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How to get started with retargeting

An Example Retargeting Ad
An Example Retargeting Ad
Screenshot from wwtdd.com

To the untrained eye, your Aunt Judy’s homemade candle business must be thriving. Her ads are on every website you visit! But you know that Aunt Judy doesn’t have a huge ad budget, so how can she be getting ad space on so many websites?

Simple, Aunt Judy is using the online marketing technique called retargeting (also known as remarketing).

Retargeted ads are banner ads from one company, which shows up on another website’s ad space, after you’ve visited the first company’s website. For example, if you visit your Aunt Judy’s candle website and then go to the New York Times homepage, you might see an ad for Aunt Judy’s candles on the homepage. Seems crazy right? Nope, that’s the beauty of retargeting.

How Does Retargeting Work?

To get started, you first drop a small bit of code into your website (this is generated from the ad service provider you use, more on this later). If you don’t know how to do this, find someone who knows a little about HTML. It’s a really easy cut and paste task, just like adding Google Analytics code. Like Google Analytics, your visitors won’t know the code in on the site.

Now every time someone new comes to your site, your site will now drop an anonymous browser cookie. The next time you go off to another website, the ad service will know and it will know to display Aunt Judy’s ad to you.

Retargeting only works on websites that use a particular company’s ad network. So you can’t expect to see your ad on the New York Times, if the New York Times doesn’t use the same ad network as you do. But the major ad networks will have relationships with many different websites, giving you lots of value.

Why Does Retargeting Work?

Retargeting is effective because it offers two major benefits. First, retargeting can increase brand awareness and recognition with repeated views of an ad. The mere-exposure effect, or the familiarity principle, is the psychological phenomenon when we develop preferences toward things based on things we’re familiar with. Thus giving retargeted ads value, even if someone doesn’t click on the ad.

Secondly, retargeting will also drive repeat traffic back to your site. The increased touch points through these repeated visits can convert more sales. More sales will improve your ROI and make everyone happy.

The Most Popular Types of Retargeting

Within the retargeting tactic, there are several options a marketer/advertiser can use. The two most popular types of retargeting are site and social media retargeting.

Site retargeting is probably one of the more popular forms of retargeting, simply because it's broad and easy. It’s the example I used above. Site retargeting displays an ad after an individual leaves your website.

Social media retargeting is becoming a very useful tool as well. While site retargeting uses an ad network to find websites, social media retargeting only focuses on your social networks. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you see ads on your Facebook page that are from companies whose sites you just visited.

Retargeting Allows You To Segment Your Ads

An additional benefit of your retargeting campaign is that you can segment your audience in four different categories. This provides great context for your ads, to your audience.

General Visitors - Anyone who visits your website.

Specific Product Visitors - Product visitors have browsed your site and decided to visit a specific product. You know what they were looking for.

Abandoned Shopping Cart Visitors – An abandoned shopping cart is a strong sign that visitor wants to make the purchase. You just need to get them over the edge with a little more exposure.

Previous Customers – Getting someone to buy from you is easier after they’ve already purchased from you. By targeting previous customers, you can remind them about new products.

How To Get Started With Retargeting

Creating your retargeting campaign isn’t rocket science. There are companies out there; focused on helping you build your retargeting campaign.

The most obvious of these companies is Google. Google is the online advertising giant. Their ad networks have a wide reach and their tools make it simple for you to start retargeting.

After Google, there are smaller options like AdRoll and Perfect Audience. These companies partner with different online ad platforms (i.e. Facebook Exchange, Google) and deliver your ads to millions of internet users.

These companies’ tools are compatible with content management systems like Wordpress, Magento, and Shopify (plus more). The best part about these companies is that they work with varying budget sizes. No need for a $50,000 minimum ad buy.

When you’re planning out your marketing strategy or reassessing your goals and tactics, I strongly advise you consider retargeting as an option. The increase in awareness, sales, and brand preference make it a valuable tool. Don’t wait any longer; start taking advantage of retargeting today.