An Introduction to Ad Retargeting

Posted at September 27, 2014 at 6:31 am by admin

Whether you’re using your website to sell products, make money off of advertisers or you just want to share your message with others, you need to make sure people are constantly coming to your site.  There are many options available for driving traffic including SEO, eMail marketing, display advertisements and others.  One of the newest, and most effective, options is known as ad retargeting.

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The simplest way to explain ad retargeting is to say that this is a concept that identifies people who have been to your site at least once, but then left.  You then have advertisements displayed to these individuals to attempt to bring them back to your page.  It is most commonly used on ecommerce sites where people look at a product, and then browse away while thinking about whether or not they want to purchase.  Displaying an ad for that product can remind them of it, so they come back and buy it.

Adding Retargeting to your Marketing Strategy

As you can see, ad retargeting is an extremely powerful marketing technique.  In almost all cases, however, it can’t be effectively used as a standalone advertising strategy.  Instead, you want to combine it with other advertising and SEO efforts.  This way you will have a steady stream of new visitors coming to your site, and then those that ‘get away’ without completing the conversion you desire will be drawn back in through the retargeting ads.

This way you will get a second chance at selling them.  Many businesses that have used ad retargeting in conjunction with SEO, display ads or social media marketing have found that they were able to convert a much higher percentage of visitors than ever before. Most experts agree that this is because many people will come to one site while doing research, but then when they are actually ready to buy they end up finding another site. With retargeting, the chances are much higher than those doing research will find their way back to your site to complete the sale.

Add Retargeting Configuration Options

There are many ad networks that offer retargeting, and each of them will have different configuration options to set up. The following are some of the most important factors to be aware of when setting up a new campaign.  Keep in mind these features will be called something different with each ad network, but they typically do the same basic thing.

  • Number of Times to Retarget – This setting will allow you to specify how many times you want to attempt to retarget a specific user. If someone comes to your site, then leaves, then comes back again through your ads and then leaves again, do you want them to see your ads still?
  • How Long to Retarget – Settings like this identify how long the retargeting ads should run. If someone comes to your site on a Monday and then leaves, for example, you may only want to show them retargeting ads for a couple of days or you might want to do it for a month.
  • General or Keyword Specific – You can typically decide whether you want your retargeting ads to show all the time to that user, or only when they are searching for specified keywords again.
  • Successful Conversion Retargeting – Many ad networks allow you to start retargeting customers who actually made a purchase from your site. You may want to wait a week or two, and then start showing them your ads again to bring them back to make another purchase.

There are, of course, many other options to choose from as well, but these are some of the most important to be aware of.  Like all advertising campaigns, retargeting requires that you take the time to properly set it up in the beginning so you can get the best results over time.

Common Retargeting Mistakes to Avoid

While ad retargeting is a fairly easy option to set up, there are some common mistakes that marketers tend to make.  Look at the following potential pitfalls that people fall into when setting up new retargeting campaigns, and try to avoid them as much as possible:

  • Ad Quality – Some people mistakenly think that because the potential customer has already been to their site, they don’t need to invest in a great looking ad. This is a mistake and can actually push potential customers away.  Take the time and effort to make a great looking ad for your retargeting campaigns.
  • Overwhelming (or Underwhelming) Customers – Some people think that once someone has been to their site they need to open the floodgates of ads to bring them back. On the other hand, some people think that they can be successful with just showing the individual a retargeting ad once will due.  In reality, you need to find a good balance.  Most experts suggest you show potential customers about one ad every other day in a retargeting campaign.
  • Neglecting Analytics – Most people pay a lot of attention to the analytics of their advertising campaigns, but for some reason they don’t pay attention to the data gathered from retargeting campaigns. This is a major mistake, and one that is easy to avoid.  All reputable retargeting ad networks will provide extensive data with your account so make sure to look at it regularly so you can optimize your campaigns.
  • Using Generic Ads – This is a big mistake for people who are attempting to drive sales of specific products. If, for example, someone comes to your site to look at a pair of running shoes, you don’t want to show them an ad just for your site (if it is about athletic clothing in general).  Instead, make a specific ad for shoes.  This way you can give people an ad that is likely to draw their attention better.

The most important thing is that you need to make sure you are constantly learning from both your failures and your successes.  With time and effort, you can grow your ad retargeting campaign into the most successful marketing strategy possible for your website.

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