Gabriel Suchov

by Gabriel Suchov | Social Advertising

A cohesive marketing strategy is essential in today’s advertising world. Understanding how channels work together and how to best leverage each one creates numerous opportunities to optimize and ultimately drive better results. But, how can you effectively use different channels in unison to drive a holistic strategy?

One method is to use remarketing audiences. Regardless of the channel, remarketing audiences are oftentimes the best performers of any campaign tactic. Targeting prior engagers, site visitors, cart drop-offs or previous purchasers presents a strong opportunity for reengagement. Keep reading to learn how to retarget audiences from one channel on another, specifically how to target search engagers on social platforms.

Today’s digital advertising landscape is built on two tiny foundations: the cookie and the tracking pixel. A cookie is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on a user’s computer by her web browser. This allows a user’s journey to be tracked from page to page.

A close relative to the cookie is the tracking pixel. Tracking pixels are exactly what they sound like: transparent, pixel-sized images embedded in pages, banners, emails and more. They enable companies to track website visits, impressions, engagement, conversions and many other activities. Both search and social channels rely heavily on pixels and cookies to be effective in their campaigns.

In terms of complexity, cross-channel remarketing can be surprisingly simple. With a few prerequisites and some additional steps, you’ll have a successful campaign up and running in no time.

The Prerequisites

The first step is to understand what audience you are trying to retarget. Let’s look at site visitors in this example.

In order to set up a site visitor retargeting campaign, first, determine the landing page to which you will be directing traffic. Next, implement your UTM parameters. This key portion makes cross-channel remarketing possible.

A UTM code is a simple code that you can attach to a custom URL in order to track certain campaign aspects like source, medium, and campaign. This enables a platform such as Google Analytics to tell you where users came from and provide attribution. For a search campaign, some UTM examples could be:




This tells us that the user clicked on a paid search ad on Google and searched for a term in the brand campaign. With these set up, we can begin the process of building our search remarketing campaign on social channels.

Step 1: Launch the Search Side

The first step is to launch your search campaign. Using UTM parameters, clearly identify your campaign as thoroughly as you feel necessary. Every time a user clicks on your search ad, her URL will now include these UTM parameters. This becomes essential for the next step in this process.

Step 2: Create a Custom Audience

On the social side, regardless of platform, you will need to create a custom audience. This audience will be created from web traffic. When selecting the URL to track, set the URL qualifier to exact and enter in the landing page from your search ad with the relevant UTM parameters. A good example of this is to set the UTM parameter to utm_source=google or utm_medium=cpc. This will segment your audience from other site visitors. Including the parameters will ensure that only those who have visited the site by clicking on a search ad will be collected. Set an appropriate lookback window. 30 days is the standard, but feel free to iterate with multiple time frames to test effectiveness.

Step 3: QA, QA, QA!

Quality assurance is among the most important steps in launching any digital advertising campaign. Make sure that the URL entered into the remarketing audience is accurate and driving to the correct page, and that the audience itself populates in the social ads platform. Common errors can include entering the UTM parameter incorrectly (i.e. utm-source instead of utm_source), spelling mistakes setting the URL qualifier to “contain” or “starts with” instead of “Exact.” While these errors may seem small, they can drastically affect the success of your cross-channel remarketing setup.

Step 4: Launch the Social Campaign

Now, build a remarketing campaign targeting this audience. The audience should appear as a custom audience listed with the name you’ve given it (something clear along the lines of “Search remarketing 30 days”). If there is another site visitors campaign, make sure to exclude this audience from that campaign to avoid overlap. Create remarketing ads as you would with any other campaign and take it live.

Now you have a cross-channel remarketing strategy!

Contact us to learn more about ways to implement multi-channel remarketing.