Digital advertising most likely makes a significant portion of your promotional budget. Sometimes it costs you quite a bit to get that first click, so it’s your duty to make the most of it. In order to maximize your ad spend ROI you have to have a cohesive plan in place for tracking, retargeting, and responding to your top-of-the-funnel visitors.  In the article below, we’ll lay out five steps to help you make the most of your ad spend and help you grow your business.

Step 1: Place a browser cookie on every visitor

You have to remember that every single visitor that arrives at your website represents a potential sale. It doesn’t matter if they just navigated there to see a full-size photo of your product as part of their initial browsing, or if they’re ready to complete the purchase process right then and there. They’re all just potential buyers in different stages of the purchasing funnel. Which is exactly why you can’t let them come to your site without placing a browser cookie on them.

The bottom line is, tracking everyone who shows interest is the first necessary step in order to be successful at retargeting. Prospects may disengage at a later point—at which time you can terminate their targeted ads—but at this early stage it is crucial to track everyone. It’s an integral component for maximizing your digital ad ROI.

Step 2: Share browser cookies across all applicable platforms

At this point in the process, you don’t have very much data concerning your visitors from which you can pull and refine your strategy. You don’t know if they check Facebook 100 times a day, or if they only keep a profile around for posterity. They may be one of the most active users on LinkedIn—creating and sharing content and moderating several groups—or they may have signed up after college and rarely logged in since.

If you’re able to turn a visitor into an email lead you’ll have an opportunity to capture more specific data and put it to use in farther down the sales funnel with advanced analytics. For now, though, your choices are more limited. Faced with a scarcity of data, your best option is to hedge your bets and distribute the browser cookies you collect to all of the major platforms. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google are all fertile grounds for retargeting and strengthening the brand/buyer relationship. Make sure you cover all of your bases by reaching your leads across all of the most likely forums.

Step 3: Retarget across those platforms and redirect to optimized landing pages

Once you’ve located your visitors, then the process of retargeting to them begins in earnest. Research shows that, on average, the click-through rate for retargeted ads is 10-times higher than regular display ads, 0.7% to 0.07% respectively.

Proper retargeting enables you to deliver leads to customized conversion landing pages which should be coded properly and linked to correctly for every retargeting ad that you deploy. This is definitely a time to hold the lead’s hand rather than set them loose in your website again and expect them to find what they’re looking for. Likewise, ensure that the content you are directing them towards is appropriate for their position in the sales journey.

Step 4: Utilize an email capture tool on your website

After you have successfully brought them to a specific landing page, then you can ask them to opt in to email communications. Make it easy for them to sign up, but resist the temptation to come on too strong. Pop-up email captures that disrupt their experience of digesting the content can turn them away quickly. One study found that pop-ups that appeared at the seven second mark of the visit registered a 10% drop in the average duration of the visit.

Remember that the primary purpose of content marketing is to provide value to the audience, not act as a stepping-stone to an email sign-up.

One strategy you can use to take advantage of this is to show the user a pop-up at the end of the content, when they can make an informed decision whether or not to continue the relationship. You can also keep a permanent, less obtrusive subscription button on the top navigation bar, so that they can easily find it at any time during their experience on the page. Another option is to provide a ‘give to get’, which means you provide a piece of gated content, like an e-book, in exchange for an email.

Step 5: Set the stage for conversion through a series of drip emails

Turning a search visitor into an opt-in email lead is a significant step, but it’s here that the real work towards conversion begins. Now it’s your responsibility to use your email content to deepen the relationship between you and your lead by consistently delivering value across all touchpoints and guiding them through the middle-to-later stages of the sales funnel.

Put procedures in place to ensure you are following drip email marketing best practices. Thank your lead immediately upon subscribing, but avoid inundating them with too much material early on. Review every piece of email content to be certain it has a distinct purpose for moving the relationship forward, and value to the reader. Include prominent CTA buttons in the content and always guide them back to appropriate pages on your website.


The first click is always the most expensive, but using these tactics to retarget and re-engage your leads can dramatically improve your overall customer acquisition cost. A well thought out plan of the customer journey will not only increase your marketing performance, but also improve the experience for your website visitors.