Retargeting – also know as remarketing – is a powerful online marketing tool. You’ve probably heard the term, but maybe you’re not quite sure what it is, and whether it is something you should be doing (the answer is likely YES!). So let’s take a look at retargeting, how it is done, and the benefits to your bottom line.
What is Retargeting?
You may have heard one of these terms – retargeting, remarketing, audience retargeting, or behavioral retargeting. Each of these are slightly different, however they all essentially refer to the practice of putting display advertising in front of someone who has already visited your website, social, or some other online campaign from you before. You are targeting advertising at someone based on previous internet interactions with your brand.
Why Should Businesses Retarget?
It is tempting to think to yourself, “if a customer didn’t convert the first time they visited my website, why should I waste time on them?” However, we all know that not everyone who visits your website or social channel will be at the same stage of the sales process. Some people have just started researching, others are comparing products and specs, while others are ready to buy. Retargeting allows you to maintain top-of-mind awareness with a pre-qualified audience, build trust and awareness, and then bring customers back to you when they are ready to convert.
1 + 1 = 5
Retargeting isn’t something you want to do all alone. It works best when it is used in conjunction with a full inbound marketing strategy that includes email, paid ads, organic search engine optimization, and hopefully a robust social campaign (paid or organic). This makes sense, because in order to “re-target” to someone, you have to get them to your site the first time! If your site isn’t getting more than 1000 visits a month, retargeting will be ineffective (if not downright impossible) for you.
It is also true that the effects and return on investment of your other online marketing efforts can be amplified by adding retargeting. Once you’ve acquired a new visitor or follower, retargeting helps you improve the chances that they’ll come back and convert eventually. In this way, you’re using retargeting to improve your overall online campaign performance.
There are two types of conversions with retargeting:
Click-through Conversions – conversions that happen immediately after a customer clicks on a retargeting ad
View-through Conversions – these conversions can be attributed to a different channel (email, organic search, a social campaign), however they happened after the visitor was served one or more retargeting ads. In a sense, these are assisted conversions.
Top-of-mind awareness and brand awareness are just as important in the online sphere as they’ve always been in traditional marketing. There are many studies and lots of different answers to “how many times does someone need to see my ad before they buy.” Answers vary between 7 and 20 times! You can leverage retargeting to help shift the odds in your favor.
How Does Retargeting Work?
Retargeting works one of 2 ways: cookies or lists.
Cookies is the most common method. This uses a tracking code or pixel added to your website, that will generate a cookie placed in a visitor’s browser history. Using this cookie data, Google or other remarketing services (more on that later) will display ads to a website’s visitors as they travel across the web… whenever they visit a new website that allows for your remarketing ads to be displayed, they’ll see your ad!
List-based retargeting is typically based on an email or other marketing list, that will then be uploaded and matched with Google or Facebook (or other users) in order to target your ads.
Retargeting campaigns are billed based primarily on impressions, although some services can be billed per click.
Which Retargeting Service Should I Use?
The most widely used and distributed retargeting service is offered by Google, called “remarketing.” Google allows you to build an overall audience of visitors to your website, which you can also segment based on specific actions they took on your site as well as demographic targeting. So, for instance, you might set up a remarketing campaign that displays ads to women who visited your website during the past 2 weeks but didn’t make a purchase. Your ads can be displayed on any website that has Google Display Network ad space, and they can be text, graphics, or a combination of the two, called “responsive.”
Google remarketing is an incredible value, but it may be intimidating to set up and run a remarketing campaign on your own if you are not experienced with Google AdWords and pay-per-click campaign management. Reporting is quite detailed though, allowing you to track your return on investment pretty accurately.
Have you ever visited a website and checked out a particular product, then a couple of hours later you see an ad for that exact product in your Facebook newsfeed? That’s Facebook Audience retargeting. A bonus of Facebook advertising is that you can include ads on Instagram for your targeted users as well! When you advertise on Facebook with paid ads, you can create an Audience several ways, and one of those is by installing a tracking pixel on your website, so you can retarget to your website visitors. You can also create an Audience by uploading your newsletter or customer email list for retargeting.
Facebook ads are quite cost-effective and flexible. This can be an easier first-step for the DIY online marketer than Google Remarketing.
AdRoll & Other Third-Party Services
If advertising directly with Google or Facebook is too daunting for you, there are several third-party services that make the management a little easier and allow you to get your message out across multiple platforms from a single management console. These services can be powerful tools for a business owner or marketing director who wants to manage their own web and Facebook ad retargeting campaigns with minimal fuss.
However, you will sacrifice a little bit of flexibility and some of the more complicated options you would have when working directly with Google or Facebook. You’ll also be paying a mark-up on your ad costs for the benefit of using the service.
No matter which path you choose, retargeting can be an exciting and valuable piece of your online marketing strategy. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options with one of our online marketing professionals, be sure to contact us today!