This holiday season, online shoppers are expected to spend almost $120 billion. Even though Black Friday has come and gone, the holiday season remains a massive opportunity for online retailers.

After all, up to 40% of holiday shopping takes place in the last 10 days before Christmas, so there’s still plenty of money to be made.

The question is: How can you convince potential customers to buy from you?  With all of the comparison shopping your customers are doing and deals your competitors are offering, this is important to consider.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at several ways to use holiday remarketing to move people from research mode to purchase mode…and boost your sales in the process. Let’s dive in!

1. Get Started Right Now

Unfortunately, if you’re just starting in on your remarketing efforts, you’re a little late to the game. Google Ads and Facebook Ads have minimums on the number of users to create an audience. Once you have a list within the minimum number of users, you can get started.

Hopefully, you set up your remarketing tracking long before the holiday season, but if not—get started right away. Setting up remarketing is something that will yield benefits for years to come. It’s good to start now. Even if you don’t get a ton of benefit out of your remarketing audience this holiday season.

If you already have an established remarketing audience, it’s time to take advantage of it.

Consider building remarketing campaigns based on:

  • People who visited your site through specific ad campaigns 
  • People who checked out your best-selling products.

Remind your customers what you’re selling by building on the ads or products that people have expressed an interest in. Help lead potential customers through the sales funnel.  Encourage them to return and make a purchase.

2. Use Lookalike/Similar Audiences

One great way to build a last-minute pseudo-remarketing campaign is with lookalike audiences on Facebook Ads.  You can also build similar audiences on Google Ads. Use this with a remarketing to expand the reach of your audience. You can also use this approach to target people who are similar to visitors to your website.

This approach is particularly useful if your website isn’t getting a lot of traffic. For both Google and Facebook, you only need 100 identified users to build a lookalike audience. Based on your budget, this lookalike audience can then snowball to millions of impressions. 

Unlike true remarketing, the people you target with lookalike or similar audiences will be unfamiliar with your store. They should be a highly targeted audience that will be interested in what you’re selling. It’s not a perfect solution, but at this point in the game, you’re running out of options.

To really make the most of this approach, it’s a good idea to run a pop-up on your site offering some sort of discount in exchange for a user’s email. You can then use those emails to build out a lookalike audience based on a group you know is highly interested in what you’re selling.

3. Expand Your Options

Another way to make the most of your holiday remarketing is market on additional, less well-known advertising platforms. For example, did you know that you can use remarketing (or something similar) on Twitter, Bing, eBay or even Reddit?

With the right strategy, you can use a variety of non-standard marketing channels to drive additional traffic and sales. If you know where your customers like to visit (and especially research products) outside of Facebook and Google, you can use that knowledge to outmaneuver the competition and market to your customers where it really counts.

In addition, traffic to many of these alternative marketing channels generally increases during the holiday season, so it’s a great time to test the viability of a new channel. If it works well during the holiday season, you may just have uncovered a great new marketing option for next year!

4. Scale Your Offers

Once you’ve built out your target audiences, it’s time to think about how you want to use them in your marketing funnel. Since everyone wants to stretch their gift budget as far as possible during the holidays, one of the best ways to get people to buy is to use discounts in your remarketing.

However, while this is a tried and true tactic, you need to be careful with how you market your discounts. Even when offered a discount, many potential buyers won’t make a purchase immediately. So, if you discount too steeply up front, you don’t leave yourself with much room to incentivize people further.

Instead, it’s usually better to start with a compelling, but moderate discount and then work your way up from there. For example, you might start by offering free shipping, then offer a 10% discount, then offer free shipping and a 10% discount.

People pay attention to new, so progressively upping the ante makes it more likely that your ads will get noticed. Plus, even if you’re fine with offering 10% off and free shipping to everyone, there’s a good chance that some people will jump at your first offer and you’ll make more money (just make sure that you set up a rule that moves people who have made a purchase out of your campaign to avoid potential frustration).

5. Focus on the Whole Funnel

During the holiday season, there’s a temptation to focus solely on trying to get sales from your marketing campaigns, but this is a mistake. Remember, a lot of your visitors are still in research mode (especially if you’re using lookalike or similar audiences to expand your target audience). They may not be ready to “buy now”, but they will be ready to buy soon, so you need to nurture them until they’re ready to make a purchase.

Obviously, you should run specific remarketing campaigns targeting users with abandoned carts that offer discounts or incentives for them to come back and buy, but the majority of your site traffic will leave without adding something to their cart. What do you do with these users?

In general, for people who seem interested but haven’t yet added an item to their carts, it’s best to create filters that segment your audience based on their behavior on your site. For example, you can create an audience based on people who have visited multiple pages, visited certain best seller pages or remained on your site for over a minute. Then, based on that behavior, you can create campaigns that use what you know about that audience to encourage them to return and take the next step towards making a purchase (perhaps using the tactics outlined in the previous section).


Holiday remarketing works best when you prepare for it in advance, but it’s not too late. By using the tactics outlined here, you can still take advantage of the potential of remarketing at any point in the holiday season—and set yourself up for success next year, too.

In the end, holiday remarketing is such an effective strategy that even quick and dirty remarketing is better than no remarketing at all. So, no more excuses. Get your remarketing campaigns up and running today!