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Best Retargeting Ad Networks

Updated on October 4, 2016

Have you noticed how adverts online seem to follow you around? If you're looking for a new car, then switch to buying new sheets for your bed, you're still seeing car adverts? This is called ad retargeting - and has really taken off in the past 2-3 years.

The term for this is Behavioral Targeting. Behavioral Targeting means adverts are targeting the behavior of website visitors and not targeting the subject/content of the website they're currently on.

Best Retargeting Ad Networks for Publishers

If you've got a website or blog and are wanting to make money with it, the old way of doing this was to create your content and put an ad block on the page, the ad block would deliver relevant ads to your page. This has now changed and a lot of the blocks on major websites are actually ad retargeting ad blocks.... and those are where the adverts seem to be stalking you!

If you own that webpage, maybe it's time you thought about placing some retargetted ads on your webpages too - so what you need to do is find the best retargeting ad networks for publishers.

Retargeting Ad Networks for Advertisers

If you've got a product to sell - and people have visited your website and not bought - maybe you now want to make sure your adverts follow people around, giving you the chance of bringing them back to your website to make that important purchase. You need to find the best retargetting ad networks for advertisers.

On average, 98% of your website visitors will leave without buying. Retargeting finds your lost customers and displays your ads to them again, bringing back that traffic to your website by providing crucial brand impressions; this can increase your conversions and ultimately your ROI.

Whether you're a publisher or an advertiser, all you have to do is sign up with ad networks that deliver retargetted ads and you're away.

The Power of Retargeting

Retargeting does give the advertiser more power. Imagine, for example, if you could target people who looked at one particular product on your website in the past two weeks -and- who are located in your town - and then show ONLY those people that you have a 20% sale on this weekend for those products. Local advertising at its best.

Source: Wikimedia
Source: Wikimedia

List of Retargetting Ad Networks

This list is in no particular order, but is a list of retargetting ad networks for you to investigate. What works for one might not work for another. Many have minimum impressions and minimum budget criteria. For publishers and advertisers, your product and website would need to "fit" with their marketplace.

But this list of retargetting ad networks is a place for you to start on your journey to make either more sales of your product, or more revenue from your website.

How Do Retargetting Ad Networks Work?

When the advertising ad block is placed on an e-commerce website and a website visitor arrives, a small cookie is placed on the PC. This cookie 'tags' that person as being interested in that website.

Now, when they leave the advertiser's website, whenever they visit a website that contains the ad network's ad blocks, the ad network checks for their cookie, looks them up and starts to deliver adverts to them from the website they visited earlier today or yesterday or last week - in an attempt to tempt them back.

The advertiser wins as they bring potential customers back to their website to potentially make a purchase through 'nagging' them. The publisher wins because now they've got adverts on their website that are relevant to their website audience.

Retargeting Databases

When an ad network is retargeting ads, they can use their own database, or they can buy space from larger networks. A large company, like Google, can rely on just using their own database to find/display and retarget website visitors, but smaller companies will often have to rely on using larger networks to provide them with the reach they need to be effective.

Ad Roll

For advertisers, Adroll is a top retargeting ad network - they claim to have the biggest and best ROI you'll get, with many of their clients getting a $10 return for every $1 spent with them. Adroll work with some of the world's leading organisations - and there's no minimum spend requirement.

For publishers, it can be tough getting accepted.

Adroll have their own database and they use several ad networks to deliver their ads, if you're a publisher you might already be delivering Adroll ads and not realising it. They distribute their ads through: Google Adbrite, OpenX, Rightmedia and Appnexus. If you're displaying ads from any/all of these ad networks then maybe you've had Adroll ads on your pages already!


Criteo is a huge ad network. To be accepted as a publisher you have to have over 100,000 impressions per month - this isn't hard to do if you're a large organisation, but it does exclude a lot of the smaller affiliates and websites. Over time, criteria to be accepted into an ad network does change, so if you don't qualify now, maybe you will next year because they set the bar a little lower.

For advertisers, Criteo ad retargeting has a huge market reach, so your adverts are more likely to be more successful than if you chose a smaler parter.


For advertisers, retargeter claim you'll make 3x the sales and reduce your bounce rate by 20%. This isn't a cheap option, with the lowest spend per month being $500.

This isn't an ad network I'd recommend to small publishers as they're definitely in the "bigger boys" camp. They buy advertising slots through major ad networks, so make sure you're delivering ads from the biggest/best ad networks you can and your site might attract their ads.


Fetchback are another major player... it's funny how they all say they're top dog, or #1 though isn't it.

For small publishers, just stick with the regular ad networks as these guys buy ad space through those.

Google Adwords

You can use Google Adwords to do your retargetting. Many people run Adwords campaigns the way they've always done them, without delving into new options and settings.

Google will only use its own database, rather than buying into other ad networks to serve ads, but then they're large enough to do this and be effective.


CPMatic buys space across dozens of ad networks, allowing advertisers tocreate, manage and track your retargeting, behavioral and other display campaigns. CPMatic bill themselves as the only self-serving, automatic ad retargetting platform.

CPMatic enables smaller advertisers to tap into the power of large ad networks that would have a minimum spend that'd normally prohibit you from joining them. Having said that, CPMatic requires that you start with a $1000 balance.

CPMatic isn't an ad network that publishers can sign up to as it's simply a self-serving interface into other ad networks.


This is a massive ad network for advertisers - in fact Amazon have just chosen them for the new Amazon ad network that started late in June 2011.

Triggit uses real time data and pricing, so it's ideal for advertisers working within fast moving industries. They work with major international companies, such as Kodak, Orbitz and Mazda, so certainly not for smaller players.

Again, this isn't an ad network for publishers.

Best Retargeting Ad Networks

For Advertisers: Above you'll see the best/biggest - but you'll also notice that they're quite pricey to join. Usually, if you're looking at using this type of technology your advertising is in the hands of a professional ad agency already. But maybe you're really wanting to do this for yourself. CPMatic seems to offer the best shot at getting a good spread across ad networks and really "drive" your campaigns yourself. Adroll is probably the most beginner-friendly and accessible, with no start up fees.

For Publishers: It's really not easy to get accepted by ad retargeting ad networks. The time/energy you spend doing it would be best spent on joining the regular ad networks - after all, these big ad retargeting networks are simply buying time/space from the smaller networks, so you end up with the same result.

Does Ad Retargeting Annoy You?

While ad retargeting is producing more sales for retailers - which is great - some ad campaigns are a little too enthusiastic and people are becoming irritated by the adverts that seem to be stalking them.

For those with shared computers, it can even spoil the "surprise gift" if your family members have been surfing the net for lovely presents for you while you just popped to the shops.

Are you annoyed by retargeting ads?

Take the poll further down the page and leave your feedback. Tell us about the ads you've found are following you around.


Adretargeting is another huge advertising company, tapping into most of the web traffic. They're used by all the big players, including Fortune 500 companies, entertainers and politicians

They claim they are capable of locating 98% of users anywhere on the web - and increasing sales by 125%.

AdRetargeting works on a CPA (Cost per Action) basis, so you're not paying for impressions of your ads, but for conversions/sales, meaning you can track your ROI exactly.

For publishers ... there's no signing up for these. Again, you have to sign up for one of the ad networks that these guys tap into. Not that there's a list of those! So, the same advice applies: sign up for as many ad networks as you can, the bigger the better.

POLL: Do Retargeted Ads Irritate You?

When you notice ads following you around the Internet, are you irritated by this?

See results

Images by:

Target, public domain images by wikimedia.


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    • earner profile image

      Dedicated Content Curator 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hey SEO IT

      That happens to me all the time too. It's annoying :)

      For me, the adverts that show up on pages is part of my research and inspiration for what to write about next.... and I miss that opportunity with the adverts that follow me around.

      I know I could get them to stop, there's a mechanism for that, I just can't ever be bothered to stop what I'm doing for 5-10 minutes to deal with it.

      Pro advertisers should cap the views, but they don't always seem to... too many people using inexperienced PPC companies I think!

      Your visitors might/might not be retargetted when they visit your site, depending on all manner of variables... but you'll never know :)

    • SEO IT! profile image

      Karla Whitmore 6 years ago from Tucson, AZ

      The ads that follow me around are those that appear in my own blogs. For example, I wrote a post about alcoholism, and I was followed around by rehab ads. I posted an article about cell phone watches and now completely unrelated sites are trying to get me to buy a cell phone... It doesn't bother me too much, though - and retargeting ads may just work on me at some point. I wonder if this means the ads on my content pages are retargeting my readers as well. Hmmm. Useful hub!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      This is awesome and thank you for teaching all this.