What is Retargeting and How Can I Make It Work for my Business?

Guest post by Marianne Pratt

Retargeting advertising” is a phrase that may seem rather mind-boggling at first, but it’s actually a subject you should get to know better.  “Retargeting” refers to using  sophisticated online targeting technology to repeatedly put your brand in front of searchers who have already shown an interest in your products or services but who have not yet become paying customers.

Because retargeting advertising campaigns are behavior-based and extremely refined, this relatively new marketing technique is growing in popularity with all types of marketers – both publishers and advertisers, especially retailers.

How retargeting advertising works.

  • You visit XYZ website to investigate a product, maybe even go so far as to put something in your shopping cart, but you don’t buy anything.
  • While you’re there, the XYZ website marks your computer with a “cookie” it then uses to track your online activity for the next several days or even weeks.
  • As you continue to search, you see ads appear for XYZ’s product that you viewed.
  • Is this a coincidence?  Not at all — you’re being retargeted.  It’s a very deliberate effort by marketers to stay visible and available to prospects.  Using retargeting keeps your brand and products top-of-mind, to attract browsers back and ultimately convert them to customers.

Use it to recapture and retain a prospect’s interest.

  • Retargeting advertising is aimed at browsers who are more than just “window shoppers.”  They are specifically looking for and at your products, as evidenced by their visit to your website.  They are hot prospects.
  • But it’s easy to get distracted when you’re searching online, therefore it’s easy for potential customers to wander off, costing you sales.
  • Retargeting displays ads you know will interest a particular user directly to that person while they’re searching.
  • Retargeting reinforces your brand and messaging to increase conversion rates.  Repetition has always been a vital aspect of any marketing effort, and conversion, of course, is what drives revenue and profitability.
  • This is the ultimate in targeting, because it’s aimed at one individual at a time.  It nicely supports your ability to alter specific website content “on the fly,” giving searchers what you already know they want and improving your chances of further engaging those prospects through clicks and conversions.
  • Although some privacy concerns have surfaced, cookies used to retarget prospects only identify their computer; they do not capture any other information.

Reap the rewards.

Studies show retargeting advertising can be quite effective.  Both publishers and advertisers can use this technique to achieve significantly more, and more effective, impressions.  This broadens exposure for your brand and your specific products or services, leading to more better-qualified clicks, which ultimately produces stronger conversion rates.

  • Publishers can grow revenue by collecting additional pay-per-click fees.
  • Advertisers can grow revenue and strengthen ROI through increased PPC responses, because more effective targeting assures most efficient ad placements.  These ads are certain to appear in front of guaranteed-interested shoppers.
  • Even searchers themselves can benefit, by seeing more ads or messages that are interesting or relevant to them rather than a random assortment of superfluous and therefore annoying “spam” ads.  This helps browsers shop more easily, and it makes the most of their browsing time.

Retargeting advertising can offer excellent opportunities to expand and sharpen your marketing.  But the technicalities of making it work properly can be daunting.  A professional online marketing firm can help you design one or several retargeting advertising campaigns that will smoothly support the rest of your marketing, to help you  reach sales goals sooner, with greater return on your investment.


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