Retargeting is a simple concept: identify the individuals who have opened your HTML-based e-mail message, or visited your site or landing page, but who did not convert to a sale – and then ensure that those individuals see display advertising for your product or service when they visit some other website.
Essentially, when your prospect opens the e-mail or visits your site, a cookie is deposited on their computer identifying them as part of your retargeting audience. When the prospect then surfs to another website where you have a retargeting advertising arrangement, the new site reads that cookie and serves up a display banner ad with your content. While most web users are relatively impervious to banner ads, an ad that relates to something they’ve done recently has a much higher chance to penetrate and repeat your pitch.
There are some things to avoid in planning a retargeting campaign.
- Don’t over-saturate your prospect. Seeing a dozen different ads for your product or service everywhere he or she goes isn’t effective, it’s creepy – your prospect will feel stalked.
- Don’t over-pitch your prospect. If the prospect sees your ad day after day after day, they will tune it out. Seven days should be the limit here – stop retargeting at that point.
- Don’t retarget everyone. As you gain experience with retargeting, you will identify segments of your audience that respond and segments that don’t. Focus your efforts on the producing segments.
So what should your retargeting campaigns focus on? Sales/conversions, obviously – but marketers have found that immediate sales pitches aren’t always effective. Rather, focus on moving your prospects down the “funnel” towards a sale by increasing their engagement with and trust in your brand. Experiment with different creatives and different segments – a white paper offer might be a total wipeout with one set of prospects but a huge winner with another. With retargeting you have the ability to customize the stream of ads that each prospect sees, and to test the results of your work – so use segmentation and split tests and collect the information that will make your retargeting efforts successful in the long term.