Feel like you’re being stalked by a brand online? Welcome to retargeting

Retargeting (or stalker advertising) is one of the hottest new digital marketing platforms today for a reason. It is an inexpensive way for a brand to stay connected with its target audience, with minimum effort.


According to leading retargeting and performance marketing platform AdRoll, retargeting performs equal to or better than a search, email, and other display advertising in their latest surveys. Why? Because retargeting uses algorithm-based systems to program ads for web and mobile users, making it more accurate and targeted, therefore more effective.


How it works is that it keeps track of people and their behaviour by placing a code or a “cookie” on the browser when a user visits or interacts with a website or social media page. For example, a person clicks on a pair of shoes on your site but decided to navigate away from your site after a while. You can chase after that potential customer and serve them ads of the exact pair of shoes they clicked on earlier even if that person is on another site. This is retargeting. Because a visitor showed interest in a particular product, they are being retargeted with an ad of the same product increasing the likelihood that they will return and purchase it.


There are many ways you can implement retargeting. You can do it across social media, Google AdWords, YouTube videos and many popular websites such as the online sites of many major metropolitan newspapers. However, retargeting works best when integrated with your website visitors’ behaviour.


There are three major benefits to doing retargeting:

1. Increases brand awareness and recall.


Many of those who implemented retargeting for a certain period of time experienced a big boost in brand recall. This is because retargeting continues the conversation with your potential customers or existing clients long after they left your site. Through a custom banner, for example, you can deliver a message that will remind them of your brand and your products and entice them to go back to your site or share the information with others.


2. Encourages greater engagement with your audience.


Retargeting allows you to give more to people who are already interested in your brand and products. By scrutinising your valuable insights such as the average time a visitor spends on your site, viewed pages per visit, and new visitor ratio, you can use retargeting to deliver specialised information/ads based on the behaviour of each visitor. You can entice a visitor who reads your blogs to like your social media page. Whilst you can provide more information regarding the products which were abandoned in a shopping cart or promote similar products.


3. Increases conversion.


Not all who visit a site convert to a lead or a sale. Offering whitepapers and free trials/products can only do so much. Retargeting is a strategy designed to nurture your leads by keeping your brand on top of their minds. In the meantime, you can provide them with more information about your products and services, and deliver custom content or promotions until they are ready to convert.


Almost every brand or marketer could benefit from retargeting. However, there are some brands which should prioritise it as part of their marketing mix. Specifically:


  • If you are new in the business and have low brand awareness.
  • If the average time your website visitors stay is less than a minute.
  • If you have frequently abandoned shopping carts.
  • If you want to drive traffic to a new or other website content (e.g. recently published blog).
  • If you are promoting an event, product/service, social media page, etc.
  • If you want to increase the followers of your other social media channels.
  • If you want to drive mailing list opt-ins.
  • If you want to up-sell, cross-sell or on-board converted visitors.


AdRoll said 70% of marketers they’ve recently surveyed are spending 10% to 50% of their online ad budget on retargeting and 69% planning to increase that figure over the next months. Imagine if your competitors are doing this and you are not.


Here are the retargeting strategies you should investigate:


1. Search retargeting


As the name suggests, this tactic targets those who use search engines i.e. people who have searched using keywords or phrases relevant to your business.


2. Site retargeting


 This continues the interaction with a potential customer or existing client after they leave your website. You tag visitors who land or visited your site and follow them around the internet with targeted messages.


3. SEO/SEM retargeting 


Learn from the search terms your visitors used before they click to or arrived at your site. Use this to customise your creative and deliver the perfect message.


4. Email retargeting


 How people react to your emails can teach you what your next big step should be. Although this kind of strategy should be done with great care as engagement levels vary per individual. Someone opening an email is different from someone who clicked a link, forwarded it, or didn’t even open it at all.


5. Contextual retargeting


A bit more complicated than other retargeting strategies but very beneficial if done correctly. This strategy allows advertisers or brands in the same market to target ads to each other’s audiences (e.g. an airline and hotel).


6. Engagement retargeting


 If you are offering channels of engagement like video and flash games, this is a great option for you. You can retarget based on the type of action the user takes to learn the user’s intent and level of engagement. You can then serve highly targeted display ads, including personalised dynamic ads.


Before you start a campaign, make sure you have a better understanding of this new medium. Understand that there is a very thin line between successfully converting visitors to become potential customers and annoying them and losing your chance of converting them.


Since starting her outsourced national marketing consultancy Marketing Angels in 2000, Michelle Gamble has helped hundreds of SMEs get smarter marketing. Michelle helps businesses find more effective ways to grow their brands and businesses.


Do you know more on this story or have a tip of your own? Raising capital or launching a startup? Let us know. Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


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