Here’s a quick primer on how retargeting works, and why you should be doing it well.
Pretty sure I should already know this, but what is retargeting exactly?
Retargeting is a form of advertising that helps brands re-engage users who’ve left their websites before making a purchase. There are several types of retargeting but in this post, we’ll focus on cookie-based retargeting, or the one retail marketers are most likely to be involved in on a day-to-day basis. Unlike banner ads, retargeting ads are served up to people who’ve already stopped by your website. As a pixel-based technology, retargeting ads anonymously “follow” your audience all over the web. That means that for retailers, retargeting is a powerful way to reach users who haven’t converted on the first visit.
Sounds a bit creepy and geeky…what’s the technology that powers retargeting?
In this type of retargeting, a tiny piece of code (or “pixel”) drops an anonymous, undetectable browser cookie on every visitor that stops by your site. When those same visitors leave your site or browse the web at a later time, the cookie tells your retargeting provider which ads to show those shoppers based on their previous behavior. Ideally, these ads are more personalized than traditional banner ads, geared towards addressing the last place people dropped off in the conversion funnel.
Still not getting it. Can you give me an example of how retargeting works?
Let’s say you’re sitting on your sofa on Saturday at 10am, sipping coffee and using your tablet to shop online for black sneakers. You find a pair you like and put them in your online shopping cart. (Or maybe you don't, but even so, it's pretty clear by your e-behavior that you're interested in those kicks.) In any case, you get distracted by your dog, get up to feed him, and never actually complete your purchase. A few hours later, you’re enjoying a picnic at the park with friends and decide to check out the news on your phone. While you’re scrolling through the latest articles, you see an ad displaying a pair of black sneakers. Those stylish black sneakers magically appear to be from the same site you were looking at over your morning joe. That’s retargeting.
So is retargeting the key to my digital marketing strategy?
Not entirely. Retargeting is effective at converting users because it focuses on people who’ve recently shown interest in making a purchase, but retargeting alone isn’t enough. It works best as part of a comprehensive digital strategy. Why? Retargeting is great at conversion optimization, but it doesn’t actually drive traffic to your site. Most retail marketers see a high ROI with retargeting since it focuses your advertising spend on your most engaged consumers, but to increase brand awareness and drive demand, you need to be implementing other strategies...
Find out more tips, tricks, and tools that make up a smart digital marketing strategy here.