Retargeting with Video - The Beginner’s Guide


If you’re new to the concept of retargeting (or remarketing) then get excited as it’s a great marketing tool which can easily slot into, and support, your wider marketing strategy. 

It would be amazing if every visitor to your website or app completed your desired goal (e.g. a purchase or event sign up), however, we all know that this isn’t the reality. What we do know is that these visitors were in some way interested in what you have to offer. Instead of letting this information go to waste, we can retarget these visitors with relevant and optimised ads to peak their interest and get them back on your website. 

Now imagine combining this effective marketing tool with highly engaging video content which grabs your target audience’s attention and drives action. Within this guide, we’ll be covering exactly that: video retargeting (hey, we’re a video production company, stick to what you know, right?), how it works and what you need to run a successful video retargeting campaign.

Before we take you through our step-by-step guide to setting up a successful retargeting video campaign, it’s important to understand the basics of retargeting.


Introducing Retargeting

Retargeting is a hugely effective marketing tool, known to boost engagement and drive conversions. Here are just some of the ways retargeting can improve your marketing performance:

  • Cheaper cost-per-impression
  • Lower cost-per-click (CPC)
  • Improved conversion rates
  • Increased return-on-investment (ROI)
  • Low-cost branding

So how does it work? Let’s take a look at the two most common types of retargeting.

The most popular form of retargeting is pixel-based. We’re all familiar with websites using ‘cookies’ right? Well, without getting too bogged down in tech talk, cookies and pixels work together to capture, store and communicate information about your visitors sessions. Remember that time you were checking out a hotel deal and then that exact hotel popped up 5 minutes later on your Facebook feed, then again as a display ad next to a blog you were reading? That’s because the hotel website had cookies installed and ads running off the information from them. 

Pixel-based retargeting is popular for many reasons. The nature of it makes it very timely, ads can be displayed to visitors within minutes of leaving your site. They’re also timely in that they’re relatively quick to set up and take little tweaking after. However, one of the biggest benefits of pixel-based retargeting is that it’s behaviour based and therefore allows you to serve the most relevant content to audiences at different stages of your sales funnel. 

Here are a few examples of scenarios that retargeting ads could be effective:

  • A testimonial ad for non-converting visitors with a significantly long session duration
  • An ad including an offer for visitors who abandoned their cart
  • A product ad for visitors of specific product or category pages
  • A blog or free guide which matches the visitors level of interest 

If you’re concerned about requiring coding knowledge to implement pixel-based retargeting, we’ve got some good news for you. Thanks to Google Tag Manager, this is now a relatively simple process, even for the less tech-savvy amongst us. We’ll dive into Google Tag Manager implementation later on.

The other common form of retargeting is list-based retargeting. As the name would suggest, this works from contact lists that you have in your database. You’re probably already reaching out to these contacts via email campaigns, however you can also put these contacts to use via retargeting. 

Platforms such as Facebook and Google Ads (plus many more) have the option to upload a list of emails to create a retargeting campaign audience. The platform will then identify their users which match the emails you’ve provided and then serve your campaign ads just to those accounts. 

One of the most obvious downsides to this option is that the email you’ve captured in your database may not be the same as the one they used to create their Facebook (or other) account. This is particularly likely if you capture people’s work email as they’re unlikely to have used this for their personal social accounts. So if you work in B2B this might not be the option for you.

The focus of this guide will be on the more popular pixel-based retargeting.


Get Started - Step by Step Guide

So we’ve introduced what retargeting is and you’re now well aware of the benefits. Now let’s get you up and running! Follow our step by step guide for setting up your first ever retargeting video campaign:

  1. Install pixel/tag(s) on your website
  2. Check pixel/tag is firing
  3. Create audience(s) on relevant platform(s)
  4. Allow these audiences to grow over time - to meet each platforms minimum audience size
  5. Create optimised video content
  6. Launch campaign
  7. Monitor campaign’s performance
  8. Optimise, rinse and repeat!


  1. Install pixel/tag(s) on your website

The absolute first thing you need to do to get the ball rolling is install the site’s (Facebook, for example) tracking tag on the website where you want to ‘cookie’ visitors. To future-proof yourself you’ll want to place these tracking tags on every page of your website so that you don’t have to go through this process every time you want to scale up your retargeting. 

This is where Google Tag Manager (GTM) comes in. GTM is a free tool that allows you to manage a deploy several marketing tags on your website without having to go behind the scenes and modify complicated code (hurrah!). GTM runs off a simple combination of tags (or pixels, these tell GTM what to do) and triggers (these outline the rules which tell GTM when to fire the tags). GTM is a great tool to familiarise yourself with as its functions go well beyond retargeting.

This guide would quickly become a novel if we outlined how to do this for every platform. Luckily, they all provide easy to follow guides to setting up their pixels and creating audiences, which you can find via the links below:


2. Check the pixel/tag is firing

We have included this as it’s own step because, although sounding pretty obvious, it’s critical to do before moving on to the next steps, especially if you’re new to retargeting. 

Most platforms prompt you to test your pixels at the end of set up. Facebook for example allows you to send test traffic and provides a clear ‘Active’ status to confirm that the pixel is firing correctly. 

If you have used GTM then you can make use of the built-in preview mode to test that the relevant tags fire. 

Many platforms also have dedicated server extensions to help ensure your tags are correctly configured and firing. For example, Facebook and Twitter have pixel helpers which are troubleshooting tools that help you verify that your tags are placed correctly on your website.


3. Create audiences

Now your pixels and tags are up and running, you can create your custom audiences which will populate from the pixel information. Each platform has it’s own process to do this, however most are user-friendly and will walk you through the process of specifying where the information should come from (e.g. people who visit specific pages of your website), the URLs (you can specify here that the audience should include traffic from URLs which ‘contain’, ‘match’ or ‘start with’ [insert URL]) and a duration (for example, include traffic from the last 30 days).

A lot of platforms also allow you to exclude certain traffic. This is great for making sure your ads are not served to individuals who have already converted. A simple example of this is to include an exclusion rule for any traffic which have been through a thank you page as we can assume they have already completed your desired action.

TIP: Creating a naming convention for your audiences at this point will help keep them organised for you and your team. This might be your first audience but once you see the power of retargeting, it will just be the first of many!


4. Allow your audiences to grow over time

Each platform specifies a minimum audience size before your audiences are eligible to be used in a campaign. This is to protect the anonymity of their users. 

  • Google Display - 1,000 active users in the last 30 days
  • YouTube - 1,000 active users in the last 30 day
  • Facebook - 100
  • Twitter - 100
  • Linkedin - 300

These minimum audience sizes are important to keep in mind when setting up your audiences as it may impact how specific you can be. Take a look at your website performance within Google Analytics to get an idea of how much traffic you have passing through your website as a whole, as well as specific pages. This should give you a good indication of whether you can meet the above audience sizes within the specified time periods. 


5. Create optimised video content

The ad content is possibly the most important component of any retargeting campaign. With video retargeting you’re already off to a winning start as video has the highest engagement rates of any ad content type. But it’s not enough to just put any old video out. You haven’t set up your optimised audiences to simply serve a generic video which misses the mark of what you know your audience are interested in. 

Use the information you know about your defined audiences to create a refined and targeted message which appeals directly to their needs.The key is to think about the human decision making process. What do they want to know and how you can give it to them? If your audience have abandoned their cart, persuade them back with an offer they can’t refuse. If your audience have been exploring educational resources on your website, introduce your latest free guide. 

Find out more about choosing the right video content in our free guide which outlines how to enhance your marketing funnel with video.

Struggling with this part? The creative minds here at Posh Gecko are on-hand to work as an extension of your marketing team to handcraft the perfect video for your message and audience. Our in-house team have got you covered from concept all the way to delivery. Get in touch today to get started!


6. Create and launch campaign

At this point, it’s pretty much business as usual. Go ahead and start creating a campaign as you always would. The main difference being that when you get to ‘audience’ you’re going to select that audience that you created earlier. This is when those naming conventions will help if you’ve got several audiences (some of which may be similar) to choose from. 

You’ll still have all the normal options for targeting based on location, device, age, gender, etc. but be careful not to restrict your audience too much as this may hinder your campaign’s performance.

Congratulations, you’ve made it! Go on, push that ‘Publish’ button!


7. Monitor campaign’s performance

Define how you’ll measure success - this will be based on your campaign’s aims and objectives. If this is your first dive into the world of retargeting, use your standard campaign’s performance as a base to judge from. After a month or so you can compare the ROI and decide what changes you want to make from there. Check out our handy guide to measuring the success of your video campaign


8. Optimise, rinse and repeat!

Don’t just measure the success of your campaign for the sake of being able to present some pretty graphs to your colleagues. Use your findings to learn, improve and direct your future retargeting campaigns towards even greater success!


Final Thoughts

Combining the power of retargeting and video offers an extremely effective tool to meaningfully engage with relevant audiences and maximise your marketing efforts. Raising brand awareness, driving conversions and optimising spend are all yours for the taking. 

Now that you’re fully armed with everything you need to know to launch your first retargeting video campaign, all you need is an awesome video. Our in-house team of producers, directors, animators and motion designers specialise in handcrafting compelling videos that connect and drive action. Get in touch today.


Retargeting with Video - The Beginner's Guide

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