2. Activation  >  Run Retargeting Ads

Run retargeting ads to reduce SaaS churn

It always pays off (big time…) when you run retargeting ads to convert free trials into paid customers. Not just conversions, but these ads can be used to engage, reduce churn, and to persuade users to complete onboarding sequence.



WordStream used retargeting ads to target visitors who visited a specific page on their website. It increased conversions by 51% and average visit duration by 300%.


Lumension used retargeting to increase leads by 81% and 865% increase in homepage views.


Baremetrics uses retargeting ads to bring visitors back to their website. They earn $650 for every $6. How’s that ROI?

How to use the technique

  • Create a retargeting ad strategy. Define goals, create a user selection criterion, allocate budget, choose retargeting ad platform, and enable tracking. Take it seriously as any other marketing campaign. We have an awesome free churn optimization framework to help you get started.
  • Offer a discount. The best technique to reduce churn and to persuade free users to become customers is to offer them a discount on the upgrade.
  • Extend trial. Target users whose trial is expiring soon or has expired but they were active. Extend their trial. Add a few more days.
  • Invite to a webinar. Invite inactive users to a webinar with retargeting ads, so you can show them how useful your app is.
  • Persuade them to get over the phone. Let your sales team handle it. Target inactive users with an ad and convince them to schedule a call for personalized onboarding or guidance.
  • Get feedback. Run a retargeting feedback campaign. Ask users to share their feedback. Use their feedback to save future users from churning. Not sure how to do it? Grab this step-by-step churn optimization framework.

Mistakes to avoid

  • Running a single retargeting campaign. One campaign means nothing. Create multiple campaigns to target the same or different users. A/B test. Improve and tweak.
  • Lack of personalization. Running retargeting ads that aren’t personalized will lead you nowhere. Target users based on their recent interaction with your software. If they didn’t complete the onboarding sequence, refer to it in the ad.


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Research evidence

Adroit Digital and Toluna conducted an online survey to find how US online buyers perceive retargeted ads. Around 30% of respondents said that they either positively or very positively respond to a retargeted ad. However, the majority of the respondents (59%) said they have a neutral reaction to a retargeted ad. The neutral reaction doesn’t hurt your brand so it is a great idea to use retargeting ads to bring back consumers to your website.


One third of users respond to retargeting ads positively. More than a half of respondents are neutral to those.

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