The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Retargeting

Mobile retargeting is becoming more and more popular by the minute. Like. Right now. But what do you need to know about it? Our mobile retargeting guide will give you a crash course on everything that matters.

Mobile Retargeting: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Retargeting is the process of engaging with consumers who have been on your website. Once a user has visited your site, a cookie is set and they can now be retargeted on other websites. Mobile retargeting is pretty much the same as retargeting in general – but on mobiles. Its wide release happened back in 2014, but entered beta testing in October of the previous year.

The tracking part of retargeting is achieved by placing a line of code or pixel in the footer of a retailer’s website. Every time an individual visits the retailer’s website, this code drops a retargeting cookie with an anonymous ID in the visitors browser. This allows the company to display retargeted ads to potential customers as they browse other websites. The ads can be generic ads for brand, or they could be an advertisement for the one particular item the individual looked at on their site.

So how would this pan out in the eye of the consumer? Well, first of all the potential customer views your website, then they leave without purchasing. The customer is then served an ad about you on Facebook. That ad recaptures their interest and the user returns to your website and hopefully in turn results in a purchase.

Why Does It Matter?

Combining ad personalisation and increased impressions lowers shopping cart abandonment rates, drives visitor returns and reactivates purchases. On average, only 2% of customers convert on their first visit and the other 98% go onto other websites, perhaps never to return. This is a huge missed opportunity for retailers.

eMarketer predicts that retail mCommerce sales will reach $108.6bn and occupy 25% of the market share by 2017. Advertising on mobile websites and apps has evolved to aid advertisers in reaching these audiences. So what’s stopping advertisers from retargeting on mobile? Well, mobile retargeting has only recently been made possible using Facebook remarketing and the ‘ad ecosystem’ is yet to find an efficient way to connect desktop to mobile usage.

Retargeting Custom Audiences from mobile apps offers eCommerce advertisers 4 key benefits according to Ampush:

Higher Quality Audience

Selective retargeting delivers ads to individuals that have already demonstrated their intent to buy, and it’s well known that return visitors outperform new visitors. In comparison to first time visitors, return visitors spend twice as much time on the site, view 5.5 pages per visit (compared to the 3.9 of new visitors) and above all are more likely to make purchases and become brand evangelists according to Kissmetrics.

Greater Personalisation

Each platform represents a specific audience of consumers who are at different stages in the buying process. For example, smartphones tend to be used in the middle of the shopping process, whereas desktop normally ends up being at the end. With mobile retargeting, you can customise your campaigns to deliver far more relevant ads to the user depending on where they’re at in the journey to coax them further down the sales funnel.

Mobile Inventory

Before, marketers were confined to desktop for all of its retargeting. But what’s the use of that if your customer is constantly logging off their desktops and always on their mobiles? Retailers are now able to deliver ads to mobile via Facebook. This means retailers can capitalise on 16% of sales that happen on mobile, and they can also influence buyers as they go through the purchasing process. Furthermore, marketers are able to expand their reach to demographics they might not have been able to target before.

Layered Targeting

The great thing about Facebook is that you’re able to merge its native targeting tools like Demographics, Interests, Locations and Behaviour on top of the Custom Audiences to create even more precise audiences.

How To Do It


Facebook is the company who has truly opened the door to mobile and cross platform retargeting with its introduction of Custom Audiences. It works in the same way as traditional retargeting: retailers place a pixel (in this example the Facebook Pixel) on one or more of the pages on their website. The pixel then tracks website visitors and matches their information to unique users on Facebook, creating a Custom Audience.

You’re able to retarget mobile app users who have completed certain actions or participated in specific events. For example if they added an item to the cart in your app, you could register and set up app events. Then you can directly target those people with a message you might not have used on someone who just checked out your about page, for example.


You can approach mobile retargeting in stages:

Stage 1: Determine Your Goals and Strategies

Here you will want to set clear objectives for your campaign and determine if retargeting is the best way to achieve them. Retargeting benefits customer acquisition and direct response goals best. If you want to retarget visitors to exact products, place pixels on the product page. If you simply want a customer to come back to your website, place it on the home page.


Stage 2: Campaign Set Up

This stage includes the 5 pillars of a Facebook campaign:

  • – Ad type
  • – Placement
  • – Targeting
  • – Ad Creative and Copy
  • – Bid Type


When setting up your campaign there’s some best practices you should note down:

  • – Test variations of copy and creative to determine the most effective pairing
  • – Page post link ads and page post image ads that appear in the News Feed are the most effective ads for driving engagement
  • – Also place ads on desktop where consumers are most likely to convert
  • – You should start off using CPC (cost-per-click) bidding then move on up to optimised cost per mille (oCPM) when you’ve got to know your audience a little better.


Stage 3: Implementation

The last step before you get the ball rolling is to place the Facebook remarketing pixel onto your website. Once you’ve done that, you’re able to start your campaign. Make sure you keep an extra close eye on results and continually optimise throughout the course of the campaign.

Best Practices

mobile retargeting

Source: MarketingLand


So we’ve told you how to do it, and now we’re going to get into some best practices.

Figuring Out Your Goals

As we mentioned above, it’s super important that you figure out why you’re doing this. With that being said, cross device targeting can help you accomplish 4 things:


  1. 1. Building Awareness – Are you looking to keep your brand in front of potential customers in the right place at the right time?
  2. 2. Facilitating Acquisition – Did the visitor view a category or a product on your website? What would be the next step you want to encourage?
  3. 3. Drive Conversions – Has the customer simply abandoned their shopping cart? It happens. Could the use a push in the right direction to finalise the conversion?
  4. 4. Re-engage – Do you have existing customers that you want to cross-sell complementary products to? Do you want to encourage repeat purchases?


These are all food for thought when you’re brainstorming your campaign.


Segmenting Your Audiences


Creating audience segments is necessary for any retargeting campaign on desktop, and this doesn’t change with mobile. When you’re segmenting your audiences you’ll need strike a certain balance – smaller audiences can perform well but are harder to scale, and large generic audiences can be more difficult to optimise. With this in mind, we’d recommend starting with the following audiences for your retargeting campaign:


  • – All visitors
  • – Visitors who have abandoned their shopping carts
  • – Visitors that have viewed a product or category
  • – Customers (the ones who converted)


These are reasonable places to start and are much easier to optimise as time goes on.


What’s the Best Ad Format?


If you’ve done retargeting before then the two steps above should be child’s play. Here is where it gets a bit more difficult. There are two common ad formats used in-app and across the mobile web:


  1. 1. Interstitial Ads – These are the ones that take over the entire screen until the user dismisses it. The most common sizes are 320×480 or 480×320.
  2. 2. Mobile Banners – These are the other type that run across the bottom of the screen. The most common size for these is 320×50.


Apart from the clear difference in size, the two have distinct strengths and weaknesses between them. For example, if you’re wanting to drive volume, mobile banners are probably the best bet, as the available inventory outnumbers mobile interstitial inventory. Typically, the number of available banner impressions outnumber interstitial impressions by 3-5 times. Furthermore, mobile banners are significantly cheaper than the former. Mobile banner CPMs can be from between $0.50-$2.00+ whereas the interstitial CPMs range from $3.00-$7.00+

Price isn’t the only issue though. One of the reasons Mobile Interstitial ads cost more is because they possess significantly higher engagement rates. On average CTRs are 3-4 times higher than banner CTRs. You see, there are always trade-offs, so it’s worthwhile to just test different formats to see what works for you. If you want volume or you have a tight budget, try mobile banners. If you want to encourage customer action, opt for interstitials.


Creative for Mobile


Creative optimisation for mobile retargeting campaigns goes far beyond just repurposing desktop banner ads. Mobile ads give you the opportunity to make an impression. The key to driving performance of your ads is simplicity and directness. If you want to nail your mobile ads then consider the following factors:


  • – A Clear Value Proposition – The creative canvas of mobile is pretty limited, especially when you’re opting for a mobile banner. So keep your message simple and make sure it’s relevant to their interests.
  • – Use Strong CTAs and Make Them Bold – You only have one short moment to capture the attention of your audience. Make sure your CTAs use strong, directive language and make sure the design stands out.
  • – Rotate Your Creative – Mobile advertising has the benefit of less clutter, since there’s generally only one ad visible at a time. The downside to this is that your audience could grow tired of your creative much quicker, which is why you need to switch it up now and then.
  • – Create Urgency – Mobile is a pretty effective way of getting users to take immediate action. Try including an element of limited timing or supply in your message to create a sense of urgency.



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