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As digital marketing strategy constantly evolves through new and improved practices, it’s important to stay current in order to help your business grow and succeed. Retargeting, or delivering ads to an audience based on prior engagement with your site, is now a crucial piece of the digital marketing puzzle.

What is Retargeting?

Consider this scenario: you are shopping online for a pair of shoes. You navigate to your favorite e-commerce site and browse a number of specific product pages with styles that pique your interest. Deciding against a purchase at that time, you close the tab or window.

Later, while browsing another site or social media platform, you notice a branded ad next to the page content displaying the very shoes you were considering earlier. The reminder convinces you to click the ad, return to the site, and make the purchase. This conversion was made possible through retargeting.

Why Retargeting is Important

The vast majority of people do not convert on their first visit to a website (some estimates show this number to average over 90%!). A good amount of time and high number of visits can occur before a conversion is made, as research and comparison shopping have become so commonplace. During this period, retargeting places you directly in front of your prospective customers as they go about their business around the web -- reminding them of your offerings and brand.

How Does it Work?

Web retargeting works through the utilization of browser “cookies”. By installing a small tracking tag to your site, your retargeting provider will collect data about your visitors’ browsing behavior (excluding personal information) and add an anonymous cookie to their browsers. Using this data, the platform will automatically bid and deliver targeted ads on sites they visit later, in real time.

It’s possible to segment customers based on which pages of your site they had engaged in. If the bounce happened on a generic or informational page, like the site’s homepage, the retargeting ad can focus on a broad brand awareness message. If specific products were viewed, the ad message can be programmed to show the customer those products (like the scenario above). This ensures the most compelling, relevant message reaches the customer based on which step they are on in the conversion process.

Is Retargeting Only for E-commerce Sites?

Any business that wants to increase their brand awareness among prospective customers, no matter the conversion type, would benefit from retargeting. E-commerce businesses that sell products or services are an obvious fit to see a high ROI with these types of ads. However, organizations seeking donations, members, applicants, or simply desire an increased exposure of their business name to prospective supporters would also benefit.

Getting Started: Consider these Tips

When discussing ad sets with your retargeting provider, be sure to consider the following:

Branded Creative: Make sure your ad creative and messaging is well-branded for easy recognition. It is good practice to rotate your creative on a timeframe that makes sense for your customer to ensure the message doesn’t go stale. A fresh message could be what’s needed for a second look. A/B tests are a great way to see which creative works best.

Call to Action: Will your customer know what to do when they see your ad? Leverage an enticing message with a clear call to action. Consider an incentive or a sense of urgency to accelerate the conversion process.

Impression Caps: Determine the right number of ads shown to your customer. Too many and you risk alienation and a negative association with your brand. Too few and you may not see the results you need. Your retargeting provider will have suggestions and adjustments can be made as you move forward.

After-Conversion Strategy: Consider what you would like your customers to see after they’ve converted. Your retargeting provider can add a “burn pixel” to the site code, which will stop the ads from displaying for customers who have made a purchase. Alternatively, it is possible to change the ad set to show cross-sell products or services that would make a good complement to their recent purchase.

As online activity continues to accelerate, businesses now have the powerful opportunity to stay in front of prospective customers with targeted and relevant ads. Proven to increase conversions and brand awareness, retargeting has become an important piece of a successful digital marketing strategy.

Ready to grow your business through retargeting? The Greenleaf Media team is here to help with a custom strategy tailored to your digital marketing needs. Reach out today to get started!