Reach Your Audience Practically Anywhere with Display Retargeting Ads

Haunted by online shopping’s past

This past fall I developed what some may call an obsession with online boot shopping. And I blame the Internet. It started with some innocent browsing on popular shoe sites. I was on a mission to find the perfect pair of boots. One pair. By the end of the month, I was four pairs deep (I’ve never been good at decisions) and constantly tempted by another perfect pair of boots everywhere I went on the web. Not so easy to resist for someone that works in digital marketing.

Sound familiar? You start researching a purchase online and suddenly it’s following you everywhere. It’s like the Internet knows what you want and says “I’m just going to leave this here…oh, and here…and maybe over there.”

Pretty genius from a marketing perspective, huh? This clever, albeit sometimes a little creepy, digital advertising tactic is called display retargeting – also known as remarketing or remessaging.

What is display retargeting?

Although many people use the terms remarketing and retargeting interchangeably, they’re not really the same thing. Retargeting is the practice of targeting customers as they browse the web based on previous interactions with your website. Remarketing is a broader term that can apply to both traditional and digital marketing channels. For example, a direct mailing sent to leads that have not converted could be considered remarketing.

How does it work?

A code or pixel – that is invisible to users – is placed on your website. This code builds a list of people that visit the site by placing anonymous retargeting “cookies” in their browser. Using this list, digital retargeting vendors are able to display ads to prospects as they visit other sites.

Retargeting lists can also be tailored to reach (and exclude) people based on actions they have or have not taken on your site. For example, if you are running a lead generation campaign, you could build a list of people that visited your landing page and left without filling out a form. This laser-focused targeting enables you to reach prospects and exclude existing customers from your campaign – and your advertising spend.

Ad creative and messaging can also be customized to the user depending on how they engaged with your site: what product or service they were looking for, what they abandoned in their cart, etc.

Why display retargeting ads should be part of your digital advertising strategy:

The beautiful thing about retargeting is that it enables you to find your audience practically anywhere on the web. And because you’re targeting pre-qualified leads, it’s a cost-effective way to reach them.

Stay top of mind as prospects continue through the research process.

Whether you sell a service or a retail product, the ability to keep your brand top of mind after a potential customer leaves your site is really valuable. Whether they’re leisurely browsing or diligently researching competitors, retargeting offers a second chance to remind and convert the ones that got away.

Deliver customized and relevant creative and messaging.

Users are so used to seeing ads that it’s easy for them to develop a bit of banner blindness. But it’s pretty hard to ignore a message that is relevant to a user’s online browsing behavior and life (hello, boots!). Especially when it creeps up in your Facebook Newsfeed. Display retargeting allows you to optimize campaigns with creative and messaging that speaks to what a prospect was – and probably still is – interested in.

Increase brand awareness through repeated exposure.

Display retargeting is particularly useful for closing leads and driving direct sales, but it can also be really effective for campaigns in which the main goal is to drive brand awareness and recall. If you’re using digital display advertising to introduce a new brand to the market, layering on retargeting is a great way to make sure your brand is seen again…and again…and again.

How to get started

There are many platforms and vendors that offer display retargeting at multiple service levels. I recommend Google’s Display Network (GDN). This option allows you to harness the power of data gathered through Google Analytics to target and optimize your campaigns. GDN also offers cost per click bidding, which means that campaigns can be structured to pay for clicks to your site instead of impressions. This can be more cost effective, particularly if your goal is to drive direct response (form completions, purchases).

Before you start any digital advertising campaign, retargeted or not, determine your goal, lay the groundwork for a successful user experience and set yourself up with smart tracking.

Have questions or need help getting started? Drop me a line.