There’s a Right Way to Expand Your Retargeting Reach Rate

Written by Tim Edmundson

You just built the world’s greatest retargeting campaign, complete with beautiful creative, engaging messaging, and a product that can’t be beat. That’s awesome — but there’s just one problem — your reach rate sucks. It doesn’t matter how great your ads are if they never get a chance to connect with the right audience, which is why reach is important to any advertising campaign.

But reach shouldn’t be a stat that you try to maximize at all costs. It’s not as simple as retargeting every site visitor you have — rather it’s a complex metric to measure, and a challenging goal to hit because it takes budget, bid, bounce rate, and more into account. To increase reach in a meaningful way, you must approach it with a holistic digital strategy, complete with focused targeting.


Before we get started, let’s give a quick definition of the terms we are discussing:

> Reach refers to the number of people that will come in contact with your ad campaign in some way. The better your reach, the more people who will see your ad — a pretty simple formula.

> Reach Rate is your campaign’s reach divided by your site’s unique user traffic; reach rate helps you better understand your campaign’s reach impact in terms of your overall site traffic.


Reach rate seems like a simple concept, but most marketers aren’t aware of the nuances when it comes to calculating it. It’s the details that can trip people up, and keep them from reaching the right people. Here are a few things that can hurt the calculation of your reach rate.

> Low Budget | Money doesn’t grow on trees; your budget is the ultimate limitation to your reach — be sure to spend it wisely.

> Low CPM | What you’re willing to pay for each auction will determine what you are able to win. What’s more, some sites have floor prices, meaning you need to have a CPM higher than their minimum to be able to serve ads there.

> Poor Win Rate | You can’t win ‘em all, and that will affect your reach. For every auction you fail to win, that’s one less user being reached.

> Relying Exclusively on PMPs | Private marketplaces can limit reach because not all desired users will visit the sites offered there.

> Campaign Limitations | Some marketers will apply geotargeting or white list restrictions to their campaigns, which can limit inventory variety and prevents optimization toward purchasing behavior.

Money can be a big blocker when it comes to increasing reach, which is why you need to be smart about how you spend your budget. By targeting those who are more likely to purchase from you, you’re spending your budget in a way that will allow you to reach more qualified users who are more likely to make a purchase.


Standard thinking is to retarget everyone who visits your site, which on the surface may seem smart since you would want to target everyone who has shown interest in your brand. But the fact is that’s flawed thinking.

When you target every site visitor, you’re ignoring a stat every marketer should be aware of: bounce rate. Bounce rate tracks the number of site visitors that hit your site, then immediately leave. This can be for a number of reasons — an errant URL, a misclick, or a quick evaluation that your brand is not for them. The common theme among them all though is that they aren’t interested in what you’re offering, and they’ve made that pretty clear by leaving your site as quickly as they can.

If you target users in your retargeting campaign who bounced from your site, you may as well be throwing your budget out the window. These users have a very small chance of actually returning, and those impressions could be better spent on users who are more engaged, and are more likely to convert. You can avoid this by narrowing your targeting to those who visited multiple pages on your site, which shows they are engaged, intent on interacting with your brand, and are a likely candidate to make a purchase.

That’s why effective targeting is so important, and why you should think about reach in terms of qualified users, rather than every site visitor you have. For our purposes here, let’s call that a Qualified Reach Rate.

> Qualified Reach Rate is your campaign’s reach divided by a defined, targeted pool of users (for example, all users with 2+ pageviews); using a qualified reach rate eliminates groups of users who aren’t good fits for your campaign.


Focusing on only qualified site visitors will go a long way in helping boost your campaign, but there are additional ways you can maximize reach that matters. Coupled with focused targeting, these tactics can help your campaign drive a strong ROI.

> Increase your CPM | Coupled with effective targeting, increasing your CPM will net you more valuable placements and a larger audience of qualified users.

> Use a Variety of Sources | Use a wide variety of DSPs, SSPs, and PMPs to increase your digital presence.

> Increase Cross-Device Tracking | The average shopper uses over 3 devices, which can be anything from a desktop PC, to a tablet, to a phone or even TV streaming devices. If you can identify users across multiple devices, it allows you to target them everywhere they do their online shopping.

> Household Extension | Similar to cross-device, this gives you the ability to expand targeting to every device on a user’s IP address. This ensures you’re targeting devices you know belong to someone who is interested in your offering.


Reach is important, but qualified reach is even better. By narrowing your targeting down to users who have shown they are engaged with your brand, you can make better use of your budget and spend on impressions that have a better chance of netting a conversion. So stop casting such a wide net, and start getting smart with your reach.