Retargeting: What is It and Why You Should Be Using It

Mad Capper MarketingTodays ads can have a big relevancy problems, but using a retargeting strategy is one of the best ways to solve it.

With retargeting, you only show ads to people who have indicated interest in your product or website before. Usually, this behavior is signaled just by a visit to your website.

While the abilities of retargeting sound creepy—and they definitely can be eerie when the practice is done incorrectly—most retargeted ad campaigns are actually doing consumers a favor. Instead of showing them irrelevant ads for things they may never buy, such as an expensive luxury car, you’re showing them ads for things they’ve directly looked at before.

At its core, retargeting strategies are all about relevancy — and when done right, it works! One company reportedly achieved an average ROI for their retargeting campaigns of 488 percent to as much as 2054 percent. That’s hundreds to thousands of dollars in revenue for every dollar they spend!

What, Exactly, Is Retargeting, and How Does It Work?

Under normal ad targeting, demographics like location, age, gender, household income and even parental status could be considered. A car dealer could target everyone within an hour’s drive of their dealership lot, for instance. Or, the dealership could choose an age range and income bracket that closely matches the most common traits of their best customers.

Retargeting takes the same approach, but instead of looking at static demographics for its targeting list, it looks at browsing behaviors. Specifically, what pages of your site users stopped on the longest or the last page they viewed before they left.

Retargeting campaigns build these lists by applying what’s known as a “tracking pixel” to their page. A list gets built from everyone who viewed the page based on their browser’s cached data. In theory, the ad serves as a reminder for someone who may be willing to buy eventually but just hasn’t committed yet. 

Pixel Tracking by Page Allows Your Campaigns to Be Perfectly Segmented According to the Visitor’s Behaviors

With retargeting, you have content aimed at different people in the buying funnel that can be optimized towards getting to the next step.

An excellent example of this practice in action would be a retargeting campaign aimed at previous buyers. Someone who checked out of your website for an expensive purchase, like a smartphone, isn’t likely going to purchase the exact same device again. If you put a pixel on the “Thank You for Your Purchase” or “Order Confirmed” page, then you can filter these individuals out and avoid showing them ads for a product they already bought.

Better yet, your ad can attempt to cross-sell them a related product or service, increasing their customer lifetime value. After all, it’s often easier to get someone to make a repeat purchase than to convert a brand-new customer lead to a sale.

Ad Retargeting Is Easy to Get Started But Difficult to Master

Of course, this is just a brief primer on retargeting. There are many more facets – like strategy – to explore. Bottomline: If you can keep the consumer’s experience in mind and establish best practices based on your data, the sky is the limit for how complex and effective your retargeting campaigns can be.