are on Facebook, then your ads shouldn’t be either. Google Analytics data can be helpful for determining your customers’ behavioral trends. You can also analyze the demographics and psychographics of your audience by using tools such as Alexa and Quantcast.

Step 3: Choose a Targeting Strategy

You’ve already created your lists. Now, you need to use those lists to create a targeting strategy. You can target one list or multiple lists. You can also exclude customers you do not want to target.


For example, if you run a hotel booking site, you may want to “Include” users who visited an inner page, and “Exclude” those who have already completed the checkout process. You could target these users with an incentive to book a hotel room. Alternatively, you could target existing customers by offering them special deals as a form of customer appreciation. (Remember that your ads will need to be tailored specifically for your audience.)

Next, you will choose a lookback window. This dictates how long users will be retargeted after they have been added to the retargeting list. So, if you set your targeting window to 20 days, your ads will be shown to people who have been added to the retargeting list in the past 20 days. We will generally use a window of 30 days, however, we may alter this for specific campaigns. For example, if our marketing goal is to stimulate brand awareness, we may extend the window to 90 days, whereas if we were promoting a limited time deal or event, we may drop the window to 10 days.

Step 4: (Optional) Geo Targeting and Dayparting

Earlier, we discussed using historical data to make decisions for the retargeting campaign. If all of your conversions come from the United States, then you will only want to target people in the United States. Similarly, if most of your conversions occur on the weekend, you will only want to target people on the weekends.


Step 5: Choosing Ads

Next, you will want to choose ads that send the right message to your audience. Ads are incredibly important to the success of your campaign. Retargeting campaigns are paid for on a CPM basis, meaning you are paying each time the ad is shown (not when it is clicked). In order to make the most of each ad impression, you will want a high click through rate, which means you need a great ad.

Sometimes, you can get away with recycling ads from other campaigns; however, you may need to create new ones specifically for retargeting. Make sure you are properly conveying your value proposition whilst maintaining your brand’s image.


(Anatomy of a Perfect Banner Ad. Source: BuySellAds)

For Web Retargeting campaigns, we use the following ad sizes (in order of preference): 300×250, 728×90, 160×600, and 468×60. We test all of these sizes, but ultimately end up eliminating the underperformers. Remember to include a solid call to action, maintain brand image, and give users a reason to click.

For Facebook Sidebar Ads, the image and title can make or break the ad. People enjoy images with real people, humor, and vivid imagery. We like using titles that spark a response or trigger thoughts in people’s minds. For example, people will subconsciously respond to a title like “Not Getting Enough Sleep?” This means you have their attention. Ad copy is important as well, but not nearly as influential as the title and image.

For Facebook Newsfeed ads, you want to deliver content that people would enjoy while browsing their newsfeed. You want to join the conversation instead of disrupting the user experience. For example, if you run an accounting firm, a message such as “Get Your Taxes Filed By the Best in the Business” may be disruptive to a user’s experience on Facebook, whereas a message like “You Won’t Believe What John Did With the $3,400 he Saved by Filing with CompanyX” may actually be of interest to your prospects. Of course, maintaining brand image is important, but your focus should be providing Facebook users with content that they will actually enjoy. Once again, the image you use is very important. When retargeting on Facebook, it should also be noted that they only allows images with less than 20% text (You can test an image here)

In short, you want ads that:

  • Are relevant
  • Produce high click through rates
  • Maintain brand image
  • Convey your value proposition
  • Don’t disrupt user experience
  • Align with your landing page content

Now, let’s focus on where a user ends up after clicking an ad.

Step 6: Choosing Landing Pages

Your landing page should serve 2 main purposes:

  1. Giving the visitor what they expect to see after clicking you ad (aka aligning your content with user expectations). If your ad promises quality information, you better deliver. If your ad promotes a limited time sale, you better deliver.
  2. Supporting your marketing goal, whatever it may be. If your goal is to sell a product, you should send users to a page that sells that product. If your goal is to increase mailing list opt-ins, then you should use a landing page designed to squeeze emails. Make sure to know your specific marketing goal and tailor your campaign around it.

Don’t be afraid to test multiple landing pages.

The main thing to keep in mind is that alignment is key. Your landing page should align with your target audience’s needs as well as the ad you use to reach your target audience.

Effective landing pages will vary by business. If you are unfamiliar with landing page optimization, you may want to consider learning more about it. There are plenty of great resources online if you are looking to learn more.

Step 7: Setting a Budget


Perfect Audience lets you set your marketing budget on a weekly basis and requires a minimum budget of $25.

There are a few main things to account for when setting a budget.

  1. What can you afford? Market within your means and choose a budget that will allow you to run the retargeting campaign for at least 2 months so you can collect data and optimize.
  2. Is this a test? If you are completely new to retargeting or testing a new strategy, start with a smaller budget and scale up. We will usually set a test budget of $50/week for new campaigns, before eventually scaling up.
  3. How big is your retargeting list? This is the basis for most of my long-term budgeting decisions. We want to retarget each person on the list 15-20 times each month. So, if we have 10,000 people on the list, we want to pay for 150,000-200,000 impressions each month. Let’s say we want 50,000 impressions/week. If we expect the CPM to be $2, we will set a marketing budget of $100/week. Here is the formula: [(ListSize*20)/4]*(CPM/1000)

You can then choose to run your campaign continuously or set a start and end date. We’ll usually set each new campaign to run for 1-2 months before deciding whether or not to extend the duration.

We will always start campaigns with optimized bidding and then make adjustments through manual bidding if necessary. We do this because we want as much raw data as possible. We want to see what the natural CPM is before altering it. Yeah, everyone would like lower CPMs but what if that leads to lower quality traffic?

Remember, CPM’s vary considerably across different niches. We use the manual bidding as a form of “controlling.” For example, let’s say you run a campaign and get an average CPM of $4, with an RPM (revenue per thousand impressions) of $3.50. You will need to adjust the CPM manually in order for the campaign to be profitable. Contrarily, if our average CPM is $4 and our RPM is $8, we will not tinker with the bidding, as it may change the traffic quality. We do not care about how much we spend on impressions. All we care about is the return on ad spend. Some niches will allow for a nice ROI with a $4 CPM, while others may require CPMs under $1. You don’t know until you test, and assumptions can be detrimental to your campaign’s success.

Speaking of return on ad spend, you need to make sure you are tracking conversions for retargeting, which leads to our last step.

Step 8: Setting Conversion Goals

Up to this point, we have been focusing on aligning all of our marketing content to achieve our marketing goals. So, what exactly are your marketing goals?

Here are a few goals we will often use retargeting to achieve:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Increasing conversions from site drop-offs
  • Increasing Mailing List sign ups
  • Promoting a free product
  • Increasing Facebook Page likes
  • Promoting CPA offers
  • Increasing brand exposure for existing clients

The list could go on and on forever. Think about what your business is trying to achieve, and how retargeting can help you achieve that goal. Be realistic. We all know that the end goal is to make more money, but there are many steps prospects may need to complete before becoming customers

Once you know your goals, you will need to track them. This is CRUCIAL. If you do not track conversions, you will not know how effective your retargeting is, so you are wasting money.

To setup a conversion goal in Perfect Audience, just click “Create a Conversion Goal.” You can choose from a variety of different conversion types.


The easiest way to track conversions is by tracking when a user visits a certain URL path. So, if your goal is to increase mailing list signups, you may set a conversion to trigger when a user reaches your subscription confirmation page (ex: In some cases, you will need to use other methods for triggering a conversion, however, most conversions can be tracked via the Perfect Audience system.

You can also set a value per conversion, however you don’t have to. If the value is obvious, set it, however, some businesses (such as my own) assign a different conversion value to each customer.

To summarize:

Choose a Marketing Goal > Determine When/How a User Completes that Goal > Setup your Conversion Tracking

Step 9: Pay and Launch

This step is straightforward. Enter your billing information and launch you campaign.



Retargeting is not a “set and forget” form of marketing. It requires constant attention, tweaking, and optimization. You should expect to collect data for your first month or two and then use that data to significantly improve your campaign’s efficiency.

Optimization can make or break your retargeting campaign. Why is it so important?

Just look at these screenshots. The graphs alone make the timing of the optimization pretty obvious.




Optimization saves a lot of money and makes it more feasible to run retargeting campaigns continuously. You may be wondering why you wouldn’t just optimize from the beginning to get ideal results immediately. Of course you optimize as best you can from the start, however, when you start out, you have limited data. You do not know which ads, domains, and channels will work best. As you collect more data, you can make better decisions to improve your campaign. Don’t be discouraged if your campaign doesn’t deliver the desired results right away. Just make sure you begin to optimize when enough data is available.

First things first, you want to make sure you are looking at the right metrics

Key Metrics

Metric What it is Why it’s important
CTR Click Through Rate, expressed as a percentage. This lets you know how many people click your ad. For example a CTR of 1%, means 1 out of 100 people click your ad. CTR will shed light on how effective your ads are. You will want to keep your most effective ads and build on their success.
CPM Cost per milli, expressed in dollars. This is how much you pay for every 1000 impressions your ad receives. You are paying for ads on a CPM basis. The lower the CPM, the less money you spend. We will also compare retargeting CPMs to CPMs from other channels in order to make sure retargeting is a profitable marketing method.
CPC Cost per click, expressed in dollars. This is how much you pay for a click. (Keep in mind you are not actually paying for clicks, and this number is derived from your CPM and # of clicks.) CPC is a good comparative metric. If you are paying $5/click in Perfect Audience and $1/click in AdWords, you may want to reconsider the effectiveness of retargeting. That being said, you need to look at your conversion data as well. You may be paying 5x more for a click while receiving 10x more conversions, in which case the ROI is still better than other channels.
ACPA Adjusted cost per acquisition, expressed in dollars. This tells you how much you are paying per conversion. This is where you can start calculating ROI. If you are paying $20/conversion, you need to be generating at least $20/conversion to break even. This is where it is important to know as much about your business as possible. For example, you may be paying $20/conversion for a customer to pay for a $10 product, however, if you know that your customer’s have an average LTV (lifetime value) of $200, this strategy may be lucrative in the long run.
CTC% Click through conversion rate, expressed as a percentage. This tells you how many people click an ad and then convert. Retargeting usually supports goals closer to the middle/bottom of the marketing funnel. This means you will want higher conversion rates. If your visitors aren’t converting after being sent to the site for a second time, there may be an issue with your strategy.
VTC% View through conversion rate, expressed as a percentage. This tracks people who see your ad and later convert. Not everyone will click on your ad, but the exposure itself can be very powerful. For example, if you run a landscaping company, people may not click your ad frequently, however, when they need a landscaper, they may remember your company. Don’t underestimate the power of view through conversions. We run a few campaigns where view through conversions drive more leads than click through conversions.
ROI Return on investment, expressed as a percentage or in dollars. This tells you how much money you make for every dollar you spend. The ultimate goal of retargeting is to make money. ROI helps you determine the profitability of your campaign. If you spend $100 on retargeting, you need to make at least $100 in revenues to break even. Of course, you will want to do more than just break even.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with the metrics, you are ready to put them to work.

Ad Filtering

The main goal for ad filtering is to boost your top performing ads and drop the underperformers. The main metrics we use are CTR, CPC, impressions, and conversion rate.

To see your ad data in Perfect Audience, go to your Dashboard and click the Ads tab.


First things first, we sort ads by spend to see where we are spending the most money.

Then, we analyze the ads one by one and decide whether to keep the ad or drop it.

The first number we look at is CTR. CTR will show how effective the ad is at getting visitors to the website. We will almost always delete ads with CTRs below 0.1%. The closer to 0.5% the CTR is, the better.

Next, we look at the CPC. CPC is relative to both your CTR and your CPM. We don’t usually have a specific CPC price target. Instead, we focus on which ads have lower CPCs relative to the rest. So, if CPCs range from $1-$3 for a campaign, we will want to keep ads with $1 CPCs and eliminate those with $3 CPCs. We will also compare this data to CPCs from my other marketing campaigns (Such as AdWords, Facebook Ads, etc) to gauge the effectiveness of the retargeting.

Keep in mind, that you need to check the amount of impressions for any of this data to be relevant. If an ad has a CTR of 1% but only 100 impressions, the data is not very reliable because the CTR will most likely drop considerably as impressions increase. The higher the impressions, the more valid the data will be. Think of this like a scientific study. If a new supplement claims to boost weight loss in 20% of people, would the study seem more valid if they tested 5 people or 500?

Don’t make any major decisions until an ad has at least 1000 impressions.

Lastly, you will want to look at your CTC%. This will help you determine the ROI of the ad. One ad may have a CTR of 10% and deliver 0 conversions, while another may have a CTR of 0.5% and deliver 50 conversions. Which ad would you prefer to keep running? The answer is obvious.

To summarize the process:

  1. Sort ads by Spend
  2. Check CTR and eliminate those under 0.1%
  3. Check your CPC range for the campaign and eliminate underperformers
  4. Make sure you are using impressions as a metric for validity
  5. Tie everything into your ultimate goal of generating conversions

After you run this optimization over time, you may need to swap out ads to avoid ad blindness. If you have properly optimized, and CTRs keep dropping, consider testing some new ads.

Domain Filtering

Domain Filtering is used for Web Retargeting campaigns and allows you to choose where your ads are shown.

In Perfect Audience, go to your Dashboard and click the Domain Report tab.


Just like Ad Filtering, we sort the domains by spend to see where most of the budget is going.

The goal is to block domains that are underperforming. You can do this by clicking Options > Block Domain.


The process for domain filtering is almost exactly the same as ad filtering. You monitor CTR, CPC, and CTC% and use impressions as a measure of validity. You will also want to keep an eye on the CPM, as it can vary considerably by domain.

The main difference between ad optimization and domain optimization is that we incorporate a bit of qualitative data in domain optimization.

Our campaign managers will actually visit some of the top domains to see where the ads are placed and what their websites are all about. We ask the following questions:

  • Why do users come to this site?
  • How “clickable” are the ads?

This allows us to better understand user intent. If we am running an ad for a B2B company, we may block a domain that is an entertainment website. Additionally, if ads are place in deceptive ways intended to trick users into clicking, we will block the domain.

Please note that this is a speculative method of optimization and you need to be cautious. You should not be basing decisions solely off of your assumptions, but some qualitative data can be complementary to your quantitative data.

Geo Filtering/ Dayparting

As you obtain more data from running your retargeting campaigns, you can optimize further by location and day. We will often segment campaigns by location, and eliminate underperforming locations. We may also do the same for day parting, however, we will not do this as frequently as geo filtering.

If you do not segment your campaigns by country, you can always use data from Google Analytics to make these decisions.

Channel Filtering

Last but not least, we filter campaigns by channel. The main metric you will want to use here is ROI.

Let’s use this fictional data as an example:

  • Facebook Newsfeed Ads ROI: 100%
  • Facebook Sidebar Ads ROI: 50%
  • Web Retargeting Ads ROI: 75%

Clearly, the newsfeed ads have twice the ROI as the sidebar ads. You can eliminate your sidebar ads campaign and allot more budget to the newsfeed ads.

Remember to account for channel differentiation. You can’t compare apples and oranges. In this example, it makes sense to eliminate sidebar ads because you can make more profits from Facebook with Newsfeed ads. Even though Web Retargeting Ads have a lower ROI than Facebook Newsfeed Ads, it wouldn’t make sense to drop the Web Retargeting Ads because they still have a positive ROI and drive conversions from a different location. The people you reach with web retargeting may not be reachable on Facebook.

In short, focus on the campaigns that are making you the most money for every dollar spent. If you have a limited budget, allot most of your budget to the top-performing channel. If you are not limited by budget, optimize by channel, but don’t be afraid to use multiple channels to reach a larger audience.

Advanced Strategies

By now, you should have all of the information you need to get started with your retargeting campaigns. If you want to take things to the next level, here are a few tips for getting even more out of retargeting.

Retarget someone else’s audience

If you don’t have enough web traffic or would like a bigger audience to target, you can consider retargeting other people’s audiences. Perfect Audience is starting to roll out a beta feature called Connect that allows you to connect with other marketers and share retargeting lists.


You can also attempt to do this the “old school” way by contacting other site owners and offering to pay them to place your tag on their sites. Some business owners will be reluctant to do so, however, others may be happy to receive the extra income. For example, if you own a business for weight loss products, you could contact the owner of a blog related to weight loss. This blog owner is not a direct competitor so they may not mind allowing you to place your retargeting tag on their site (for a price). They make more money, and you get a bigger audience to market to.

Sequential Retargeting

Sequential retargeting is where you show your audience different ads over time. Think of this like an email autoresponder campaign. You can use a strategy based around the marketing funnel if you’d like. For example, let’s say you run a hair product business. You may use a sequence like this:

Week 1 – Increase brand exposure and stimulate brand awareness with generic Web Retargeting Ads

Week 2 – Promote an article about hair care tips on Facebook newsfeed

Week 3 – Promote a 10% off sale with Web Retargeting

Week 4 – Remove users who converted from previous weeks and run a more aggressive 20% of Sale with Web Retargeting and Facebook newsfeed ads

This sequence is oversimplified, but you should get the general idea.

Integrate with other Marketing Efforts

If you want to approach retargeting at a granular level, you can integrate your strategy with other marketing efforts. What do I mean by this?

You can create campaigns based around a visitor’s journey map (where they came from, how long they’ve known about your business, etc.). You can segment your lists based on many user actions. For example, if you segment your email lists based on subscriber quality, you can place different tracking tags in the emails for each segment. This is done by creating retargeting lists with the “Email” option in Perfect Audience. You can target your top subscribers with different messages than your new subscribers.


You can also target visitors by what channel they come from. If you find that your traffic from LinkedIn prefers serious content and your traffic from a guest post prefers entertaining content, you will want to treat these users differently. This can be done by creating retargeting lists with the “Querystring” option. When you link to your content from LinkedIn, you can use the querystring “?=Linkedin” and create a retargeting list in Perfect Audience for that group. You can create querystrings for any traffic source and continue to market to those users in a unique manner. This allows you to get more specific with your advertising and also allows you to weed out lower quality traffic.


One Minute Overview

  1. Get the $120 free trial with Perfect Audience by clicking here.
  2. Set up your targeting pixel.
  3. Create a campaign.
  4. Optimize your campaign.
  5. Pro Tip – Retarget someone else’s audience.
  6. Pro Tip – Integrate with Email Marketing

Wrapping Things Up

By now, I hope you can see how retargeting maximizes the potential of your marketing efforts. You now have everything you need to start taking action!

Remember, this is an ongoing process. Test. Optimize. Repeat.

The good news is if you read through this article and took action, you are probably ahead of most of your competitors. Retargeting is a relatively new phenomenon, so you have the advantage being an early adopter.

Be creative with your campaigns and good luck!