Marketing, PR & Advertising and Technology

Retargeting: Stalking your customers or genius marketing?

December 24, 2015
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As marketers we would all love to have a visitor convert into a customer the first time they visited our site. In reality, the journey of a buyer on your site is not that linear and it could take multiple interactions before they convert. That is where retargeting comes into play.

What is retargeting?

In a general sense, retargeting, aka remarketing, is a marketing tactic that targets users who had previously visited your site. Typically this is done with banner and text-based ads in display and search networks throughout the Internet.

Retargeting is nothing new. Whether you realize it or not, you are being retargeted. Major brands, online retailers, and small businesses have all gotten in on the trend of following their potential customers around in hopes they can bring them back for the win.

Offline-to-online retargeting has been going on for years. Think back to the last time you swiped your credit card at a physical store and they requested your ZIP code. Next thing you know, a mailer shows up with a 20 percent off coupon on your next purchase. Coincidence, or strategic?

How does retargeting work?

Retargeting works when a user visits your site, from any source, and is “tagged” with a cookie, placing them on a list known as an audience. The audience they are placed in really defines how you might be targeting them. Either through display ads on other websites, social media sites, or through search engines based off of particular search phrases. Since the individual has been tagged, your ads are then presented in front of them on other sites or search engines for a certain period of time. Common practice is 15 to 30 days.

Retargeting ads are typically managed on a pay-per-click approach, where the user sees the ad (impression) and then clicks, taking action. The cost associated with retargeting campaigns varies, but typically it is much lower than the open pay-per-click market.

Effectively use retargeting and how not to annoy your customers

Retargeting works well for both B2B service-based companies, as well as B2C product-based companies. The concept is to keep your brand front and center with the visitor. It reminds them of your brand, its products/services, and meets them at any point in their purchasing journey.

Do keep your customers in mind and try not to annoy them by having some stops in place. Best practice is to have an individual expire from the list after a certain period of time. For transactions or conversions, controls can be put in place to eliminate that individual from the list once they have taken the desired action. There’s no need to market to them again once they converted.

Like any marketing tactic, retargeting might not be right for every brand or product. If you choose to move forward with a retargeting campaign, consider your main business objectives and think about your users first. That will make for the most effective campaign.