What You Need to Know About Remarketing

Contributor, August 24, 2017

What You Need to Know About Remarketing

Photo credit – Justin Brooke

What is Remarketing?

Remarketing is a type of digital advertising which allows marketers to present an advertisement to web users who have previously engaged with either the desktop or mobile version of their website.

Remarketing is a tactic that is useful for keeping individuals in your business’ “loyalty loop” or for reaching new customers who are further along in the sales funnel. As a tactic, remarketing is generally used for “direct response” campaigns, where your goal is to bring visitors to your website to convert or to continue to stay engaged with your brand.

The basic idea behind remarketing is to reach out to users who already know your brand or products and, for that reason, potentially have much higher chances of converting on your website.

Remarketing is all about targeting the user over several, specific occasions, thereby personalizing the messaging more and moreover the interactions in order to encourage the user to move along the conversion funnel to complete the conversion.

Here’s how remarketing usually works:

  • Someone visits your website.
  • The remarketing code you have installed on your website places a “cookie” in that person’s browser.
  • You show ads to that person as they browse other websites and social media platforms aiming to motivate them to complete a form, purchase or another visit

How Can I Begin Remarketing My Website Visitors?  

Remarketing works by placing cookies on your website visitor’s machine (desktop, mobile, tablet) when they meet your criteria. Their cookie ID is added to your remarketing list.

You can have multiple lists with a range of different criteria. For example, you may wish to target visitors that viewed a particular page or section on your website but didn’t make a purchase or complete and registration form.  There are a number of advertising controls available to use, including the period of time that a cookie ID stays on your remarketing list and impression caps on how many ads per day are shown to a unique user.

In order to conduct a remarketing campaign, a website owner/marketer is required to build a list of users/visitors who have previously visited their website.  This user list is constructed by inserting a remarketing pixel across all of the pages of a website (or just specific ones of your choosing) in order to identify the visitors that can be targeted at a later opportunity.

Technically, this remarketing pixel is a small, invisible piece of code ( 1×1 pixel image) that allows your marketing team to keep track of how many users have visited your website or have seen your advertisement. With each user that visits your webpage or sees your advertisement, each is given your cookie and is subsequently added to the remarketing list.

The pixels allow you to begin to achieve an understanding of your customer’s actions on your website. Empowered with this information, you now have the option to run a simple new set of ads promoting a new/different products or create a remarketing funnel for people who have visited specific pages on your website and retarget them with ads.

Core Benefits of Remarketing:

  • Present a range of calls-to-action messages which are aimed to motivate a return visit to your website (flash sales, discounts, added benefits)
  • Act as a reminder to purchase an item they previously showed interest in
  • Serve as a call-to-action to return to complete a transaction for goods or services
  • Offer potentially interested users with a relevant and appealing offer
  • Reach customers who have already demonstrated interest in your business a reminder about the goods/services you offer
  • Create customized advertisements about your website/business
  • Create dynamic pricing strategies based on behavior
  • Achieve better ROI by converting more paying customers or registered users through better engagement
  • Fulfill more of your digital marketing goals

How to Implement Pixels

The easiest way for marketers to begin using pixels is to begin using Google Tag Manager (GTM).  In case you are unaware, GTM is a tag creation platform that allows you to create and launch pixels in addition to the ability to track many different metrics across Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Once your website has been configured to pass information to the pixel, these pixels can be fired in numerous ways, but most commonly they are triggered by passing through shopping cart sales transactions and website visits.  All of the aforementioned actions can be tracked in order to gain a wider scope of the sales funnel and to reach users that have taken a specific action on the website.

All pixels can be used for counting visits to a website and adding browsers to remarketing lists. However, pixels can also be used for passing custom variables that you can use to build custom audiences.

How Custom Variables Work

Custom variables are key-values that can be used to track virtually any type of data that you collect about your users, such as ticket purchases for particular genres of movies, geos of shipped purchases, or the gender of the user. For example, you create a pixel to count the number of users who arrive at a thank you page after they register with your website.

As part of the registration process, your users enter information about themselves, such as what state they live in, whether they are male or female, and whether they would like to receive promotional emails with special offers.

By sending this information to the Floodlight tag (DoubleClick pixels) as the values for a set of custom variables, you enable reporting on each of these variables.

With custom variables, you can define additional segments to apply to target specific visitors with particular characteristics. Segmentation enables us to understand who are our customers and how different groups of people behave on the website; this information is extremely valuable in order to provide a richer and more relevant experience to customers.

Additionally, you can use custom variables to build custom audiences. This can be useful for planning, remarketing, and reporting based on various segments of larger audiences.

By using DoubleClick custom variables, you can create reporting data that is tailored to your unique business needs, helping you to understand your conversions in greater detail.

To use custom variables, your website must be technically capable of passing information into a Floodlight tag (DoubleClick pixels) dynamically.

You can include custom variables in any of your pixels. İn DoubleClick You can create up to 100 custom variables per pixel. You can also add friendly names to make these key-values easier to understand in reports.

There are lots of creative ways that you can use custom variables:

  • Location: Pass the area code, the shipping or billing postal code, the region, etc.
  • Travel and vacation: Pass the number of nights booked for hotels, participation in a rewards program, route or fare details for travel, etc.
  • Products: Pass the SKU, product name, sales tax amount, shipping amount, etc.


Remarketing is an incredibly effective method for engaging visitors to your website. The ability to retarget website users who have shown intent to purchase items, interest to convert on your landing pages, or simply represent the right demographics or metrics for a potential long-term visitor to your site, is a highly powerful tool in a marketer’s arsenal to motivate a return visit.  Never before has it been so easy to use remarketing for branding and sales purposes.

If you have any questions about remarketing or would like to discuss how we can assist you and your company to begin using remarketing within your digital advertising activities, please feel free to contact us and we would be more than happy to assist you in meeting your digital goals.