4 Factors to Keep in Mind for Abandoned Browse Campaigns

Jun 14, 2022
Jeff Haws

Marketers have long believed in the power of abandoned cart email campaigns to drive traffic back to the website and recover potential conversions. And there’s no doubt these campaigns get results. A report from Klaviyo tabbed the open rate of abandoned cart campaigns at 41.18%, click rate at 9.5%, and they said businesses with an average order value of $100-$500 recover 4-5% of their abandoned carts. That’s a heck of an ROI.

But what if we told you abandoned cart campaigns — as effective as they can be — could actually be leaving some revenue on the table? While these campaigns have high engagement rates and bring back customers with a high level of intent, a relatively small percentage of your website visitors actually add an item to their cart.

On the other hand, abandoned browse campaigns reach out to customers who merely looked at products or other pages on your site. It’s a broader approach, but there’s an argument to be made it needs to be a part of your messaging strategy. Here are a few things to keep in mind about these campaigns:

There are two main types of abandoned browse campaigns

Within the scope of abandoned browse campaigns, there are essentially two kinds: product abandonment and search abandonment.

With search abandonment, the visitor conducted a site search for some product, category, type of product, etc., and then left their session after getting the results. This gives you some insight into what they were looking for, and you can then include images of their search results in the ensuing message.

Product abandonment takes them a step further, actually clicking through to a specific product page. You don’t have as good an idea of their intent as you do with cart abandonment — there are all sorts of non-buying reasons someone could potentially be looking at one of your products’ pages — but the sheer volume of people you send to should help to make up for that. With the right approach, you have a good chance to bring them back again.

They’re net-revenue producers

If you’re not using abandoned browse campaigns, how are you luring your website visitors back to your site? Social and search retargeting campaigns are the most common ways, and they can be effective. But the costs can pile up quickly too.

By contrast, sending messages to the people on your email list costs very little, but can have great results. Compared to abandoned cart campaigns, abandoned browse greatly increases the volume of people who will be included in the campaign, so you don’t need nearly as high a conversion rate to match the incoming revenue.

And, although they won’t be nearly as well targeted as abandoned cart campaigns — where you know the customer came to the brink of a purchase before stalling — you can still highlight actual products they looked at, with images and pricing if you wish. And then you can recommend other related products or items based upon their previous buying history to add other conversion possibilities.

Email and SMS work well together

Abandoned browse campaigns are a good opportunity to use email and SMS in tandem to maximize conversions. They serve somewhat different purposes and audiences, but they both have a role to play in these campaigns.

SMS is quick and has a massive open rate that gives you the best chance of getting back in front of the customer while their trip to your site is still fresh on their mind. You might send a simple message that emphasizes urgency (“We only have a few of X item left. Make it yours before they’re gone!”), with an image of the product to entice them to click through and complete the purchase. Keep it straightforward and tight here. No extra recommendations. Look to strike quickly and see if you can get them back right away.

With email, you can bring in more personalization elements, graphics, and other ways of catching their eye. You get a subject line, maybe a hero image/text, multiple CTA points, and can include several images to bring them back. Track what works and refine over time, continuing to use what works best (Does including the price get better results?) and phase out what doesn’t (A fourth recommendation got terrible click-throughs, but two did really well).

Timing is everything

One thing that doesn’t change from abandoned cart to browse campaigns is the immense importance of timing. In fact, if anything, getting these sends out quickly is even more important with browse than it is with cart.

That’s because of the psychology of what’s happening. With abandoned cart campaigns, the customer is more likely to remember the experience. Think about what they have to do to add something to their cart. They navigate to that product on the site. They examine it, look at the price, maybe read some reviews, and then click to put it in their cart. They’ve taken action. They didn’t just look at something. The likelihood that this will stay fresh in their mind for a while is relatively high.

With abandoned browse, though, this may have been a fairly casual experience. They might not even have had any intention of buying. In this case, the customer is simply looking. They may have just been curious, price checking, or any number of other intentions. The sooner you can get back in front of them, the better your chance of reminding them about the product and potentially piquing their interest enough this time to get them to take that next step and buy.


Abandoned cart campaigns are likely already an important part of your messaging strategy, but consider implementing abandoned browse into your thinking if you haven’t already. There’s a lot of potential that the significant increase in volume can bring major results to your cross-channel marketing campaigns.

About the Author

Jeff Haws

As MessageGears’ Senior Marketing Manager, Jeff is focused on producing engaging and thoughtful content that resonates with enterprise marketers, helping them to better understand how MessageGears makes their jobs easier. He’s passionate about understanding the way data impacts messaging, and he’s also hopelessly obsessed with baseball.