Traffic Patterns: Optimizing Retargeting

Benjamin Fonzé

ExoClick was the pioneer in offering traffic retargeting in the adult space. So, what exactly is it? How does it work? What are the differences between positive, negative and personalized retargeting? How can you maximize the effectiveness of your retargeting campaigns and ensure long-term customer engagement, retention and repeat purchases? And what do you need to think about if your retargeting fails?

Here are some tips that answer these questions and point you in the direction to optimize traffic retargeting:

Retargeting is an amazing tool, and has equal opportunity to succeed or fail based on the strategy used in the creation, execution and the follow-up of your campaign.

What Is Retargeting?

Retargeting enables you to target specific users who have already shown some interest in your product or brand via one of your digital ads. According to a report in May 2015 by the Baymard Institute, 68.53 percent of consumers abandon their shopping carts, so retargeting allows you to reach out again to these consumers in order to push them to convert.

This creates a greater opportunity for generating sales by keeping your brand visible and bringing high value traffic back to your site by tempting them once again to buy. Each time the user sees your retargeted ads, your brand/product gains more recognition. The high click-through rates and increased conversions that are common with retargeting campaigns highlight the value of good branding, creative ads and repeated exposure.

How Does Retargeting Work?

Technically, all you need to do is place a small piece of code on the page where the user showed interest in your product/service. This will place an anonymous browser cookie to each visitor, allowing the ad network to retarget these potential customers when they are browsing other websites.

What Are The Differences Between Positive, Negative And Personalized Retargeting?

Positive and negative retargeting allow you to target or on the contrary, exclude users who have reached specific steps within your website. Personalized retargeting is useful for when you are selling different products, one way of increasing the effectiveness of retargeting even further is to use different display ads for the product that a user has shown interested in.


Retargeting is an amazing tool, and has equal opportunity to succeed or fail based on the strategy used in the creation, execution and the follow-up of your campaign. A successful retargeting campaign is one in which a user becomes a customer within the time frame of the campaign. Here are some tips to drive success.

Define Your Budget

Set yourself a goal as to how many times you should retarget that user until they convert, base this on the value of what a customer is worth to you. For example, if you are pitching a membership site at the user which is a three-month offer valued at $60, you need to ensure profitability, so if your overheads: hosting, site maintenance, streaming, content purchases, etc are $30 per user define a cut off value you are prepared to spend in order to convert him and stick to it. If he is not converting don’t throw more money at him when you pass your threshold.

Know Your Traffic

Knowledge is power, so knowing statistics and data about the traffic you are retargeting is invaluable. Having access to big data statistics and analytical tools will tell you many behavioral patterns, for example, what time did they click on your ad? Is that time of day your window to get their attention again? If so, use day parting to reach out to them at the same time the following day. In which GEO were they? Maybe the text on your ad was in English, but they clicked on it in Paris, France. Try the next ad you pitch to them in French and make sure that they click through to a landing page in French. ExoClick’s big data statistics allow you to analyze your traffic via browser, carrier, category, country, date, device, hour, language, operating system, site and variation.

Make It Easy For Them To Purchase

Payment issues maybe one of the blocks to their purchase. If they are in LatAm for example, where credit card penetration is low, offer them a different way to purchase in the next ad you retarget at them by highlighting that they you accept local carrier or SMS billing. Look at the best payment solution options suited to that market.

Diversify Your Ad Formats

You don’t have to stick to the same ad format everytime you retarget a user. Sometimes ad formats compete against each other on a website. For example, on a website that has two page banner spots, both banners are the same size therefore your ad is competing with the other ad for viewer attention. Check to see if the site offers a spot that is on its own and also try out different creatives and calls to action so that you can maximize your chances of standing out to the viewer.

Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough

Once you have a conversion, don’t stop after one sale, they are now your customer and it is up to you to retain them and upsell more of your great products and services. You can start to upsell complimentary content for the niche they are interested in or maybe you have a range of accessories that can be used with the product you have already sold them.


We can define the failure of a campaign when it did not to convert the user to a customer for the duration of the campaign. Here are some ideas to think about if your retargeting campaign didn’t lead to conversions.

Did You Annoy Them Anyway?

Bombarding a user with retargeting will not turn them into a customer. If anything, it could turn them against your product or brand. Be strategic in your targeting and ensure to use frequency capping on your campaigns. Another pitfall is retargeting a consumer who has already made a purchase but you continue to target them with the same product or ad not only are you annoying them but you are also wasting money, this is where you can implement negative retargeting.

Choose Your Site Wisely

Ensure that you are retargeting traffic on sites that are related to what you are selling. You don’t want to see a baby food ad on a football site for example. A completely irrelevant ad interrupts engagement on the destination site, it makes a consumer question what the advertiser is thinking.

It is important your product or brand maintains a level of selectivity in where it promotes itself. Also, not every site performs well, so collect data on the sites you are targeting over a certain time period and analyze them, if they aren’t converting for you add the site as a negative target so your ads will no longer show there. By cleaning up your target site list at least once a month, it will help lower your overall cost per conversion.

Never Assume Anything

Instead of relying on what you think will work, test, measure and optimize based on results. Testing can provide you with the data you need to run retargeting campaigns with high performance results.

Benjamin Fonzé is founder and CEO of ad network ExoClick.