The Beginner’s Guide To Retargeting Effectively

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RICHARD TALBOT Head of Paid Search

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Retargeting is an exceptionally powerful tool in the digital marketer’s arsenal. It has all the benefits of search engine and social media-based PPC, with the added advantages of being more visual and incredibly cost effective.

Like all marketing methods, though, it’s easy to misunderstand or misuse, losing out on what should be easy wins and failing to achieve effective return on investment. Poor performance could even turn you off retargeting altogether, which would be a huge loss.

To help get you started and make the most of retargeting, we have some advice!

What Does Retargeting Do?

Retargeting is a way of re-engaging shoppers who have already shown an interest in your products or services. When most visitors arrive on your site, they’re not planning to buy immediately. The internet makes it easy for them to shop around for a better deal, or just passively browse for things they’re interested in, but haven’t decided to buy.

Retargeting lets you follow up this interest, allowing you to convince them to buy. You can ensure that you’re always fresh in their mind by reminding them of their interest, and you can use it as a form of haggling, so that if your visitor is interested in buying soon, they’re more likely to buy from you.

In practical terms, retargeting uses the cookies a visitor gets on your site to gain information about them, and then uses that information to serve them relevant advertisements.

Why It Works So Well

Retargeting is an incredibly effective method of online marketing for the following reasons:

Exposure: As with all forms of PPC, retargeting is an easy way to get your brand in front of potential customers. Unlike ordinary paid advertising, retargeting exposes you to people who already have some connection with you, and a definite interest in what you do. Your brand starts off known to them and becomes familiar, so that when the time comes to buy, you’re the one they think of first. This is achieved by exposure.

Repetition: While exposure is good, repeated exposure is even better. Retargeting cookies can last for up to 18 months, during which time your customer may be exposed to your adverts in a variety of places. Through repetition, your brand gains strength and recognition and you become associated with what your customer is looking for.

Value to customer: Retargeting offers value to your customer by showing them ads for things they care about, information you have because of their activity on your site. When you offer your customers what they actually want, they’re more likely to take you up on it.

Haggling: Retargeting allows you to haggle with customers. If they didn’t like your offer first time ‘round, maybe they’ll be more interested with a discount thrown in, available only through retargeted ads.

Information: Your adverts are based on information about your customer, thanks to the cookies they have from visiting your site. You don’t have to rely on guess work as in other forms of advertising, and you can use that information to your advantage when choosing how to target customers.

Targeting: Knowing who to target, where and with what information means you’ll always be able to pinpoint specific customers and serve them what they want. This level of targeting is difficult to achieve in almost every other form of marketing, but here it’s simple.

Cost-effectiveness: Not only have you all the advantages listed above, but thanks to the PPC method of retargeting, it’s an extremely cost-effective form of advertising. You need only pay when the customer clicks on your ad, if they click at all, but the very existence of your ad means constant exposure and repetition regardless of whether they click or not.

Using Retargeting to Your Advantage

Now you know what retargeting is good for and why, it’s time to start thinking about how you can use it to your advantage.

Focus on Your Most Popular Offers: It’s hard work to set up retargeting ads for every single offer or product you have, especially when you’re starting a new retargeting campaign. Focus instead on your most popular offers, the ones that bring in more visitors and gain more conversions. By focusing on key products, your ads will reach a larger audience; you’ll also increase conversions and return on investment.

Use Targeted Offers: Retargeting lets you offer specific customers specific deals, rather than handing out coupons or holding sales. Reluctant customers can be persuaded to purchase, without offering unnecessary discounts across your entire customer base.

Give the Customer What They Want: Use what you know about your customers to offer them what they want. This insight comes, not just from the cookies that are central to retargeting, but from market research, which shows your customer that you have the best offer for them.

Invest in Good Visuals: Retargeting is visual. You’ll be relying on images to get people’s attention so make sure you invest in good visuals for your ads, or you won’t impress anyone.

Be Smart About Targeting: No matter how good retargeting is at finding the right customers, you still have work to do. Be smart about who you target. Don’t serve every visitor to your site with the same ole ad; focus on visitors who are close to conversion, and give them ads that reflect the way they used your site.

Constantly Adapt: The best way to improve a marketing campaign is to adapt it constantly, based on performance. Retargeting is no different. You should continually measure your campaign’s performance and adjust it accordingly.

Quick Tips

Who to Target: You probably know best who you should be targeting, but to help you along the way, here are a few suggestions:

  • Abandoned carts: When people leave the site without finalising their checkout, remind them to come back and complete their purchase.
  • Deeper interest: Some customers show more interest than others, by checking out your ‘About Us’ page, for instance. These people are more likely to be close to conversion, or simply sufficiently interested in your business to suggest that bringing them back could convert them.
  • New customers: People who don’t know you yet may be reluctant to finalise a purchase. Give them a helping hand by reminding them about your free-delivery policy, or by offering a first-time-buyer discount.

Choosing Goals: Before firing full steam ahead with your retargeting campaign, know what you want to achieve. Figure out what you’re using retargeting for before setting up a bunch of useless campaigns.

Assigning Budget: Much like choosing your goals, it’s important to know your budget before you start so you know what your expectations are. Budget appropriately, and don’t spend too much on a poor investment, or too little on potentially easy wins.

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RICHARD TALBOT Head of Paid Search

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An experienced digital marketer with 8+ years of industry experience, Richard has worked in client account management at both Google AdWords and Microsoft's Bing Ads in Dublin. He now leads the Paid Search & Display Advertising team at Tinderpoint delivering successful campaigns for a portfolio of diverse national and international clients across many industries.