7 Tips To Boost Your PPC Campaigns Using Onsite Retargeting

Csaba Zajdo

Jun 03, 20156 min read
7 Tips To Boost Your PPC Campaigns Using Onsite Retargeting

You probably spend huge amounts of dollars on pay per click campaigns, pumping massive amounts of traffic to your site. A decent percent of this traffic might convert, but chances are that you are missing an even greater number.

And then you may also use retargeting to retarget your abandoning visitors at a later time. But unless you’re a big brand with a healthy retargeting spend, it’s very likely that you aren’t reeling in all abandoning users.

What if I showed you a way to supercharge your PPC campaigns? What if I told you, that with onsite retargeting you can decrease PPC costs by up to 50% — or that you could double the results from your current spending?

So What is “Onsite” Retargeting?

We call the traditional, PPC based retargeting “offsite” retargeting — because you retarget your visitors AFTER they’ve left your site.

But there are ways to get a second chance with your visitors BEFORE they leave your site — and second chances are rare in online marketing. What would a second page view mean for your PPC campaigns?

Onsite retargeting is about monitoring the behaviour of your visitors, and if their behaviour indicates that they are about to leave your site, you can retarget them with a secondary message at the right moment.

This message is usually presented in a special type of popup (it is usually referred to as exit-intent popups), but there are several other display formats available.


Wait, I Thought Google Doesn’t Allow Popups?

They don’t. But here we are not talking about real popups, but rather overlays. The term “popup” is purely for context.

Overlays are not the same as popups. They don’t prevent the user from accessing the navigation bar and they don’t open in another window. Just as their name suggests, the offer is an overlay and doesn’t disrupt, disable or block anything. Both Bing and Google are fine with exit intent overlays.

This also applies to PPC marketing with Google AdWords. Google allows overlays on landing pages that receive direct traffic from PPC advertising from Google AdWords.

Here are Google's policies regarding popups and overlays in detail:

Google Overlay Policy

So What Kind of Behavior Indicates the User's Exit Intent?

The most popular solution is about monitoring the movement of the mouse. When the visitor is moving the mouse out of the window with the right speed and the right velocity, your message will appear at right millisecond.

But you can use other engagement related metrics as well, like showing your popup based on time spent on page (are they browsing that page too long?), or scroll down (have they finished reading the content, and are now scrolling back? It is especially useful in mobile browsers), etc. The best onsite retargeting platforms support several popup trigger events.

Now that you know what onsite retargeting is about, let’s see how you can use it to boost your PPC results.

How to Boost Your PPC Results

#1. Improve your user experience

The words “popups” and “better user experiences” are rarely used together in the same sentence. We are used to annoying popups, which jump up at just the worst moment, blocking view of the relevant content.

Well, onsite retargeting can help with that. First of all your message will be triggered at just the right moment. After all it will be shown when the visitor has just finished reading, and is about to leave your site — you are not distracting the visitor during their browsing.

Plus, you can and should show them relevant messages. For example, udemy.com uses onsite retargeting to promote their most popular categories:

Highlight most popular categories

Is this kind of message disturbing for an engaged visitor? Not likely. Can it help you? Sure it can: you can redirect your visitors to your best content, and increase the chance of converting them.

#2. Increase PPC quality score

How can onsite retargeting help you increase quality score of your ads? It can improve those metrics influencing your quality score.

What are these metrics?

  • Time spent on site
  • Bounce rate
  • Number of pages visited

In this recent case study, Digital Marketer reported their his bounce rate decreased by 19.67%, and their time on site increased by 54% overnight after implementing their first onsite retargeting campaigns.

#3. Target multiple customer segments

Your primary messages to your visitors are usually about selling, or some harder conversion, like requesting a quote. Which is deserved, since you paid a lot for them, and this is where you make your money, right?

Right, but most of your visitors will still not be ready to buy (or even sign up for a free trial) the first time they visit your site. Your visitors can be in any stage of their own buying process:

The Buying Process

Can you communicate to visitors at all stages? Not likely, but you can at least double your chances with onsite retargeting. You can push your sales messages to the visitors at more advanced stages (who are already at least considering buying a solution for their needs), and you can back this primary message up with your onsite retargeting campaigns, targeting your early-stage visitors.

As a B2B software solution Antavo.com has a complex value proposition, which makes converting early stage visitors into leads difficult. That’s why they are promoting an easier conversion goal (a free introductory guide) to early stage customers:

Offer free guide

#4. Build your list

Every business should build an email list. Email marketing still remains one of the most effective forms of online marketing, as 77% of customers prefer receiving marketing messages via email.

Using onsite retargeting to build your email list is smart for several reasons:

  • This type of offer has the lowest barrier, since it is free and you only ask for their email address (and perhaps their name as well).
  • You can retarget these visitors later on through email marketing.
  • You can still push harder conversion goal after they signed up.

Since there is no shortage of abandoning visitors, you can build healthy email lists very quickly by using onsite retargeting.

Zooshoo.com is able to convert 7.35% of their abandoning visitors from PPC into subscribers from their onsite retargeting campaigns — which is not bad actually, isn’t it?

Recover abandoning visitors

#5. Recover abandoning carts

If you are sending PPC traffic to an ecommerce site then you are most likely experiencing a large percentage of your traffic abandoning your cart prior to finishing the purchase.

Using onsite retargeting allows you to recapture more sales by offering incentive to finishing the checkout process — this could be in the form of a discount off the order or a free shipping offer.

An example is DiamondCandles.com, which offers a 10% off discount to abandoning visitors:

Offer discount to abandoning visitors

You can also present an alternative reason why the visitor should finish the sale, and increase the urgency factor. Booking.com does a great job with that by communicating the scarcity of the available rooms in the chosen time period.

Provide stats to encourage a buy

#6. Promote your best offers

You might have hundreds of landing pages set up for your PPC campaigns, and most of them are not set up for direct conversion, rather they push visitors toward a desired conversion goal or landing page, where the "real action" happens.

Onsite retargeting can help you with it as well: you can redirect abandoning visitors to some featured content or offer of yours.

Leading server-security startup Bitninja uses onsite retargeting to push users towards signing up for free trial.

Free trial offer

Using onsite retargeting they increased the number of trial users by 65%.

#7. Personalize your messages

You have lots of keyword you advertise to, and more than likely you also have lots of ads as well. You try to communicate the most relevant message to each and every visitor, so you try to personalize the messages to make them as relevant as possible.

You can do the same with your onsite retargeting campaigns. Digital Marketer promotes the most relevant giveaway to each visitor of theirs.

If their visitor is interested in Facebook advertising? They show them a Facebook-related lead magnet:

Lead Magnet

Are they interested in blogging? Show them a blogging related content:

Blog lead magnet

And if they know nothing about the visitor’s interest? The universal message is shown:

General interest retargeting


If you are serious about improving your PPC revenue then onsite retargeting is a great option to look into.

You want to use an onsite retargeting solution that allows you to easily test different ideas without the need of coding. The last thing you want to do is annoy your visitors with stuff they don’t care about — and you may have to make changes quickly.

With the right software setting up your onsite retargeting, campaigns can be done in hours, or in days at maximum, if you have a more complex website with lots of different messages to communicate.

When done correctly, onsite retargeting will help you make your PPC campaigns more effective by recovering users before they abandon your page, and giving you a second chance to convert.

Do you have any questions about retargeting? Please leave a comment below.

Author Photo
Csaba ZajdoCsaba Zajdo is the founder of OptiMonk and several other projects that specialize in conversion. OptiMonk is an award winning onsite retargeting platforms, which helps small and medium-sized businesses leverage the power of onsite retargeting.
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