Creative, Retargeting

Looking to Drive Sales? Escalate Your Offer

Written by Tim Edmundson

If you’re looking for a great way to reach your customers when they’re most likely to convert, look no further than sequencing and escalating your ads. This is a tried and true method – by altering the messaging and offer customers receive along their purchasing journey, you can convince them to make a purchase by connecting with them based on where they are in the funnel. When you can time an enticing offer with the moment when your customer is heavily considering buying, you’re setting yourself up for success.


The idea behind sequencing your ads is to deliver the right message at the right time to connect with your customer. As a top-level example, let’s say you’re running a campaign for ten days, and you sequence your ad group by number of days. You can sequence the campaign in the following way:

Days 1-3: General Awareness | This type of messaging lands well with people who are not yet familiar with your brand, or have a very surface level understanding.

Days 4-7: Additional Information | Get more focused with your messaging and your ads. Start providing more detailed information or highlighting specific products.

Days 8-10: Focus on Conversion | Push hard for the conversion – employ elements that give a sense of urgency and combine that with your most enticing offer to drive your customer to convert.

Obviously your campaigns will vary and be more intricate in how they entice potential customers, especially if you are retargeting a specific segment and wouldn’t need the “general awareness” portion, but this should give you a sense of how sequencing works. By sequencing your messaging, you can match your ads to your customers’ journey.


After you’ve locked down your sequencing, it’s time to work on that sense of urgency. And escalating your offers is a great way to do that.

Your bottom line will thank you if you’re escalating your offers effectively. It’s a way of enhancing the urgency of your ad – if your customer sees an ad that is offering 30% when it was offering 20% off just a couple days ago, they’re more likely to click through since they know they’re getting a better deal.

A countdown timer pairs well with escalation for this very reason. On their own, a countdown timer immediately adds a sense of urgency to your ad. It aids in urging your shoppers to redeem their savings and purchase now, rather than waiting and losing out on the larger savings. Tying the discount they get to the time left in the campaign could be what it takes to pick up extra conversions you wouldn’t normally get.

That said, urgency doesn’t amount to much if your offer, visuals, or messaging doesn’t connect with your intended audience. If your creative is cluttered and difficult to quickly understand, or your offer isn’t worth your customers’ time (2% off! Oh boy!), then your shoppers will lack any sort of interest in your ad, let along an urgent need to click through. Do the math and figure out what you can afford for an enticing offer, and ensure your creative is crisp and enticing so your escalation matters to your customers.


Here’s an example of an escalating offer campaign:

Segment Example | Shoppers who have converted in the past 30 days.
Campaign Length | 30 days.
Message Example | Save 15% / Save 20% / Save 30% + free shipping.

Much like any retargeting campaign, your segmentation is key to your success. In the above example, targeting shoppers who have converted in the last 30 days means you are focusing your efforts on people who are familiar with your brand, and you know are likely to purchase from you. By giving them special access (consider including some sort of exclusive offer for previous customers in your messaging), and a nice discount that increases as time goes by, you are giving an incentive to an already-engaged customer group to make an additional purchase.

Segments are just as important as messaging – it’s two parts of the same equation. Without strong segments, you won’t have the right pool of shoppers. Without the right messaging, you can’t connect with those shoppers. So be sure your segments are strong so your messaging connects with the right audience.


Escalating offers are not only a good option to drive conversions, they’re also a great way to determine exactly which deal or incentive will motivate your shoppers to convert. You should always be testing your campaigns, and this gives you another data point to track. Which deals are seeing the most success? Is increasing the offer, or decreasing it more effective? By escalating or deescalating the offer amount, you play on shoppers’ intent to purchase.

Run an A/B test with escalated and deescalated offers to see which ones are more effective for your customer base. It’s the old “stick or the carrot” – will your shoppers respond better to the stick, reducing the discount as time goes by thus convincing them to convert before the deal gets worse? Or the carrot – increasing the discount as time goes on, making it more enticing with a better deal than before? A/B test your way to discover the answer.


Sequencing and escalation are all about one thing – making the best connection with your customers. If you can craft your messaging to align with where they are in their purchasing process, then you are making the most out of your advertising budget.