6 Types of Retargeting Ads That Can Boost Your Campaigns

If you asked any digital marketer about which advertising tactic you aren’t using but should, they’d tell you without flinching an eye: retargeting.

The reason for this is simple: retargeting works. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, 91% of marketers who have used retargeting have found it to perform equally or better than search, email, or other display ads.

When carrying out a retargeting campaign, however, you need to rotate your ads frequently. If you don’t, your audience will ignore your ads, lowering their effectiveness and increasing their costs.

If you feel like you are running out of creative ad ideas to use, we have you covered. In this article, you’ll discover six retargeting ad ideas you can try in your next digital ad campaign.



Retargeting ad type #1: Events

Events are a fantastic way to engage your accounts. Not only does it show a large commitment from the account’s stakeholder, events also allow you to develop a stronger relationship with them.

One way to run retargeting ads is by using a little bit of FOMO (fear of missing out). This type of ad is targeted at people who want to be part of their peer group and it works very well because they encourage high-performers to join other high-performers.

Here is an example of how Outreach, a sales-enablement tool, used FOMO retargeting ads to get signups for their conference called “Unleash.”

Read more about how these event ads performed for Outreach.


Retargeting ad type #2: Promote the feature

If your solution offers a wide variety of features, you may want to segment one of them and promote it alone. Personalizing your ad campaign by company type, size, or industry can make your ads more effective, as they speak to the one group that needs that particular feature.

Intercom is a company that offers customer messaging, lifecycle marketing management, and more. By making their ad all about improving the timing of a marketing message, they are speaking to the audience that needs that specific solution: product marketers.


Retargeting ad type #3: Offer middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) content

If you have a well-developed content marketing strategy, you probably have guides, checklists, and other kinds of middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) content. Content is a very effective way to keep your accounts engaged and learn about the value you provide.

Here’s a good example of a MOFU content retargeting ad in which Pardot promotes an ebook about B2B email marketing. After you’ve downloaded the ebook, they continue the conversation through an email nurture campaign that leads to an offer for their marketing automation software.


Retargeting ad type #4: Offer bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content

While the MOFU content strives to keep your accounts active, your bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content is focused on getting the account closer to the conversion, which can be a sale, a consultation, or a trial account. Some examples of BOFU content include webinars and case studies, which have a higher buying intent.

Here you can see a good example of a BOFU retargeting ad in which we use a case study quote to show proof points of the RollWorks platform. These ads should only be run to an audience that is already familiar with your brand because they lead to bottom-of-funnel content.

Read the Transpay case study this ad links to.


Retargeting ad type #5: Drive the conversion

While MOFU and BOFU content drive the account closer to the final conversion, the final action — like the actual sign up for a trial or a demo — may not happen if you don’t follow up with the right message.

That’s where a conversion-focused retargeting ad can help you close the loop. After an account has downloaded your BOFU content, you can assume they’re ready for your offer. Your ad then should be focused around the final action to take, nothing more.

In the case of Upcall, you can see how they use a simple ad focused exclusively on the desired action: getting a free trial sign up.


Retargeting ad type #6: Upsell and cross-sell

Veteran marketers know that even after you have closed an account you should still be using retargeting ads because you can continue to expand on the value you deliver. In other words, you can upsell your accounts to upgrade to further product features.

Soundcloud is a popular platform for music producers and podcast listeners. While their platform is free to use, they still have a paid account that offers music producers better tools to connect with their fans. After a user has uploaded any kind of audio file in their platform, they start retargeting those users with an upsell for their pro account:

Showing the customer additional material on how to make the most of your platform is crucial to helping them understand the benefits they can get from upgrading. Using marketing to educate them helps set up a successful conversation for the account manager once they feel that the customer is a good fit for an upgrade.

Read more about upsell and cross-sell ads in our latest blog post.


Takeaways and Next Steps

As you rework your retargeting ad campaign, try to take inventory of how often you rotate your ads. A big reason that retargeting is considered “annoying” by most people is simply because the ads are set on repeat and become stale.

If you want your retargeting campaigns to be successful, check the “Frequency” metric in your retargeting dashboard and see if you are using the same ad over and over.

If you see you are getting a high frequency and high CPM, try using some of the ideas we highlighted here to increase the effectiveness of your retargeting campaigns.


If you want to go one step further and see how other companies have run their multi-channel digital marketing campaigns, you can browse through The Big Book of ABM Campaigns, which was co-written with Bizible, Datanyze, LiveRamp, and Radius. It includes 5 account-based marketing campaigns that each company actually ran, along with pictures and lessons learned.

Best ABM vendors



How Outreach doubled their event attendance with digital event ads

If you’re evaluating digital marketers, there’s really one tell tale sign that separates the novices from the pros: the quality of their measurement.

Pretty much all digital marketers will have some type of measurement in place, but the quality of that measurement can vary drastically. We’ve all heard about vanity metrics and how we can be misled by them. But what are those vanity metrics? Should click-through rates (CTR) really be our north star? Or should it be impressions? Or conversions?

Those are the questions that Outreach had to figure out if they were to be successful with their big event, Unleash 2018.

This year, Outreach, a customer engagement platform that helps companies improve the efficiency of their sales funnel, was putting together one of their biggest events to date.

Unleash 2018 was going to be an incredible event where top sales leaders joined Navy Seals on an island near San Diego, California. The event would feature top performance coaches like Joseph McClendon III and retired navy SEAL Jocko Willink.

Sounds pretty incredible, right?


The Challenge

The problem was that even with a superstar speaker lineup, in a location resembling paradise, it was still a big ask for Outreach’s customers and prospects to take time out of the schedules and travel to Unleash.

While the marketing emails successfully spread the word about the event, they simply weren’t enough to drive conversions for such a big purchase. Through some experimentation, however, the Outreach team did discover that personal interactions paired with event awareness campaigns was a much better tactic at getting registrations.

Specifically, after listening to countless call recordings, the marketing team identified that when people had heard about the event in advance, they were much more likely to be receptive to a personal invitation by a customer-facing rep.

The question now was how to keep the event top of mind consistently?


An upgrade was needed

How could the Outreach marketing team keep Unleash top of mind without sending more marketing emails? This is when they turned to targeted display advertising for the additional air cover they needed.

They chose to run their ads on AdRoll (now RollWorks) because they could be very precise with their targeted audience and also use advanced attribution to track view-through conversions closely.


The new game plan

Outreach began to run targeted display ads that they would evaluate based on view-through conversions. They chose view-through conversions as their metric for a few reasons:

  • They didn’t expect many people to make such a large commitment directly from engaging with a single ad (similar to running ads for car purchases, for example, the conversion doesn’t happen right away, but is still influenced by the ads seen)
  • The audience was very tightly controlled so they could track their event registrations against their ads quite easily
  • They could also verify that the ads were increasing awareness by listening to call recordings


Their digital marketing strategy was set up for 3 audience segments:

    • All existing active users of the Outreach platform
    • All visitors to the Unleash landing page
    • All confirmed registrations via tag on the eventbrite confirmation page

They then ran 3 types of ads to attract different types of visitor personas from each of these segments.


FOMO digital event ads

The first type of ad was targeted at people who want to be part of their peer group. These “Fear of Missing Out” (or FOMU as they called it, fear of missing Unleash) ads work very well because they encourage high-performers to join other high-performers. After all, part of what makes a seller successful is that drive to compete with his/her peers.

Early Bird digital event ads

The next type of ad they ran was for the deal seekers and procrastinators. They wanted to encourage people to register for the event early so that they would know what their headcount would be. Providing a limited discount was a good way to encourage them to sign up sooner rather than later.


Retargeting event ads

The final type of ad they set up was a retargeting ad. This ad would be served to those who had visited the event page, but hadn’t converted yet.

This is the must-have ad for any digital ad campaign because, like we mentioned above, it is highly unlikely you’ll secure a conversion on the first visit. By setting up retargeting ads, Outreach was able to stay top of mind to those high-intent visitors until they were ready to pull the trigger and reserve their spot.


Measuring the results of their event ads

If Outreach measured their results with the traditional vanity metric of click-through, their campaign would have looked like a complete disaster. In fact, they had less than 5 click-through conversions throughout their whole campaign.

But, since Outreach used view-through conversions as their primary metric for this campaign, they were able to see just how big of an impact the digital ad campaign had on their event. More than 50% of the people who registered for the event had seen their ads.

And Outreach didn’t just stop there. They actually collected qualitative data on the ad campaign by having their sales reps ask customers and prospects if they had heard of the Unleash conference.

Before the ads ran they received a lot of silent stares and questions about, “what’s Unleash?” But, after their ads ran they were greeted with, “Oh yeah I keep hearing about that! It looks awesome!”


Next Steps

If you’re curious about how other companies are running their ad campaigns, be sure to read through the Big Book of ABM Campaigns. It features 5 companies and how they ran their actual campaigns as well as how they’d change them if they could.

Best ABM vendors



Preparing for GDPR

If you do business or have customers in the EU, you’ve likely heard a lot about GDPR. In short, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new data privacy law going into effect on May 25, 2018 and impacts companies who would like to reach and retarget individuals in the EU. Among many things, GDPR intends to create more transparency, control, and accountability around what data is collected about individuals online, who has access to it, and how it is used.

We’ve spent several months preparing our business to comply with this new regulation. Along with our own process updates, we’ve released an online guide and are helping customers like you keep RollWorks activities GDPR-friendly.

What does GDPR mean for RollWorks customers?

RollWorks uses ‘cookies’ to inform our ad magic. When customers visit your site, a cookie is saved to the browser on their device which allows us and our supply partners to learn and remember a bit about each customer. Together, RollWorks and you can then use that information to customize ad campaigns to each customer.

Changes in the EU law and requirements from our supply partners will mandate that all businesses (including yours and RollWorks) ask for consent from individuals in the EU before using cookies and processing end-user data to provide our services. This means you need a tool to help you capture user consent when engaging with people in the EU.

RollWorks is committed to making this change a little easier for you. In fact, here is how we are helping out:

    • Companies based outside the EU: You can set up our tool in a few clicks to keep reaching interested EU visitors.
    • Companies based in the EU (or with a lot of EU customers): We are building  a tool that collects cookie consent related to our services. We can also review your own tool if you have one.
    • Companies with no EU visitors: We can help expand your reach in the EU or we can turn off EU traffic, the choice is yours. You can set up our tool and start reaching interested EU visitors.

Our tool for GDPR-friendly ads

Our tool is designed to help advertisers meet cookie consent requirements for site visitors covered by the regulations. All businesses based in the EU need to meet these requirements for all site visitors. All it takes is a few easy clicks in the RollWorks dashboard. Below is a closer look at what you can expect.

What your customers see:

For non-EU based businesses, we won’t disrupt the normal browsing experience for individual visitors outside the EU. EU visitors, however, will now see a notice informing them about cookie consent. Once an EU visitor has indicated consent, we will place the cookie and work our magic like normal. These visitors can also choose to opt out of using RollWorks and our supply partners’ cookies.

***Final text and design are subject to change.

rollworks gdpr

What’s next:

We’re adding our cookie consent gathering tool to the RollWorks’ dashboard. You will see an alert once it is available and can also access it via ‘Settings’ at any time. Once the tool is live, either you or your account manager can select how to use it based on your business needs. We currently expect our tool to be ready in late May and will provide more information here as we get closer to the go-live date.

For existing customers, if you haven’t already done so, please let us know if you would like to use our tool or plan to use your own tool.

Looking forward

There’s still time to prepare. Check out our online guide to learn more about the new law and how it might impact your business. We’ll be sharing more updates for customers over the next few weeks. Feel free to reach out to your account manager or support@rollworks.com if you have any questions.

Tech Stack Tuesdays: Organization Tools

Welcome to Tech Stack Tuesdays. A series where we break down great tech that’s helped us and other companies grow and work better.

This month we’re highlighting tools that help with organization. These tools aren’t necessarily must-haves and you certainly can create workarounds to achieve the same results, but once you try these we have a feeling you won’t want to use “workarounds” ever again.

If you’re looking to be a top-performing company, these are the tools that will help make that happen.


First up we have Asana, the ultimate productivity tool no matter what your role. Asana’s greatest strength is its simplicity, which is perfect because their entire philosophy is to help companies simplify complex tasks.

Our own Senior Product Marketing Manager, Kevin Garcia, swears by this tool and has accomplished an insane amount as a result.

In the last year Kevin has completed 752 tasks with 7 teams across 5 regions.

How does one human achieve so much you might ask?

Here’s a look at how he uses Asana to break down even the simple task of sending out an email to customers:


And here is how those tasks translated into the finished email:


Asana allows you to break down tasks into to-do lists and then break those to-do’s into even finer to-do lists. While it might seem like writing an email is simple, it actually involves dozens of micro-tasks that are easy to let slip by if you don’t have them written down.

It has been proven that writing down your tasks can relieve stress and increase productivity, which might explain why those who use Asana swear by it.



If you’re looking for something a little bit more robust than Asana, then you might want to consider Jira. Jira is the juggernaut when it comes to organization for most companies in Silicon Valley because of how huge it’s capabilities are. Most engineering teams run on Jira, but it’s also starting to be used by other teams as well.


Where Jira really shines is in cross-team collaboration. It is packed with so many features that each team can find a unique way that they want to use it. Since they’re still in the Jira ecosystem though, they can easily share their tasks with other departments within the company if they need to.

Of course, not all tasks are of equal importance. One of users’ favorite features of the platform is the ability to increase or decrease the importance of a task as priorities change. Although Jira might be a bit clunky to use at first, once you’ve gotten the hang of it it’s unlikely you’ll ever want to go without it.


Lastly, we have something a little bit out of the box. Okta, the single sign-on tool, might not seem like an organization tool at first glance, but if you’re working in IT, Okta might be the greatest thing you’ve ever discovered.

Okta allows users to sign on to the dozens of applications they use (and B2B companies use a lot!) without needing to enter your usernames and passwords dozens of times.


That seems like a nice-to-have for the average user.

For an IT professional, however, Okta is indispensable.

Our own Senior IT Admin, Amber Carson-Miller, said that Okta is crucial to help her relatively small IT team of 7 people manage the 500+ employees that the AdRoll Group has.

Which is very understandable since the AdRoll Group currently uses 276 SaaS tools across the organization. Amber says that getting that many people on-boarded with that many tools would be nearly impossible without Okta.

Using the tool, Amber and her team created groups, such as “New Full-time Employee,” that allow them to give new hires all the tools they need with one click and then add other individual tools if needed.

Thinking about how much time is saved across 500+ employees logging on to hundreds of applications on a daily basis is enough of a case to give Okta a try.


That’s it for this week’s Tech Stack roundup. If you have any tools that you absolutely love, be sure to send them to us via twitter by tagging @RollWorks.