How to Use Retargeting Ads to Re-engage Past Backers

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Jonathan Garcia

A group of three people in an office are gathered around a tablet and looking at it intently. The caption on the left reads: How to Use Retargeting Ads to Re-engage Past Backers.

If you have one or two successful crowdfunding campaigns under your belt, congratulations; you have done what the majority of people who launch campaigns fail to do even once. With success comes confidence, but are you sure you aren’t leaving any stones unturned in your marketing strategy for your next campaign?

One of the many beauties of crowdfunding lies in how repeatable it is for small businesses to validate new product ideas and bring them to market at reduced risk. And although new products might attract new audiences, you’re probably still launching under the same brand name you established the first time. This means that you have an entire group of past backers just waiting to be re-engaged.

What’s one of the best ways to re-engage them? Knowing how to use retargeting ads to re-engage past backers.

Introduction to retargeting ads

Retargeting, or remarketing, in crowdfunding operates off of a fairly simple principle: People have engaged with your brand, and those users remain in your database well after that initial campaign has come and gone. Just as they became hot leads on your prelaunch email list, they are still a potential source of hot leads for your next campaign because they are already familiar with your brand.

Thinking of your past backers in this way is essential for building loyalty through retargeting in crowdfunding, but there are some other basics you must be aware of.

Understanding the basics of retargeting

There are three main components to any retargeting ad setup:

  • User tracking: This is the foundation for your retargeting ad campaign. Analyzing backer data for retargeting does not have to be complicated. Key data points include names, emails, phone numbers, and addresses. Since you’re targeting past backers, you should have access to all of this information.
  • Audience creation: Normally, in a tool like Google Ads, audience creation involves piecing together different parameters to create a list of potential leads. In this case, you can compile your past backer audience onto one specific list.
  • Campaign setup: This is the fun part, where you get to try unique creative to re-engage those who have backed your products in the past. Once you have that in place, you can set up the ad campaign funnel in whatever platform you wish to use.

This may sound like it’s not worth the extra hassle of segmenting past backers, because there’s likely to be overlap when you create new audiences anyway. But, there is something to be said about the power of retargeting when it comes to nonprofits and e-commerce businesses.

The power of retargeting in nonprofit and e-commerce

Retargeting in these general arenas can be very effective because of how qualified retargeted audiences are. Even if it’s just people who have shown some interest in your product, website, or campaign in the past, they are still more likely to convert than someone who has never heard of you.

This strategy is also very useful for reminding potential customers that you exist. People who spend any significant time online are likely being bombarded with ads and emails every day. Effective re-engagement techniques allow you to bring your brand back to the forefront of an average online shopper’s mind and it increases the likelihood that they’ll be ready to act when the time comes.

Why retargeting works

Before knowing how to use retargeting ads to re-engage past backers, you need to understand why it works. Retargeting your backers doesn’t just work well because of the key data you possess, it’s also very cost-effective.

Of all the post-campaign metrics that get analyzed in crowdfunding, return on ad spend (ROAS) is one you generally want to monitor to see how efficient you’re being with your ad budget. The reason retargeting past backers works so well is because this hyper-specific list is incredibly qualified, you can achieve higher conversion rates at a much lower cost per conversion.

Not only is the cost a good enough incentive, but there are psychological advantages to retargeting your past backers.

The psychology behind retargeting effectiveness

In crowdfunding, people don’t just back your product because it’s cool; they tend to back your product because they see an opportunity to be early adopters in a new brand. If you’re not familiar with the “product adoption curve,” here’s a visual representation of the unique nature of crowdfunding backers:

A bell curve graph depicting the relative size of the population vs when they adopt a new brand or product

Crowdfunding backers fall in the categories of “innovators” and “early adopters.” These audiences are usually willing to take risks on new products and brands and are motivated to put money on the line to be the first ones in the door on something unknown.

By retargeting backers in crowdfunding who not only have this mindset, but have pledged to your campaign in the past, you can take advantage of these factors to set yourself up for success on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. They’re already aware of you, your brand, and your ability to deliver something they like.

Building brand recognition through retargeting

As an advertising strategy, retargeting has a positive effect on building brand recognition. When creating ads for new leads, they are designed to be more product-focused than personal. When re-engaging past supporters in crowdfunding, however, you have a chance to make more personalized retargeting for backers that can reinforce your brand voice.

As time goes on and your re-engagement list gets bigger, it’s further proof to the recipients that your brand is continuing to grow. The longer you’re around, the more enthusiasm you can build for when you eventually bring new products to market.

Crafting effective retargeting campaigns

Crafting effective retargeting messages for crowdfunding generally starts with understanding your audience. The beauty of building a strategy around past backers is that you already know them well. You have an entire crowdfunding campaign’s worth of data, ads, and emails that were proven to work.

The next step in how to use retargeting ads to re-engage past backers is to put everything together to create effective collateral.

Identifying and segmenting your audience

For the purposes of this article, you already know who you’re targeting, but let’s go over the basics of identifying and segmenting an audience.

When you’re segmenting an audience without knowing exactly who to advertise to, you need to use parameters like behavior, interests, preferences, and stage in the buyer journey. Segmenting in this way allows you to tailor your retargeting ads in crowdfunding campaigns to address their specific needs and motivations to increase their chance of conversion.

Creative tips for compelling advertisements

The key to creating compelling retargeting advertisements is having a clear idea of what you want your audience to do. For example, if you segmented based on actions taken and time spent on your product landing page, you can create a retargeting campaign that urges them to finish any actions they left incomplete in your funnel.

There are many ways to make good ads, but here are a few creative tips for your crowdfunding retargeting strategy:


  • Communicate the value in your crowdfunding product: It’s important to demonstrate how your product can solve a problem for potential backers, and make this a focal point of your messaging.
  • Use urgency in your messaging: Depending on how soon your upcoming campaign is, you can use urgency to drive conversions. If potential backers are close to missing out on something time-sensitive, let them know about it.
  • Have photorealistic renderings: Imagery will always play a key role in prelaunch advertising. Even when you’re just using renders, make sure they are clear and high quality.

Personalizing ads for different community personas

The last important tip for effective retargeting for crowdfunding is to personalize ads based on different community personas. This gets back to the psychology of retargeting, and making the viewer feel seen in their buyer journey.

Personalized messaging can resonate with the targeted persona when leveraged correctly, and it’s much more likely to drive conversions. Use relevant and timely messaging, be transparent, and be sure not to overdo it by bombarding recipients with ads and emails.

Types of retargeting ads

Now that you’re familiar with how to craft effective retargeting campaigns and why you should be using them, we can get into the types of ads you could implement in digital retargeting for crowdfunding. Reaching out to past backers with digital ads is a powerful marketing tool. The ads we are going to focus on are not to just build awareness, but to drive conversions with proven buyers.

Let’s start with pixel-based and list-based ads and what their uses are.

Pixel-based vs. list-based retargeting

Pixel-based retargeting ads utilize cookies to track the user’s browsing tendencies and history. It works by implanting a piece of code to a website or link (like the landing page for your upcoming crowdfunding project), which then drops into the user’s browser when they visit. This bit of code can allow you to retarget those who most fit your ideal audience, but isn’t the best for the purposes of re-engaging past backers.

List-based retargeting ads, on the other hand, are much more suited to the purposes of advertising to an existing list. It works by uploading a list of email contacts to your retargeting platform of choice, so that they start seeing ads for your upcoming project as they browse the internet. Knowing who’s on your list beforehand could help you cater your banner ad copy more effectively to them.

Website and social media retargeting strategies

Social media retargeting involves using a social platform to deliver ads tailored to broad, or segmented audiences. For example, Meta platform users will receive ads for your new campaign that can then take them to your landing page where they can put down a deposit for your upcoming campaign.

Because you already have your email list for past backers, you can tailor your social media ad messaging to engage with them specifically. This lets them feel recognized as someone who has backed your products before, and it’s a good way to make them aware of an upcoming campaign because of how much people engage with these social media platforms.

These are good ads to supplement something like email retargeting, and are definitely worth having in the rotation for re-engaging past backers.

Email mapping campaigns for targeted engagement

Targeted email campaigns will be one of your bread-and-butter strategies for crowdfunding audience re-engagement. Because you already have their emails compiled on a list, it makes the process of announcing a new campaign to them fairly easy.

The main challenge here will be creating the emails themselves. Here are some best practices to be aware of when crafting your messaging:

  • Try sending your emails from you, instead of your company. Backers are more likely to read the email if it comes directly from the creator.
  • Experiment between personalized subject lines, and action-oriented subject lines. Finding the right tone for your past backers requires testing. More on this later.
  • Include clear calls-to-action in your emails that tell backers exactly what they need to do to back your next campaign.
  • Use high-quality images or renders of your new product, and don’t be too wordy in the email body text.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to craft strong emails to re-engage your past backers.

Implementing retargeting ads

Now that you know the various types of retargeting ads you can use, it’s time to start implementing them to re-engage your past backers. With your backer email list in place, you can now use various platforms to set up your retargeting collateral.

Setting up retargeting on various platforms

Your two primary types of retargeting for engaging previous crowdfunding supporters are going to be through email and ads. Let’s look at what platforms to use for each.

Email retargeting platforms

You may have heard this before, but at LaunchBoom we strongly recommend our clients and partners to use Mailchimp to set up their email marketing. It’s incredibly easy to use, it works well with LaunchKit, and it makes programming your emails a snap.

If you’ve used this for past campaigns, this platform will already contain all of the backer data you need. All you have to do is segment them into their own list and design your emails to start sending to them.

Other email platforms to consider besides Mailchimp include Hubspot, ActiveCampaign, and Klaviyo.

Ad retargeting platforms

Just like in the prelaunch phase of your campaign, you should use Meta (Facebook/Instagram) for your retargeting ad efforts as well. It’s the most dependable and cost-effective way to implement ads into your retargeting campaign.

Google is also a platform that lets you run retargeting ads, and it also comes equipped with features like frequency capping, ad testing, and custom combination testing. Whichever you go with will come down to personal preference, but it might be easier to stick with Meta because of your history with it up to this point.

Utilizing tools and platforms for effective retargeting

There are various retargeting tools for crowdfunding that help to keep you organized and let you carry out the testing necessary for finding what’s most effective. Whether retargeting with emails via Mailchimp or running ads on Meta and Google, you’ll have access to all the tools and data tracking you’ll need.

But without the right methods for execution, you might not be able to get the most out of the platform tools available to you.

Best practices for retargeting ad design and messaging

To create effective retargeting ads, there are retargeting best practices in crowdfunding you need to follow when it comes to design and messaging. Optimal ads for retargeting past donors in crowdfunding include the following elements:

  • A good headline: Test different headlines that not only catch their attention, but communicate the value of clicking through.
  • Photorealistic media: Whether you have a functional prototype or not, make sure you always have great visuals to use in your marketing.
  • A clear CTA: The action you want past backers to take should be painfully clear and easy to perform, whether on an ad or email.
  • Actionable copy: Quality over quantity is the mantra to live by when drafting copy for retargeting.

The culmination of these elements and the comprehensive tools available to you for optimizing your retargeting campaign, the results should be a boost to your prelaunch reservations.

Measuring the success of retargeting campaigns

Knowing how to put a retargeting crowdfunding strategy into practice is one thing, but making sure it works for your past backers is another. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all template for making a high-converting retargeting ad campaign for re-engaging past backers, because every product and audience is different.

In order to optimize your retargeting ads when re-engaging past backers, you need to know what metrics to look for and how to run proper testing to land on messaging that works best. On top of that, you need to run tests on a small percentage of your list of past backers first in order to gather enough findings to implement your fixes on the rest of your audience. Taking the time to do this will ensure you get the highest conversions.

Key metrics to track and analyze

Let’s look at some of the metrics to track and analyze across any retargeting campaign as you’re trying to optimize them.

  • Click-through rate (CTR): CTR is one of the most cited metrics in digital marketing optimization. This is the percentage of recipients who clicked on one or more links in a given ad or email. It gives you a quick picture on the performance of your retargeting ad, which allows you to optimize it to guide where you want the audience to click.
  • Open rate: This metric accounts for the percentage of recipients who opened the email at all. It might be tempting to get hung up on trying to boost open rates to really high percentages, but it’s better to use CTR as a barometer for the efficacy of your retargeting ads.
  • Conversion rate: Ultimately, this is what you’re most interested in. If you’re finding that you’re not converting well, try analyzing your calls-to-action within the body of your ads and emails.

These metrics are important indicators of how your retargeting campaign is performing. To narrow down your different ideas faster, it’s also essential to utilize A/B testing.

A/B testing and continuous improvement

Validating marketing strategies through testing has always been a key ingredient to the LaunchBoom formula. A/B testing, or split testing, is sending out two types of ads, emails, headlines, subject lines, etc., and seeing which version performs the best. Since your list of past backers is already highly qualified and not likely to view your retargeting as spam, they’ll be able to provide strong results that point you in the direction of what works best for them.

Look back at what types of copy and creative you used in your previous campaign, and try to replicate similar messaging. That being said, the beauty of A/B testing is you have some wiggle room to try something slightly different. If it doesn’t work, scrap it. If it works, run with it! That’s the formula for continuous improvement.

Overcoming challenges in retargeting

We’ve touched heavily on the advantages of retargeting to past backers, but this strategy isn’t without its challenges. We’ll address some of the common problems you might encounter, as well as best practices for dealing with those challenges.

Addressing common pitfalls and ethical considerations

Let’s look at some pitfalls to avoid when re-engaging past backers with retargeting ads.

Not frequency capping

Spamming past backers with retargeted ads is a good way to make sure they unsubscribe from your email list. Use frequency capping to limit how many times recipients see something within a given timeframe.

Ad fatigue

It’s tempting to want to save time and keep recycling old ad creative. This makes your retargeting efforts lose a lot of impact and overall effectiveness. Be sure to rotate new visuals and copy into your ads and emails.

Not tracking conversions

You need to know what is and isn’t working, no matter who you are targeting in marketing. Be sure to use methods like tracking pixels and setting up conversion goals in your analytics platforms to illustrate how you’re doing.

Balancing retargeting with overall marketing strategy

Retargeting past backers should be a major part of your overall marketing strategy for your next crowdfunding campaign, but it’s not something you should rely on solely. As long as you use retargeting as a supplementary piece to pair with LaunchBoom’s proven crowdfunding strategy, you’ll be able to reach your funding goals and build the strength of your brand at the same time.

Case studies and real-world examples

We’ve seen the process of ad retargeting work wonders for so many creators. Let’s look at how it was able to give one of our clients, The Scoop, a major boost after their first crowdfunding campaign had finished and they were making the transition to selling their product on e-commerce.

Success stories in retargeting for nonprofits and e-commerce

We knew we wanted to use past ad creative from The Scoop’s crowdfunding campaign for one simple reason: it worked. The key thing to keep in mind, though, is how the audience would be broadening from one focused on crowdfunding to the mass market. Our past backers would surely be re-engaged by seeing a familiar product, but we wanted to hit a broader group as well.

Here are the ads from the crowdfunding phase, and retargeting phase:

A still from a video advertising an exercise machine.

A still from a video advertising an exercise machine.

Can you tell the difference? In fact, they are almost entirely the same, except for some strategic changes to the ad copy. This strategy worked for re-engaging past backers because they would click through to see the brand new e-commerce site where we could potentially sell more products to them, and it worked for drawing new leads into the funnel because it’s an ad we knew was capable of getting people’s attention.

You can see with this example how easy it can be to repurpose ads that have worked for you in the past to maximize backer engagement post-campaign.

Lessons learned from effective retargeting campaigns

The biggest lesson we could share isn’t some advanced retargeting tactic for crowdfunders, but rather pertains to how much you can ultimately save yourself by making effective use of what you already have. Whether it’s a handful of successful ads you’ve used in the past, or a massive list of backers from your previous campaign, tapping into the resources for a retargeting campaign can only benefit you.

We always encourage creators to create new ads and push for new audiences if they have the resources to do so. Just remember that when it comes to targeting advertising for crowdfunding projects, using what you already have at your disposal goes a long way in saving you time and money.


Retargeting is a powerful strategy implemented by digital marketers and major e-commerce brands daily. Using the same principles employed by major brands like Amazon and Sephora in their campaigns, we can also enhance crowdfunding success with retargeting.

Recap of retargeting past backers for crowdfunding

Let’s look at a brief recap of some of the key strategies on how to use retargeting ads to re-engage past backers.

  1. Segment your past backers into a list by compiling their key data.
  2. Study what copy, headlines, visuals, and formats worked in your previous campaigns
  3. Draft a few ads and emails to A/B test against one another.
  4. Start your retargeting campaign on a small percentage of your list to gather data and optimize your collateral.
  5. Bolster your prelaunch email list and build your brand by bringing your past backers into your new campaign.

Future trends and evolving practices in retargeting

As technologies become more sophisticated and AI starts playing a bigger part in how we interact with the internet, retargeting will become progressively more streamlined and accurate.

In the case of crowdfunding, a relevant area of growth that can impact re-engaging past backers is cross-device and cross-channel retargeting. This would enable creators to reach their audience across multiple devices, like smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. Creators could then deliver relevant and consistent messaging regarding upcoming product launches no matter what device people are using.

Additional resources

There’s a lot you need to know to feel confident in your crowdfunding retargeting strategy. We’ve been there.

Whether you’d like further crowdfunding campaign retargeting tips, or are still in the early stages of your first campaign without an idea of how to set your funding goal, fill out a form below to set up a meeting with one of our product launch experts. Making sure you’re able to reach your goals in crowdfunding is LaunchBoom’s top priority.

Further reading and tools for retargeting campaigns

For all things crowdfunding, including ad creation, re-engaging past backers, and how to get the most out of your campaign, check out Crowdfunded by LaunchBoom CEO, Mark Pecota. In that book, Mark details everything you’ll need to know — and more — about how to succeed in launching your product through crowdfunding.

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