Retargeting marketing 101

Retargeting marketing is important. Why? Well, it takes an average of 7 visits to make a purchase. Retargeting marketing is the first step towards attracting visitors that could be leads back to your site, nurturing them to help move them towards converting.

In a simpler world, the customer journey would always be a short and linear path to purchase. However, in reality, things are not that simple. Prospect customers will most likely access your website once, and then leave. Weeks later they might return to read one of your blog posts, and then leave again. This could go on for a while.

Studies show that 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy yet. It might take them several weeks before they find themselves on one of your website’s landing pages again in a time when they need your product/service – and finally perform a conversion.

Pie chart illustrating the different reasons behind first-time visits to a website
Source: Episerver’s “Reimagining Commerce” report

That’s where retargeting marketing comes in. It provides ways to keep your brand in front of users even after they have left, persuading them to reconsider your offer. Learning about retargeting marketing 101 will bring you this tidbit as well as many additional and valuable insights. 

Retargeting vs. Remarketing

Retargeting marketing and remarketing are often confused. Considering they  sound similar and serve similar purposes, that’s not that surprising. But there are important differences. 

Unlike typical ads, remarketing is a form of online advertising usually served to users who have already had contact with your brand – either by having registered their email or by having purchased a product in the past. The goal here is exclusively to re-engage those who left without converting, or encouraging them to keep coming back in the future.

Retargeting ads serve a similar purpose. But here’s the twist: they also allow you to reach new prospects. In addition to re-engaging users, retargeted ads help those who have never heard of your brand to see how your product/service fits into their lifestyle. 

I’ll explain. As you analyze your Google Analytics data, you’ll be able to identify popular trends among your target audience. For instance, let’s say one of your handbag collections seems to be performing particularly well among women between the ages of 22 and 38 years old.  You could pull images of this specific collection, pull them into a sponsored ad and use it to retarget customers. The personalized choice of a separate ad campaign promoting a collection directed specifically towards a section of your target audience is one way in which retargeting can bring higher conversions.

Gathering data for retargeting campaigns

Unlike regular search ads, retargeted ads do not usually rely solely on user queries in order to be generated. The following are methods in which you can collect data for your future retargeting campaigns:

Pixel-based retargeting marketing is the most common form of data collection. It works with the help of a JavaScript code (aka pixel) which should be placed on your website or post-click landing page. The pixel drops an anonymous browser cookie in the visitor’s browser, which notifies retargeting platforms (i.e. Google Ads or Facebook) to serve specific ads based on the actions performed while they were on your website.

Another way in which you can collect data for your retargeting marketing efforts is to use retargeting lists. In other words, you can use lists of your existing customers (with their consent) who have provided you with their email addresses and show specific ads to them. 

Last but not least, in case you wish to target a group of users based on their off-site behaviour (or in other words, people who have never interacted with your website before) you could target their Google searches. One way in which this can be done is by showing ads as a response to relevant keywords.

You should start by having a deep understanding of your target audience. Select users who share similarities with your previous customers which seem to be performing well with a specific  product line/service. In order to add them to your sales funnel, try targeting interactions with distributed content (i.e. Facebook page or an app), or a website similar to your own.

What results can you expect from retargeting marketing?

Now that we’ve covered the basis on how retargeting marketing works and the different kinds of audience you can reach, it’s time to talk about goals. When running retargeting ads, the two main goals to focus on are awareness and conversion. 

Awareness campaigns are especially useful when served to users who have already converted on your website. By sharing relevant announcements, features and products you can establish an ongoing relationship with them, preserving your brand’s space in their minds. 

The downside of awareness campaigns is that they serve less targeted content to users who might not have engaged with your brand. This leads to a lower than expected clickthrough rate. 

That being said, since the goal is to make prospects more aware of your business, metrics such as impressions are also acceptable tracking points. Often these types of campaigns are the first step towards a much more effective campaign goal: conversions.

Conversion goals are self-explanatory. The objective is to get users to click on your ad and take a next step, such as filling out a form. These can be easily tracked by metrics such as number of clicks, form submissions and cost-per-lead (CPL). 

Conversion goals apply to different types of retargeting marketing campaigns. For instance, pixel-based ads generate leads and will direct users to landing pages where they can give over their information. List-based ads can be used to better qualify those leads by taking them to longer forms with additional fields.

The goal of retargeting marketing is to move qualified leads further towards the bottom of the buyer’s funnel. For instance, you could use retargeting to send a list of contacts who have already downloaded your ebook to sign up for a free trial of your product.

Take away

Retargeting marketing campaigns have a high likelihood of success because they enable direct communication with users who have already expressed an interest in your product. Making it more likely to get them coming back enough times to be ready to buy and/or engage.
With the help of search engines and social media channels, you can remind them of that problem they wanted to solve and why your business offers the best solution. Not sure where to begin? Get in touch with us – we can help!

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