5 Advanced Ways To Boost Your Conversions Using Onsite Retargeting

Let’s face it, the main objective of every online business is converting website visitors into customers or subscribers. However, that’s easier said than done. Even with the best copywriters, web designers, PPC experts and other marketing gurus working day and night on your campaigns, you may not see the results you want.

The first thing you should know is that you’re not alone. Ecommerce sites big and small struggle with the same challenges, trying to improve their conversion rate in a competitive market with people that seem to ‘fly by’ websites without actually clicking on anything.

A few disappointing facts about conversions:

  • According to Monetate, only ~6% of ecommerce visitors put something in their cart
  • Baymard Institute states that average cart abandonment rate is 67.89%. That means nearly 7 out of 10 people put something in their cart but don’t checkout!
  • The average conversion rate is 2%

So 98 out of 100 people leave the average site without buying. That number really sucks.

This is where conversion optimization (CRO) usually comes in to play. CRO is about finding your best message, choosing the one message you bet everything on.

Typical conversion optimization takes a lot of time and effort. You have to stay up-to-date on the latest website tools and you have to set aside time to fine-tune the results. A lot of people have thoughts about how they can improve their website. Unfortunately, what most people lack is the time or money to dedicate to the task.

This triggers a deadly cycle. As website conversion goes down, more money is put into driving traffic, and less money is set aside to improve the conversion of existing traffic. Soon enough, your marketing budget is spent and there aren’t enough sales to show for it.

In addition, even if you can find your ’winning’ message, you still only have one chance to convince your visitors. Bear in mind, your ‘winning’ message is still only the best message for a small number of your visitors. Conversion rate optimization can give you small wins, but you can’t change the game with this approach.

What if you could double your chance to convert?

You don’t often get a ‘second chance’ on the Internet… But what if you could communicate a second message to your visitors if they aren’t convinced by your main message? What if you would get a second chance to convince them with a different offer?

Onsite retargeting gives you a second chance to communicate with your visitors!


How does onsite retargeting work?

Typical PPC remarketing or retargeting can be seen as ’offsite retargeting’ – you try to communicate a second message to your abandoning visitors after they’ve left your website. On the other hand, onsite retargeting gives you a second chance to communicate with your visitors right before they leave your site.

What does this mean for your conversions? Onsite retargeting will increase your conversion rates! Sometimes referred to as exit-intent technology, onsite retargeting is designed to convert abandoning web visitors into leads, sales and signups.

To tell you a little more about how the technology works, onsite retargeting uses a tracking algorithm to detect mouse gestures, resting moments and other user movements that indicate a visitor intends to leave your site, what’s known as exit intent. This tracking algorithm makes it possible to predict the exact moment a visitor is about to leave your site. If any exit intent is detected, onsite retargeting triggers a secondary message that displays to your abandoning visitors. All of this happens in the blink of an eye, and most importantly, before your visitor leaves.

Although, there are several ways to display your secondary message, it’s usually presented on a special type of popup. Sometimes called an ’exit intent’ popup, it’s more properly classified as an overlay than a popup.


Unlike a popup which opens in a new window, an overlay appears in the same window of your visitor’s web browser. Onsite retargeting doesn’t prevent visitors from accessing the navigation bar and it doesn’t disrupt, disable or block anything.

Google allows any type of graphic that appears within the landing page instead of opening in a new browser window. You can see Google’s popup policy, which shows they allow overlays. Because onsite retargeting doesn’t act like traditional popups and open a new window, it’s totally Google-friendly.

Now that you know how onsite retargeting works and some of the technology behind it, let’s take a look at 5 powerful ways you can use it to get the most out of your second chance to communicate with your visitors.


#1 – Promote “easy” conversion goals

You can make the most out of your “second chance”, if you push an easier goal instead of your primary goal. For example, if your primary conversion goal is a hard conversion to sell something, you should try a soft conversion such as promoting some free content or discount in order to gain your visitor’s interest.

Onsite retargeting can be effectively used to call your visitors’ attention to your best giveaways, such as white papers, ebooks, and coupons, before they leave your site.

You can even take it a step further and convert your visitors into leads directly using onsite retargeting with an overlay that offers an engaging giveaway.

Here are a few hints to improve your conversion results:

  • Display your most powerful giveaways in your overlays
  • Make your offer simple and clear
  • Use engaging figures to illustrate your giveaways

The following image shows how the B2B software vendor, Antavo.com promotes its free e-book to convert early-stage visitors into leads.

antavo overlay

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#2 – Use multi-page popups

When your goal is results, you want to direct as many visitors as possible towards your high-converting lead magnets. Instead of placing all the information about your giveaway into only one popup, use multi-page overlays to maximize your conversions.

The concept is as simple as that: your first popup raises your visitor’s interest by presenting a simple one-click offer. After clicking on the first popup, your visitor is more engaged and that increases the chance of them subscribing if you place one or more input fields on the second page.

For example, when you ask your visitors to provide their email address on the second page, you can boost your subscription rate by as much as 50%. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?

There are two more reasons why this technique can boost your conversion rate:

  • People prefer to select from 2 options, i.e. – YES or NO, instead of deciding on one option
  • The average visitor prefers to click first, rather than fill in an input field

Let’s take a look at how the digital marketing agency, Nexa, uses onsite retargeting. Instead of asking their visitor’s to subscribe, the first popup of their multi-page campaign is intended to filter those visitors who are really interested in the offer.

nexa overlay1

After clicking on ’YES’, it’s more likely they will sign up on the second page:

nexa overlay2


#3 – Use personalized messages for each audience segment

Although your primary goal is to sell your product or service on your website, most of your visitors aren’t ready to buy yet. Your visitors can be in any stage of the buying process when they visit your site. Your visitors may also have different interests and different levels of expertise in your industry, etc.

You can increase your conversions by communicating the most relevant message to each segment of your audience. You’ll see better results when you personalize the text and design of your popups to make them as relevant as possible.

For instance, Digital Marketer always displays fully customized popups to their visitors. There is one general-purpose popup:

relevant popup

…but if the visitor’s behavior shows any special interest, the most relevant popup will appear. For example, Digital Marketer presents this Facebook-related giveaway to visitors who are interested in Facebook marketing:

facebook ad


#4 – Use nanobars or sticky bars to boost conversions and to remind your visitors

Nanobars, also known as sticky notification bars, can be a powerful element of your onsite retargeting campaign. A nanobar can be placed on the top or bottom of your website and can improve your conversions in several ways:

  • First of all, as part of onsite retargeting, nanobars work based on engagement. They can be used to capture abandoning visitors just like a typical popup or overlay. They can be used to get more subscribers, redirect traffic, etc.
  • You can use nanobars as part of your multi-page onsite retargeting campaigns too.
  • Nanobars can be used to remind your visitors of their unique rewards, for example a coupon code, after they convert on a popup and close the overlay. This can double your conversion rate.

Boom By Cindy Joseph, a cosmetics company, uses an exit-intent popup along with a nanobar in their onsite retargeting campaign. When one of their visitors is intending to leave the site, a popup appears that tries to convert the visitor into a lead by offering a 10% OFF coupon:

boom overlay

After the visitor converts, a nanobar appears on the top of the Boom! site, reminding them about the 10% OFF and it also displays the coupon code:

boom nanobar


#5 – A/B test your secondary messages as well

As the part of your conversion rate optimization strategy, you probably spend a lot of effort testing your primary message, after all that’s the point of CRO. Why should it be any different for the secondary messages in your onsite retargeting campaigns?

It’s worth taking the time to A/B test and improve your secondary messages as well.

During the A/B test of the Conversific’s onsite retargeting campaign, two different headlines were compared. The ‘winning’ message outperformed the ‘loser’ by 47%.

overlay abtest



When you’re serious about boosting your conversions, onsite retargeting provides a great solution. It’s a powerful digital marketing tool designed to convert abandoning visitors into leads, sales and signups.

With the right platform, setting up your onsite retargeting campaign can be carried out in a few hours, which is very little time compared to the results you’ll get. When done correctly, onsite retargeting will help you supercharge your online marketing results by recovering and converting visitors before they abandon your website.

Conversion Conference has evolved into Digital Growth Unleashed!

Create the most compelling end-to-end customer experiences. Attract, persuade, serve, and the technology to make it happen – we’ve got you covered with four parallel breakout tracks! Plan early and get the absolute lowest rates possible for May 16-17, 2018 at the Mandalay Bay Casino & Resort, Las Vegas.
Check out Digital Growth Unleashed 2018


About the Author

Csaba ZajdoCsaba Zajdo is an ecommerce specialist, founder of OptiMonk and several other projects specializing in conversion. He’s been involved with web marketing including search, ecommerce, CRO, PPC, analytics and usability for over 10 years.

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