In online marketing, retargeting (also called remarketing by google) refers to the possibility of identifying visitors of a website in order to then display personalised advertising measures on other websites. It is a classic performance channel that aims to improve KPIs such as the Click Through Rate (CTR) or the Conversion Rate.


To enable this, the advertiser must integrate a retargeting pixel on their website. This pixel sets a cookie and collects necessary information about the user behavior, such as the products the visitor has viewed. If the retargeting cookie is recognized on another page by the corresponding ad server, the information can be read out and suitable advertising media can be displayed.


Frequently, products last displayed or products from the category last viewed are displayed. It is also possible to exclude previously purchased products or users who have recently purchased from the advertising measures. In addition, these contents are enhanced with further attributes such as the price of the product, the brand or a discount campaign.


Retargeting is usually designed dynamically. In other words, there are banner templates that are filled individually and in real time upon delivery. For example, an online shoe retailer can always fill the template with the last three products viewed, while a tour operator can display the four most popular hotels from the last viewed region.


Possible billing models in retargeting are:


  1. CPM / TKP – cost per mille (also: cost per 1000 impressions) / thousand contact price: billing only after delivery
  2. CPC – cost per click: billing by number of clicks
  3. CPO – cost per order: billing by number of sales


Typical retargeting channels are search engines, social media or advertising networks that have different inventory in their portfolio, such as news portals or blogs.


The advantages of retargeting are obvious: Reminding a user of products he has already been interested in or even had in his shopping cart is certainly useful and therefore this channel is often very performant. In times of data protection, however, marketers must make sure that their campaigns comply with the GDPR and do not overload the user with banners. This can be achieved by frequency capping. In addition, the advertising campaigns should be limited in time according to the offer. While users, for example, take more time to make a decision when booking a trip, the purchase of socks is more likely to be completed at short notice. The retargeting campaigns should, therefore, be planned accordingly.

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See also: Search Engine Advertising