PPC Remarketing Cover

PPC (Pay-per-click) remarketing is an incredible tactic that allows you to serve ads to people who previously engaged with your brand or visited your website.

👉 In this article, we're going to show you exactly how to setup profitable PPC remarketing the right way.

If it seems like a significant portion of your website visitors are slipping away, you're not alone—on average, 97% of new visitors exit without making a purchase. 

If we don't have some system in place to remarket to that whopping 97% of visitors who bounced off our website, then we're leaving a ton of money on the table.

That's where remarketing comes in! 

We run remarketing campaigns in order to help nurture those potential leads to become paying customers.

Benefits of PPC Remarketing

Imagine being able to: 

🎯 Re-engage inactive customers: Bring back those who've gone silent. 

🎯 Recover abandoned carts: Capture sales that almost slipped away. 

🎯 Offer exclusive promotions: Incentivize hesitant buyers.

🎯 Remind customers to return: Remain top of mind for repeat business.

🎯 Invite potential customers to physical or online events: Create a culture of exclusivity and loyalty. 

PPC performance optimization

What Is PPC Remarketing?

The average time that visitors spend on any website is just 54 seconds.

Attention is stretched and in short supply nowadays, with so many social media apps and other things causing distraction.

Even if they were initially intrigued by your business, just remembering its name can quickly become a challenge. 

But, what if, during their Facebook scrolling session, they stumbled upon an ad highlighting your exceptional product range with a fantastic discount? 

This is PPC remarketing at play - an advertising strategy designed to reengage potential customers after they've left your website.

How Does PPC Remarketing Work?

Here's a simple diagram to show you how the process works 👉

PPC Remarketing Diagram

Now, let's use a more specific example to show you exactly how the process works in practice.

🚀 Step 1: Initial interaction

Let’s say you run a fashion business specializing in dresses.

To increase your sales, you set up PPC advertising through Google Ads. 

This involves having “sponsored” ads displayed at the top of Google’s search results when potential customers search for “red dress"

google ads example red dress

When a potential customer clicks on it, they’ll be redirected to your chosen landing page, where they can see your dress in more detail, various images etc.

However, the visitor will often leave your landing page to browse elsewhere before checking out or buying your product.

🍪 Step 2: Cookie placement

Luckily, during their visit to your website, a small piece of code—known as a cookie—is placed on their browser. 

This cookie allows your advertising platform (in this case, Google Ads) to track their online behavior, including their interaction with your site. 

As they travel to other landing pages, social media sites, and e-commerce platforms, this cookie continues to follow them. 

📣 Step 3: PPC remarketing

If you choose to implement PPC remarketing, you can use the information from the cookie to remind them about your red dress as they browse on other platforms like YouTube.

ppc retargeting

We've now shown them a product for the second time that they've already visited recently.

This often makes a good impression on them, creating a sense of trust and familiarity. 

If the special offer grabs their attention, there's a good chance they'll now buy the product.

In a nutshell, remarketing reengages potential customers and ensures they don't forget about your brand.

What's the difference between remarketing vs retargeting?

Nowadays, both remarketing and retargeting are widely used interchangeably and they mean exactly the same thing.

It could be that they've never purchased from you before, or it could be that they're an existing customer that you want to show more products to.

Whatever the case, both of these terms really mean the same thing - We're marketing to people who already engaged with our brand. 


How Remarketing Fits into the Bigger Picture

The “marketing funnel” is a great way to visualize remarketing. Picture it as an actual funnel that you need to guide potential customers through. 

It starts by targeting a wide audience and gradually narrows down as disinterested users fall off. 

The goal is to use various marketing strategies to persistently reach out to users within the marketing funnel until they convert. 

The marketing funnel consists of four stages, divided into three phases: the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel. 

The PPC Remarketing Funnel

1) Top of Funnel: General PPC Advertising

The first stage aims to introduce your brand to potential customers. This is like casting a wide net and seeing who bites. 

The aim is to showcase your products and services to potential customers. 

During the awareness stage, you can gain a lot of success by employing broad topic-targeting across all pages and searches. 

You can use general PPC advertising for this. Primarily search ads, but perhaps also display ads, video ads, shopping ads etc. 

Example - Protein Powder 💪

  • You could create awareness by running Google search campaigns that target broad topics at the beginning of the buyer journey, like "protein powder" or "vegan protein powder"
  • By casting this broad net, you’re more likely to find a huge number of potential customers who are interested in your products. 
  • Many potential customers who Google these terms see your search ads and click through to your landing page or product page.
  • But many of them exit the page before buying your protein powder.

👉 Nonetheless, a cookie gets placed on their browser, which enables you to track them for remarketing during the next stage of the marketing funnel. 

2) Middle of the funnel: Soft PPC Remarketing

The next two stages—interest and consideration—are both in the middle of the funnel where your goal is to provide additional information about your products and services. 

You already know that these users showed an interest in your business, but they aren’t convinced of its value yet. You need to show them why they should buy from you. 

This is the perfect time to use soft PPC remarketing, which is all about creating a long-term relationship with potential customers. 

This content may focus on adding value or educating potential customers, and it aims to keep the brand in the user's mind without a direct push for sales.

Soft Remarketing - Protein Powder 💪

If we return to the protein powder example above, we already know that the users who made it to this stage are interested in protein powder.

Next steps 👉

  • Using the cookie that was left on their browser during the awareness stage, we track down potential customers as they browse different platforms like news, YouTube, Gmail, Facebook etc. 
  • We use remarketing video ads on YouTube and Facebook which shows influencer's talking about the benefits of using our protein powder, and how they incorporate it into their fitness regimen, and why they prefer our product for the pure ingredients.

👉 Ideally, this advert grabs the user's attention and we build a little more trust and credibility with them. At this stage, some users may convert, but some might exit. 

Either way, we've built more trust in our brand. 

3) Bottom of the funnel: Hard PPC Remarketing

Lastly, once potential customers are well-informed, you can clinch the sale. At this stage, you no longer need subtlety in your sales approach—your ads may be openly promotional. 

These users are ready to make a purchase but still need that final push. You can do this by offering them discounts and special deals, which may give them the excuse they need to become customers. 

Here, we can use hard PPC remarketing. This involves using strong calls to action (CTAs) and emphasizing strong offers or promotions that make it hard to resist.

Hard Remarketing - Protein Powder 💪

Let’s return to our protein powder example one last time.

👉 We decide to set up a hard PPC remarketing campaign across multiple platforms, aimed at those who engaged with your previous campaigns but didn’t yet make a purchase.

👉 Next, they start seeing adverts from us highlighting limited-time offers and special promotions such as "30% Off Your First Purchase, Limited Time Offer" 

👉 At this stage, they’re familiar with your brand and they know what benefits the protein powder offers, which makes them more likely to convert. 

bottom of funnel hard remarketing

This is why remarketing is such a powerful tactic in PPC advertising.

It's simply not enough to only show a potential customers a single advert. 

We need to take them on a journey and build trust with them over time. 

If we do that, then we're much more likely to convert more customers from PPC, and get more return from our ad spend. 

To see what the standard conversion rates are by industry, check out this study.

It should give you a good benchmark to see if you're performing comparably against your industry.


Ad Networks for Remarketing

Now that you understand how remarketing can help convert those who have traveled further down the marketing funnel, we need to choose the right platform(s) to serve our remarketing ads.

There's a ton of options:

  • Google Ads Network - Google display, Gmail, YouTube etc. 
  • Facebook
  • Instagram 
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit 
  • Twitter
  • TikTok
  • + Many more.

Each network caters to a specific mix of your audience and business context. When selecting your ad network, take the following factors into account: 

Platform Audience

You need to select the right platform depending on your audience.

Here's a few examples:

  • If you're a high-end B2B consultancy, then you may want to consider LinkedIn.
  • If you're a fitness or supplement ecommerce brand, Facebook & Instagram will be a no-brainer. 
  • If your audience is Gen Z, you definitely don't want to miss out on TikTok. 
  • Google Ads are great for covering multiple areas, since it covers a large swathe of the internet in general. 

Before making your decision, outline their online habits and select a network that will meet them there. 

Budget Constraints

Each ad network provides various pricing models. Establish a clear budget before deciding and assess the potential return on investment (ROI) each network can offer against its cost. 

Since Google Ads is the most popular ad network, there’s high competition, which leads to a higher cost-per-click (CPC) - the amount of money you pay for every person who clicks on your ad. 

On the other hand, smaller ad networks, such as TikTok and Taboola, offer more affordable options. If these platforms align with your brand and budget, they may be worth exploring

Different Approaches to Remarketing

There's a few different "types" of remarketing, which we're now going to explain in detail.

1) Standard Remarketing

This involves displaying targeted ads, such as banners and text ads, to users who have previously visited your website. 

These ads don’t change depending on users’ behavior or preferences.

This means they offer limited personalization and can’t be adjusted in real-time. 

However, this doesn’t mean that they’re not useful. 

Benefits of Standard Remarketing

💪 Consistent brand exposure: Because these ads remain unchanged, your brand remains consistent regardless of the time or place it appears to potential customers. 

💪 Broad audience targeting: It allows you to target a broad audience without segmenting based on specific behavior or interactions, making it perfect for general brand exposure.

💪 Cost-effective: If you’re running a small business, then standard remarketing ads may be an affordable option to kickstart your remarketing efforts. 

💪 Simple to manage: Implementing standard remarketing ads is relatively straightforward, making it accessible for businesses that may not have technical expertise.

If your goal is to re-engage inactive customers who have gone silent, these ads can work wonders. 

They allow us to display consistent messaging, and this can work particularly well if our product or service is pretty much the same for every customer - Like a SaaS tool or marketing agency for example. 

However, if you're a company that offers multiple products in different geographic locations to widely different customer types, then you're going to want to investigate dynamic remarketing...

2) Dynamic Remarketing

Dynamic remarketing allows you to personalize your ads, depending on where potential customers are in their journey with your brand. 

Instead of showing a single ad to users who have visited your website, dynamic remarketing customizes the content depending on every user’s unique journey.

🏖️ AirBnB Example

Below is a fantastic example of how AirBnB did this to serve ads to visitors who were looking for accommodation in Dubai.


Airbnb dynamic remarketing

This level of customization feels like magic to your potential customers.

It ensures they see content that perfectly aligns with their past searches and behavior on your website. 

Benefits of Dynamic Remarketing

💪 Increased relevance: Each ad has multiple versions and, depending on a user’s unique interests in your company, they will receive an ad version most relevant to them. 

💪 Personalization: You can personalize depending on gender, location, time of day and more.

🛒 Abandoned Carts: Dynamic remarketing is also a great solution for abandoned carts. It can help you capture sales that almost slipped away, as you can show them the product they were thinking of purchasing. 


We've put together another brilliant example of dynamic PPC remarketing below from McDonalds. 

This advert is being served on two pieces of personalized data:

  • 📍 Location - different ads are shown to different customers depending on their specific location within a city.
  • ⏰ Time - different ads are displaying for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It's a brilliant example of the power of dynamic remarketing!

Most major platforms offer some form of dynamic remarketing. It can get a little technical, which is why we recommend working either with a technical expert or PPC agency to help you set up everything up perfectly. 

3) Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA)

This approach is exclusive to Google Ads. It allows you to target users who have already visited your website.

Unlike standard and dynamic remarketing, RLSA is based on PPC search ads and they target potential customers using very specific keywords. 

Benefits of RSLAs

💪 Customer segmentation: RLSA allows you to create segmented lists based on user behavior, allowing for a more strategic approach to targeting different audiences. 

💪 Cross-sell and upsell opportunities: You can use RLSA to promote complementary or upgraded products or services to users who have already shown interest in a base offer. 

RLSA is a good tactic if you’re trying to convince customers to return to your website or make future purchases. 

👉 Let's consider this example:

Imagine you have an online shoe store, and a user visits your website but doesn't make a purchase. With RLSA, you can customize your Google search ads to specifically target this user when they later search for terms like "running shoes" or "athletic footwear." 

These are the same PPC search ads that would normally appear for these search terms. 

However, with RLSA, you have the advantage of adjusting your bidding strategy based on users’ past behavior. 

This means you can increase the likelihood of your ad being shown to the user who previously visited your site by bidding more competitively for specific keywords.

Note that with automated bidding strategies (which are the norm nowadays) Google will automatically re-adjust this bid for you. It's far more efficient that way.

By expressing a higher willingness to pay for clicks, you increase your chances of re-engaging them and encouraging a return to your online store. 

In essence, RLSA allows you to prioritize and, if necessary, bid higher for ads aimed at users who have previously shown interest in your website, thereby enhancing your remarketing strategies.

4) Video Remarketing

Videos are highly engaging and can help users connect with your brand in new ways. 

Once someone has interacted with your website, you can use video remarketing ads to give them more details about your products and services. 

You can, for example, do this through YouTube or Google, which allows you to remarket to potential customers who clicked on one of your previous campaigns. 

Benefits of Video Remarketing

💪 Storytelling opportunities: You can use video ads to tell a compelling story, showcase product features, or highlight customer testimonials.

💪 Increased Brand Recall: Video content tends to be more memorable. By using video ads, you can leave a lasting impression on users. 

💪 Build Loyalty & Trust  Think about it - you generally trust someone much more once you've actually seen them in, even if in video format. Video ads give you a chance to show real people using your product

For example, here's a great example of video remarketing ad from Athletic Greens, using a real influencer.

Ask Yourself - Would you click on this thumbnail if you were in the market for supplements?

remarketing example athletic greens

It's certainly very intriguing with a fantastic "hook" to get you interested, especially if you've already been searching for supplements.

It also looks like real user generated content rather than an advert, which again builds a ton of trust and credibility.

4) Social Media Remarketing

People spend around 2 hours 30 minutes hours scrolling through social media every day

If you can re-engage them during this time, you can make unique connections with them. 

This can include ad networks, such as Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and Instagram Ads. 

Benefits of Social Media Retargeting

💪 Advanced targeting options: Social media allows robust targeting capabilities. You can refine your audience based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and engagement levels. 

💪 Interactive ad formats: You can use so many different ad formats in social - from video to images and everything in between. You can also create interactive experiences. 

Social media remarketing ads are a great place to drive leads home. You can offer them exclusive promotions and incentivize hesitant buyers with your latest deals. 

Examples of Remarketing Ads

Let's look at a few examples of amazing remarketing ads now, in various industries. 

References below include some great examples from Hunch Ads.

1) Sale - Sneakers

Limited sale remarketing ad example

Here's a fantastic example of "Hard remarketing" (bottom of funnel) which is pushing sales for sneakers with a significant 50% off discount.

This is a great ad for anyone who viewed that specific sneaker before. 

2) Necklace - Review Ad

Review trust based remarketing ad example

Here's a remarketing ad that's a little more soft and subtle in its approach.

Necklaces are typically very expensive, and customers won't just buy straight away.

This ad works because it aims to build more credibility and trust, rather than immediately going for the sale right away.

3) Crocs - Store Near You

geo targeted remarketing ad example

This is a great example of location-based remarketing in action.

This ad is serving people in a specific location, and even letting them know where the store nearest to them is located!

4) Time Sensitive - Women's Underwear

Time sensitive remarketing ad example

This is absolutely brilliant because it's using a dynamic time counter! 

So in theory the customer could see this the next day having counted down to just 1 day.

It's the perfect type of remarketing ad to create a sense of urgency. 




Casino previously visited page

5) Multi-Language - Aldi

multi language remarketing ad example

This is a great example of a brand (Aldi) running an International remarketing campaign.

They're serving ads to different people depending on their specific language.

You could even set this up in multi-lingual destinations so that you're actually serving ad creatives to users based on their own preferred language.

It's great for added PPC personalization. 


6) Travel Deals

location base travel ad example

Here's another great ad that's showing based on the user's past behavior - Since they already visited pages or destinations included in the advert.

7) Gaming Remarketing Ad

gaming remarketing ad depending on game

Here's a remarketing ad campaign from a gaming company, which is displaying ads to different customer depending on their play patterns.

So if they've played a particular game before, they'll get served ads to that game or similar games in the same category.


Hopefully you can now clearly see the power of PPC Remarketing.

It's not enough to simply serve ads and hope that users will convert immediately.

Everyone is savvy now, and everyone does their research.

But if we serve ads intelligently to the right people at the right time AFTER they've first visited our website, then we can massively increase our chance of converting them into paying customers.

Stewart Dunlop