Have you had the experience of shopping for a product on a particular company’s website, only to have the same product show up as an advertisement while browsing a different website? It can give the chilling sensation that you’re being stalked by the very things that interest you. On the other hand, it can serve as a persistent reminder of the wonderful products that you were on the fence about purchasing, but now realize that you can’t live without.

Introducing: retargeting.


What is Retargeting?

Retargeting is a type of online advertising in which consumers are targeted based on their previous browsing actions. It is a highly effective strategy for engaging potential customers, as well as for interacting with those who have already shown an interest in your business. When executed properly, a retargeting campaign is a powerful tool for sealing the deal with your prospective buyers.

Due to their similar appearance, retargeting ads are commonly mistaken for display ads, but there is a crucial difference. Display ads target potential customers with a blanket approach to advertising. These types of ads, while effective, tend to reach for people at the top of the sales funnel. 

Retargeting, on the other hand, exclusively targets people who have previously interacted with your website. By targeting those who have already visited your site, you are better equipped to customize your marketing efforts towards potential buyers, regardless of what stage they are at in the sales funnel.


How Does Retargeting Work?

The mechanism that makes retargeting possible is called a tracking pixel. A tracking pixel is a snippet of HTML code that is embedded on a specific part of a website, or across the entire site. Tracking pixels can also be added to an email for the purpose of tracking click-through-rate (CTR) and other various interactions. This allows you to craft future emails according to what the data suggests.

When a user visits your site (or opens your email), the tracking pixel places an anonymous cookie in their browser. This anonymous cookie will add them to an “audience group” with others who have visited your site. At this point in the process, the display network uses the cookie to track prospective buyers every time they open their browser. Because browser history is account-based, this information is shared across devices.

For this reason, products or services viewed on a mobile device will show up later as retargeted ads on a laptop or desktop computer. This creates that feeling of being “followed” that we all know so well. Social media platforms have made billions of dollars exploiting this tactic.

The retargeting process is highly customizable. For instance, if a customer purchases your product or service, a burn pixel can be created to remove them from that particular audience group. A new pixel can then be utilized to advertise your other wonderful products and services to them.

Another way this process can be tweaked is in the selection of which websites will be included in the display network, allowing you to optimize the performance of your retargeted ads. The possibilities are enough to make any savvy marketer salivate.


What To Keep In Mind Before Using Retargeting Ads?

So you want to start using retargeting to advertise to your prospective buyers? Smart move. Before you dive in head first, it’s important to keep in mind that launching a successful retargeting campaign comes with a high level of commitment and involvement.

Comprehensive research is required at the onset of the process in order to ensure the maximization of your efforts further down the line. It will be necessary to conduct research, create special banners, set-up landing pages, and assemble a display network that is specific to your retargeting efforts.

Lastly, bear in mind that too much retargeting can have a negative effect. Experts have found that 7-12 exposures to an advertisement is appropriate in a 30 day period. Any more than that and you run the risk of becoming spammy, which alienates your audience.


Retargeting Takeaway

A successful retargeting campaign will work wonders in your efforts to sell products and services. Keep in mind that your campaign will take time and energy to get warmed up. There is a learning phase at the onset. Thorough keyword research, A/B testing, and data acquisition are crucial at this stage.

It is imperative that you do the necessary research, put a system in place, and grow your audience group over the course of several months. Ultimately, the size of your audience group will directly correlate to the effectiveness of your retargeting campaign. Best of luck with your retargeting efforts!