The Top 7 Remarketing Dos and Don’ts




Guest Post by Colibri Digital Marketing, San Francisco’s only full service B Corp-certified digital marketing agency.

Internet Remarketing

The internet has proven to be something of a mixed bag for marketers. On one hand, it has afforded us infinitely broader reach for our marketing efforts, it has cut costs drastically, and it has opened the doors for highly personalized, expertly targeted remarketing campaigns that have unprecedented conversion potential.

On the other hand, it has done all of those things for our competitors, as well. Whatever your niche, it’s all but guaranteed that another company or three is fighting for the attention of the same demographic or segment of potential customers.

With so much competition and so much saturation, there’s no brute-force remarketing approach that will help you to conquer your particular market. So it’s up to you to work smart, rather than hard, and to avoid these common pitfalls which, even as you read this list of remarketing dos and don’ts, may be hindering your competitor’s efforts.

Remarketing Dos and Don'ts



Spam remarketing to every visitor with emails and banner ads.


Keep the banner ads for potential customers, those visitors to your site who have not yet entered into a direct conversion path, and send emails to visitors as follow-ups after conversions or to those who abandoned a process in mid-step.

For Instance…

A customer who added items to a cart, but didn’t confirm the purchase, would be an ideal remarketing target for a direct, personalized email.



Remarket without a clear, direct call to action, and a targeted landing page.


Use your remarketing efforts to help a site visitor toward a particular conversion path, even a highly flexible one, so that your remarketing efforts don’t read like catch-all form letters. Conversions can take lots of different forms.

For Instance…

Imagine a restaurant that emails a copy of the menu to a potential customer. As a remarketing effort, that’s crass and likely pointless. Instead, the email might recommend a particular dish or advertise the day’s special.



Remarket without an incentive.


Remember that engaging with remarketing communications isn’t an obligation on the part of the consumer. The email might get deleted, and the banner ad ignored. It can come off as presumptuous to remarket without being willing to offer a concession in return. Coupons are common (“Ten percent off your next order, with this code!”) but an incentive can take a lot of different forms. Try to figure out why a particular user abandoned a conversion path, and offer something to ease that particular strain.

For Instance…

A customer in another country abandoned the ordering process on the screen that would have let them select their preferred shipping method. Maybe the shipping was prohibitively expensive, or perhaps their country wasn’t listed as an option. In this case, an incentive to discount the shipping rate or to send a priority package to a country your business doesn’t usually target could solve the customer’s problem, so target your remarketing emails accordingly.



Cast too wide a net.


Remarket on sites and channels that are relevant to your service and of high quality. We’ve all had that pesky banner ad that chased us across cyberspace until we deleted the cookie, and none of us has ever esteemed the offending site as a result. Remarketing is about precision, not volume. Be sure that you’re setting appropriate impression caps, too. There’s a very low point of diminishing returns after which further exposure will just push away a potential customer. A daily cap on how often a particular person will see your banner ad is a good way to keep your business fresh in their mind without the exposure being off-putting.

For Instance…

A customer who has seen the same banner ad ten times today, on ten different sites, probably won’t suddenly click it on the 11th encounter.



Be sloppy with your remarketing triggers.


Remember to script or automate insightfully, to avoid missteps. Adding items to a cart, and then disengaging, is significantly different from adding items to a cart and then buying them.

For Instance…

A customer who has added items to a cart might trigger a remarketing email with a high-pressure sales pitch. If the customer has already made a purchase, this email will feel out of place or even a little slimy.



Use identical ad copy across multiple formats.


Tailor your language and content to suit the expectations of the medium and context. An email, a Facebook post, a landing page, and a banner ad should all read very, very differently.

For Instance…

An email that seems personalized, even if it is a form letter, will go over better than a Facebook Sponsored Content post that pretends as though it’s directly addressing the reader. One is convincing, while the other is uncomfortably transparent.



Be vague, general, impersonal, or indistinct.


Personalize! As we said at the very beginning of this piece, the internet has given us the tools to target a particular visitor directly, making strong inferences about everything from preferred content format to social and political views, to demographic data. By examining the cookies already logged by a user’s browser, as well as IP address, device type and model, software configuration, default font settings, and a hundred other factors, it’s possible to precisely calibrate an email for one particular visitor. With emerging natural language and AI technologies, this process could be handled algorithmically, with virtually no operation costs.

For Instance…

A customer with a five-year-old phone, running an unusual or highly customized build of the OS, with cookies from Tumblr, Huffington Post, and so on, with a default font set to Comic Sans is probably relatively young, tech savvy, socially progressive, unlikely to have much patience for the more predictable forms of marketing outreach, and is probably choosy about how she spends her money, focusing more on the business she’s choosing to support rather than the product she’s receiving. How would you remarket to her?

Rise Above the Competition

That’s it for our list of  The Top 7 Remarketing Dos and Don’ts.  We hope that, with these tips, we’ve given you some actionable steps to help your business rise to its full potential, and we welcome your feedback. Find Colibri Digital Marketing on Facebook to let us know what you think!

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Need more lead generation tips? Check out our entire Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation.


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About Our Guest Author

Andrew McLoughlin has served as Colibri Digital Marketing's SEO & Analytics Manager since 2016. His degrees are in Ancient Cultures and Linguistics, and he lives in Ontario, Canada. He can be reached at 

Header Image Courtesy of Pexels

About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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