Anyone who spends any time browsing or shopping on the internet has experienced it. Out of curiosity, you perused several pages of products on a website. Just window shopping at the time, no purchase was made and you ventured away onto another site, or maybe just wandered over to check your Facebook. And there, on your page, is an ad for the very item you looked at on the commerce website. Only now, they are offering a discount, or free shipping. Maybe now is the best time to make that purchase after all……CLICK!

What is Retargeting?

You’ve just experienced a prime example of display ad retargeting. Retargeting is a very effective method of advertising that places ads for previously viewed products or services before consumers as they browse other websites. This gives them another chance to reconsider potential purchases and allows businesses to capture conversions that otherwise may have been lost.
Retargeting generates greater online sales by strategically and repeatedly placing your brand before interested consumers and bringing them back when they’re ready to make a purchase. Each time a consumer sees your retargeting ads, your brand gains traction and recognition. High click-through rates and increased conversions are typical with retargeting campaigns. How successful is retargeting? One advertising agency ran a test remarketing campaign and saw a 44% increase in conversions.

How Does It Work?

Retargeting works through a tiny bit of code on your website that tracks what pages users visit. By placing a JavaScript tag in the header or footer of your website, you allow the code to create a list of people visiting your site. The code places anonymous cookies in a user’s internet browser to record their visit. This list is used by retargeting services to display product or service retargeting ads to these potential customers as they browse other sites. Depending on the vendor, potential customers can see your ads on up to 98% of the other sites they visit.

Choose Your Platform

To begin your retargeting campaign, you must first choose a platform that best serves your needs. The platform you choose will depend on your retargeting strategy and goals. Here are a few of the top retargeting platforms.

  • Adroll is the largest and most popular retargeting service on the market. They provide mobile, web and social media retargeting, as well as offering cutting-edge targeting technologies to reach your target audience. Retargeting ads must be top quality to pass Adroll’s approval. It is a pricey service, but well worth the cost for serious advertisers.
  • ReTargeter is a great platform for those needing assistance getting started. Users benefit from a dedicated account manager who helps you through the entire process. Getting your mobile, web, and social media retargeting ads optimized and active has never been easier.
  • Google Display Network is a division of their Adwords platform.  Like Adwords, you have to sift through all the Google noise to set-up your campaigns. You will also be limited to strictly the Google Display Network. Adwords users will have no trouble; non-users will be easily confused and waste valuable time. Not an option for beginners.
  • Facebook Retargeting offers easy ad retargeting within their Custom Audiences feature, part of their business ads offering. Ads are simple to upload and schedule and audiences are easy to create. A good start for beginning retargeters.
  • Perfect Audience is an easy-to-use platform for mobile, web, and Facebook retargeting ads. Perfect Audience offers the ability to serve ads to leads who opened and clicked within marketing emails. This added feature allows for a streamlined and integrated advertising campaign utilizing email and social media marketing.

Choose Your Audience

Every visitor acts differently while on your website. Their unique behavior can indicate how they will respond to various display ad retargeting campaigns. By choosing to segment your audience into different categories, you can target ads based on how site visitors engage with your site. Display ads should offer targeted information to different consumers based on where they are in the sales funnel. Download a resource, learn more, buy now, speak with a representative, get a free quote, and tons of other calls to action can be used to draw consumers back to your site.

Create Quality Content

Content is king in the online marketing realm, and that includes display retargeted ads. Ads must immediately grab users’ attention with concise content and eye-catching visual appeal. They must include a clear and engaging call to action to convince readers to click the ad and return to your website. Dimensions for display ads vary, but the most common sizes are below:

  • 300×250 – Rectangle

  • 160×600 – Skyscraper

  • 728×90 – Leaderboard

It’s best to select a common theme for all your ads throughout the sales funnel. Your display ads should tell a story. As a consumer progresses through your sales funnel, the ads should change. People who visited or didn’t visit a page on your website should be presented with different, relevant copy to compel them to take action.

Analyze and Optimize

No one display format and strategy will work best for all businesses. Some experimentation and testing will be necessary to determine the ad sizes and types of content that garner the best responses from your different audiences. Use a regular process of A/B testing to gauge the effectiveness of different headlines, images, themes, background colors, lettering fonts, and calls to action.
Set relevant goals for your display retargeting campaigns to track the success or failure of each campaign objective. Some suggested metrics to measure in order to track the success of each campaign objective are:

  • Impressions (Brand Awareness)

  • Clicks (Engagement)

  • Conversions and/or Cost per Conversions (ROI)

Constant testing and optimization with new ad campaigns will keep your ads fresh as well as provide the best possible ads for converting consumers into customers.

Retargeting Best Practices

Retargeting is a process of testing, trial, and error, and learning from mistakes. However, here are some common best practices to hopefully keep your mistakes to a minimum and increase your retargeting effectiveness.

  1. Frequency Caps – One or two visits to your website doesn’t mean visitors want to be inundated with your ads everywhere they browse. Too much exposure to your ads will annoy and drive away customers. To combat this, use a frequency cap. A frequency cap will limit the number of times a tagged user will see your ads and will prevent them from becoming overwhelmed. Design a careful strategy for how and when you show ads to users, and remember that not every website visitor will enter your sales funnel.
  2. Targeting – Targeting according to geographic, demographic, or context allows you to fine-tune your ad placements to ensure greater relevancy and thereby increase ad performance. Aim your advertising based on location data, demographic information like age or gender, or contextual factors like subject matter on the website. Targeting improves relevancy and saves money by placing the right ads in front of the right people.
  3. Optimize Creativity – The ads you create and use in your campaigns are crucial. Poor ads generate poor results. Therefore, devoting adequate resources to making beautiful and engaging ads is money and time well invested. A memorable ad will win the attention of readers and keep it. Even if users do not click your ad, you want them to remember it. Use bright colors, concise copy, and engaging calls to action with big buttons for clicking. A good recommendation is to keep your ad design simple and copy to a minimum.
  4. Use a Burn Code – If you continue to push ads to converted customers, you are only annoying people. Instead, use a burn pixel. Placing this snippet of code in your post-transaction page will untag users who make a purchase, ensuring you stop serving them ads. Why waste valuable impressions on the people who already converted? Converted customers should still be part of your retargeting campaign, just present them with ads for different options.

Retargeting is incredibly powerful when used correctly. Don’t be afraid to dive in and experiment to ascertain the best types of ads for your particular business niche and audience. When an average of only 2% of site visitors take action on the first visit, it just makes good business sense to reconnect with the other 98% to remind them of what you have to offer.

About the Author: Donna Amos

I believe you can achieve anything you truly want to achieve. “It might sound trite, but time and time again, I’ve seen it happen with my clients. They overcome the fear of exposing themselves to the possibility of failure to creating profitable exciting businesses. My clients do great work, and sometimes it only takes someone else believing in them to give them the confidence to step out and take the chance.”