8 min read

How to Recover an Abandoned Cart with an Ad Copy

Written by Andriy Boychuk
8 min read
Table of Contents

    Advertising. It’s one of the basic tools in any marketer’s strategy. And like all tools, advertising takes time and costs money.

    So when a customer visits your online store to purchase something that they have seen advertised, then leaves without completing their purchase, abandoning their cart, your advertising time and money has gone to waste.

    But it’s not the end of the story: you can re-engage these customers using a nifty little advertising technique known as abandoned cart ad copy.

    What is an Abandoned Cart Ad Copy?

    Ad copy, also known as “retargeting ads”, are short, succinct messages sent to customers reminding them that their chosen products are still awaiting them at the checkout and offering some sort of incentive to return and complete their transaction.

    These adverts are based on data collected via “cookies”: small pieces of data embedded in web browsers that remember the details of users who visited your online store.

    Ad copy can be sent to customers via platforms such as Facebook Ads or Google Ads and for this reason, it needs to be eye-catching and to the point.

    It’s a good idea to include a hi-res image of the product or products that the customer left sitting in their abandoned cart.

    This will give them some visual stimulus about the product and what attracted them to it in the first place.

    The Importance of Data

    Cookies can get hold of all the data you need. Now it’s up to you.

    It is vital to analyze data correctly and by making good use of the information you have about your customers, you can ensure that you make the best choice of the abandoned cart ad copy you employ to re-engage them.

    As well as ad copy, your stockpile of data about the customer will also allow you to send an abandoned cart email in conjunction with your smaller, more customer-friendly ads.

    Although abandoned cart emails can appear to be a little more “pushy”, they are a highly effective way to help motivate your client.

    Example of an abandoned cart email instead of an ad copy.

    Different Types of Abandoned Cart Ad Copy

    Once you have done your research into your customers’ motivations and desires, you can then make some informed decisions about how you are going to approach them and recover their abandoned carts.

    Ad copy needs to be:

    • Short
    • Attention-grabbing
    • To the point.

    These are some ideas about the sorts of ad copy you might consider using:

    Human interest ad copy

    These adverts will redevelop the client’s interest in the product by describing a situation or story that includes the product itself or beneficial ways that it can be used.

    Reason why ad copy

    This type of copy appeals to the client’s intellect rather than to their emotions.

    It can:

    • Prove a product’s superiority or performance
    • Offer technical information
    • Offer information such as warranties.

    Suggestive ad copy

    This will convey a message or idea about the product in a more subtle and indirect way.

    Suggestive ad copy employs hidden meanings and oblique references that can stir the customer’s emotions and remind them why they were attracted to the product.

    Expository ad copy

    This type of ad copy delivers straight facts about the product or service that the client can absorb and consider with hardly any effort.

    How Does Abandoned Ad Copy Work?

    Ad copy can be a highly effective way to re-engage with customers.

    Retargeting ads have a clickthrough rate (CTR) of 0.7% which is considerably higher than the 0.07% CTR that standard display advertisements achieve.

    Abandoned cart ad copy works by providing subtle reminders and incentives, via client-friendly messages, for a customer to finish off their transaction.

    This makes perfect sense when you consider that the customers you are targeting have already shown an interest in your product: they just need a little nudge to get them over that completed purchase line!

    Optimize Your Abandoned Cart Ad Copy

    Refining and experimenting with your ad copy will help to ensure it is successful. There are several ways you can do this.

    Here are a couple of examples:


    Use the information you have about your customers’ browsing habits to create dynamic ads that will inform them about best-selling, alternative, or additional products.

    Carousel-style ads, activated when the client hovers over them, are particularly effective.


    Instead of “aimlessly shouting” about general reasons a customer didn’t complete their purchase, try looking at the things that may have turned them off.

    Common segments include:

    • By Individual Product

    Showcase similar products or add an imperative such as “for a limited time.”

    • By checkout process

    If the customer baulked at sundry added costs, you can offer discounts or free shipping.

    • Are they a first-time or returning customer?

    Thank and reward first-timers with a discount voucher. Acknowledge the value you place on repeat customers with something similar, such as a loyalty program.

    • By cart value

    Offer the big spenders free shipping, gifts, and/or premium deals.

    Keep Up With the Joneses (and the Smiths)

    Write your abandoned cart ad copy based on your customer’s specific data and details.

    There’s no point in targeting some ad copy at a “Mr Jones” if the advertisement’s target is actually “Mrs Smith.”

    For a start, Mr Jones is going to be annoyed that he received an email that doesn’t have any relevance to him. Secondly, Mrs Smith isn’t going to be encouraged to complete her purchase because the ad copy meant for her went to Mr Jones instead.

    Example of an abandoned cart email as an ad copy.
    Also, don’t be afraid to change your approach. Even small changes in content or style can make a big difference.

    Your customer really wants to complete that purchase: that’s the reason they came to your business in the first place.

    You just need to give them that tiny bit of impetus (let’s not call it a shove!) to get them to close the dealio.

    Be Creative With Your Abandoned Cart Ad Copy

    No one appreciates getting spam emails or annoying advertisements.

    For this reason, your abandoned cart ad copy needs the light, expert touch of a surgeon and the finesse of a ballet dancer.

    The best strategy is to create a succession of messages, each one slightly different and slightly more persuasive.

    • You could start by sending a cordial reminder that they have abandoned their cart
    • After a decent delay, send them an invitation to complete their purchase coupled with an image of the product that they have abandoned
    • If they still aren’t ready to move, you can perhaps suggest a discount on their next purchase.

    Spend Some Time With a Specialist

    “We need abandoned cart ad copy over here, stat!”

    Like a doctor making a quick decision on the best way to treat an injury, a specialist in ad copy strategy can help you to come up with an effective approach to creating your own ad copy or abandoned cart email.

    There are plenty of consultants out there who can help you design and implement your ad copy plan.
    You could, perhaps, find them by checking out their adverts!

    Further Reading

    Why Is Shopping Cart Abandonment a Problem for Retailers?

    Cart Abandonment: Prevention and Recovery

    How to Convert Abandoned Carts: Methods and Tips

    Cart Abandonment Solutions That Can Really Improve Your Sales

    The Best Abandoned Cart Recovery Strategy, Step by Step


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