Retargeting Explained: Here is how it works

For direct response campaigns, creating models for online display and text based advertising which achieve ROI can take disproportionate time and resources when compared to intent based marketing techniques like paid and organic search. With display advertising, you can target your offer to a defined audience, measure results, and optimize the campaign, but many times those visitors haven’t interacted with your brand prior to that stimulus and thus the chances of them converting on that interaction are lower.

It may take several engagements between the visitors and the brand before any purchase is made.  According to a research study by ValueClick, merchants are losing potential sales in the thousands every month as 98% of first-time visitors to a site do not make any purchase.

Therefore, if you are simply marketing your business and not making an effort to follow up on the visitors that come to your site, your  are likely to have see negative ROI and dismal sales. To reduce the number of potential lost sales, you should retarget your ads to the 98% of visitors who do not take action at your site.

Brands can retarget their ads to users who stop by their website, offering relevant offers based on the actions of the users. Retargeting uses cookie technology to determine the pages that the visitors view, time spent on various page and other actions taken. With this information, you can uncover the intent of the visitors and offer more relevant value, resulting to higher conversions.

How Does Retargeting Work?

Retargeting is simply re-pitching your offer. You can use third party ad technologies to reach visitors through retargeting. The way it works is simple; you have to place a JavaScript code (known as a retargeting pixel) on your website pages. When a new visitor stops by your site, an anonymous cookie is assigned to them. Later, when the cookied visitor is browsing the Internet, your retargeting provider will be alerted to serve your ads to them. As a result, you can be sure that your ads are only showing to users who have previously stopped by your site.

Retargeting is a middle to bottom of the funnel technique and typically produces a higher ROI than other display advertising methods.  Ads are only shown to visitors who have interacted with your brand before or demonstrated interest in one of your offers.

While retargeting is a great conversion optimization tool, it works best when used together with other inbound marketing techniques such as content marketing, pay per click, search engine optimization, targeted display and so on. While these other marketing techniques will drive traffic to your website, retargeting will ensure the visitors keep your brand in mind and that you get the value from that initial traffic. Increased brand awareness and staying top of mind with your prospects will increase the chances of those visitors making a purchase.

Retargeting results in high conversions when you target defined visitors and tailor your ads based on the information you have about them. For example, you can target visitors who looked at a particular product, those who were at your site for a particular period of time, and so on. Different offers require different retargeting time frames. Retargeting ads perform best when they are promoting a relevant offer and have a clear-call-to-action (CTA).

One of the goals in online marketing is getting your offers to an audience that is interested in it. Retargeting helps you do that efficiently by showing it only to visitors who have already expressed interest in your offer. This keeps your brand in the minds of the visitors and increases the chances of conversion. By retargeting lost but already qualified leads, you leverage the work already done and you will realize higher conversion rates and ROI.

Ryan Wilson
Founder & CEO
Ryan has his hands in a bit of everything, but he mostly focuses on client success and the technical aspects of advertising. Ryan likes 90’s hip hop, heli-skiing, and spending time with his family.