It’s a spooky feeling when an advertisement seems to follow you around the web.
No matter what you’re reading or looking for, you see the same ads again and again — and they appear to have an unhealthy insight into your browsing history.
How does this unnerving and intrusive effect come about?
You can find the answer in an online advertising technique known as retargeting.
Being stalked around the internet by an advertiser is usually the result of an amateur’s unrefined attempt to apply the principle.
However, when approached this with a little thought and strategy, retargeting is where the money is made in your funnel.
What is Retargeting?
You’ve probably heard the phrase: ‘The money is in the follow up”.
Well, it is true, but with email open rates going down by the minute, retargeting is one of the most profitable ways to follow up and it’s truly where you’ll see your ROI.
The basic premise behind retargeting is to show ads to people who’ve already had some level of interaction with your brand, but who haven’t taken the final step toward becoming a customer.
Maybe they visited your website but didn’t buy, or maybe they’ve interacted with your brand on social media without following through to a site visit.
Even though they didn’t convert in the first instance, these prospects still have great potential; they have already been exposed to your message and softened up by your marketing tactics, and can now be classified as “warm” rather than “cold” leads.
Advertising tools like Facebook’s Custom Audiences or Google’s Customer Match let you reach these prospects with relative ease, either by importing an existing list of customer email addresses you’ve built yourself or by adding tracking to your site to generate new prospects as you go along.
Unfortunately, this simplicity means lazier marketers often take the shotgun approach, blasting ads to prospective customers without mercy or refinement, quickly leading to that familiar stalking effect.
Here are some ideas on how to use retargeting much more subtly and efficiently, to leave your less-refined, blunderbuss-toting competition trailing in your wake.
To use retargeting most effectively, you should design specific ads for retargeting campaigns, rather than simply re-use your standard copy.
Here are three differences to bear in mind when formulating your advertising.
1) Make a Better Offer
The very fact that you’re retargeting a prospect means that your previous sales proposition didn’t convert.
Your retargeting ad copy needs to go the extra mile and present a more compelling offer – if you simply bombard viewers with your standard banner ads that they’ve already seen, they’ll have that familiar feeling of being stalked by your brand.
2) Have a Stronger CTA
As part of making a more powerful advertisement, consider making your call to action (or CTA) a little more direct and forceful.
Retargeting ads are no places for clever subtlety – especially if this approach failed to convert the first time around – so tell the prospect exactly what they’ll gain from taking up your offer, and also how they should go about doing so.
3) Laser-Focused Targeting
When you’re retargeting prospects, you know quite a bit about them in comparison to random website visitors.
Use this knowledge to your advantage by producing highly targeted ads based on the landing pages they’ve hit, the subsequent pages they’ve explored, products they’ve examined, and so on.
Campaign Mistakes to Avoid
As mentioned, one of the huge drawbacks of inexpertly executed retargeting is the danger of creating the experience of being stalked around the web.
Thankfully, it’s not too hard to avoid this, if you pay attention to a few simple campaign guidelines.
- Always filter your targeting list to remove those prospects who’ve already converted in some way. If through retargeting you’ve obtained their email address via a newsletter sign-up, for example, your campaign has already worked, and it’s best to give the prospect a little space. There’s little point in wasting funds on further repetitive advertising, and it’s probably counterproductive regarding branding too. Clean your lists as regularly as you reasonably can to avoid this.
- Set a limit on advertising impressions per prospect, so as not to trigger the stalker effect. Constant over-exposure will only annoy people, as well as burning through your budget for little gain. Limit impressions both by the day and also by longer periods – if retargeting shows no results in the early stages, it’s best to back off for a while to avoid overloading non-responsive prospects.
- Be careful about running a retargeting campaign over multiple platforms. Your display frequency can overrun your ideal limits if you’re using several ad-serving solutions, and you could also hit the unfortunate scenario of having your brand plastered across multiple ad slots on the same page.
Reasons to Use Retargeting
Retargeting can be a dominant driver of conversions, but you should resist the temptation to market towards absolutely anyone who’s shown an interest in your business.
As with all advertising, it’s best to have an aim in mind, and an idea of who you should be targeting to best achieve the results you want.
Here are four ideas for specific uses of retargeting which show a little more finesse than a typical blanket campaign.
1) Boost Blog Readership:
A well-written blog is an excellent way of building traffic, some of which you can channel toward your more commercial pages. However, how many visitors find your site read a single article, and never go any further? Using retargeting, you can show readers ads for similar content shortly after their visit, and their recognition of your brand should make prompting a return much easier. If you can convert a casual visitor into a regular reader, there’s every chance they could in time become a customer too.
2) Reactivate Dormant Customers
Hopefully, you’re already operating a successful email marketing operation to keep previous clients in the loop about your new offers. However, no matter how useful email can be, retargeting offers a way to reinforce your campaign with relative ease. After sending out a newsletter, step up your retargeting campaigns based on the same email addresses using Facebook’s Custom Audiences feature or an equivalent. This double whammy of exposure can significantly increase response rates to your email offer.
3) Reaching Newsletter Unsubscribers
It goes without saying that when a newsletter subscriber asks to be removed from your broadcast list, you should do this without argument and delay. However, there’s nothing to say you can’t add these unsubscribers to a subtle, soft-sell retargeting campaign: they may not wish to receive any more email marketing from you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not receptive to your offers from other, less intrusive directions as they travel the web.
4) Following Up Abandoned Carts
A website visitor who’s added products to their cart but failed to check out is a prime candidate for retargeting. Often, they’ll only need a last extra marketing nudge to prompt a conversion. Once it’s clear that their buying process has stalled, reach out to the prospect with a coupon code or a special offer on the specific products they’ve shown interest in, and repeat this several times over a month or so to give every possible chance of bringing in a conversion.
Retargeting is a compelling way of advertising online, but can also cause significant annoyance and brand damage if it’s carried out without finesse.
Continually bothering your potential customers with generic ads that follow them around the web isn’t likely to be a roaring success, but if you follow these guidelines, retargeting can offer some of the highest levels of return on marketing investment you could hope for.
Now, as you may already know retargeting is one piece of a bigger puzzle.
If you are serious about finally getting a funnel that simply makes you money, I want to invite you to my upcoming webinar:
‘The 9 ingredients of virtually every successful funnel’
So go ahead and register and I’ll see you on the other side…