Retargeting 101

Retargeting, also commonly referred to as remarketing, is an online marketing practice growing in popularity. The majority of web traffic, estimated at up to 98% on average across all verticals, that lands on a page will end up leaving that page without converting into a sale, email opt-in or other type of sales lead. The problem in many cases is that most traffic is “cold traffic,” where there is no relationship and little familiarity between those browsing, and those selling.

Retargeting helps to break down some of the barriers to earning exposure and sales in a number of ways. To better understand how this happens, it is important to understand how retargeting works.

Retargeting Explained

Explaining retargeting isn’t easy, but the potential benefits it provides should be exciting to online marketers.

Retargeting is an advertising strategy that involves showing ads across the web to people who have already visited a website, but did not convert into a customer or sales lead. Users are “cookied,” which means a tracking cookie is saved to a user’s web browser, in order to allow ads from various networks to show as they continue browsing elsewhere.

As users browse other websites that have certain advertising programs running on them, the advertiser’s banners and text ads may be shown. There are a number of services to use in this particular advertising strategy, including Google Adwords and Retargeter. Adwords is the largest network online, and will provide the most traffic volume in the majority of cases, though other ad networks may result in more traffic at a lower cost, and occasionally with a higher rate of conversion.

The Benefits of Retargeting

The most obvious benefit to retargeting has to do with brand awareness. Smaller businesses with a lower budget for advertising can compete with larger players in their markets. Those with the largest budgets can afford to bid more for traffic, often pushing smaller operations towards less lucrative terms, or into other networks with a lower return.

Retargeting, since it is not based on acquiring new visitors, is typically quite cheap relative to normal ad buying. It also increases brand awareness in the mind of potential customers. It is a way to level the playing field, but only if used as part of a larger marketing strategy.

How Retargeting Should Work

There are two specific ways that a retargeting campaign could be implemented. One would be to run a smaller, traditional ad campaign where you bid on keywords to funnel visitors to a landing page of some sort. For those that do not convert, they go into the retargeting funnel, where each return visit costs much less than the initial visit.

The other is as part of a more holistic inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing is typically understood as any marketing campaign that does not entail a paid traffic component. This includes everything from forum marketing, article marketing, social media, blogger outreach and other “traditional” SEO techniques.

The addition of retargeting extends the reach of a brand and can return prospective clients into the sales funnel. This allows businesses to send past visitors to their highest converting offers, as well as to split test offers to gain insights as to when a particular type of offer is most likely to result in a conversion.

It is also important to understand that retargeting is typically set up to show ads to visitors that have made it to a certain page. Most businesses will want to further refine their campaigns to a more focused effort beyond all past visitors.

They will want to target visitors that have gotten far enough onto a site to show interest in making a purchase or entering contact information on an email opt-in page. These visitors have already shown more buyer intent than others, so focusing advertising resources on them is a sound strategy in nearly all cases.

Even though setting up a campaign like this is likely to have a higher return on investment, it should not go on indefinitely. Users that have not converted into a sale or lead during a certain amount of time in a retargeting campaign should be eventually be excluded.

30 days, give or take,, is a solid amount of time to continue showing ads in an effort to further establish a relationship and make a sale or at least gain a lead.

Who Can Benefit?

In short, every business could, and probably should, benefit from including this strategy in their marketing campaigns.

Businesses likely to experience a more significant impact are smaller operations, for the aforementioned reasons of brand awareness and higher potential return on investment, as well as companies with larger traffic and sales volumes that are struggling with long-term customer retention and lower than average conversion rates.

To be frank, the businesses that will benefit the most from retargeting are the kinds of businesses that are serious about testing offers, sales letters, different landing page designs and are making every other consistent efforts to improve and expand.

Smaller marketers that are interested only in increasing traffic numbers will get less benefit, if any at all.

A Closing Thought

The goal should be to improve the customer experience around the web. Retargeting can do that if implemented correctly by showing relevant ads and lessening the need for pop-ups, chat windows and constant email notices. Being smart and using this strategy to build trust, relationships and to profit is very powerful.

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Analytics & AdWords certified growth engineer with over a decade experience in making businesses successful. I own and operate AXZM and often speak at top national industry conferences on the topics of strategy, design and marketing technology. Work with me or learn more about me here. Follow me @nawlready

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