Why (and how) you keep seeing adverts for the products you look at on the internet

Picture this: you’re browsing through your favourite online retailer, travel agent or clothing brand – you have a look at a few things buuuuut, you’re not ready to buy…it’ll wait until payday, right? You leave the site. Later, you’re on Facebook, and…

What on Earth?…an advert for the EXACT SAME PRODUCT YOU WERE JUST LOOKING AT!

What are the odds, right? Yeah, so it’s not accidental, it’s called remarketing and it’s an incredibly useful process that we’ve used in marketing for years, and honestly, if you’re not using it for your business, you may well be missing a trick.

I was recently doing some research for luggage (don’t judge me – decent luggage is surprisingly hard to come by), this search took me to a certain website – I have a sniff around, look at a few different models – made some notes and go about my research. Now, when I’m on Facebook, I see this advert – coincidence? Nope.

The company in question tracked my visit to their website using Facebook’s Pixel which means that as soon as I hit the site, my details were recorded and my activity through the site, which pages I went to (and by definition which pages I didn’t go to) were safely, securely and legally stored by the tracking software.

A quick look on the Facebook Pixel Helper for Google Chrome shows that the site is indeed running this magical little snippet. Tracking me beavering away as I cruise through different pages, clicking, reading and moving on. And it’s this activity that makes remarketing so useful. Because you’re not solely reliant on just demographics. You now know something about your visitor. You know that they’ve been on your site, which pages they went to and therefore whether they did anything (bought, subscribed etc.)

What is remarketing?

Remarketing is the process of marketing information to the [previous] visitors of your website, on other sites on the internet (hence the ‘re’). It is not limited to Facebook by any means. Google, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn to name but a few, all support remarketing.

As the Twittery folks say, if someone has already expressed interest in your brand (which ostensibly they have by visiting your website), then they’re more likely to engage with your marketing message.

So let’s take a look at how this might play out – note that I’m using the scenario that someone hasn’t converted here, because if they have, there’s no need (read: there may be no need) to be remarketing to them [using this method].

Step One

Visitor lands on your site

The pixel code starts tracking their activity straight away - every page they go to.

Step Two

Visitor does not complete your CTA

Whatever you choose as a call to action if the visitor fails to complete we know this (for example, there could be a "Thank you for your order" page as part of an e-commerce transaction - the visitor wouldn't have been to this page if they haven't completed the transaction).

Step Three

Custom Audience

We build an audience of people who have been to our CTA page (demonstrating interest) and remove from that group anyone who has hit our conversion (clicked a button, visited a page etc.)

Step Four


We target that group of people with an advert specifically targeted at the behaviour (demonstrating interest, but no conversion)

What you’re likely left with is a relatively small (compared to the whole number of Facebook accounts for example) number of people in your audience, but with a pretty good chance of converting them.

This style of ‘reminding’ works – for similar reasons that we see TV ads, bus ads – things that keep you in the mind’s eye of the customer. The difference? This is a heck of a lot cheaper.

So, that’s what remarketing is and a pretty good case for why you should really consider doing it for your business.

© 2018 Digital Drive Durham

UMi Commercial Limited

Company Number 07227157

Spectrum 6, Spectrum Business Park, Seaham, County Durham, SR7 7TT

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