Nothing is as disheartening as seeing months of hard work not paying off.
It’s common to see your website visitors leave without buying anything, despite having poured in tons of money and time into your marketing campaign.
The agonising truth about marketing is that 92% of people who visit a website for the first time have no intention to buy anything, according to Episerver.
In fact, as little as 2% of visitors actually convert on their first visit to a website.
Yes, sometimes a small number of visitors do end up becoming paying customers, but wouldn't it be great if you can increase this number exponentially the second time around?
Retargeting, sometimes known as remarketing, is the digital version of grabbing hold of someone who is about to leave your store by the shoulder and give them a personalised sales pitch.
There's a reason that salespeople race towards the door inside the car showroom to catch you before you leave.
These guys know that if they can engage you in conversation, they can learn more about your needs.
And it makes you much more likely to find what you're looking for and make a purchase.
Retargeting is a tool in your marketing toolbox that allows you to take a similar approach.
You can choose to engage with consumers, even after they've left your website, and make additional attempts to convert them as they move around the internet.
So what exactly is retargeting?
Retargeting is also one of the most efficient tactics, with visitors who subsequently view retargeted display ads being 70% more likely to convert.
Retargeting is a form of cookie-driven technology that allows advertisers to track visitors who have left their websites without purchasing, and then target them with display ads across other various platforms.
Businesses use remarketing to curb shopping cart abandonment and boost brand awareness.
As an advertiser, you can opt to retarget people on marketing platforms such as email, Facebook, Google, and Twitter ads.
These platforms work because of their attention-grabbing visibility, and they are highly engaging. Visitors that are presented with retargeted ads have already expressed an interest in your company or products.
Some businesses might be concerned that this blanket bombardment of ads may put potential customers off, but luckily this is usually not an issue.
For most viewers, they will be unaware or unconcerned by your retargeting attempts.
But some users are actually pleased to be reminded of something they may have forgotten about by retargeting ads.
When done correctly, retargeting also allows you to deliver specific offers, such as a pricing discount, free shipping or related products, that can entice users back to your site to complete their purchase.
Why are retargeting ads different?
Unlike normal display ads, retargeting ads lets you only target users that have visited your site and have already experienced your brand.
You can tailor your retargeting campaign to target only users that went to a specific part of your site, such as your blog, or your storefront.
With retargeting you are guaranteed that you are only spending ad money on the people who are more likely to convert – those who have previously visited your site.
Also, normal display media tends to target a prospect who is in the early stages of the buying process.
With those type of ads, your objective is different as you have to establish your business and your brand story.
This means not only you have to establish authority and trust, but you also have to sell your product, which may make things difficult to juggle.
How to measure retargeting?
Unlike typical display advertising measurement, measuring retargeting is thru 2 metrics: Click-though, and view-through conversions.
Marketing agencies would usually report both figures to you, as well as a total, so you can decide how you want to tweak your retargeting campaign.
Click-through conversionsrefer to any conversions that happen as a direct result of someone clicking a retargeting ad they were served.
View-through conversionsare like assists. They are conversions that are credited to another channel (via last click attribution tracking), but these conversions were at one point serving your retargeting ad.
How to use retargeting
Now that you have a basic idea of how retargeting works let's talk about practical applications of using retargeting as a marketing tool.
Simply put, retargeting gets previous visitors back to your website.
Conversion rates from prospect to customers are much higher when you can get them to revisit your website.Retargeting can be deployed effectively at every step of the sales funnel. It is arguably one of the best ways to target a user at a given time with a given message.
With normal display ads, advertisers need to estimate which phase the prospect is at in the sales funnel, so they can better understand what is working (or failing) in their ad campaign. With retargeting, there is no need to guess, since it works across all phases.
On Social Media
Almost every major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow advertisers to run retargeting ads.
Using social media to retarget visitors is excellent because followers and friends can help drive engagement with brands.
When you see retargeting ads on Facebook, not only you’re getting a special offer with a clear call-to-action, but you’ll also notice that several of your friends "like" the brand.
Social proof can be a strong motivator to make you become a buyer, especially when you see that your friends are buying too.
For businesses, social proof also creates legitimacy for your brand and your message.
If a visitor has any doubts about the credibility of your business, or was unsure about purchasing from a site they’ve never seen before, this should help address their concerns and encourage them to convert.
Because of Facebook Ads’ advanced targeting tools and products, Facebook is the preferred choice when it comes to retargeting users on social media. Facebook also offers the overall best ROI for advertisers.
There are a few ways to plan your retargeting strategy.
First, you can create custom audiences for your ads based on the general profile of your visitors.
You can also build an audience that matches the profile of visitors that go to specific pages on your website. This is a great way to retarget highly-potential customers.
If you add Facebook pixels to portions of your website, such as sales confirmation pages or shopping cart buttons, and you’ll be able to send specific ads to folks who’ve looked at or bought your products.
For visitors who abandoned their cart before payment, they can be reminded of their abandoned shopping cart.
A simpler alternative would be to run ads that feature a product that visitors have previously showed an interest in.
You can also segment your audiences based on certain criteria like the total price of their shopping cart, and whether they are returning customers, so you can present them with ads tailored to their profile.
A more advanced retargeting strategy with Facebook is using something called ‘sequential retargeting.’This means visitors would see a diverse series of ads about your brand over a few days. You might feature an ad about a new retail outlet for your business, a great blog post or a video about your business, to start building recognition.
Once you’ve built up some trust and brand awareness, you might then show ads about your products.
On Google’s Display Network
Google's Display Network (GDN) is terrific because it encompasses websites with the highest traffic on the planet (including their own YouTube).
And all these traffic are available at your disposal for your remarketing ads.
What makes GDN so great is that it allows you to display your ads to websites that are usually out of budget for most small businesses, such as Mashable or MSN for instance.
With retargeting ads, these online prime real estate becomes much more affordable.
And like Facebook, you can simply conduct your remarketing campaign using Google Adwords, or you can retarget users with ads that feature products they’ve viewed on your website.
Google also has something called remarketing lists for search ads or RLSA.
With RLSA you can apply the remarketing lists you’ve had on Google Adwords to adjust the bids of your keywords.
For example, if a user has visited your website 3 times in the past, you can increase your bids for this user with X% because he is much more likely to convert than other users visiting your site for the first time.
This can be an effective way to increase the likelihood of showing ads in the top positions in Google search results page.
That means when your high potential customers are running search terms related to your business, they are going to see your ads.
In Email Marketing
Email retargeting is an easy way to amplify the impact of your email marketing campaigns.
To do this, you can simply upload your mailing lists onto Google Adwords, Facebook or any other platform that you’re using.
With Adwords, Gmail users can be retargeted with ads across various Google products and on the GDN once Google users log in to their accounts.
Alternatively, you can generate a line of code to place in the HTML of your email.
The code can be generated using tools such as Retargeter or Perfect Audience and is a similar process to the placing of retargeting code on your website.
With this code, anybody who opens your email can be served ads that are related to your email message.
Many marketers utilise a combination of email and retargeting ads to entice visitors to convert.
Some email service providers such as MailChimp allows you to set up an integrated campaign and create Facebook, Instagram or Google ads together with your emails.
MailChimp can also send product retargeting emails that include info on the last viewed product on your site or to jog their memory about an abandoned cart.
Retargeting in Video Content
A great place to find a potential retargeting audience is to look at the people who have viewed your videos.
After all, those people are willing to give up a minute or more of their life to listen to your message are most likely to be keen on what you have to offer.
On Facebook and Instagram, you can choose to serve ads to those users who have watched all of your videos - or even just half of it.
If they’ve managed to watch your video until the end, you can follow it up with a related product ad.
Even if they’ve only watched the first 30 seconds of your 2-minute video, you can remind them to finish watching it.
On YouTube, retargeting options include serving ads to users who have commented or liked one of your videos, such as through the GDN.
Another option is to target visitors to your website with video – just as you would with any other ads - on platforms that support it, such as Facebook and YouTube.
On Google Adwords, you can also choose to target a user who has previously interacted with your videos with ads across YouTube, Display Network videos, websites, and apps.
While on YouTube, you can serve your ads as a sequence, which means your viewers can watch your ads one after another once they finish the previous one.
Link targeting can be a highly effective method to reach out to potential customers.
Using link retargeting, you can retarget ads at users who have shown an interest towards your social media posts.
For example, when you share a post on social media, such as a review of your products or media coverage of your business on a third-party news website, you can target ads at anyone who clicks on that post.
You can also choose to retarget people who’ve click on your curated social media content, such as your Facebook or LinkedIn feed.
For example, if you’re in the business of selling environmentally friendly stationery and you share a newspaper article about your environmental friendly startups, you can retarget the people who click on that link.
Because they’ve interacted with this article, it’s a good sign that they’re keen in what you do, even if they haven’t touched upon your website yet.
Link retargeting is simple. You just add a pixel code from Facebook, Google - or your platform of choice - when you shorten a link to share on social media.
Using link targeting in this manner can be useful if your business has reached its limit for creating original content, but still wants to increase the audience with content from external sources.
While it’s true that retargeting can be time-consuming endeavour, but it will provide you the best bang for your buck. It’s a strategy that pays off in both long-term engagements and increased sales.
You may be surprised by the results of marketing to a prequalified audience can bring to your bottom line.
Another additional benefit to using retargeting is that you don't have to worry about competition like with SEO or content marketing.
You have control over every piece of advertising material, and you have unlimited options on how to utilise it. This means you can experiment with different retargeting methods to achieve the best results.
Retargeting can be incredibly useful for your business if you put the time in to manage and optimise ad spending efficiently.
About Murray Dare
A digital marketing consultant and entrepreneur,
Murray runs his marketing agency Murraydare.co.uk and several online startups.
Murray has helped startups and businesses achieve online success through a considered approach to marketing.