5 Things You Need to Know About Retargeting close

Lisa-Marie Leitner
Lisa-Marie Leitner
In Codegent College
23rd January 2013
5 Things You Need to Know About Retargeting

It’s likely you’ve already come across retargeting (sometimes referred to as remarketing). If you work in digital marketing, you’ve probably heard about it at a conference, read about it on a blog or have been retargeted yourself. We’re all familiar with the basic idea of displaying advertisements to users who have visited a certain website before. However, there’s more to it than that.

1. How retargeting works

If you want to target users who have been to your website before, you need to track them somehow. Usually you would work together with a specialist agency that places retargeting pixels on certain pages of your website. When a potential consumer visits one of these pages, the pixel is fired and he is added to an ‘audience’ pool. This audience gets a cookie that saves information like ‘Product ABC was looked at’ or ‘Item XYZ was bought’. As members of the audience visit other sites in your display network (e.g. a news site), they are shown the ads of your company in order to bring them back to your site. If one user clicks the ad, comes back and performs a predefined task (e.g. buy a product), he fires another pixel and gets removed from your ‘audience’ group. This way you are only retargeting users who have not converted on your site.

2. The types of retargeting

A popular misconception is that you can only target users based on their actions on your website. Actually, you can also retarget users based on the actions they have taken elsewhere on the Internet. There are many different types of retargeting and it’s worth taking a closer look at what options are available to you.

  • Site Retargeting

This is generally what is meant when we hear about ‘‘retargeting’. In other words, you retarget people who visited your site and show them an advertisement on another website.

E.g. Anna needs new running shoes. She visits your webshop and finds a pair that she likes a lot. However, she’s not entirely sure and decides to sleep on it. Next morning when she’s reading the news online, an advertisement showing the pair of shoes she viewed the day before is displayed to her on the news site.

  • SEO/SEM Retargeting

This type of retargeting is based on how consumers landed on your website. The search term they used before clicking on the link to your site provides the basis of your retargeting actions.

  • Email Retargeting

As the name already indicates, you can retarget users who interacted with your emails and newsletters. You can also differentiate between user’s actions - for example, those who just opened the email compared to those who clicked on a certain link within the email.

These three types are termed ‘on-site’ retargeting methods. However, as mentioned before, you can also target off-site actions:

  • Search Retargeting

When using search retargeting you are focussing on people who have searched for specific keywords on Google, Yahoo or Bing. Unlike site retargeting, search retargeting aims to target new customers, who haven’t been to your website yet.

  • Contextual Retargeting

This is a very fascinating form of online marketing. In a nutshell, you are going after individuals who have visited a website that is complementary to yours. Imagine you run a hotel and team up with airlines, your local airport and taxi companies. You would exchange pixels and a visitor of your partners’ website would be shown the ad for your hotel. Sounds great, right?

3. Where your ads are displayed

It’s important for you to know that you have quite a bit of control when it comes to deciding which websites shall display your ads. You decide that one site doesn’t come up with the goods and it’s time to cut it from your network.

As of late Facebook jumped on the retargeting bandwagon by introducing Facebook Exchange. FBX targets Facebook users based on their previous off-Facebook actions and displays ads on the right-hand side of the news feed. This is quite a good development for both, the retargeting business and Facebook as it offers more relevant ads for users and thus the potential of higher conversion rates and ROI.

4. What you can do after a conversion

After you have reached your initial aim and made a consumer come back to your website, your retargeting strategy doesn’t necessarily have to come to an end. You can start sequential retargeting, add new pixels to your site and adapt your ads to the user’s stage in the buying process.

Say you made Anna come back to your product page with the running shoes. However, she’s still not ready to buy, but clicks on the ‘wish list’ button the shop offers.

At this stage you can retarget her with a different ad then the first one you showed her. Be creative, change the message, image or do something completely different.

Anna sees your ad again and decides that the time has come. She visits your site again and finally hits the checkout button.

Still, you don’t have to stop here. You can now target her with an ad for a Nike+ FuelBand or another running accessory.

5. Know when it is enough

However, you cannot do this endlessly. At some point users will get annoyed or even paranoid, because they think you follow them around the web. Retargeting specialists think that showing a user 7 - 12 ads within a 30-day period would be ideal. I wouldn’t do more than that though, because the line between retargeting and spamming is a fine one.

The truth is that retargeting is one of the most effective ways of doing online marketing. If you think about how much effort we put in attracting customers and how happy we are when we reach a CTR above 5 %, it makes perfect sense to try retargeting people who have already shown intent. Don’t you think?

If you are interested in integrating retargeting in your digital marketing strategy, get in touch with us or have a look at the top 4 retargeting networks:

*Image sourced by http://www.maplefarmmedia.com.