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What is Retargeting and Why You Should Be Using It

How would you like to plug gaps in your lead generation funnel and reduce the number of qualified prospects that never convert? Better yet, what if I told you that technology already exists and your company could be using it right now? Well, it does exist, and in digital marketing, we call it retargeting. Retargeting, also called remarketing, is a powerful digital marketing tool and is one of the key differences between digital marketing and traditional advertising. So, let’s answer your questions about what retargeting is, why you should use it, and how you get started.

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting is a digital marketing strategy that focuses marketing towards prospects that have displayed an active interest in a company. The most common target for retargeting is to market a product or service to a prospect that has already viewed that specific offering on a company’s website. Essentially, retargeting is the active, digital version of passing by a store’s display case every day, the item tempting you to step inside and buy it.

Is Retargeting Any Different or Better Than Normal Advertising?

It depends on your objective. If you are running a brand awareness campaign trying to extend your company’s reach, advertising specifically to people who have not visited your website would be better. But, if you’re interested in lead generation, retargeting has something to offer. Unlike standard digital advertising, retargeting has a head start because they’re dealing with a warm lead. The ad’s target has already shown some interest in your company, so they’re statistically more likely to be a qualified lead than the target of standard ads. Your retargeting ads also get to reap better dividends from the Mere-exposure Effect. Facebook retargeting ads often gain 2-3 times the engagement of standard ads, and according to Invespcro, retargeted website users are 70% more likely to convert.

Retargeting Basics

When a prospect visits your website, they’re served a browser cookie that creates a unique identifier for the visitor and basic information about how they browse the website. When a prospect shows interest in a product or service offering but does not convert, they enter the retargeting process. The unique identifier is tagged as a failed conversion and is served ads to remind them of their product interest. Where these ads are served to the prospects depends on the retargeting/remarketing campaign you decide to run.

2 Major Retargeting Types

There are two different types of retargeting campaigns you can create. Some companies use one, and others use both. Deciding which retargeting platform is right for you will depend on your audience, budget, and ability to manage the campaigns. An experienced digital marketing agency partner, like Bold Entity, can help research your audience, manage your campaign, and help you spend your budget, so your retargeting efforts are as effective and efficient as possible. The two major types of retargeting are web retargeting and platform-specific retargeting. To help you determine which type of retargeting is right for you, we’ve included some information about each type and some of their pros and cons.

Web Retargeting

You may also see this called display remarketing. While there are different vendors for this method of retargeting, the most common provided is Google Ads. You can create a web retargeting campaign through the Google Display Network. This network serves ads on over two million websites across the internet and reaches more than 90% of internet users. Web retargeting is great for casting a wide net and reaching any retargeted prospect with your ads so long as they use the internet. The Display Network is excellent for targeting prospects, no matter their internet usage behavior.

That probably sounds great, right? Unfortunately, there are some cons to Web Retargeting. First, you have to be judicious with the start, timing, and frequency of remarketing. Everyone has experienced an ad “chasing them” around the internet for days after visiting a website once for a few seconds. This overexposure feels like ad harassment and can drive off prospects. Beyond psychological impact, there are technical difficulties with web retargeting. The first is ad blockers. 

Your web retargeting campaign may not get off the ground if a prospect’s ad blocker browser extension keeps them from being served your ads. Even if your prospects don’t use an ad blocker, moderate to heavy internet users have “banner blindness.” Internet users develop an unconscious aversion to standard display network ad positions on a web page, namely the right sidebar and center banner positions. Internet user heat maps (software that tracks where users spend their focus on a webpage) show that seasoned internet users skip over Display Network ad spaces when using webpages.

Platform-Specific Retargeting

Another way to create a retargeting campaign for your company is by using a specific platform. While most social media platforms offer some type of remarketing, in this case, the most common selection is another internet titan, Facebook. While Facebook may not be able to boast 90% of all internet users, the company does have 2.8 billion monthly active users, and 66% of those are daily active users. Depending on your company’s target audience, you would be hard-pressed to find a prospect that doesn’t use Facebook regularly. The vast majority of users interface with Facebook using the app, which is great! Prospects using the Facebook app cannot block retargeting ads with a browser-based adblocker. Another feather in Facebook’s cap is ad placement. Facebook offers the ability to serve ads in a user’s content feed and other areas outside the traditional banner and sidebar areas hampered by banner blindness.

However, a platform-specific Facebook retargeting campaign has its downsides. The first is user demographics. Facebook’s core audience is 18-44 year-olds, with a higher percentage of male users. If that’s not the target audience for your company, success on Facebook may be limited. Platform-specific retargeting can also suffer from adblocker issues if prospects use the platform’s website rather than the app. Review your company’s target audience and make sure Facebook retargeting or other platform-specific remarketing user demographics align. And finally, it will depend on a prospect’s feelings towards the platform. Facebook has received plenty of bad PR regarding its user information management and third-party data access. While that doesn’t directly have anything to do with your company, seeing your retargeting ads on the platform after visiting your website could create a negative association.

Create Targeting for Your Campaign

Once you’ve decided on a type of retargeting campaign, you can create an audience for targeting. Each retargeting provider offers something a little different for targeting, but there are three primary types of prospect information that can be used for targeting. The first is the most common, it’s website traffic.

Website Traffic Retargeting

Retargeting website traffic can be done easily by targeting anyone who visits the website. This targeting casts a vast net, which can be useful if your remarketing campaign’s purpose is something like gaining more Facebook page likes. But, it doesn’t differentiate already converted website users from unconverted prospects. For most campaigns, you should use inclusion/exclusion rules to ensure you’re targeting the right audience. You could include a specific page, like a product page or checkout page. Then you can add a page as an exclusion, such as the order confirmation page. This setting allows you to target someone who made it to the checkout page but did not make it to the order confirmation page. That’s an easy way to target people who abandon your website at checkout. You can also target prospects who have had a certain amount of time pass since their last visit, often up to 90 days. This inclusion can help you start retargeting prospects with ads after some time has passed and lessen retargeting’s annoyance factor. Most retargeting partners allow you to customize a retargeting audience using inclusion/exclusion rules of everything we’ve mentioned.

Other Types of Targeting

While website usage is the most common retargeting method, there are a few other ways to target prospects for retargeting. The first is uploading client information directly to the retargeting campaign. For example, you could include an email list you created through a gated content offering. These prospects have already shown a strong interest in your company’s offerings and are likely in the consideration phase of the buyer’s journey. Emails are the most common prospect identifier for retargeting. In some instances, you can also use phone numbers or mobile advertiser ID numbers.

For companies with mobile apps, you have additional options. You can create a retargeting effort based on app activity in a similar way to website usage. You can also create retargeting with offers based on specific milestone triggers in your app. The latter is a common strategy on mobile, free-to-play games. They target game users exiting the honeymoon stage of the free-to-play game, incentivizing them to make in-app purchases to extend their enjoyment of playing.

Steps for Creating a Retargeting Campaign

  1. Determine your campaign type
  2. Create a custom audience
    1. Verify/Install code snippet or Facebook Pixel on your website
    2. Customer list upload
  3. Determine your marketing funnel level/goal
    1. Awareness
    2. Consideration
    3. Conversion
  4. Set your ad placements
  5. Provide your retargeting ads budget
  6. Create your ads
  7. Add UTM link tracking to analyze your retargeting campaign
  8. Start retargeting!

Extra Tips to Help Create Your Campaign

  • If you are interested in growing your brand on social media, use retargeting ads focused on promoting your social media page and earning brand evangelists.
  • Improve qualifying efforts by further defining your retargeting audience on Facebook. Target people who visited a luxury car dealership website, live in a high-income zip code and live within driving distance.
  • Set a frequency cap to reduce the annoyance factor. Look for a daily frequency maximum for 4-5 impressions.
  • Try faking a retargeting campaign with Facebook’s lookalike audiences. Using website visitor information captured by your Facebook Pixel, you can create a target audience for ads similar to the types of people visiting your website.
  • Create a more extensive retargeting campaign that addresses different levels of the buyer’s journey.
  • Create retargeting ads that function as abandoned cart reminders.
  • Make irresistible ad visuals that entice a person to click on the thing they already want.

Retargeting, Final Thoughts

Conversion is not always the end of the line for retargeting ads. In addition to retargeting prospects who abandoned conversions, you can also target customers. Retargeting successful conversions is an excellent way to increase sales frequency if you have an offering with a sales cycle of up to 90 days. Besides repeat sales, you can also use retargeting to cross-sell and up-sell customers with accessories, complementary purchases, or a more premium version of what they purchased.

As you can see, retargeting is an exceptionally potent digital marketing tool. If your company is not retargeting, you should consider it. Retargeting provides high value for B2B and big-ticket purchases with long consideration cycles. If you want to learn more about how a retargeting digital marketing campaign could benefit your company or would like to start a retargeting campaign, Contact Bold Entity.

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