Four critical factors that could cause your retargeting ads to be ineffective


Are retargeting ads becoming annoying and ineffective these days?

Remember the days when retargeting ads became a thing in the online world?
It felt like marketing ZEN.

“You mean when someone abandons your cart you can send ads across the internet to remind them of what they left behind?”

“Super cool!”

But right now, the one-time darling of online advertisers is becoming annoying to consumers and people are discovering it isn’t the holy grail of advertising.

Lately, there is a lot of chatter and complain about the number of ads chasing people around the interwebs when they are not supposed to.

In defence of retargeting ads, most of these errors are made by the people who set them up.

It’s beginning to look like retargeting ads do not have intelligence to identify some situation that a customer may be in and therefore segment that customer from receiving such ads.

What are some of these factors that could cause retargeting ads to seem dumb and ineffective?

1) The customer experienced a poor customer service
2) The customer has already bought.
3) The customer was just in the research phase and discovers he doesn’t need your product after all.
4) The visitor merely bounced from your site and had no intention to be there in the first place.


Let’s look at these factors in a lot more detail.


The customer experienced a poor customer service:

In many cases, which is something that I’ve experienced first hand, I experienced a poor customer service with a given company but soon after leaving their site, their retargeting ads kept chasing me about.

Now how do you think I felt when I saw those ads and the brand around the interwebs.


This is the kind of feeling you evoke when your business doesn’t serve customers right.

Setting up retargeting ads will not solve your customer service problems but rather will make your brand repulsive to your target market and this isn’t the kind of brand recall you desire to have.


The customer has already bought:

Of all factors in my books, this the craziest. A needless and easily fixable error. How can you retarget someone with info about a product they’ve already bought?

And when I say bought it’s not limited to e-commerce sites that have to sell a product, it also applies to information product sellers.

Why do you keep sending me information to register for a webinar or download that I’ve already registered for.

That’s just plain lazy in my opinion.

Retargeting ads can only be as effective as the people who set them up to be.

We all know that there is a viability in using retargeting ads when done right. Marketers need to think about the goal of their retargeting ads. Is this to have someone buy something, download something etc.

Then exclude everyone who has completed that goal when you set up your ads.

The customer was just in the research phase and discovers he doesn’t need your product after all:

You’ve heard the phrase, “the devil is in the details” right?

Well, as detailed as retargeting ads can be, it cannot tell when a visitor is in the research mode.

The only way to get around this is to show the retargeting ads for a very short time.

If someone doesn’t take action on your retargeting ads within 3 days, why keep showing off the same ads to someone for days on end.

Some last 14 days even more.

Yes, we know that this is what makes retargeting ads effective, it mainly captures leads who truly needed that reminder to take the next step to complete the action who initially intended.

The visitor merely bounced from your site and had no intention to be there in the first place:

To avoid this from happening, you need to delay the time your retargeting cookie fires.

This way it removes a lot of bounced traffic which could have been white noise for your advertising spend.

When you do this, you spare yourself from sending annoying ads to your audience.

When you take into cognizance some of these issues, you’ll be able to create retargeting ads that solve real business issues and not just for the sake or retargeting in and of itself.

Have you experienced these retargeting issues? Do you see companies failing at this? Leave them in the comments.


Ifeoma Illoh is a data driven digital marketer focused on revenue growth and customer retention. As a senior digital marketing and PR consultant she works with businesses to activate and grow consistent revenue using digital channels and online media platforms so they can attract leads, maximize sales and grow exponentially. This is ultimately so that business owners can make impact, have influence and build the legacy they desire. She's the Founder of WiredInn Digital agency which she built from ground zero . She's actively the Chief Content Officer here at OMI.

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