A Guide to Re-targeted Advertising

Business professional working on laptopWhen a person has seen your brand or visited your site before, chances are they’ll be more receptive to what you’re offering. That’s the idea behind retargeting, a way to reconnect with visitors that have previously been to your business website.

Retargeting allows you to continue to make impressions of your brand via display ads or text ads as they browse other sites. You’ve probably seen these ads before from Amazon or Zappos – and now you can use a similar technique for your own business. It’s effective because the visitor is already familiar with your brand, so these extra marketing touches can move them to take action.

There are several self-serve retargeting platforms that will get up and running easily. Some of the most popular are Google Adwords remarketing, AdRoll, and ReTargeter.

Here’s how they work: The ad-serving platform provides a small snippet of code you place on your site. This sets a cookie in the user’s Web browser. This code helps identify these visitors as a prospective customer and instructs the ad network to save them to a retargeting list. When that potential customer visits other websites, your ad will be displayed to that user.

You can create multiple lists based on behavior you observe on your website. The ad platform often defaults to an “all visitors” list, but you can set lists to capture multiple segments and support a variety of marketing strategies such as:

  1. Emphasize product categories: Showcase and display ads for different product categories, by creating a retargeting list for each one. Focus on categories that are popular or have higher volumes of traffic.
  2. Target visitors who didn’t purchase: If your website attracted visitors, but they didn’t purchase or become a lead, you can set up a retargeting list to attract those customers back to your site. This is typically done as a list that targets all visitors minus the visitors that did complete a purchase or lead form.
  3. Integrate your email campaigns: Integrate retargeting with your promotional email campaign by segmenting out the email-landing page. Visitors to this page have clicked through on the email promotion and expressed a higher level of interest than a typical visitor making them a more qualified lead.
  4. Zero in on recent visitors: You can increase visibility for more recent or return visits as well. For example, segment visitors who viewed the website in the last 7 days. A more recent or return visitor may be a hotter lead.
  5. Remind customers of what’s in their shopping cart: Use pages associated with the checkout process or lead form to serve an ad with a gentle reminder to revisit the store.
  6. Select specific geo-targets: If your business is limited to a specific area you can limit your ads to customers visiting from those locations.

Your ad messaging and imagery should be consistent with your website and brand. Keep the design simple while incorporating your look and feel. The targeting strategy will also drive the call-to-action you use in the ad.  For example, an abandoned shopping cart strategy can be more effective with “buy” focused offers like “free shipping” or “20% off next order.”  Even more general call-to-actions such as “learn more” will help to guide the prospective customer. Including a promotion will help capture that viewer’s attention and create an action.

Your website visitors tend to be more qualified prospects because they have already expressed an interest in your product or service. Retargeting allows you to create additional touch points and continue to make brand impressions with this qualified audience.  It’s a great way to reconnect with that audience and bring them back to close the sale.

Lisa Raehsler is the founder and principal strategist at Big Click Co. , an online advertising company and Google AdWords Partner, specializing in strategy and management of SEM and PPC for search engines, display, retargeting, and social media ad campaigns. Lisa has led strategy on hundreds of PPC accounts and puts her experience into practice every day as a thought leader in integrating clients’ search campaigns across earned, owned, and other paid media.

Lisa frequently lends her expertise to the search industry through organizational involvement, speaking, and writing. Lisa’s speaking engagements include SES, OMS, MIMA, HeroConf, and SMX conferences, as well as private and public events. As a columnist for ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, she writes on the topic of paid search.

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