As a vertical lead at AdRoll, I’ve worked with hundreds of eCommerce brands and helped them optimize thousands of campaigns. I’ve seen first-hand what strategies work and how the most sophisticated advertisers find results. Small changes can make a huge difference in whether a campaign is a hit or a miss, and I’d like to share some of the most important insights to help improve your results.

The most effective strategies I’ve seen from the advertisers I work with start with the three Cs: custom segmentation, campaign structure, and creative best practices:

Custom Segmentation

Every AdRoll customer has a default All Visitors segment that includes everyone who has visited their website. Because All Visitors doesn’t discriminate between casual browsers and die-hard fans, you can think of this as an “upper-funnel” segment. Try targeting this segment with branding messages that drive visitors back to your site.

In addition to All Visitors, I recommend that every advertiser set up at least these three key segments:

  • Cart: Visitors who have put something in their cart are your lowest-hanging fruit. Remind them of the purchase they almost completed and bring them back to finish the transaction.
  • Product: Target people who’ve checked out a product page with more info and competitive messaging to transform interested comparison shoppers into buyers.
  • Conversion: Once a visitor has made a purchase and reached a Thank You page, consider rolling them into a loyalty program (and exclude them from retargeting campaigns designed to convert first-time visitors).

Campaign Structure

Once the segments are set up, I help clients design campaigns that target the right kind of customer with messaging that’s appropriate to the level of intent they’ve demonstrated on the site. This is where I usually start:

  • Upper-funnel campaigns that target all users with ad creative that keep the brand top of mind.
  • Mid-funnel campaigns that reach visitors who looked at category pages (men, women, kids, sales, etc) or who viewed multiple products and pages, then target those visitors with information that drives them back to the site to make a purchase.
  • Low-funnel campaigns that remind customers who put something in their cart or reached a checkout page of the products that they’ve shown an interest in.

For e-Commerce sites, I also recommend two types of advanced campaigns:

  • Converted user campaigns that serve loyalty messages and special offers to customers who have made a purchase in the past.
  • Sequential messaging campaigns that target a user over time with different types of messages. For example, a soft discount on Day 1, 10% off on Days 2–7, 25% off for the next week, and so on.

With those essential “always-on” campaigns covered, clients can then focus on seasonal offers and time-sensitive promotions that appeal to customers with strong calls to action. This time of year, I also recommend setting up converted user campaigns to target visitors who’ve purchased from the site in the past and get them excited about the brand again—it’s a great strategy to re-engage customers who purchased during the last holiday season.

Creative Best Practices

Obviously great campaigns need great creative. But what does that mean, exactly? I make sure my clients follow a few key best practices:

  • End with a strong call to action. Make it short and direct, like “Shop our fall collection!”
  • Consider promotional offers. Your customers are more likely to click an ad that offers them 10% off.
  • Set up dynamic creatives, and retarget your visitors with personalized product recommendations based on their actual behavior on your site.

Visit our support center or contact your account manager for more creative best practices.

Bonus tip: Mobile, mobile, mobile

It’s no secret that the world is rapidly going mobile. This year, consumers are expected to spend over $50 billion directly through mobile devices. I tell my clients to think about their business goals and audience use-cases. For example, if you’re looking to drive mobile app downloads, consider high-visibility mobile app-install ads in the Facebook News Feed. If you’re driving traffic to a mobile-optimized site, target users with site-to-site retargeting on the mobile web. If you want to expand the reach of your desktop retargeting to capture key on-the-go audiences, try native mobile ads on Facebook or Twitter. For a step-by-step guide on launching successful mobile campaigns, check out a recent blog post by our Head of Product.

For those of us in retail, summer means that it’s already time to get ready for the holidays. Keep these strategies in mind as you plan for end-of-year campaigns, and be sure to test out mobile and cross-device retargeting.

Want more tips? Join us on July 9 for our live webinar, What’s Next in eCommerce Marketing, where industry experts Elizabeth Trongone from Bonobos and Dave Coles from AdRoll will share the latest trends and best practices from the retail industry.