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Retargeting: Its Effect on Digital Marketing and Its Place in your Campaign

The online advertising strategy of retargeting, also referred to as remarketing, is a tactic which is used to keep your brand visible to visitors that have bounced from your website or have performed some other action off-site.

Overall, 98% of visitors to a site do not convert on the first visit. By retargeting this percentage and those who have performed specific actions off your site, the chances are increased that they will convert on their next visit or when they navigate to your site based on their online behavior. This retargeting strategy is of paramount importance in the context of digital marketing and has increasingly become vital in a marketing campaign.

How Retargeting Works

For on-site retargeting, a cookie-based technology utilizes a small non-obtrusive piece of Javascript code on your website that follows your audience wherever they visit in a stealth fashion. This code or pixel is not visible to your visitors and will not affect the performance of your site. Each time your site encounters a new visitor, this code places a cookie in their browser. Your retargeting provider has technology in place that knows when to serve ads that drive people with this cookie back to your site.

The effectiveness of retargeting is so great as your advertising spend focuses on visitors who are already familiar with your brand and those who have performed some other action on the web (more on that below).

Optimizing Conversion

While retargeting is quickly becoming a powerful optimization tool for both branding and conversion, it is generally only effective when it’s part of a broader digital marketing strategy. While implementing strategies such as SEO, PPC, and Email/Content Marketing are effective ways to drive traffic to your site, they have been found to not increase conversions. On the other hand, utilizing a retargeting strategy won’t drive people to your site (unless they’ve been there before) but it can help increase conversions.

The majority of the most prominent retailers use retargeting to increase sales. To experience what retargeting is like live, visit any of these sites below and then visit a major news site (these types of sites are the most prominent to serve retargeted ads) such as CNN or Bloomberg.

http://kayak.com
http://att.com
http://intuit.com
http://zappos.com
http://travelocity.com
http://shoes.com

Be advised that there are many industries that use geo-targeting. So, you won’t see a US-based medical insurance provider’s retargeted ads if you are browsing outside the US.

There are seven types of retargeting. They fall into two categories. They are listed below:

Retargeting Events from Off-Site Activity

The idea here is to prospect for new customers who have not yet engaged with your site

  • Target those based on the searches they’ve conducted on a major search engine
  • Target those who have interacted with distributed content (e.g. on a facebook page or online game)
  • Target those who have visited a site similar to yours
  • Target those who consume similar content to what you serve your customers

Retargeting Events from On-Site Activity

The idea here is to retain and convert those that have already visited your site

  • Target those based on the source from which they landed on your site
  • Target those based on the on-site actions they took or didn’t take
  • Target those that have engaged with an email marketing program of yours

As aforementioned, the whole idea behind retargeting is based on the premise of conversion optimization. Just because a user doesn’t convert on the first visit (98% as we stated), doesn’t mean you lost them as a customer. Just because a user has never interacted with your site before doesn’t mean they can’t be led to your site to convert. Each visitor click on your site or off can potentially make that visitor become part of your audience.

Do you have any experiences using retargeting to drive conversions? We’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment in the section below.

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