Retargeting campaigns allow you to target visitors who view and engage with your website, but then leave without buying anything.
They are ideal for efficiently re-engaging old prospects, reminding them of your service and its values, and converting them as much as months after they first came into contact with your business.
Here’s an example of how it works: A potential consumer visits your website, browses, and then exits your website without purchasing any products or services.
As they continue surfing the web and going about their business on other websites, your advertisements pop up (visual or text-based) and remind them of your brand, acting like a persuasive force that urges them to reconsider becoming a customer.
The upside to using retargeting campaigns is that these types of ads are aimed at people who have already shown an interest in your brand. If a retargeting campaign is successful, your advertisements can bring back a large number of customers or potential customers who have strayed from your brand.
A quick note on the difference between retargeting and remarketing
If you are familiar with the term remarketing, you might fall prey to the tendency to use both terms interchangeably. But there are key differences:
Retargeting is a type of paid campaign strategy based on browser cookies that target any potential consumer who has engaged with your website but has not completed a purchase.
Remarketing is carried out through email and lets you engage with past consumers who have already conducted business with you. This type of campaign usually requires the email addresses of previous visitors and consumers, an email sending platform, and more. But that’s a topic for another article.
How retargeting works
Let’s run through a hypothetical example:
Your company, “Watches For You” sells luxury hand watches. Consumer X visits your website. They browse through all the eyes your website carries. After some time spent browsing, Consumer X closes out the tab and leaves your website without completing a purchase.
Your retargeting campaign kicks in and targets Consumer X, who showed interest in your product. As Consumer X is scrolling through Facebook or playing music on YouTube, they see an advertisement pop-up for your website, advertising your brand and the watches they lingered on.
Consumer X comes across this ad a few more times (tastefully spaced out so as not to overwhelm them), and they decide to commit to purchasing a watch. The advertisement piqued their already-existent interest and drove them back to your website where they complete the order and become a customer.
Now that we’ve outlined how retargeting works, let’s discuss how to use it:
#1 When should you use retargeting?
When it’s financially feasible. If your brand has a relatively large following and is relatively well-known, definitely consider a retargeting campaign. A start-up company that’s just getting customers might not benefit to the extent that a larger company would from retargeting campaigns, as they’ll have a smaller pool of retargetable prospects. Retargeting campaigns should also be considered when promoting your bestsellers when you want to showcase what you’re known for. Sometimes an advertisement of a top-rated and popular product could be enough to sway the hesitant consumer in the right direction.
When business is slow. When sales are slow, and there’s not much change in your inventory, retargeting ads can help generate some traction and bring in consumers to help reduce your inventory numbers.
When you’re gearing up for new product launches. When it comes to releasing new products, retargeting campaigns can bring awareness and attention to these items, creating hype and pulling in more consumers as well as existing ones.
#2 How to gather data for retargeting
Before you can conduct a retargeting campaign, you need to collect data on your target audience so that your ads can target them.
You’ll either need retargeting pixels or retargeting lists – here’s a quick breakdown of what those are and how to use them.
Pixels: Without getting too techy, pixel-based retargeting consists of placing a pixel on your website. These pixels then place anonymous cookies on your prospect’s browser as they browse through.
Retargeting uses those cookies so that your consumer is exposed to your ads instantaneously (or not, you decide) after they leave your website.
Lists: This retargeting relies on the email addresses you collect for any consumer you’ve conducted business with or that have provided you with contact info.
By inputting their email addresses into your platform, your targets are shown ads as they surf the internet.
Both methods have different strengths, but regardless of which you use, it remains essential to know your target audience and decide how to target them.
#3 Using customer behavior to retarget
A consumer’s actions on your website dictate whether they are interested or not. Someone who lands on your website for a split second and then exits is likely more disinterested.
But someone who lingers on your site and engages with it displays interest. You know right off the bat that targeting those that don’t show an interest only becomes a waste of your resources.
By using behavior to separate your target audience, you can change how you target those interested and who need a little push based on what actions they take on your site.
#4 Using time frame to retarget
You don’t want to bury your consumer with a large number of advertisements. After all, you want to regain their interest, not drive them away by showing them too many ads or showing them ads too soon.
A retargeting strategy with a time-focus addresses how much time is spent between an initial website visit and when the first ad is displayed, how many times an ad is seen, and how much time passes from the initial website visit before the client stops seeing these ads.
You want to be cautious with how soon after an initial visit a consumer sees your ads, as well as how often you want them to see your ads.
#5 Using customer base to retarget
It’s never a bad idea to retarget existing customers, especially if you have a new product or service to offer.
After all, if they have engaged with you in the past, you might have a higher shot of piquing their interest and bringing them back for whatever new exciting thing it is that you might have to offer.
#6 Fine-tuning your retargeting campaigns
Now that you have a general rundown on retargeting campaigns, you need to go ahead and create your retargeting ads. Luckily, platforms like Facebook and Google make it a relatively straightforward process. Like with any marketing strategy, you want your campaign to yield promising results.
Be sure to optimize your ads. Make your ad visually and intellectually appealing by choosing relevant text, creatives and visuals. Have your ad display a clear call to action that appeals to the consumer to engage with the move and is redirected to your website.
If a prospect clicks on your ad, consider using a post-click landing page that redirects them to a page containing the information found in the advertisement.
By cutting out the fuss of redirecting a client to your homepage and putting them in a position to scavenge for the information displayed in your advertising, you increase the likelihood of positive interaction and outcome.
Be sure to split test your copy and creativity to ensure you get the maximum results from your retargeting efforts. You can also test your landing page, call-to-action, or almost any other element of your ad to create the most potent retargeting campaign possible.