Beyond the Banner Ad: The Art and Science of Retargeting
Retargeting is the practice of getting your marketing message in front of people you know to have previously engaged with your brand. Sometimes referred to as remarketing, this tactic places a brand’s online advertisements in front of previous website visitors to help drive online conversions. Using retargeting, 26 percent of users return to complete the checkout process, resulting in sales that would otherwise have been lost.
Banner ads are the classic example of retargeting. Someone comes to your website and later sees a banner ad from your company on another site to remind them of what they viewed. However, retargeting can be used in a much broader way. The practice continues to be an effective strategy for digital commerce retailers to stay fresh in the minds of would-be purchasers. It is imperative that your brand has a way to shine through.
Here we give four strategies that will help your team focus on generating returns on your retargeting investment.
1. Have an Integrated Strategy Across All Digital Channels
The mention of remarketing causes most people to think of banner ads. However, today’s sophisticated marketers are executing across all digital marketing channels. A truly integrated strategy includes:
- Social media — such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and/or LinkedIn
- Amazon — especially if you are a retail or CPG brand
- Google — via remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs). RLSAs allow you to use audience data in search campaigns so you can adjust the “Bid Only” setting to reconnect and re-engage valuable prospects while they search.
With more channels at their disposal, your team will need to keep consistency and pacing in mind. For example, using caps on frequency (how many times someone sees an ad) and recency (when did someone last see an ad or last buy a product) can help your team target and bid on users based on when and how often they last visited the site.
It’s also important to consider velocity, or the pace at which someone is engaging with the brand. For example, if someone has visited the site 12 times this week but only visited 3 times last week, they are at a higher velocity (and possibly more interesting to target) than someone visiting 15 times this week, but 13 times last week. In the first case, the curve is steeper, indicating greater velocity.
2. Go Beyond Digital
Forty-six percent of marketing professionals believe that retargeting is the most underused marketing technology. However, email or banner ads may not be the right motivator to encourage customers to complete their purchase. Offline marketing via direct mail may be a more powerful way to close that sale.
Brands can now send a personalized direct mail piece that is automatically triggered by online activity. In order to ensure that this produces a return on investment, be sure your team has identified the right strategy to determine what “triggers the trigger.” This could be cart abandonment, specific bottom-of-funnel browsing behavior — perhaps a query about where to buy a product or how much it costs — and/or engagement with certain product pages.
3. Personalize Those Subsequent Experiences to Tell a Story
As Forrester found in a recent study, 77 percent of consumers have chosen, recommended or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience. Serving an ad at the appropriate time and through the right channel is ultimately accomplished by combining machine learning technology, cross-channel data and channel-specific delivery solutions.
Remarketing using demographics, behavioral information, customer data, device and/or any other previous transaction metrics creates ads that speak to the customer. Unique message sequencing is another powerful way to deliver the best customer experience.
One example of this strategy would be a university beginning its marketing video with a scene of degree completion, then facts about earning potential, followed by information on a specific degree and finally the logistics on attending a specific information session.
4. Earn the Ad
Retargeted customers are three times more likely to click on your ad than people who have not interacted with your business before. This does not mean that prospects should see banner ads for the next month after a short visit with no or minimal clicks.
It is important to take an analytical approach to scoring site engagement, which can then dictate whether that site visitor spent enough time on the site or engaged with enough content to make retargeting a worthwhile investment. Your existing site analytics and data should provide the necessary insights to answer the question, “Did the visitor engage sufficiently for us to target with remarketing?”
Remember that retargeting is a strategy rather than an on-again, off-again tactic. It’s as much art as science. Understanding how it can be most effective and drive results within multiple channels is one path companies can take to generating top-line growth.
Patrick Kuehn is Senior VP, Sales and Marketing at ObjectWave. Speaking five languages, he specializes in international business in the digital age. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more of his advice on integrated marketing, check out the article "5 Steps to Driving Traffic and Delivering Results with SEO" and guide "Search Engine Marketing: Creating a Holistic Paid Search Strategy" over at Objectwave.