Remarketing adverts are designed to remind people who visited your website of what you sell and reinforce your brand when they’re moving around the web.

Remarketing is also known as retargeting and according to PPCMode’s Ultimate Guide for Retargeting, “Most sites are only able to convert 2% of their visitors on average. With retargeting however you’re able to keep the interest of the other 98%”.

By placing a cookie on an individual’s browser, companies can track their audience’s buying habits around the web and then create adverts targeted to their interests.

The two key reasons why remarketing works are:

Below we take a look at the five key factors your remarketing adverts need to have to ensure you’re harnessing every potential opportunity for a conversion.

1. Relevance

How relevant the products or service which is being remarketed to your audience is the most important aspect of a remarketing campaign.

By displaying highly targeted adverts, you are more likely to engage existing or potential customers so they click back to your website.

The simplest way to do this is to display the exact products your customer viewed on your website, in the remarketing banner.

This is known as ‘dynamic remarketing’ and in this example from catering equipment specialists Russums, the exact products I viewed on the website are included in the advert in rotation, with a ‘shop now’ button to encourage me to click.


Sometimes this goes a step further by showing customers who’ve abandoned their shopping cart what is in their cart and allowing them to continue to complete their order with one click.

You can set up different adverts for customers at different stages of the buying cycle. For example, once someone buys the product you have been remarketing to them, remove this item from the banner and replace it (Read more...) a complementary product. If they bought a girl’s dress from you, for example, then show them a cardigan or matching shoes instead of the dress they already bought.

If a customer has already bought from you, then entice them back to buy more with a return customer discount, or alternatively, if a potential customer has viewed products on your website but not bought anything, then encourage them to convert with a new customer special offer.

Remember the golden rule of remarketing, the more targeted the advert, the higher the conversion rate.

2. Button it up

Calls to action on your banners provide the push which gets visitors to click on your advert and visit your website.

As the aim of call to action buttons are to get people to click and convert, the copy you use on them needs to be persuasive. Buttons with very specific instructions work particularly well as they tell an individual exactly what they need to do next.

For example, this banner from Coast gets straight to the point with a clear offer (60% off sale) and call to action (shop now).


The Financial Times banner advert has an equally direct call to action button of ‘Subscribe and save 25%’ clearly outlining what action an individual has to take and what benefit they’ll get when they take this action.


This small space of around five words is the place where you tell your audience what you want them to do, ‘find out more’, ‘download free guide’, ‘sign up free’, ‘book now’ are all persuasive messages.

The less ambiguity the better with call to action buttons so avoid vague prompts such as ‘go’ or ‘click here’ or just using arrows on your button.

Your click through rate can improve dramatically by adding a time sensitive offer as your call to action – limited free trials, discounts and early booking incentives create a sense of urgency which can encourage people to click.

Calls to action such as ‘buy now’ for expensive products don’t always work as this implies a commitment to an expensive purchase by clicking the button.

This Dunster House advert is an example of this, as more enticing and less direct copy on the button would be more appropriate as even if someone has viewed the cabins before, they are unlikely to just ‘buy now’ for such an expensive purchase. Calls to action such as ‘explore the range’ or ‘discover your perfect cabin’ would be better options.


When it comes to colour – buttons which stand out work best for the obvious reason that they’re easier to see. The Coast button is a good example of this as the pink of the button contrasts perfectly with the pale background of the advert.

Text should be large and clear and there shouldn’t be too much of it in the box, a maximum of five words is a good rule of thumb to ensure your copy is informative and you’re not confusing or distracting people by trying to deliver too much information.

3. Timing is everything

Not everyone who visits your website will buy online from you as they may choose to buy direct either over the phone or in person.

Seeing an advert for something someone has already bought will be annoying for them and pointless for you, as they’re unlikely to buy the same item again online. Limit the number of times someone sees the same advert and instead show complementary products.

Your adverts will have your branding on them so they will be constantly reinforcing your message, meaning they will be more likely to remember your brand when they’re ready to buy again.

Bombarding an individual with the same advert over and over again is akin to harassing them, which could reflect badly on your brand. To find the sweet spot to cap your adverts at for your customers, test different lengths and see which brings in the best conversions.

In many cases, showing an individual an advert for an item they didn’t buy three months ago is too late, unless you specialise in products with a longer buying cycle such as vehicles or B2B services like software and insurance.

If you’re dealing with everyday items, remarketing a pair of shoes, for example, to someone three months after they originally viewed them on your website is probably going to be too late. You can change your adverts to show for a more appropriate length of time by amending the ‘membership duration’ tab in your Adwords campaign.

Depending on your business, you may have very specific busy periods throughout the year. For example, if an individual purchased flowers from an online florist for Valentine’s Day then it’s worth retargeting adverts to them around other special occasions such as Mother’s Day.

You could set up specific Dynamic remarketing campaigns with Google ads to help you keep track and market to people who have visited or bought from your store to reengage them the following year.

Time sensitive calls to action are another way to boost click through rates by utilising your advert buttons. Calls to action which encourage urgency give people a reason to act sooner rather than later and can therefore boost click through rates.

This advert from the Jockey Club promoting a family event at Sandown Park Racecourse includes a special ‘early bird’ offer of 20% off for advance bookings, as well as showing all the other information busy parents need to know about the event.


4. The right design for the right audience

The tricky part of designing remarketing banners is that your design needs to reflect your brand whilst encouraging shoppers to click through and complete their purchase. Below are some considerations you’ll want to think about when designing your banners.

Static vs animated adverts

Whether you opt for static or animated adverts will largely depend on the message you want to convey and the design resources you have at your disposal.

A static advert is much easier to produce and upload to your search network, but it might not have the capacity to showcase your products or service in the way you wish, as it’s simply a single still advert, usually containing a logo, call to action button and an image.

It’s easier to tell a story and convey more complex messages with animated banner ads but it’s important to think about what your key message is though, as if it can be conveyed clearly with a static advert then designing a HTML 5 advert may not be worth it.

Again, this is why testing is so important!


Remarketing adverts should be clearly branded as the whole point of this type of marketing is to reengage with people who have already visited your website.

They are unlikely to reengage with your brand if they don’t recognise it. Often your company logo and colours will be enough for people to recognise your brand but also bear in mind how you want your brand to come across to customers.

Consider this advert for Jimmy Choo, this remarketing banner simply displays the brand name along with a scrollable selection of their products.


This simplicity works with Jimmy Choo as it is a global, aspirational brand, which means if someone thinking of buying from them they’re likely to be aware of the brand and prepared to pay a significant amount for a high quality pair of shoes, so subtle, smart branding is all that’s required to successfully reflect the ethos of the brand.

Compare this with this advert from Argos which includes the logo, an image of the product, sale information and a ‘shop now’ button.


It’s much bolder, brighter and contains more information than the Jimmy Choo advert but again, it reflects the ethos of the Argos brand as an affordable retailer perfectly.

5. Optimise to boost conversions

As with a regular PPC campaign, you should constantly test your remarketing adverts to ensure they are optimised for conversions.

Split test your adverts to find out which ones are most effective at converting.

Some areas to consider testing include:

  • Calls to action copy, colours and button position
  • Different messages for people at different stages of the buying cycle, for example, ‘new stock’ adverts for existing customers
  • The number of times an advert is displayed for
  • The images on the advert
  • Static and animated adverts, or even just text only adverts

Vigorous testing is the only way you will know what type of remarketing adverts convert best for your brand.

Simple tweaks to your remarketing adverts can boost your conversions and ensure your brand message is conveyed to your existing and potential customers.

By focusing on relevance and streamlining your comparing through testing, the higher your conversion rate will be from your remarketing adverts.

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