Retargeting Statistics and Research for 2021 Reveal Challenges & Opportunities for Marketers

Why use retargeting?

  • Just 2% of website visitors convert on the first visit.
  • People who view retargeting ads are 70% more likely to covert.

Yes, retargeting works. Retargeting provides an opportunity to connect with customers, engage with prospects that have already shown interest in your brand, products, or services, generate more revenue, improve conversion rates, and maximize the ROI of your digital marketing program.

How can marketers use retargeting holistically to amplify their entire marketing strategy? 

To help answer this question, Ascend2 and SharpSpring Ads (formerly Perfect Audience) fielded The 2021 Outlook on Retargeting Survey in April 2021. All 176 marketing professionals surveyed had retargeting budgets that exceed $2,000 per month. Here is a link to the report. The report provides breakdowns for B2B marketers, B2C marketers, enterprise companies, SMB companies, executive-level perspective, and more.

Here are some surprising statistics from the research on retargeting:

  • B2C marketers’ top two retargeting challenges are ad fraud (43%) and attribution (37%).
  • B2B marketers’ top two retargeting challenges are resources (38%) and brand image (36%).
  • Executives top consideration when evaluating a new retargeting solution is customer service (54%).
  • 83% of marketers evaluate their retargeting technology quarterly or monthly.
  • Only 27% of marketers are extremely satisfied with their ability to determine the ROI of their retargeting program.
  • 77% of marketers are concerned about ad fraud.
  • 88% of marketers are using AI to optimize their retargeting programs or are planning to in the year ahead.
  • 88% of marketers say that having a single view of attribution is important.

Here is a deeper dive into the research study:

1. The most successful retargeting professionals evaluate their technology more frequently.

Finding the right technology is critical to success. 83% of marketers evaluate their retargeting technology quarterly or monthly.

Why the obsession with evaluating retargeting technology?

One insight is that most marketers, 77% to be exact, use retargeting as part of their Facebook and Instagram advertising strategy.

Another 69% use retargeting as part of their Google advertising strategy.

When marketers start retargeting, it makes sense to use the retargeting functions within the Facebook and Google platforms. But as your program grows, it is challenging to have a single view of attribution when using multiple platforms. Testing retargeting platforms is a logical step to getting a single view of attribution. Plus, changing retargeting platforms is not a complicated process, like changing your marketing automation platform or email service provider.

bar chart that shows how often marketers are evaluating retargeting technology

An 83% majority of marketers are evaluating the performance of their retargeting technology at least quarterly, with more than half of that group (43% overall) reporting this activity happens at least monthly.

Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to test and switch your retargeting platform. A small performance improvement can dramatically improve your ROI.

2. Only 27% of marketers are extremely satisfied with their ability to determine the ROI of their retargeting program.

Measurement and attribution matter. It is time to improve the ability to determine ROI. It starts when you can see the ROI of each ad, so you know which ones to stop running, which to keep going, and which to give another shot.

Having one holistic view allows you to see ROI from a single dashboard, make better decisions, and make those decisions quickly. 2020 taught everyone the need for speed!

bar chart that shows retargeting satisfaction

Only 27% of marketers are extremely satisfied with their ability to determine the ROI of their retargeting program.

3. Single view attribution is critical to 88% of marketers.

Coming in at #1, 88% of marketers say that having a single view of attribution is important. “A person with one watch always knows what time it is. A person with two watches is never sure.” This saying sums up the frustration that markets have with attribution.

How can Facebook, Google, and others all claim credit for a conversion? Marketers want and need a single view of attribution to make better decisions.

Pie chart that shows what is top-of-mind for marketers using retargeting.

Single view of attribution is top-of-mind for marketers using retargeting.

Coming in at #2, 77% of marketers are concerned about ad fraud.

How do you minimize ad fraud?

Your retargeting platform should constantly monitor ads for fraud. Ask your service provider what they do regularly to identify fraud and eliminate the source before it costs you money.

4. 88% of marketers are using or are planning on using AI to optimize their programs.

The age of AI is here. 88% of marketers are using AI to optimize their retargeting programs or are planning to in the year ahead. AI is no longer a tool exclusively for enterprise companies; it is now built into your retargeting platforms. Ask your service provider how AI is used to optimize your retargeting program.

  • Are you able to use AI to optimize for a specific KPI?
  • Are you able to use AI to optimize your ad and conversion funnel?
Chart that shows how marketers are using artificial intelligence (AI) for optimization.

The most successful retargeters are more likely to be using AI.

5. Retargeting solutions need better customer support.

47% of marketers point to “improving customer service” as the feature that their retargeting platform should improve on.

What is the most helpful type of customer service support?

  • Email: 57%
  • Live chat: 51%
  • Phone call: 48%

Conclusion

The outlook for retargeting is bullish. AI is making a difference, technology can be frequently reviewed to improve performance, a single view of attribution is possible, high-quality customer service should be expected, and the ability to determine ROI the goal. Download the 2021 Outlook on Regargeting for research-based strategies, tactics, and trends for retargeting in the year ahead.  

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